March meet the maker

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 . . .

img_2143I 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 . . .

 Something I never do is take photos of myself, this was definitely the biggest challenge of the project! Taken in my studio / shop.

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 . . .

 A selection of basic everyday tools. I’ve managed to buy most of my tools through much appreciated awards I’ve received over my career. There are still many tools on the wish list!

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 . . .

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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 . . .


How & Why was a tricky one to answer in an image, and simply, so I opted to show the days work in process instead!

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 . .


There are so many great makers, and too many jewellers I love, so for this I chose 3 differenet disciplines . . .

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 . . .


My inspirations board above my workbench . . .

Day 16 | Time to relax . . .


If I’m at home, I’m learning to cook, because it’s just time I did! I’m not a natural, I end up adding creativity to things, which I think are genius at the time, but end up in disaster quite often!

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 . . .


My shelves at home are a combination of handmade, vintage collections, and books.

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 . . .


My second apron, made by my lovely mum, in denim with patterned fabrics around the edges and a hug pocket on the front (big enough for a hot water bottle in the deepest winter months!).

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 . . .


Day 26 | Colour and Texture . . .


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.

Day 27 | Routine . . .

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 . . .


Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.

Gustave Flaubert.

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 . . .


My fab view  from my workbench of my visitors.

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

 

 

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New place to work …

I’ve been spending a bit of time at the Manchester Craft & Design Centre in the Northern Quarter since moving here, and I worked a couple of days last week in Selina Campbell‘s studio, and will be again later this week. It’s a great place to work, really lively with 2 floors of studios that are also open as shops. The makers there have been very friendly and made me feel welcome, its made my new life here very easy.

Its only about 10 months since I first visited Manchester and decided to move here, so it was strange to be actually working in one of the studios in such a short time and to be feeling so very at home in Manchester. I love the Northern Quarter too, everywhere you look there is street art, graffiti, derelict buildings (which I find beautiful!), old ornate buildings, lovely little streets, old signage, busy cafes, bars and independent shops … just love it all!

spooky baths …

FutureEverything continued over the weekend and I went along to an event on Saturday at Victoria Baths which I had been intending to visit at some point, so perfect. There were craft and fanzines stalls and installations throughout the beautiful old baths. One of which I have just discovered was by my AWOL studio neighbour Laura Jane Blake . Really lovely piece and situated in one of the old pools. Its a gorgeous old building left to decay when it closed in the 90s but has now been saved and under renovation, while this happens its being used for events, looking forward to a couple of vintage fairs there later in the year. And I found more little clay men! … some of the rooms, were very spooky …