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.