I feel extremely thankful to have been born on the Isles of Scilly. It is a place that has shaped every facet of my life growing up-childhood adventures, fishing, horse riding, farming, schooling, swimming, boating, gardening, growing things, painting, picnicking, rowing-right up to and including starting my work in jewellery. After my gaining degree in English and History in Bath I started my jewellery business in 2006.
My inspirations are firmly rooted in growing up in such an amazing place, a landscape that invigorates me every time I step out the door.
Growing up on a small flower farm on the island of St Agnes I was from the age I became capable involved in the picking and tying of the narcissus flowers we sent to market in Covent Garden-(before that age I was sat out in our garden in the middle of winter, buttoned up in a splash suit in my sandpit, watched from the glasshouse where my parents worked.)
My appreciation of growing things has had a great impact on my work, inspiring me to create the silver flower designs. Also the flora and fauna and extraordinary landscape has impacted my ranges of birds on the wing, swimming mackerel, and silver wave jewellery that are investigations into movement, colour and light; endeavours to catch that fleeting glimpse of Scilly’s beauty forever in silver.
The Isles of Scilly is an archipelago of islands lying south-west of Lands End. There are five inhabited islands and numerous uninhabited ones from sandy deserted islands to granite crags forming the formidable frontier to the Atlantic ocean. It is this exceptional terraqueous landscape that characterises this last piece of England.
Weather rules absolute. Life here is dictated by the weather. Whether or not we can get the boat down to the main island, St Mary’s, for shopping, appointments, work or school, or if we’re travelling further afield, being able to cross the 28 mile stretch of water by plane or ship to the mainland. Participating in the local sport of pilot gig rowing is often hampered by the forecast; many of the gig races on the summer seasons fixture list get cancelled due to a blow coming in on a Wednesday or Friday night. Hence Scilly is an inspirational canvas of constantly changing light and colour. The most vivid cobalt sparkling seas, and the cleanest atmosphere blowing in from the Atlantic offer the most phenomenal sunsets on sultry summer evenings is what attracts thousands of visitors to Scilly. It is then the ferocious winter storms barrelling over the islands that refreshes that canvas year after year.
I was led toward making jewellery for three reasons.
I have always been fascinated by the things that can be found in Scilly and spent my childhood foraging in hedgerows, hoarding the historic miscellany dug out of the fields and walls around the farm, rock-pooling and investigating the tiny coves and beached that fringe the island, collecting the treasures left on the sand when the waves pull back.
This led me to want to make use of all these findings and create wearable items from combining the finest materials with those found locally; encapsulating Scillonian shells, pebbles and beach glass in gold and silver.
I guess I have a passion for creating. Growing up I was always drawing, painting and creating or making something or other in the shed. To turn this passion into a self employed occupation has always been a driving force that led me toward making jewellery. Jewellery has also helped me bring to reality what has been a family aspiration since was very young-to renovate one of the beautiful, old, stone farm buildings, Leah’s, on St Agnes into a gallery for my work. Not having been trained in silver smithing I have developed my own process that has forced me to learn more skills. Once I have studied something with a pencil it changes the way I look at it and inspires me to bring it through the various stages to the final piece. For instance the seagulls wheeling close to the wind on the winter storms create action shots I wanted to capture in silver, or the flowers picked from the hedgerows, sketched on paper then ‘drawn’ into 3D using silver, has over the years forced me to investigate new techniques, buy more tools and teach myself new skills to get what I wanted recreated in silver.