I find inspiration for my work in many places but one of my biggest inspirations is nature and the countryside where I live. I'm based a stones throw away from the River Severn and canal where I often go cycling and bring my camera. It's great to get out for some fresh air when you've been in the workshop all day and there's always something new to see and new inspiration to find.
(My bike, it was a gift from my partner, I think it's the best present I've ever been given.)
Nature features in a lot of my pieces, but the countryside is bursting with colour, which can be difficult to capture with silver jewellery. I solved this by adding felt and gold leaf to my work which gives it a bit of colour and personality. The great thing about the felt is it can be any colour imaginable and because I used to work quite regularly with felt I'm able to manipulate it easily.
Sometimes simply watching the wildlife through my studio window can be inspiration enough. For instance, my Bumble Bee necklace was inspired by watching the bees at work in my garden.
When I'm out on my bike with only the local wildlife for company I'm reminded how blessed I am to live in such a beautiful area and that I get to to express that feeling through my jewellery. (I really, really love my job!)
However it's not all bike rides and sunshine, sometimes if I'm struggling to think of what to make next I've found the best thing to do is to just sit down with my sketch book and brainstorm ideas. I usually use a theme like British summertime or Christmas and then I try to think of everything that those words bring to mind and the feelings I'd like to portray.
My Fruit Salad Necklace came out of one such brainstorming sessions, brainstorming is a really useful tool, especially when your feeling a bit creatively stuck.
I never end up making everything I design and sometimes when I do make something it doesn't work out how I'd like. This isn't always a bad thing sometimes I just have to leave it and come back to it later on, a few of my pieces started out differently and it was only when I took a step back and looked at them with fresh eyes that I managed to turn them into something beautiful I was proud to sell. So never give up on a piece if your not happy with it the first time around, it might just need a bit of tweaking.
As it's that time of year I'll finish off with a photograph of the bluebells at Bodnant gardens.
In my next blog I'll be writing about how to cast using delft clay.
With a degree in fine art but no idea what to do with it, I got a job in fashion retail and started taking evening classes at my local college. I tried out sewing, felting and finally jewellery making, the combination of art, craft and fashion really struck a chord with me and I wanted to learn everything I could about silversmithing. A couple of years ago I finally took the plunge and started my own business; Foxes and Fables, It’s been a definite learning curve and there have been highs and lows but it is still the best decision I ever made.