It seems like there is no better time to shop locally, with major High Street names struggling in this economic climate, the offerings from independent boutiques and shops of all sorts is brilliant and to be supported and celebrated. I'm very pleased to have collections stocked in some lovely, expertly curated outlets. I'll share details about these stockists over Easter - a good time for fresh thinking and renewal.
First up is Shore on Penarth Esplanade, a haven for all gifts nautical, coastal and just beautiful. Homewares and accessories by independent makers and UK designed products. Latest jewellery collections in store now www.shorecoastal.co.uk/
Art and Education
This year I've been taking part in a brilliant scheme for schools in Wales run by Arts Council Wales and the Welsh Government. The Lead Creative Schools Scheme brings together artists from all fields - writers, actors, and craftspeople with Primary, Secondary and special needs schools to fill a creative learning gap. Projects deal with literacy, outdoor classes and numeracy - my project deals with jewellery and numeracy... how can jewellery improve maths? It's a perfect fit as you can't make jewellery without numeracy... I was delighted to be chosen by a lovely primary school in Cardiff - the Year 4 class - Beadilicious! - and staff embraced the jewellery making wholeheartedly and we all had a great time. And maths was done too! ('Learning without noticing'.) The project is almost finished except for a couple of inset sessions with the parents and staff, and I'll be helped by my new jewellery maker gang of 8 year olds!
Here are some images from the project:
The importance of taking time out to breathe and be aware of your surroundings is so important for a self employed person managing the day to day stuff. Life can be everything from exciting to tedious dealing with your business. It can be fun, frustrating, exhausting and you can have the best time of your life. Sometimes all in one week! When it does feel tough, and it always does at some point whatever you are doing, what helps are friends, family and having places to take time out and recharge. I walk someone's dog weekly and I couldn't be without it - fresh air and exercise with an affectionate, happy pup is medicine for the soul! (Special mention for my cat too!)
With the end of summer comes the new buying season and to catch the attention of The Buyers and new customers, fresh images must be made of latest work and new collections. Last week I had a lovely photoshoot with Lissy, who modelled my jewellery and revamped pieces for AW17 and SS18 beautifully. I took the pictures and learnt something new with every shot. Imagery is so vital to selling products, a click with your phone or a set up with backdrops and tripods and reflector... it can be easy and difficult all at once! I think the biggest lessons I've learnt is you can never take too many shots and practice is key! I'll load up the shots over the next few days and see how they go!
Meet the animal gang! Bear, Fox, Rabbit, Dog, Cat and Mouse... more details under Collections
I'm pleased to put my new gem set Jewel Creatures collection online - some lovely press in Benchpeg - the jewellery will be ready to buy from the site early May.
Please contact me if you'd like to order bespoke pieces - you can now wear a mini version of your pet, a jewel in the colour of your cat or dog. Happy to make multicoloured foxes or mice too!
Special mention to Cam and her rabbit called Bunny.
Very pleased to unveil my new logo designed by the lovely Holly Milston - she has produced a bold image which incorporates the three sided shape of my Maker's Mark used in hallmarking. My initials cut into the triangle like facets, all the jewellery references covered!
Was lovely to start the new year with a very interesting day trip to Bath to see Silver: Light and Shade at the Holburne Museum. An exhibition of historic and contemporary silversmithing - incredible pieces showing intricate skills and lasting beauty. www.holburne.org/ Some made in 1700s looked modern...
It inspired me to look out some of my old smithing pieces from college, will post more as I find them...
Also went to the brilliant Museum of Fashion - a must visit for anyone interested in dress -
A garden full of colour and life, and a trip to Cornish countryside and coast has given me excellent inspirations for various new collections. Couldn't resist taking too many photos! Here are a few.
Earlier this year I had the great pleasure of being a Creative Practitioner at Rhws Primary School in the Vale of Glamorgan. The Creative Lead Schools Project is a 5 year partnership between the Arts Council of Wales and the Welsh Government to place artists, designers, writers, musicians and makers with schools across Wales who need to solve a problem or build on existing practices with the help of creativity. I was chosen to deliver the brief of whether jewellery making can help improve numeracy skills for a Year 4 class.
It's pretty impossible to make any sort of jewellery without any maths, measuring, counting components etc and pricing so I was sure it would be a great project to do.
Initially the class weren't sure about the jewellery making - especially some of the boys. But in the first session when the children tried the hand tools and played with beads and findings, they soon came around and ended up having a joyful time designing and making jewellery. It was fab and ended after a few months with a grand finale catwalk show and exhibition to the rest of the school and parents. The kids were enthusiastic and brilliant and I learnt that I enjoyed teaching as much as they did making. And learning. Happy to report that maths results improved...