Happy New Year

•10/01/2012 • Leave a Comment

The last few months of 2011 became incredibly busy for me after I was lucky enough to get a Wednesday trading spot at Greenwich Market at the start of November. It has been a brilliant experience and I’m really enjoying my time there. The chance to talk to people face to face about my jewellery and get direct feedback has been just fantastic, especially as so far it has been overwhelmingly positive. It’s also given me some ideas and directions for new designs and future pieces. I’ve always had a soft spot for Greenwich Market as I used to spend a lot of weekends shopping there in my teens, and so being a part of it is just wonderful, especially as the traders are lovely people and the atmosphere is brilliant. So far the best moment has been the young girl whose mum bought her a Tiara so she could be a ‘proper princess’ and the look of happiness on the girl’s face when she got to pick the ‘sparkly’ one she wanted.

My Stall – with me!

However the run up to Christmas has been insane on both the work and the home front and I feel like my feet have barely touched the ground, so the last week I have had off from the Market, the computer and the day job, and just spent some time with my husband, which has been great. Feeling much more refreshed, I’m now back to cutting links for some new chainmaille pieces, updating the website and various social media, sorting out the tax returns (probably my least favourite job of the year!) ordering some new supplies for restocking and catching up on emails. It looks like I have at least one commission on the cards this month, which is a fantastic way to start the year. I also need to get the mailing list sorted finally and out to people, there really is no excuse for it having taken this long already.
I’m going to make a much more determined effort to update this much more regularly, and try to stick to it this time! I have some new designs to photograph and talk about and as I’m back on the market tomorrow hopefully a lot more stories about happy customers to come in 2012.
Happy New Year to everyone, thank you so much for your support over the last twelve months and I hope that the best of 2011 is the worst that happens in 2012.


Market Postponed

•08/10/2011 • Leave a Comment

So at this point this morning I was planning on being in Woolwich setting up my stall, unfortunately, due to a delay with the licensing paperwork, they have had to postpone the market for the immediate future. It’s a bit of a disappointment, I was looking forward to the opportunity, however, all going to plan I will be able to take part when they set the new date, which should be in a few weeks time. Everything is ready to go, I have my stall layout planned, stock sorted and business cards all at the ready, so watch this space for updates on the revised dates. My sincere apologies to anyone that was planning on heading down there today.
In the meantime I shall make use of today to photograph some of my new pieces and update the webshop, and to finish off the mailing list newsletter, and if that all goes well, maybe start work on some new pieces.

Arts and Craft Market in Woolwich

•04/10/2011 • Leave a Comment

This Saturday I will be running my first proper stall at a new Arts and Craft Market taking place in the Woolwich Grand Theatre in South East London. I’m excited and a little nervous about what to expect, it’s a new project being put together by members of the community who are trying to restore an old cinema to it’s former glory and turn it into a real community arts centre. I’m hopeful of it’s success, both in terms of really wanting to do well selling my jewellery, and also in wanting the venue to do well as the area is crying out for something like this as there hasn’t been a proper cinema or theatre in Woolwich for years.
So I have invested in a funky new folding table, ordered my business cards and I’ve been sorting out the products and pricing for sale as well as playing around with the stall layout. I’d say I’m prepared, but that would be a lie and I’m bound to forget something important. My Mum has offered to help me out on the day – and I’m very grateful for her support in this. I’m also looking forward to meeting the other stall holders and seeing what else is available on the day, as I love craft markets as a customer too!
Also this week I am putting together my first email newsletter. I am planning on sending them out monthly and they will include details of new products and exclusive special offers for recipients. If you would like to join the mailing list then please visit my website and enter your email address in the box at the top of the home page.
If you would like more information about the Woolwich Grand Theatre and the market you can visit their website: www.thewoolwichgrandtheatre.com
If you are in the area on Saturday then please come along and show your support – entry is free.

International Jewellery London

•07/09/2011 • Leave a Comment

I spent this Sunday up at Earl’s Court 2 for International Jewellery London – the UK’s biggest annual jewellery Trade Fair. I found out about this a few years back while I was still studying and went along to my first show as a student, and since then I’ve enjoyed spending a day up there every year. As well as an overwhelming amount of different jewellery and designers on show, they also put together a large number of seminars on all aspects of the industry and this year I decided to go along to one. The seminar was about E-commerce and how to convert website visitors into shoppers, and it was both incredibly interesting and very useful, with a lot of important tips that I shall be looking into applying on my website in the near future.
The rest of the day was spent wandering around the multitude of stands, with a huge array of different companies, individual designers and supplies for making and display. One of the more interesting stands in the show was the British Jewellers Association ‘Kickstart’ Stand, which showcased ten up and coming designers. The designs here were beautiful, interesting and inspiring, and I had a brief yet lovely conversation with Claire English who was very positive about the possibilities of selling in the larger department stores if you are persistent enough!
I also met some very nice people at the Benchpeg stand who gave me some solid advice on shop hosting sites and ways to make my webshop more streamlined which I will also be looking into, and they publish several very useful looking books with business advice for artists and designers, which I suspect will be making it onto my Amazon wishlist.
It was a brilliant day, and I left feeling incredibly inspired and positive, with a lot of information and tips to take me forward, as well as a large bag of free magazines and catalogues which are keeping me busy flicking through!

