I recently attended a ‘Meet the Maker’ night at a shop that stocks my jewellery, Not Quite Square in Port Macquarie, NSW, and as one of the ‘makers’ I was required to get up and speak about my journey to becoming a jeweller and the inspiration and thought process behind my collections. A lovely evening ensued, and we met many inspiring makers of beautiful products.
In this months newsletter, I thought I would give you an insight into how I became a jeweller and what jewellery and the ability to create jewellery, means to me.
I started creating jewellery as a young girl with my vast bead collection. I think I had a collection of ‘collections’ as I also had collections of shells, rocks, gem stones and crystals, feathers, sequins, coloured paper, notebooks, ribbons, and the list goes on. But with these collections I created necklaces and bracelets, rings and anklets, and many other weird and wonderful things (pinball table made out of cardboard anyone?); and it was so rewarding being able to wear what I had made. It was even more lovely when people wanted me to make them one too.
I carried on creating things in my spare time throughout my teen years while at school and then went to Uni to study Marine Biology and Zoology. I travelled overseas shortly after, living in London for a couple of years, before heading home via India and South East Asia.
Needing a job on my return, I did some temp work, getting a job in the office of a construction company, where I ended up in a full time job in the Business Development area. This entailed working the 9-5 gig in an office and so I decided I needed to expand my out-of-work curriculum and get some creativity back into my life. I started a short course in Beginners Silversmithing at NMIT in Melbourne and followed by the Advanced Silversmithing course the following term. By the end of that course I applied to the Advanced Diploma of Silversmithing. I got into it and then deferred due to other work and travel opportunities. But the silversmithing fire had been lit and it was only a matter of time that I had begun my next collection – silversmithing tools and materials.
Now making jewellery out of silver, brass and copper, the way I wanted to make it required a little more than tools in a toolbox. I needed an oxy-acetylene torch, acid (for cleaning), a bench to do hammering and sawing and other bits a pieces requiring space. Thankfully I was able to utilize a spare room at one house, the corner of the garage at another and now the garden shed as my ‘studio’. In 5 years we’ve moved 5 times, thanks to the construction industry my husband and I both work in. Seeing Australia by working is great but does come with its challenges at times, like having to leave the community and friendship groups we establish during our time in places.
Once some tools had been purchased, I started making ring stacks and children’s keepsake jewellery – soldering jump rings to sawn out discs and stamping their names on to add to a bracelet of faceted glass beads. By 2014, I had designed a few more collections and so created an Etsy shop and then my own website. I took some time out of construction to really concentrate on the business, and try and get it up and running, and later returned to part time construction work.
I left on maternity leave at the beginning of last year, 2015 and had a beautiful baby girl, Heidi. She has been keeping me very busy for the last year and as such I haven’t been doing much in my business. Now she has turned one, life seems to be getting back into a more ‘normal’ routine and being able to spend time in the studio or on the couch with a sketch book getting creative and designing more collections is easier. (That, and Im getting more sleep to allow me to be creative instead of thinking when the next naptime will be).
So here’s to jewellery, exploring and having the opportunity to share my passion and creativity with the world. I hope the adventure never ends and the ride continues into the optimistically fabulous future. Shall I meet you there?