Being a jewellery artist
Please give us a few words of introduction about yourself
I was bought a bead weaving loom one Christmas. I spent hours and hours sorting out a mixed bag of seed beads that came with it into their colour groups! I could happily have sat there for days playing with all of those beads and instantly knew that I had found something that I loved. I began with bead weaving and simple strung necklaces, which lead onto rosary chains and simple wire wrapped pendants. That was when I discovered the potential wire gives to jewellery design and the possibility that you can create anything your brain can dream up!
When did you decide to pursue making jewellery as a career?
In 2009, as often seems to happen in life, something went drastically wrong with plans that I had to move to Greece and work full time on a conservation project. As a result I decided to turn my lifelong hobby into a career and haven’t looked back since.
What training have you had?
I am self taught but have spent many years honing my skills and developing my style.
What has been the high point of your career so far?
Writing my book, which is due to be published in September this year.
Who is your favourite artist?
Susan Seddon Boulet.
What are you aiming for?
To be able to finance myself doing something I love.
How will you get there?
Hard work and focus. I’ll grab each opportunity that comes my way with both hands and never stop trying.
Is anything holding you back?
The fact that there are only 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week!
You and jewellery making
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 hope that my designs give other people as much pleasure to look at as they do me to make them. I am always surprised and a bit taken aback by the positive response my work receives, it is always very nice to receive compliments.
From start to finish, how long does it take for you to create your work?
That varies from design to design. Some pieces are made in an hour and some take days, it depends on how intricate the piece is and how complicated the construction is.
What music do you like to listen to when you work?
I am a rock fan, but I tend to listen to softer music while working, so I stick to ’60s music as I find it less distracting.
What are you working on next? Any future plans or projects in the pipeline that we should look out for?
I am constantly on the hunt for new inspiration and fresh ideas, and my current adventure is into the world of 3D wire construction.
Being inspired by jewellery makers
Who (living or dead) inspires you? and why?
Eni Oken. Her work inspired me to take my own jewellery making to the next level. She also enabled me to start producing online tutorials for the jewellery I make, which in turn allowed me to start my own business and ultimately led to me writing a book.
What feelings, subjects or concepts inspire you as a jewellery maker?
I am most inspired by nature, everyday things that are all around us. I find that when I am in the right frame of mind I look at things in a completely different way.
What is your favourite work that you’ve produced so far and why?
The design I am most proud of is my Aquarius vase. The construction of this piece is very complicated, it took a lot of figuring out but I got such a sense of achievement once I had done it.
a jewellery maker’s advice
For those thinking about turning a passion for making jewellery into a career, could you give any advice?
Before you launch, make sure you have a unique angle to focus on. Jewellery is a saturated and competitive market, thus making it very difficult to get ahead in, so ensure you have something nobody else is doing and also something that people want.
Any tips on how to get your work seen and get the commissions coming in?
Be as active as you can online, on as many sites as you can. Also, approach any shops or galleries that you feel are suitable for your work and ask if they would be prepared to display/sell your work. The more avenues you pursue the more chance you have of selling your work.
More of Abby’s creations can be seen over on www.abbyhook.co.uk