Colour Notebook - Red

What does Kokkino mean?

Whenever I exhibit at a show, I get asked about the name of the company. Often people think it is a Japanese work but in fact, Kokkino is the Greek word for red.

The beautiful island of Corfu was home for a couple of years before I started my business so Kokkino seemed the perfect positive, vibrant name. I love working with colour in my jewellery, whether that is bright and bold, or soft and subtle shades but red has always held an attraction for me, my purse is red, even my hair has been red, but that's another story!

Looking through some old photos this beautiful acer from a trip to Westonbirt Arboretum, Gloucestershire shone out.  This was taken around November time, which is a great time to go if you're nearby. The vibrant red leaves in the sunlight against the clear blue autumn sky are such a gorgeous contrast and such an inspiration.


Red enamel

In enamelling, red is always a difficult colour to perfect. I follow a precise process when enamelling any colour, but with reds you have to be especially careful as any copper in the surface of the metal can cause the work to look dirty, cloudy and dull. The metal has to be scrupulously prepared and the enamel fired quickly in a very hot kiln at around 1000 degrees celsius. Enamels are formed of a base frit or glass with other elements added to give the colour. To make green copper oxide is added, for blue cobalt oxide and in the case of red, gold is added, making it a precious yet temperamental material to work with. The earliest known pieces of enamel jewellery are from the 13th century BC found in Cyprus, and it continues to inspire today.

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Wear red on Sunday...

Of course, many cultures have different meanings surrounding the colour red, did you know that in Thailand each day of the week has a colour considered to be lucky, and also an unlucky one. Sunday has the colour red so it would be a great day to wear these Spectra reversible stud earrings! 


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Ruby Red

This year I have started making these very special bespoke birthstone stacking rings. Each individual ring represents a member of the wearer's family and is set with their birthstone. This one is set with ruby (July), tourmaline (October), alexandrite (June) and topaz (November) in silver. I'd be more than happy to talk with you about your own personal combination.

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Mel x

Contemporary Craft Festival Bovey Tracey

Just a quickie to let you know that I am exhibiting at the Contemporary Craft Festival in Bovey Tracey, Devon this June.

It's been a few years since I took part, but I love this show. With so many amazing makers of all disciplines, wonderful food, music, workshops, demonstrations and being by the seaside (ok, well almost - it's certainly closer than being in the midlands!) it's great fun. So, if you can, why not come and take a look and see my new collections of handmade contemporary jewellery, amongst so many other treats - full detail are on the Crafts at Bovey Tracey website and you can even buy your tickets in advance. See you there!

Featured on the Lovedazzle blog

Last Christmas I was lucky enough to be  invited to take part in the Dazzle Jewellery exhibition at the Oxo Tower in London. My jewellery is now for sale via their website lovedazzle, along with a host of talented makers of contemporary handmade jewellery.

They asked me a few questions about my inspiration, processes and some fun stuff. Take a look the the interview...

Vera Collection - Inspiration and Process

My most recent collection was inspired by a ring that belonged to my Grandma Vera. She wasn't an ostentatious jewellery wearer, having a few pieces that she wore regularly and some very interesting things tucked away that I loved to look at, like an Egyptian necklace made of shells that seemed so exotic to me in the Midlands in the 80s! There was also a cross that had a little spy hole and somehow there were magically photos inside - amazing!

She was a maker too, not jewellery but I suspect that's where I got my busy fingers from. She was always making something; sewing, knitting, crochet, baking - a habit inherited by both my mum and myself!

So when I was asked to repair one of her rings, I was inspired to use the beautiful motif in it to create something new and I wanted to try new processes that I had never used before. With each new collection I aim to learn something, try a new material, learn a process, or master a skill.

Computers and technology are something I've always shied away from in my pieces, and although I didn't want to step away from handmade, I was interested to learn about CAD.  I sketched and scribbled some initial ideas which were then translated into a CAD design. This was then printed as a wax model which  I could then manipulate and work on by hand before being cast in a small batch into silver by a company in the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham.

I then work on the pieces to saw, file, solder, polish and, in some, set sparkling gemstones, to create the final, finished collection. I feel happy that I have the right balance between technology and handmade, the computer being a very handy tool to create particular elements which can then be added to using traditional techniques.

It's been a pleasure to work in this way using something sentimental as inspiration and to create something new from something old. I hope that my pieces can go on to be special mementos for others in years to come. The collection is available online here.

My first show in New York - Loot - MAD about Jewelry

Honestly, I'm embarrassed at how long it has taken me to write a blog post, it is a routine I intended to start and yet...didn't quite. So, although will not be a long and in depth post, I wanted to share some photos from my trip to New York earlier this year.

In April, I was invited to exhibit at Loot. It was my first show in America, and I was nervous, but the team at the the Museum of Art and Design couldn't have been more welcoming, plus I am so lucky in that jewellers are a lovely bunch. I met some great people during that week, saw some astoundingly beautiful, unique and imaginative work, my own work was thankfully well received, and generally I had a wonderful time exploring the Big Apple! 

I'll try not to leave it so long until my next update, but for now - back to the workshop, I have Art in Action to prepare for...


Goldmiths' Fair

I'm delighted and very excited to be able to announce that I'm going to be exhibiting at Goldsmiths' Fair again this year! Their new updated website is looking amazing with many features on makers and their work. I've started to design some new pieces just for the show, so look out for some sneaky peaks!

More details are on the events page and at the Goldsmiths' Fair website.

 Hope to see you there!

A new blog and a road trip...

So for my first post on the new blog, I thought I'd share some of my photos from a trip I made a couple of weeks ago. It's great to get out of the workshop and away from the bench as much as possible to visit the shops and galleries that sell my work and this time I took a couple of days in the north of England.

The first shop I called in on for a cuppa was the gorgeous Jewellery By, in Stokesley. It's a pretty yet stylish shop in a quaint cobbled town (I had to wait for ducks to cross the road when I was trying to find a parking space!) and all of the jewellery is so thoughtfully displayed from a host of makers each with their own style. There is a great range of jewellery here, all high quality, contemporary and beautiful - it's great to be part of!

I then travelled north again to a warm welcome at the Fenwick Gallery in Warkworth. Beneath the gaze of the spectacular castle, the gallery is full of covetable items wherever you turn! Not only gorgeous jewellery but ceramics, paintings, sculpture and gifts, I really could have spent a fortune in there. I particularly fell in love with a painting by Nicole Fenwick of a highland cattle - some of which I would meet in the flesh the next day! Unfortunately I hadn't left much time to linger at any of the stops, there was just time for a quick walk along the river.

Catching sight of the iconic wings of the imposing and awe inspiring Angel of the North demanded a quick stop, the view of it and from it were astounding as you can see. 

My trip then took me to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. There is thought provoking and inspiring sculpture at every turn throughout the twists and turns of the park, some pieces integrate into the landscape looking like they have always been there, and some stand proud, bright and incongruous. I took an all too brief walk through woods where the highland cattle were grazing and there was the sound of a woodpecker, and then ambled across the park. I would certainly go back for a longer walk, to explore the gallery, and for another of their delicious full english breakfasts!