With colour, comes joy
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Many moons ago, I wasn’t a jeweller at all but a slave to the corporate treadmill, working as a lawyer in London, literally sometimes not seeing the light of day. The main colour of my life then was grey! I dreamt of a life of freedom and colour, where I did something I loved and could be my own boss.
In 2002, on a bit of a whim, I bought a gorgeous converted little chapel in Dorset. I didn’t know anyone in Dorset (my family lived in East Anglia and my friends in London) and I don’t think I’d ever even been to Dorset before!
But that was it.
I fell in love with the house, my little lane running next to the River Stour, the beautiful coast and countryside of Dorset and the gentler kinder way of life outside London.
I struggled on for 5 years weekly commuting to London but my heart was no longer in it. In 2007, I finally took the plunge and waved goodbye to a 15 year career, a good salary, my friends, my whole way of life and moved permanently to Dorset.
And I’ve never looked back.
I had always had a passion for contemporary craft and originally hoped to open my own gallery but before anything got off the ground, the financial crash rather put paid to that. Instead, I ended up working in a lovely local contemporary craft gallery where I got the benefit of being surrounded by gorgeous things (and a rather too tempting staff discount) but without the financial commitment of my own bricks and mortar shop.
Best of both worlds you would think and yet I still hankered after being my own boss. The problem was I just wasn’t sure what business I could realistically do. But when I started to learn to silversmith several years ago, all the pieces finally fell into place.
My jewellery experiments with colour, exploring different colour blends to create unique and striking designs. Vivid hand printed anodised aluminium and rich coloured sea glass combine with clean simple silver shapes and lines to contain yet enhance the colour.
My work combines traditional silversmithing with contemporary metalsmithing. I relish that the results from the hand dyeing process are unpredictable. It means that no two pieces will ever look the same, creating endless possibilities of patterns and colour. I enjoy cutting and setting the aluminium and sea glass in novel and unexpected ways creating something bold, individual and uplifting.
I still live in the same converted chapel I fell in love with all those years ago. It has such character. In the 19th century it was owned by a leading figure in the local Temperance Society. I have newspaper cuttings of tea parties for 200+ people held in my house (they must have been seriously squidged in) where a succession of speakers stood up to extoll the evils of alcohol. Not a tradition I have carried on today!
I work from my tiny studio, in my little garden which bursts with colour in the summer. My inspiration comes from the gorgeous colours and patterns that occur naturally in nature and I reflect those in more linear and abstract forms in the way I print my anodised aluminium.
So all in all, I’m a long way away from all those non-descript offices in non descript office blocks I used to work in. Nowadays you’ll find me in my studio surrounded by colour, down a little country lane, a stone’s throw from a beautiful river. I find watching the river so calming and take a little time every day to go and see what’s occurring, I often catch the gorgeous flash of turquoise and orange as a kingfisher whizzes by and if I’m very very lucky, the spectacular sight of an otter. That’s always a really good day.