January 2019 reflections

New Year

Well hello there jewellery fans, it’s so lovely to be welcoming in a new year with you all! I don’t know about you but I enjoy this reflective time of year. I enjoy looking back, thinking about and appreciating all that’s happened in the past year, the challenges and successes. Apart from anything else often when I’m working for a show, or on commissions, there’s not a lot of time to enjoy a completed job or a successful fair before the next thing is crying for attention! I’d like to have a little look back for myself, but I thought you might enjoy the journey too.

Winter/Spring

In Spring 2018 I made some new jewellery pieces and had them photographed by the very talented Stacey Bentley photography. This was so I could apply to some high end shows that I’ve been dreaming of getting into for a while.

Silver and gold Edinburgh skyline bangle

Silver and gold Edinburgh skyline bangle

 

I took a course at Vanilla Ink in Finishing, a skill I have a lot of experience in, but this was so useful I picked up a lot more tricks and tips, a lot of which I have been using in my own practice since then!

 

 

"Golden" Ring

“Golden” Ring

 

I made a whole new range of jewellery featuring Schiehallion, as part of my Mountains and Munros venture. These were exclusively available in The Atholl Gallery in Dunkeld. You’ll get a chance to buy them soon in my shop along with more mountains and munros, get in touch if you’ve got a favourite you want to see!

Schiehallion Necklace Polished

Schiehallion Necklace Polished

 

I spoke in March at the Ethical Making symposium, that really challenged me and made me step out of my comfort zone. It was great, I loved being able to tell people my story and I was so delighted by the feedback and the amount of people who were keen to speak to me afterwards and keep the conversation going.

I wrote a blog which contained all I said (I think!) in my 10 minute talk, have a read of it, especially if you’re interested in how you can make a difference as someone who enjoys jewellery.

 

New family member

My boyfriend and I got a dog in April. It’s been lovely to watch him grow from a tiny puppy that I could pick up with one hand to the big 31kg playful lump that he is now! It’s helped me get out and about more, one thing I was keen to do more of in 2018. Hopefully now he’s bigger we can start tackling some large hills and maybe mountains together in 2019!

Alder in April 2018

Alder in April 2018

Alder in January 2019

Alder in January 2019

Summer

In Summer 2018 I bought my first Fairtrade 9ct white gold to make some wedding rings for a lovely couple. I’ve not yet signed up as a Fairtrade licensee (which means I can get the Fairtrade stamp next to my hallmark) as it costs £500 + VAT to register with a yearly certification cost too. I’m saving up for this at the moment!

My first Fairtrade gold!

Arthur's Seat Fairtrade 9ct white gold

Arthur’s Seat Fairtrade 9ct white gold

My first Fairtrade gold!

Moving

I moved my studio to the wonderful Vanilla Ink Studios in The Hidden Lane in Glasgow, you can read more on their blog here. I’ve loved every minute of my time there so far. I rent a bench, which means I go in solely to work on my jewellery and orders from you. All my admin, marketing, photography and blogging work is done at home! It’s lovely to go in knowing I’ll only be working at the bench, getting a full day of bench time is still a sure way for me of getting into flow.

Jen at Vanilla Ink Studios

Jen at Vanilla Ink Studios

I also took on some freelance work from Vanilla Ink, helping out the very talented co-director and master goldsmith Scott McIntyre. He gets A LOT of work so I help out by cleaning up castings, building pieces from scratch, polishing things, being a sounding board and suggesting things that are helpful. I’m looking forward to doing more of this in 2019, hopefully I can flex and improve my skills too!

Fairs

I exhibited at The West End Fair in Edinburgh for 3 weeks during the Edinburgh Festival. It was a different feel at the fair in 2018 so I’m not sure if I would do it again. I know some of you will have found me there first and it is one of the shows I’ve been doing the longest. I’d love to hear about where you first came across me and my jewellery, so get in touch!

The West End Fair Edinburgh

The West End Fair Edinburgh

Jen at The West End Fair 2018

Jen at The West End Fair 2018

 

I also exhibited for the first time with Handmade in Britain at The Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh.
They had a wonderful 3 day show, a very well attended private view on the Thursday evening and a great turnout even on a Sunday and the wettest August day for a while! The quality of the exhibitors work was high and ranged from textiles to ceramics to products. I am delighted to have shown alongside such talented makers. I made a few new pieces in keeping with the ethical promise I’ve made myself. A mixture of handmade from my own recycled metal (bench scraps) and some were cast in recycled Sterling silver.

Jen at Handmade

Jen at Handmade

 

While all that busy August stuff was going on, I also took a weekend to go and learn some more skills with Scott at Vanilla Ink. This time it was shaped stone setting. I’d always wondered how it was possible to flush set a trillion cut stone and now I know, along with how to set other shapes in a variety of ways. These are great skills which I definitely need to practice more with!

Stone setting with Scott at Vanilla Ink

Stone setting with Scott at Vanilla Ink

Autumn/Winter

In the Autumn of 2018 I exhibited for the first time at Elements! This is a show I’ve applied for every year since it started. It’s a wonderful high end exhibition of work from jewellers and silversmiths from around the country. I was delighted to be accepted into the show and have a piece in the ethical making exhibition. There was a real focus on ethical making, ways of reducing the damage that jewellery and silversmithing has on the world.

This is the first time I’ve exhibited at a show when I left with MORE ENERGY than when I started. My fellow makers were so inspiring! It left me with an urge to create more and better quality of work. Something which I hope to carry with me into this year and my plans for making new jewellery.

Jen's cabinet at Elements

Jen’s cabinet at Elements

The late autumn and start of winter saw me back in the studio working hard and really settling into my new life in Glasgow.  By this point I had finally moved everything and tied up all of my loose ends in Edinburgh. Meaning I could focus on my work and getting on with life! I wouldn’t recommend moving your studio in one day then your personal stuff over the course of a few weekends. Moving is exhausting, even more so if you’re moving city!

2019

I had so many interesting commissions which you asked me to make for you in 2018. I’d like to show you all the cool things I got to make. I’m hoping to write up a blog for 12 of them over the next little while.

2018 was a mixed year, I got into some amazing shows that I’ve not attended before but I definitely burnt myself out trying to work for 3 weeks straight in August including doing two shows at once and a stone setting course. Lesson learned. I have a lot of motivation going into 2019 and I hope you’ll join me for that journey!

If you don’t follow me on Instagram I highly recommend it. I post there more regularly than anywhere else, you’ll see me working at the bench, lots of work in progress, and our lovely dog Alder.  I’ve always got a link to my latest blog posts and new products in my shop. If that’s not your thing or you want more from me, sign up for my Newsletter. There you get the first look at new jewellery, including being able to order items before anyone else. You can also get free tickets to my events, including private views and my most recent selection of blog posts.

If you’ve made it this far, well done, even the dog has gone off to find something else to do.. 🙂

Jen


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