Blog

2017

Well here we are in 2017 and I have been busy this week planning my year, Christmas is full up already! I have applied to some new events for me so fingers crossed, as the kids get less reliant on me I can escape more!  My mission this year is to start selling from my website so watch this space. At the moment I am busy getting ready for the BCTF in Harrogate in April. I had such a fantastic time last year, not only winning the NJA award for Excellence in Jewellery but also meeting wonderful gallery owners and fellow exhibitors.

I have also started two new ranges which have a more geometrical feel to them, I will be showing them in Harrogate. One of the ranges also has a hint of colour, based on the colour trend of grey and yellow I have intoduced some small yellow elements along with some yellow silk.new-work-2017

BCTF win

Phew, what a busy couple of days at the British Craft Trade Fair in Harrogate, I had a fantastic time meeting new people and getting a few orders as well. The icing on the cake was winning the National Association of Jewellers award for Excellence which was a complete surprise. I had some new pieces of work on show which I am slowly putting on the website so bear with me. My next venture is the Summer exhibition at The Biscuit Factory in Newcastle.

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A big thank you…..

neckpiece 1-model neckpiece 3-model

So, it’s a been a busy few weeks for me and Rachel Brown Jewellery. I decided to leave teaching after 25 years in July and do this ‘jewellery thing’ full time. I have to say it has been one of the best decisions I have made, there is nothing better than waking up knowing that you have a 30 second commute to work doing a job that you love. My dad built me a beautiful wooden studio over the Summer in my back garden so I can now combine family life and work life much easier. My friend Dionne gave me a much need shove into getting a website up and running, I also must thank my dad (again!) and Richard Turner for taking some great photos and Chiomah Akanwa for being a gorgeous model.

My plan for the next couple of months is to develop a new range of work and get myself out there in 2016!!!

Blog Hop

I have been invited by artist and bookmaker Kate Bowles(www.katebowles.blogspot.co.uk) to participate in this blog hop- think chain letter but more hi tech and less suspicious, although I am a day late in posting this so I hope I haven’t jinxed it because it has travelled from Europe to America and now to Yorkshire!
I love Kate’s work, I use one of her little books as a sketchbook in which I doodle everyday.

So here is my contribution……
What am I working on?
Like most creative people at this time of year I am gearing up for Christmas. I have just delivered some pieces to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park  for their ‘MADE’ exhibition and now I am frantically trying to get work done to sell at the fabulous Holmfirth Art Market at the end of Nov as well as trying to create a new way of displaying my work which I will try out at the art market. I am also working on getting a website up and running –  I have avoided doing one before now because I was never confident about the jewellery that I was producing but I think I’ve found a technique that suits the way I work and people seem to like it.
How does my work differ from others of it’s genre?
Ooh a difficult one! If you think of enamelling and enamelled jewellery then you think bright colours, intricate patterns and highly skilled technically difficult pieces, my work couldn’t be further from this. I use white enamel only which I guess is unusual, my pieces are often mistaken for porcelain.
At college I had a very brief introduction to enamelling with the fantastic enameller Jane Short. I remember thinking that the whole process was far too time consuming, fiddly and definitely not for me. I revisted enamelling three years ago when I introduced it to my HE students, I researched various enamelling techniques and came across a method which involved drawing onto a stoned enamel surface with a graphite pencil, the carbon from the pencil is absorbed by the enamel and leaves a permanent image. I immediately fell in love with it. I love drawing particularly with pencil and so it felt very comfortable to do.
I still don’t consider myself an enameller, I just use enamel as part of my making process – maybe that makes me different?
 Why do I do what I do?
The cheesy answer I guess is because it makes me happy and when I see someone wearing my work it makes me smile – it’s that simple. I don’t wear jewellery but I am drawn to people who do, you can tell a lot about someone by the jewellery they wear – what kind of people wear my jewellery, mmmm not sure but that has got me thinking!
I still consider my jewellery making as a hobby and like most hobbies I do it because I have a passion for my subject, it relaxes me, I can chill out. My workshop is my ‘me’ space where I can forget about things like the washing and the fact that the freezer needs defrosting ( I must do that!)
I also do it because I can’t help it.
How does my process work?
I very rarely go into the workshop with a plan unless it is a specific commission. It is more of an organic process, I pick up some copper or silver let the piercing saw do the work and let the shape evolve, I sift the enamel on, fire it, grind it, draw on it and refire. I am not a technical jeweller, my processes are fairly simple.
Working like this means that each piece I create is unique, a one-off.
I love mark making and I am inspired by anything from the tiny loops on a bath towel, to the texture of peeling paint on a door, I record this through photographs and quick doodles in a sketchbook – the white enamelled surface could be likened to a blank piece of paper in which I can doodle, rubout if necessary.
I’m going to leave it there and nominate two people whose work and work ethic I love – I have yet to run this by them, so it could change!  Watch this space.