I have been included in a new jewellery design book, excitingly alongside some of my favourite jewellers. It has now been released, Mastering Contemporary Jewelry Design.
Last month I took part in the #marchmeetthemaker challenge over on Instagram. It was open to any creative business that wanted to take part, a subject was set for every day of the month. I thought I would share the project in full here . . .
Day 1 | Brand Image . . .
I created my own handwritten logo a couple of years ago to reflect my interest and use of old handwriting. Then when I moved to my own studio / shop last September it was given a fresh look by having it laser cut in wood. I originally wanted to paint it but it looked right left alone along with my shop branding. I have old wood furniture against a pale grey wall inside.
Day 2 | You . . .
Day 3 | Workspace . . .
This is the jewellery making side of my workspace at the back of my shop, which continues across the back wall and then behind into a long simple bench area I created for making cards and collages, (or doing admin). All of my work is made in the studio, and it’s the perfect space, have great light and fab windows either side of me, one with the best view of the craft centre.
Day 4 | Tools . . .
Day 5 | Can’t live without . . .
My awesome mum and my amazing fella firstly and mostly . . . then work wise it would be coffee before I start making to make me human, paper and pens, or a mountain of notebooks, my diary and a selection of inky black pens and pencil to write, make notes, lists and record thoughts.
Day 6 | Raw materials . . .
The first image is of a silver order I had just received. I make everything from scratch using silver sheet, wire and tube, and gold tube for the rivets. Postcards are next, Manchester is really good for vintage fairs which I go to as often as I can (I have the man in my life interested in vintage now and we are a good ephemera hunting team!). I also use old stamps and linen maps. I (we!) also hunt for old wooden rulers. I started buying rulers back in Edinburgh, they add a very warm and friendly feel to my work. Lastly here are a sample of the semi-precious beads I scatter through my collection. Always good quality and a great addition of colour and texture.
Day 7 | How & Why . . .
Why? I need some new simple every day wear earrings to suit some recently made necklaces.
How? I’ve prepared the hooks and stems, crazy how long such little things take. I lay out the ideas next to me at the bench on clean white paper, to stop me being distracted, which kind of works! I want to use semi-precious beads in them to link with the necklaces but give colour and interest on their own.
Day 8 | Where . . .
My walk from Piccadilly Gardens in central Manchester to the Craft Centre, is about 7 minutes across Thomas Street and up Oak Street in the Northern Quarter, then upstairs to my studio / shop.
Day 9 | Goals . . .
To get my cabinets stocked up! Now that I have more space with the new shop, and also to try and keep up with what is being designed in my head, its hard to keep up! It is a constant shifting to accommodate the unexpected order or deadline, then back to my schedule, adding in some random ideas as the inspiration takes me, if I leave it until I have time, sometimes I loose the inspiration for it. I also would like to open an online shop at some point this year.
Day 10 | Favourite small business . .
Lizzie Stewart illustration
Ness Donnelly stitched drawings
Cathy Cullis embroidery
Day 11 | Post run . . .
Day 12 | First ever sale . . .
A bangle from my Degree Show which I sold at New Designers to a very lovely French lady, I will never forget it!
Day 13 | Feedback . . .
One reason I wanted a shop at the Craft Centre was so I can meet the people who like my work and buy from me, it’s the best way to progress. I have a lot of conversations about my work, the display and, I didn’t expect so many conversations with guys about these old pegs I use for hanging pendants. Random, but I do love these little old things!
Day 14 | Creative friends . . .
Plenty here at my making home, Manchester Craft & Design Centre.
Day 15 | Inspiration . . .
Day 16 | Time to relax . . .
If I’m out, and not at vintage fairs, I’m a bit of a wanderer and love exploring the city and adding to my collection of photos of derelict, urban textures, ghost walls, road markings and graffiti.
Day 17 | Photography . . .
Day 18 | Shelfie . . .
Day 19 | Helper . . .
On Mondays I am extremely blessed with the help of the ultra lovely, friendly and happy Tamara. X
Day 20 | Sketchbook . . .
I generally design by playing with previously made but unused metalwork elements, sometimes along with card models. I fill a sketchbook in about a year or so with ideas and doodles of repeated shapes to warm up, and the occasional drawing of objects around me. If I’m lucky enough to have time!
Day 21 | Work clothes . . .
Day 22 | Best seller . . .
As most of my work is either one-off or limited edition, I cant really have a best seller, but, these studs are the first items I made using stamps and I always have them in stock in a nice selection of coloured stamps, maps and postcards. They are a good, or best friend!
Day 23 | Studio playlist . . .
On this day I was working on a brooch commission while listening to the radio. I get bored easily so I move between radio, silence, watching documentaries, or listening to my own music, though I have to be selective in a studio with visitors!
Day 24 | Milestone . . .
I moved to Manchester 4 years ago now with the hope that it was firstly a good idea, which it was. And also that I would get my own shop at Manchester Craft & Design Centre, which I have! I now need to make the most of having the shop and focus on some new goals.
This is an image taken from the current exhibition at the Craft Centre, Ceramics by Verity Howard.
Day 25 | Packaging . . .
A sample of the stamps an their colours. Stamps, maps and beads give my work colour, and they are sitting here on white cartridge paper which I use to texture my silver by passing layers through the rolling mill. The paper comes out with lovely prints from the silver, and they are a perfect addition to my collages and cards.
