January 2018

Over on Instagram I’m looking back over my business so far, celebrating my 20 years via #ThrowbackThursday. The story so far . . .

Pieces from my Degree Show at Edinburgh College of Art in 1997 where I received a BA (Hons) in Jewellery and Silversmithing. Followed by an Artist in Residence at ECA for a year when I was granted a Start Up Award from the Scottish Arts Council to set up my business, which is where it all began!

Since my Degree Show I have continued to love working with a mix of surfaces and materials. I originally worked with strips of plain and printed silver, printed with handwriting found in postcards I had been collecting, finding in those amazing Edinburgh book shops. I added in a contrasting mix of black with silver, gold plated silver which I would mix with oxidising to highlight the writing, strips of paper from old books, some enamel in turquoises and creams and gold leaf.

I wanted to include some sketch book work from the time too, design and drawing books. I often took myself to the Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh, not because my work was influenced by nature, but because it was a great place to exercise my drawing with free flowing organic lines and markings, to loosen up as my influences came from the city, the urban environment that is more structured. Gold leaf often turned up in my sketch books, overlapping postcard handwriting and scratched back to give some ageing.

Moving on a couple of years, the colour palette has continued with the black and white with hints of paper neutrals, gold leaf and hints of turquoise enamel, and still using strips. When I look back I remember spending a week at a time making so many strips of different lengths with the different textures and surface finishes, all piled up for difference purposes and then a week of constructing and riveting. So many rivets.

Another selection from the next design books with enamel samples, printed papers, design ideas and drawings of part made musical instruments as I was sharing a studio with an instrument maker and I worked with cellos and violins practically draping over my shoulders. I love the part-made and work in progress feel, sketches by artists, showing the bones and construction of all creative things.

A series of brooches coming up as I started to make with the postcards that I had only bought for inspiration so far, and to take from them the handwriting to print into the metals. Layering with metalwork and riveting the layers together. All my brooches are one-offs, then and still and I love being absorbed in making them. I am dying to get into a new series . . .

Some early press coverage . . .

I was so honoured to be asked by two jewellers I admired, to be in their new book ‘Teach Yourself Jewellery’ by Emma Gale and Ann Little. I was amongst some great jewellery of the time, lots of recent ECA graduates and a book that I still have in the workshop today.

Teach yourself jewellery making 1 2000Teach yourself jewellery making 2 2000

Edinbrugh Guide Dazzle 1997Elite Issue 4 1998Sainsburys Jan 98


20 years as a Jeweller

Clare Hillerby Jewellery is 20 years old! What! I graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 1997, followed by a year as Artist in Residence at ECA. I was then granted a Start Up Award from the Scottish Arts Council to set up my business in Edinburgh, where I lived and worked for about 18 years. These are pieces made for my Degree Show, based on handwriting from the start, using papers, etching, roll printing and enamelling.

Brooches for The Scottish Gallery . . .

I’m really enjoying my new life at the Craft Centre and have been very productive as a result. I’ve made a few new pieces to go to The Scottish Gallery, in Edinburgh. Here are a couple of the brooches that will arrive later this week. I’ve also been working on additions to my collections at the Craft Centre and on Made by Hand Online, more to follow on those later. Discovered today that Made by Hand have just added my work to their banner on the homepage, very lovely!


One last week in Edinburgh . . .

Looking over some old Edinburgh postcards I’ve collected along the way, and in view of leaving next week. My move is finally coming together and at last can get a little excited! If only to stem the daunted-ness! I’ve been comfortable Edinburgh for such a long time with everything in easy walking distance and now very familiar, sometimes I’m not sure what I’m doing to myself by uprooting and starting afresh . . . but it sounds like the best idea too! Have started my goodbyes, and my packing, and stocking up on postcards while I know where to get them. I will try and post again before I go, but there may be a wee gap while I wait for my belongings/life to get back to me! Very excited about my new studio too …