Popped out to the Post Office earlier to send a parcel off to Wren in Warrington and took some photos to prove that sunny, spring days can happen in April …
I’ll be scrubbing the workshop spotless in the next couple of weeks in preparation for this …
do come and visit us!
The newcomers section at this year’s British Craft Trade Fair was an especially vibrant and lovely place, filled with exciting ideas and makers keen to talk about their work and how their businesses are developing.
Emily Knight trained up in Glasgow and her work has a beautiful emphemeral quality about it. She displayed her distinctive silver and enamel pieces against hand drawn sketches – which looked so wondefully natural that you can’t help feeling that the walls were an extention of her sketchbook.
She’s got a wondeful eye for setting colours together without the enamels looking harsh and the fun, quirky details (like the little silver bicycles) makes them wonderful and light.
Then, just down the aisle from me was this lovely stand:
featuring work from Maneggi, who, well – has a thing for ribbons … and wonderfully sculptural things she does with them too. With a really sensitive eye for colour she combines ribbons and pearls into little wearable structures:
They have quite a soft, vintage feel which is given a classic edge by her use of the pearls and other beads that give form to her pieces.
And just one aisle over was the work of Karen Fox, another recent graduate with a passion for neat, structured pieces built up out of layers of texture. Her larger scale ruffle pieces (like the collar that you can just see on the left) wouldn’t look out of place at the ballet and have a defnite theatrical, Elizabethan flavour that makes you want to layer them up into giant sculptures.
The whole show catalogue is online here for you to get a flavour of just how much craft work was on show.
It was a truly stunning collection of work from new and established makers alike which gives me a lot of hope for the future of the creative industries in the UK – it’s really wonderful to be working in so vibrant a marketplace.
I’ve been feeling the need for things to be a little simpler lately. Don’t get me wrong, I adore my new Beachcomber pieces but I also like wearing neat, simple everyday jewellery that can handle a tough week in the workshop and doesn’t need to be taken off when you get in the shower, still half asleep, in the morning.
And, for that matter, it’s nice to have jewellery that you can sleep in.
So a couple of months ago I made myself these:
and I haven’t really taken them out since. Sure, I’ve changed them for more special or dressy occasions but they’ve always gone right back in again after.
They’re silver and lightly reticulated, meaning that they’ve been heated to the point where the silver just begins to turn liquid – then cooled off to preserve the wonderful, slightly rough texture that that leaves behind:
It burnishes up to a lovely, warm glow that looks soft and natural.
I’ve put a small range together:
Simple pendants in silver (with a red gold accent):
Stacks of bangles, also silver with a red gold accent:
and rings (silver and red gold):
You can find the whole range right here
I spent the weekend at the British Craft Trade Fair introducing some of my work to trade buyers and getting the first real public reaction to the new beachcomber pieces. I’ve never independantly taken my work to a trade show before but the whole expereince was overwhelmingly positive.
The show had over 400 stands filled with handmade, british contemporary craft and the high standard of the work on show was inspiring. It was wonderful to be in such creative company and everyone was so nice. Working on your own it’s easy to forget how many other people are working and learning about handmaking all the time too – and I swapped a few good stories and bits of advice with the other exhibitors.
Anyway, it wasn’t all about us jewellers talking shop – here’s how my stand looked for the show:
I’m really quite pleased with how much I got into a 1m x 2m space and the clean minimal look that the white walls gave it all. I generally have more space at retail shows but I think I’ll keep using this set up, only with a bigger table top …
I got the big new beachcomber necklace all finished up yesterday, just in time for the British Craft Trade Fair in Harrogate this weekend.
I’m really pleased with how well the stones and my silver press forms work together and it’ll be interesting to see what the galleries who visit make of it …
I took a little Good Friday drive out yesterday with my parents which, naturally, ended at a Garden Centre.
Now, I like plants and all but I’m no expert. When I buy them I really just go for things that I think are pretty. This was a specialist fern nursery with a quite stunning collection of fern colours and textures on show:
I was so inspired by it all that I bought this little one home – I’ll get him comfortably settled into a shady bit of the workshop next week:
I ventured into the Jewellery Quarter on a Sunday today for the first time in aaages to get these pieces all ready to go off to Assay on Monday. There’s a couple of new pendant designs (and some more studs):
Plus, I got the pieces of that big new necklace sanded:
and almost ready to string together: