2013. How did that happen? It’s now 7 months since I left college as a fledgling jewellery designer/maker and what have I done in that time……….apart from panic?
I decided to ‘give it a year’, you know, to see if I could get my business up and running without having to get a part-time job to fund it. I have to say so far, it hasn’t been easy. I have never been as skint, but equally, I have never been as happy. I’m lucky that my husband is completely on my side and supports this venture, at times financially, but more importantly with all his heart. Trust me, I don’t do mush so I must really mean that last statement.
I’ve been offered quite a few freelance jobs teaching drop in jewellery making sessions and blocks of evening classes for my local council which has helped lessen the attack on my husbands wallet. I had hoped that I would have sold more jewellery but the competition is fierce out there. However, towards the end of 2012 things started to improve. I found myself accepted in a few more galleries – but don’t get me started on Sale or Return as that is a whole
rant blog in itself. I really need to find a business head this year.
So what am I making? Well, that’s the thing. I thought that when I emerged from college I would be working with Mokume Gane and precious stones such as sapphires as I’d really enjoyed working with these but nope……………..felt and buttons! It’s not that I don’t have any designs with precious stones. I have 4 years worth of sketchbooks crammed full of enticing drawings featuring bling, but at the moment I’ve taken another route.
I do actually feel that, after 4 years of experimenting, I have found my style. I love really strong geometric shapes and striking patterns combined with colour. I am also fiercely proud of being Scottish so I hit on an idea – one I had toyed with at college but was kinda talked out of as “Scotland had been done to death” – I re-discovered Fair Isle (though I cannae knit to save myself).
I’m now working with sheets of silver which have been etched with a Fair Isle pattern. I then oxidise it to accentuate the pattern and in many cases pair it with Fairtrade felt in bright zingy colours. Although the pattern is based on a Fair Isle knitting chart it’s also reminiscent of many patterns used by cultures across the globe – I like that people can make up their own minds about its origins.
My work over the next couple of months is mapped out. I’ve been chosen as the featured jeweller in an exhibition at the Line Gallery in Linlithgow which is showcasing local artists. It opens at the end of January and I aim to give them a show stopping collection. I then have a local craft fair, followed by a selling slot in Howden Park Centre in Livingston and 2 community workshops to run. March as yet remains mysterious. Better get on with the soldering then!