My first career couldn’t be further removed than that of a jeweller - I was a lawyer in London. In those days, the main colour was grey! But I always had a love for all forms of contemporary craft (ok I do find wood a bit challenging) and in particular, contemporary handmade jewellery.. I am the proud owner of a veritable mountain of the stuff to prove it.
Having left the law and London behind, I worked for a time in a local contemporary craft gallery where I got the benefit of being surrounded by gorgeous things (and a rather too tempting staff discount) but still hankered to be my own boss. When I started to learn to silversmith a few years ago, suddenly all the pieces began to fall into place.
I use traditional silversmithing techniques to create contemporary jewellery working with silver sheet and wire. I combine clean simple forms with anodised aluminium or sea glass to add a burst of colour to each design.
I also love to add movement to my designs. It is not always possible to do that without compromising the clean lines of a particular design but I am always looking for ways to adapt designs to add movement where I can.
Anodising is an electrochemical process by which you can add permanent durable pattern and colour to aluminium. I first print a pattern on to a sheet of unsealed aluminium using a variety of coloured inks. Next, I add anodising dyes to create a background colour to the pattern. Once the dyes are applied, the aluminium is then sealed by steam which creates the permanent pattern and vibrant colour.
I particularly enjoy the unpredictability and uniqueness of the dyeing process. No two pieces will look the same and there are endless possibilities of patterns and colour combinations. The aluminium itself cannot be soldered and so other ways need to be found to combine the aluminium with the silver such as rivets.
I also adore sea glass. Its bright luminous colour is a thing of joy and whilst it’s a tough job sourcing more unusual colours from around the world, someone’s got to do it! The great thing about sea glass is that it does not come in uniform shapes.
I relish the challenge of setting the glass in the silver. It is a lot fiddlier to make the perfect outline for each shape than setting a round or oval stone. However, it is worth it. The result is that, like the anodised aluminium designs, each piece of jewellery is unique.
I work from my small garden studio in beautiful rural Dorset. Having been cooped up in an office for so long, I never tire of the Dorset countryside and coast and gain great inspiration from the glorious colours and patterns that occur naturally in plants, trees and landscapes. I seek to reflect those natural colours and patterns in more linear and abstract forms in the way I dye the anodised aluminium.
I am also lucky enough to live by a river. I am always mesmerised and inspired watching the diverse ever changing reflections and movement of the water and the plant and wild life which lives there. I have been lucky enough occasionally to see otters which is so special and there aren’t many things that beat the gorgeous flash of turquoise and orange as a kingfisher whizzes by – it is that flash of colour which I try to replicate in my work.