How long have you been making jewellery and how did you first get into being a designer?
I have been making jewellery for over 20 years – first as a hobby when I was a teenager and for the last 12 years or so, as a professional, when I started my small business.
What do you love about Jewellerymaker and how long have you been part of the 'JM family'?
I have been a fan of Jewellery Maker for many years – I love the different mediums and styles of jewellery making that Jewellery Maker showcases and bringing some amazing gemstones and beads and kits to UK viewers, sometimes it’s the only place to find them – so definitely unique!
What advice do you have for anyone wanting to start making jewellery for the first time?
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, you’ll learn from them! I would say, to start small, perhaps buy a kit if you’re stuck, it helps to focus your creative energy/mojo. Buy the best pliers/tools that you can afford at the time. Everyone starts at the beginning, so don’t let doubt creep into your confidence. Just think that you ARE good enough and so is your jewellery!
What are your 'Can't live without them' jewellery making tools, and why are they so special?
A really good set of pliers, with ergonomic handles – they are definitely worth it! I now can’t live without my Tim Holtz left-handed scissors. I’ve struggled with non-lefty scissors on and off for years and it was a revelation when I bought a large and smaller pair of these mini serrated edged scissors.
If you could choose what gemstones and components you were given for this heat of the competition, what would you pick and why?
Oooh a tricky one…well, I do love the warmth of bronze, so maybe bronze plated components, possibly with texture on them, possibly bead caps, twisted toggle clasps and chunky chains. To go with that, maybe some beautiful blister or stick pearls and some warm russet or deep amber coloured stones, like quartz or an agate. I do love texture and love to incorporate unusually shaped stones or even rough stones to create that organic look!
How would you describe your personality/style and how does that feed through into your jewellery designs?
OH – my personality is definitely bright, bold and vivacious! I love art and design as well as history and science and this usually always comes through into my work. My style is quirky and eclectic and I’m not afraid to wear statement jewellery or jewellery that makes me smile.
Have you been recognised anywhere else for your jewellery designs eg magazine articles, competitions, or greatest jewellery making achievements?
Yes! I’ve been lucky enough to have projects printed in Making Jewellery magazine, Bead and Jewellery magazine and had interviews in both of these titles as well as Beads and Beyond magazine. I also won a competition in Beads and Beyond magazine a few years ago for a glass bead making/lampworking workshop, which was so much fun! I’m also really proud of being a finalist in the Beadworkers Guild Swarovski competition back in 2015, with one of my designs
What was your favourite /best purchase from Jewellerymaker and why?
Some of the items I covet and are waiting for that special jewellery making project is some beautiful white south sea cultured pearls (ooh can’t wait to make something special with these!); a 8x6mm oval of Bixbite (such an unusual gemstone!); and some Rough assorted Moldavite - a stone formed from a meteorite impact, how cool is that!
What would it mean to you to win Britain's Next Gem?
It would be a tremendous opportunity to flex my creative muscles! I’ve been working full time as well working my jewellery business side-hustle, so to have the chance to concentrate on designing and creating a jewellery collection and given the chance at Jewellery Maker to be let loose with some of the most amazing gemstones in the world, would be incredible!