What made you start working with jewellery?
Jewellery design is all about observation and inspiration, so it’s the perfect discipline for me. I try to tell a story with it. I was read to a lot as a child so any chance I get to tell a story or hear one, I take it.
What is it about your craft that captured your attention?
I’ve been a jewellery designer for over 20 years, and my first collection was based on pylons and was bought by Barney’s in New York. Looking back, jewellery galleries became places that I most loved alongside the art shops I loved as a child. That’s what drew me in. I think it’s about finding a home for how you see the world.
What inspires you?
Anything botanical, both in form and colour. I’ve ended up specialising in botanical drawings and stitching. I’m addicted to noting down the arch of a leaf, the negatives spaces and grace each plant has, trying to capture that image in pen or thread.
Who inspires you?
My contemporaries make up my treasure trove of support and conversation, and the place that hits me in the gut is the Marianne North Gallery in Kew. I travelled across Africa after my degree and dream of standing in those lush jungles, drawing.
What’s your favourite part of the process?
The best place on earth for me (apart from in a jungle or bluebell wood) is Hatton Garden. 20 years is not enough to learn what that street can teach you. The skills, knowledge, humour, stories, the opportunities to find someone who loves what you love and help you make it, is beyond any other part of London. I recently got a stone cut there for my Bloomsbury Ring, and the stonecutter drew the design. That drawing was so simple but was created with years of artisanal knowledge. It sums up Hatton Garden for me.
What’s the hardest part?
Juggling work with family, and the cash flow. Designing in precious metals and stones is no walk in the park.
Where do you live and why?
Hackney. We bought where we could afford, and needles to say things have moved on and the area has transformed around us. It’s very central and near to Hatton Garden so I can easily zip down on my bike. I also run a children's art course in Hackney schools so I’m committed to the area and its communities.
What’s your ideal Sunday?
Now that my children are older, a lie in is like velvet – or a quiet solo trip to Columbia Road Market. I buy a bunch of flowers and pick up the discarded ones on the floor to draw and paint them on my return. It’s exciting – you never know what flowers you’ll find.
If you could go anywhere in the world tomorrow where would you go?
The jungle, to do my Marianne North trip, with pen and paper in hand.
What’s your favourite colour?
I’m working with sapphires at the moment, they come in many colours but you can’t help but fall into that beautiful sapphire blue.
What are you reading right now?
Lots of lesson planning for the Hackney Children Art School. Writing on Drawing by Steve Garner, The Man who Counted by Malba Tahan and Teaching primary Art by Betty Edwards.
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