Vintage Fair

•08/08/2011 • Leave a Comment

A week ago my partner and I went to the Vintage Fair on the Southbank. We found out about it just beforehand and unfortunately couldn’t afford the ticket prices to the main part of the festival in the Royal Festival Hall, so we spent our time in the Vintage Market and wandering around the free events along the Southbank instead. The atmosphere was wonderful, the number and variety of stalls brilliant. In amongst the rails and rails of clothes from all periods there were tea cups, hats, jewellery, furniture and all sorts of bric a brac from the last century, as well as new goods inspired by vintage themes. We had a great day and walked away with a great deal of inspiration both from the stalls and products as well as the fantastically dressed people both shopping and selling.

One of the many clothes stalls

I fell in love with these – if only we had the money!

Folk from ‘The Chap’ magazine in Jubilee Gardens, taking part in various events from the Chap Olympiad.

Even the regular Food Market had joined in on the action – and anywhere selling fish finger sandwiches should be applauded.

One of things that inspired me while wandering around was the way that some of the jewellery was actually displayed on the stalls. A lot of them were using items like tea cups and cake stands to show off their products very well, so when I came across this little gem in a charity shop this week, it seemed rude not to snap it up…

Vasilisa Choker

•27/07/2011 • Leave a Comment

This is a new choker design – and probably one of my favourite crochet designs so far. I was trying to recreate the feeling of lace, as creating cheap lace fabrics was one of the primary purposes of crochet as a craft in days gone by. I was also trying for a romantic, old fashioned feel, and I’m really pleased with the finished design as I believe the resulting piece captures that perfectly.
The picture above is done in Empress (purple and silver wire) with clear AB and three tone amethyst Czech fire polished crystals (I adore the way these change colour depending on what angle they catch the light, which is probably why I have used them so much!) and a larger crystal drop detail.

This is the same basic design, done in Ivory with white opal Czech crystals, and without the drop detail. The choker in this colour scheme is one of the pieces that I am putting together for my Bridal Collection.
I have a few other variations on this design that I am working on that I will update on as they are completed.
The Empress version is available in the webshop now for £42 (including UK postage) and the Ivory one will be added shortly.

The chokers are modelled by the lovely Exhayle, who spent a brilliant afternoon with me modelling a large number of pieces, so you can expect to see her in a few more photographs in future entries. I am very grateful to her for her patience as this was my first photo session with an actual model! If you want to see some of her more professional work, you can find her Facebook page here.

Latest Commission

•14/06/2011 • Leave a Comment

I’ve been a bit quiet on here of late because I’ve actually been working pretty hard for a change!

Back in January I sold my first gift vouchers, which I was pretty pleased about. When the lady who received them got in contact with me a couple of months ago about the commission she wanted, I confess I was more than a little bit daunted by the prospect. She had gone through my design archives, seen the wolf pendant that I had made a couple of years ago, and asked me if I could immortalise her dog Sam (who was sadly no longer with her) as a silver brooch.
I’ve never actually had to make anything that needed to be that closely based on a real life subject. The wolf pendant in question was an amalgam of several different pictures with a healthy dose of artistic license thrown in for good measure, and it was very clear that approach was not going to cut it in this case.
We negotiated the details, she sent me through a selection of photographs, and then I got out the Fimo and started work. It took quite some time to get the model close to the photographs, I showed it to the customer, who asked me to tweak various parts so it was closer to her memory of Sam, and when she was happy with it, I started on the PMC version. This was also quite tricky, as I knew from previous experience that simply translating from the Fimo model to the silver clay can change the entire appearance of the piece … and accuracy was important in this case.
After a fair amount of tweaking and work, I eventually got the finished piece sent off to her, and this is from the email she sent me when she received it:

Package arrived safe and sound earlier today. I was out at the time Nasty postman :-(, but there was someone here to receive it. Couldn’t wait to open it as soon as I got in 🙂
Brooch looks BRILLIANT !!!, shown it to one of the kids, and she instantly asked if it was Sam 🙂
Thank you so much Becky, it is beautiful, and definately worth the excited wait 🙂
I’m grinning like a cheshire cat.
Thank you so much, once again.

I confess to a huge level of relief! It was definitely worth the work and stress involved, and I’m over the moon that she was happy with it.

Whether or not I would ever want to take on another ‘real life’ commission like this I’m genuinely not sure about. On the one hand, having a very happy customer is absolutely worth it. On the other hand, as a designer, I do prefer having the option of using some ‘artistic license’ and being able to interpret a concept without the fear of losing an important detail. I suspect that it is something that I will consider more fully should anyone ever contact me about a similar job in the future.

This is the finished brooch: