Folium by Beth Reeves
Hi Beth, can you tell us a little bit about you and your love for jewellery making?
For as long as I can remember I have been making things, from earrings as a child to a hand-sewn parrot cushion, embellished with beads at school. For eighteen years I have been working with beads and gemstones; crafting textiles and jewellery that expresses my passion for traditional folk art, colour, texture and intricate beadwork. I find making jewellery a mindful practice that completely absorbs me. When I was studying for an MA in Creative Writing, I took a part-time job in a bead shop in Bath. I loved it so much I stayed for 6 years working as a jewellery designer, tutor and kit developer. This also led to collaborations with jewellery making magazines and the realisation that I wanted to sell my own work. At the time there were 3 large bead shops in Bath and it became a destination for jewellery makers. I'm still friends with customers and staff from my time there. There is a sense of community amongst makers, which is welcoming and part of why I love having a creative job.
In 2012 I relocated to the market town of Frome which is known for its artisan markets and independent shops and immediately felt at home. Frome has a long history of makers, once being known as the centre of the weaving and cloth trade. I'm naturally a shy person and living in such a creative town, motivates me to push myself outside my comfort zone.
What first piqued your interest in jewellery making?
As a child my aunt and I used to visit a bead shop in Brighton and make our own earrings. I loved that I could make something that was truly unique to me. It probably started my obsession with earrings, I must have over a hundred pairs. Although I design other jewellery, I am always drawn back to making earrings. My collections are often small and rarely repeated, as such each piece is one of a kind with no two pieces identical. The intricate bead work can take days to produce but it is this individuality I love. I don't want to make carbon-copies of the same thing, time and again.
How would you describe your jewellery in 3 words?
Colourful, intricate and eye-catching
What is your favourite piece of jewellery you’ve ever made?
I think actually this recent pair of earrings. They took a really long time to stitch and they are very large, but they are so bright and joyful. I was inspired by Mexican folk art, known for flower designs in primary colours.
What tips would you give to beginners who would like to start making jewellery?
The first thing would be to not compare yourself to others. Try to create designs that are unique to you and keep a mood board for inspiration, this can be virtual on Pinterest, or physical. I like to keep textiles, and prints close to hand for sparking ideas. Watch tutorials if it is a specific technique you are interested in and invest in a decent set of pliers, tools etc it makes all the difference. What it is so great about jewellery making is that it is really accessible and with a channel like JewelleryMaker you don't even need to leave your house to get started.
What’s the meaning behind your business name?
Folium is Latin for leaf. I chose it because like a lot of makers, nature informs my designs and often my work directly utilises the natural environment. In addition to jewellery and textiles I also make natural, everlasting wreaths so Folium covers all my disciplines.
What’s your favourite gemstone and why?
I have several that I love, but my favourite is Lapis Lazuli. I'm drawn to the colour blue and Lapis Lazuli is such an intense colour. It also reminds me of my Dad. He was a bit obsessed with Pharaohs and I remember learning all about the funeral mask of Tutankhamun as a child. It was the favourite stone for Egyptians and used in amulets and ornaments such as scarabs.
Where can we follow your future adventures?