Who wants to know more about silver-smithing? Our Meet the Maker this week meets three of our fantastic jewellery makers and silver-smiths, who each create the most beautiful artisan jewellery which you can find at markets all over the UK.
Pedddle: Where did you first become interested in the skills it takes to produce your jewellery?
Cellarsmiths: My papa was a man of many hobbies and skills, he had dabbled in Silversmithing and made my mum and Nanna beautiful wishbone rings – my nana still wears her until this day! It’s a beautiful intricate piece which I would love to make one day!
Years on, while I was studying Fine Art at University, I was still interested in learning the skills it takes to create Silver pieces. I decided to attend a silversmithing workshop to learn the basics.
Jess Withington Jewellery: I’ve always loved making things and I’ve dipped in and out of most hobbies! I studied Product Design at college and in my second year I decided to do a project on pewter cast jewellery and that’s when I fell in love with working in metal!
The Sunday Studio Jewellery: I had to leave university because of my mental health problems, so I was at home unable to work and incredibly bored. I needed a hobby so I started making jewellery using aluminium blanks and stamps for something to pass the time. Through that I became really immersed in the jewellery making scene, especially silversmithing, and I found being able to make your own designs in silver fascinating.
Pedddle: How did you learn these skills?
Cellarsmiths: I learnt the basics at a day workshop and absolutely loved it! I couldn’t stop thinking about all different potential designs and ideas for jewellery pieces. I saved up and eventually ordered my tools and silver, which gave me a chance to teach myself new skills and explore different ideas.
Jess Withington Jewellery: I then went on to study a degree in Jewellery Design at the University of Lincoln. I spent the best three years there playing and experimenting with every technique and metal I could get my hands on! I eventually decided that I loved working in precious metals and enamel the best and completed my degree in 2013, graduating with 1st Class Honours. I then spent a few years topping up my skills by working as a bench jeweller for other businesses before starting to design my own pieces in 2018.
The Sunday Studio Jewellery: I wasn’t well enough to attend any classes at uni so I taught myself using YouTube videos, online articles and blogs, and books. Also Instagram was really helpful because there are so many great jewellers sharing their tips!
Pedddle: We agree that Instagram is fantastic for creative businesses and anyone wanting to learn new craft skills. Markets are great for ideas and inspo too. What first made you consider selling your jewellery at markets?
Cellarsmiths: I have always loved shopping at markets and events where there is a range of exciting creatives. This gave Cellarsmiths an opportunity to discover a new community.
Markets create an exciting interactive space, with an opportunity to form relationships with people and engage with the public. Being a Silversmith who works from home means I have minimal interaction with customers and makers so the markets give me a chance to display all that Cellarsmiths has to offer and to discuss with like minded people who are interested in shopping small.
Jess Withington Jewellery: I was looking for a way to get my jewellery out into the wider world and I thought trying out some markets would be the perfect opportunity. I also wanted to chat and interact with potential customers to get feedback about my designs. They are a great place to chat with other makers to get tips, hints and swap skills.
The Sunday Studio Jewellery: I’d been selling solely online for about a year, which suited me well as I was suffering with anxiety and agoraphobia, but I really wanted to take my jewellery to different places and experience selling face to face. Once I became well enough, I started applying for any market I could find within a few hours of my home, so I could take my business to different areas.
Pedddle: Why do you think giving gifts is so important right now during the pandemic?
Cellarsmiths: At this time, it has been so important to reach out to our loved ones and friends to show that we care for and miss them. Whether that is, through a thoughtful gift, some baked goods or even just a phone call, it all helps. Any small act of kindness will show your loved ones that you are there for them and are thinking of them during this uncertain time.
Jess Withington Jewellery: Something as simple as a well thought out personalised gift can really make someone’s lockdown week at the moment! It can add a little bit of normality to a very strange situation and definitely help out a small business in a time of need!
The Sunday Studio Jewellery: Not being able to physically see or touch the people we love has been hard, so being able to carefully select a gift and have it sent straight to them feels really good. Receiving gifts, however big or small, can help to put a smile on your face and give you a bit of hope. I’ve sent and received gifts throughout lockdown, and I can say that sending them when you know how happy you’ve made someone feels just as good as receiving them!
Pedddle: What makes jewellery a special gift?
Cellarsmiths: Jewellery is a special gift as it’s an investment which will last forever and it can be personalised to your needs and taste through commissioned pieces. Commissioned work allows me to bring a customer’s vision to life which is a truly rewarding process to be a part of. I create personal, timeless Sterling Silver jewellery to ensure it lasts a lifetime and will not tarnish and wear.
Jess Withington Jewellery: Jewellery can be very sentimental and meaningful. It is used to mark the milestones in most people’s lives (weddings, birthdays, births), especially a handmade piece of custom jewellery, that’s been designed and made specifically with a certain person in mind. Jewellery lasts a lifetime and can be passed down through the generations. What can be more special than a completely unique heirloom?
The Sunday Studio Jewellery: Jewellery is something that can be kept and treasured forever. It can hold a lot of sentimental value, especially when it’s a personalised piece or something that has meaning behind it.
Pedddle: In your opinion, why is it so important to shop small and independent?
Cellarsmiths: Shopping small and independent creates sustainability and allows you to buy something personal, which is often designed and produced by one mind to suit your needs. It also means that the money you are spending goes to a hardworking individual instead of larger corporations who often profit from creating quantity over quality. It is especially important, at this time, to support small businesses in working towards a strong ethos to produce quality products, if we don’t support these businesses, unfortunately, they may not be around forever.
The Sunday Studio Jewellery: It’s so important because you’re supporting everyday people living their dreams. Small businesses remember your name and face and they’ll often go above and beyond to help you!