June 26 2012 Sara
Jewellery-maker Christine Plumb is in the spotlight today. Take a look at her website where you can see more of her designs: serenedipity.artweb.com
Being a jewellery maker
Please give us a few words of introduction about yourself
My name is Christine Plumb and I create handmade and crafted wire-wrapped jewellery. I create my designs from the comfort of my own room, crafting jewellery from silver and copper wires. Making jewellery has always been a life-long passion making me feel serene and at peace within myself. With this in mind and my freeform style, I decided to brand my online identity as ‘Serene-Dipity’.
When did you decide to pursue making jewellery as a career?
I am trained as a graphic designer, but have always had a love for jewellery making. This became a viable option when I became unable to work or be a graphic designer due to poor health. Being unable to work and being bed ridden led me to a spell of inactivity and unhappiness. I decided one morning to try and occupy my time with my old love of making earrings, which led to family and friends suggesting to think about this more seriously than as a hobby. I began researching wire-wrapping techniques when physically able to, and began to teach myself, surprised with what I made. To this day, I am still stunned with what I can make and have now broadened my creative skills into designing and making pendants, bracelets, rings and wall hangings. I am now starting my journey of jewellery making as a career path for which I thoroughly enjoy.
What training did you have?
I have my BA Hons in Graphic Design and my MA in Digital Arts. Jewellery creation is completely self taught.
What has been the high point of your career so far?
Making my first sale has definitely been a high point in my career, but my personal high point has been the realisation that there was something that I could do in-spite of my poor health and the sense of achievement that followed.
What’s your favourite quote?
I am reminded of a quote from Michael Angelo:
‘Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.’
I always feel that my designs create themselves and that they are always meant to become the finished article.
Who is your favourite artist?
As a graphic designer I admire the work of Sophie Toulouse who creates work that is imaginative, and free-forming, which flows across a space.
What are you aiming for?
I ideally would like to sell my jewellery in shops of high calibre and have a strong online presence.
How will you get there?
I have created a personal website and have begun selling through online handmade shops, but am trying to expand by selling on stalls in either Covent Gardens or Spitafields, whilst promoting my jewellery whever possible.
Is anything holding you back?
I am unable to continuously create my jewellery and have had to take a long break due to constantly dislocating my fingers whilst creating pendants and thick wired pieces. A lot of pain and passion goes into producing each piece!
You and making jewelry
What feelings or reactions do you hope to arouse in people who view your work? Are you ever surprised by reactions that you get?
I wish people to feel that anything is possible in life and to feel serene and free. I wish for peoples joy at owning one of my items and for it to become a much loved and worn item. I am always surprised by peoples reactions and the comments that come my way. I am always happily surprised when people feel the same things by wearing my jewellery, that I felt when crafting the item.
From start to finish, how long does it take for you to create your work?
My work ranges in the time taken from beginning design through to finished piece. One of my more simplistic designs can take about 6 hours, whilst one of my freeforms can take over 15 hours to craft.
What music do you like to listen to when you work?
I mainly listen to lifehouse and snow patrol, but generally like to create my designs and jewellery in silence with only the sounds of nature around me.
What are you working on next? Any future plans or projects in the pipeline that we should look out for?
I will be making a wider range of sterling silver jewellery as well as setting up a stall which would make my jewellery more accessible and wide-spread.
Being inspired by making jewellery
Who (living or dead) inspires you? and why?
My mother is a constant inspiration as she has been totally supportive of the things that I cannot do as well as the things that I can do. She has always been there for me, pushing me in the right directions and helping me whenever possible. Being a talented artist and being similar to myself, she can comment critically on my designs, helping me to constantly improve and evolve my design skills whilst being completely encouraging. If it wasn’t for her I would never have had the confidence to take my hobby further or believe in myself.
What feelings, subjects or concepts inspire you as a jewellery maker?
I suppose my housebound status allows for feeling of freedom and serenity to translate into items of jewellery. I love looking at nature which are regular inspirations, leading my designs to flow from heart and soul.
What is your favourite work that you’ve produced so far and why?
I am particularly proud of my first sterling silver piece, for which I retained, as it was the first of its kind and was a challenge creating a piece from a new material as well as in a completely new style.
a jewellery maker’s advice
For those thinking about turning a passion for making jewelry into a career, could you give any advice?
It is very difficult to successfully sell jewellery regularly, but if you create designs that are a part of you and you want to create jewellery because you love the craft, then you have the right passion for selling your work. Persistence and constant hard work are needed to turn your passion into a viable career.
Any tips on how to get your work seen and get the commissions coming in?
Do not expect to sell things over night as sales take a while to generate. Constant self promotion via websites, online marketplaces, handing out business cards and word of mouth are vital. Another key point is to always wear your jewellery as many people will stop and ask you where you bought the item.