We open Monday to Saturday, 10 am to 5.30 pm, though as I have a helper I am at the studio Tuesday to Saturday. We can work outside of those hours too.
It takes me around an hour to get to work by bus and I love my route. I pass the Museum of Costume, the Whitworth, Manchester Museum and travel through Curry Mile and the universities to the centre of town.
Day 28 | Organised . . .
Day 29 | In action . . .
Day 30 | Books or Blogs . . .
Books! Though I do have a few favourite blogs I regularly visit, I love books. Beautifully illustrated books, or books by illustrators. I love old map books, and I am a big Nigel Peake fan.
Day 31 | Customers . . .
Customers, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you. Without you I couldn’t continue my work, without my work, I would be nothing. Thank you X
There was a lovely buzz at the craft centre this week while fellow makers are preparing for the Art Markets and the next Little Northern in a couple of weeks. In the meantime I’ve sent a new collection to Flow while Forming words prepares to travel to the craft centre.
(Top: postcard + stamp studs | Bottom: postcard + map cufflinks)
And I am delighted to have received this week, a book I’ve been featured in (and dying to see for ages!) 500 paper objects . . .
The book features some lovely makers whose work I really admire, including Jennifer Collier who very genorously told some of us about the opportunity . . .
Ruth Singer . . .
Katherine Richmond . . .
and Elsa Mora . . .
I headed to the amazing Vintage Village in Stockport last Sunday followed by some ruler hunting on Monday. And so now I have a new ruler contact, very happy jeweller…and a pile of serious cleaning up to be done! Here are my treasures on their way to the studio…
I got a handy tip from a fellow maker recently about a shop called Empire Exchange in town selling all kinds of ephemera and the like, so yesterday morning I took a trip there and found myself more paper nonsence for my ever expanding collection. I found 2 science notebooks from 1938 belonging to a Jean Fielden, full of lovely diagrams, her pencil notes and drawings.
Which brings me onto the amazing Vintage Village in Stockport I was introduced to on Sunday. I was impressed at myself not having to be dragged home kicking and crying, I am hooked and happy to say its on once every month! I did take my camera, but completely forgot, I was so absorbed! (next time!) So I took photos of my finds back at home. The drawers were from a car boot sale we went to first and the clothing labels may get stitched to a sofa cushion at some point…
Then this morning I went back passed Empire Exchange again as on my way up to the studio yesterday I came across a lovely bird painted on the side of the building, note the silhouette of the man crossing the road for later …
But, on my way up to the painted bird, I wandered through the centre of town as I recently found out about FutureEverything and heard about a ceramic artist who was depositing little clay men (#littleclaymen) around the city today for people to find and pick up as part of the event. I found loads on benches and statues, and a lot of intrigued people.
Later on my walk up to the studio I found more little clay men walking around a beautiful derelict building I stopped to photograph. I love the Northern Quarter, I feel so at home here, there is always something unexpected to find.
And now I have some little helpers in the studio …
I’ve had a lot of interest in my bunting after the open evening at the studio last month . . . so I decided to top them up and post about them! They are something I sell in the studio but feel free to get in touch if you’re interested. They are all made from original vintage papers, often from broken books or out of date maps, all in need of a new life. At the moment I have bunting made from Enid Blyton books, girls annuals, maps, a gardening magazine and music paper, so for indoor use! They are made from folded circles, (11.5cm wide) on approx 3 metres long ribbon, with a loop at each end secured with an old button, so they are easy to hang up. They are £16 each and I can post them free of charge. Take a look and feel free to comment or email me at email@example.com for further information or to order . . . or come along to the next open studio evening (dates yet to be decided)!
Had a bit of a studio sort this week after completing a few unexpected special orders and before starting a new collection for Brass Monkeys in Hove…
A recent couple of books to my growing collection of ‘nice old stuff’, ‘Ring of Bright Water’ and ’12 Days on the Norwegian Coastal Steamer’ with some gorgeous illustrations and unusual additions hiding at the back, a long skinny map of Norway, a newspaper cutting from the Manchester Guardian dated Thursday July 16 1970 about shopping in Reykjavik and the novelty of all the houses being centrally heated, and a certificate of Mrs Ethel E. Jonas of having crossed the Arctic Circle on June 2 1955, which has a blank page at the back for handy notes and autographs (to collect while travelling across the Arctic Ocean?!). The book seems to have been owned by 2 people, who perhaps both took the same journey. Maybe it should be my future journey, maybe I should add my name to the list!
I’ve been looking over some old books this week, this one I bought this a few years ago at a fleamarket in New York from a man who said “I know you will look after it” – but looked at me like he knew I was likely to chop it up. But I promised. In any case its so fragile and lovely in its complete form that I couldn’t. I now have two recipe books, which according to Peter Blake, is a collection. It also reflects some collages I’ve been working on today so I thought it relevant to be posted. Sorry there are so many pages, I did manage to reduce it from 58!
Some of the new work ready to post off next week for Primavera in Cambridge. There are also small earrings as in the previous work in progress pic, necklaces and cufflinks with stamps and postcards. People are going mad for cufflinks at the moment so I will be spending next week working on some new ones, and will blog about them when they are done. The picture shows a junk shop find, am always looking out for papers, postcards and books. This one is a 5 year diary, each date over the 5 years is on the same page so you can compare what happened on that date over years. The pages have a lovely marbled edge. Unfortunately unused!