For my first blog I thought I might introduce myself by way of an origin story…how I first got into making jewellery.
Working as an interior designer I’d adopted what in the day was considered the ‘design professional’s uniform’. These days it might be called dressing like an architect (but without the turtlenecks)…nearly all black everything, interesting cuts, playing with volume and contrasting textures. I loved it, I’m five-foot-something-very-small so the all black gave me a physical presence I felt I lacked and detracted from my youthful appearance which I thought at the time lessened my credibility - of course I wouldn’t mind a bit less credibility now!
My uniform gave me confidence but it also played me…something that dawned on me when a client mentioned after we’d been working together for a while how when we’d first met she’d found me so ‘fashionable’ as to be intimidating. I was taken aback. I’d always felt so far from intimidating, the opposite in fact, worried I wouldn’t be taken seriously. My design uniform had become my crutch but it wasn’t ideal for clients to feel threatened. I was coming in to their homes, I wanted them to feel at ease with me, to trust that I was empathetic and would understand their needs.
I think it was my husband who suggested that colourful clothing would make me more approachable but I found it impossible to break out of my colour rut because the clothes that I felt confident in only seemed to come in black. A ‘pop of colour’ wasn’t really a thing back then but I thought some eccentric, bold jewellery might help mitigate the severity of my wardrobe. Knitting and sewing were as far as my handcraft skills went (I remember crocheting a floral brooch and a necklace of large wooden beads knotted into a fabric tube with an exaggerated bow as a closure) but there wasn’t much out there to buy - actually there was, I just hadn’t found out about contemporary jewellery yet! One day I found an enormous multi-coloured bead that was made from other smaller beads and strung on a brightly coloured rope. I found it intriguing but something wasn’t quite right about it so I thought I’d attempt to make my own, better version (gotta love the hubris). I’d never really paid much attention to seed beads before, but that day I went home and googled ‘beaded bead’ and fell down a rabbit hole from which I am happily yet to emerge…