- Blog for my own work
- My web site
- My own selling site
I started making jewellery from old necklaces when I was younger than you, and sold them to friends and my Mum's friends. Then I got a job with Joe Cool in Edinburgh as a piece worker making jewller to their designs for America, this was still when I was at school. I then went to Edinburgh College of Art in 1985 and chose to do jewellery (and photography) as my specialty for my degree in 1986.
I chose jewellery, not because it seemed to be the obvious choice, but because my first choice of Costume seemed very boring! When we had a 6 week taster session we were told to sit down and design...I thought I can do that at home...I wanted to make and learn new skills, which is exactly what happened in my next 6 week taster session with jewellery. But as you can see from my larger pieces of work I still have a hankering for fashion and costume. My original inspiration for working with recycled materials came from my parents who are post-war babies, which means they grew up in an envrionment where things were scarce and you made do, there was also the continued ethic that had been promoted through the was of "Make do and Mend"...this is still a very stong message in my own life and very happy that I now have friends around me who do welding who can fix pans or turn old gates into security grills for windows, carpenters who can refinish and rebuild tables to fit and I am actively involved with promoting recycling through art and craft with Wirral Council, here in Merseyside. When I was at college, I was inspired by Gaudi, patterns in nature, Paul Klee, Henry Moore, a paper jeweller from Australia (I am afraid I have forgotten her name - Mrs Walkup might remember as she spoke to us when we were at college), Caroline Broadhead...
In terms of a young person starting out, I would say learning the language of whatever medium you chose to work in is crucial, what I mean by that is acquiring skills to help you achieve what you want to create is vital, that is something that can be taught whereas the ideas come from you and can be inspired and encouraged but can not be taught if your mind is not receptive. I would say for a jeweller or for someone who creates items to be worn, life drawing is crucial. I was lucky that I was at a traditional art college and we were encouraged to keep up our drawing skills even after we specialised in a design subject. I also think getting some business grounding from someone who is in the same industry is vital, at college we had some sessions in business studies about the price of petrol and positioning, hardly relevant or easy to comprehend. our best lecture was from Ann Marie Shillito who had a practical way of accounting for pieces you make and when they sell, a practice I still do today.