hello and welcome
How it all started
Some of my earliest memories are of looking through my mother’s jewellery box, and her friends’ jewellery boxes, (if they’d let me)! Although I’ve always been in love with all things jewellery related, it wasn’t until I was living on the West Cornish coast, with a young family, that I started making jewellery full time. I set up my home studio in Penzance, and began by using simple hand tools and traditional artisan techniques, and soon things started to get busy!
As the family grew up, we moved ‘up country’ to the Devon coast, and I set up my lovely stone workshop just 5 minutes from the harbour in Teignmouth, the “Jewel of South Devon”. Coastal walks and sea glass hunting with our lovely bouncy lurcher are perks of the job - a daily lungful of fresh sea air is something I never take for granted!
As a family we take full advantage of the beautiful surroundings of South Devon. We love getting outside to explore the coast and countryside as often as possible. With Dartmoor closeby, and easy connections to the rest of the country we love it!
We’re often back in Cornwall to visit family and friends, and of course go sea glass hunting!
A little bit of background
I graduated from the University of Wales having studied three dimensional design, gaining a first class honours. Coming from a long line of Cornish blacksmiths, metalwork was my absolute passion, and I was principally designing and making metal furniture, garden pieces and body sculpture.
After graduating, I followed a blacksmith journeymanship with help from the BABA British Artist’s Blacksmith Association, during which I worked with several different master blacksmiths throughout the UK. I learned blacksmithing fundamentals through forging apprentice pieces and intricate elements of large scale structures like public sculptures, huge ornate gates for historic properties, and metal furniture for private clients.
A lot of blacksmithing techniques translate fairly directly into smaller scale jewellery work, (and I already had a comprehensive set of hammers!), and my traditional jewellery making skills have been developed through a range of courses, and experimental workshop practice, and the sharing of skills and ideas with generous mentors and other craftspeople.
I absolutely love what I do, and continue to develop my jewellery range all the time, very often adding new pieces influenced by customers' special commissions.
Walking on the beach is a chance to re-set, clearing the mind and allowing space to see and feel the physical space around us that we rarely get in the city.
The coast and all its magic informs and inspires my lifestyle and my work. the changing light, the shifting textures of the sand and stones along the shore, all help to inform the way I design and spark ideas that inspire the creative process
Sourcing ethical gemstones, or finding beautiful glowing pieces of sea glass along the shoreline, is just the beginning! Once my customers decide on the final design they’d like, pieces are made using traditional goldsmithing techniques such as fabricating and forging from wire and sheet metal, casting and stone setting at the jewellery bench.
I most often cut and shape the sea glass and it is set carefully into jewellery in such a way that the gorgeous frosted texture it has developed on its voyage through the ocean is preserved.
All the jewellery I make is handmade, and for 15 years I have made (and organised!) absolutely everything in the business myself.
As things have got busier and I want to move forward with new ideas and designs, I’ve finally (gladly!) accepted help, outsourcing certain aspects of the benchwork to skilled makers in the UK, so that I can keeps things fresh! I’m very excited to see where things will go in the next few years, I have so many ideas up my sleeve!
A love of our beautiful environment including the oceans, and the ever more urgent need to protect it, is reflected in my workshop practice and has been since the moment I started Glasswing in 2005.
Way back then, ethical jewellery was seen as very niche indeed, but I have consistently tried to keep the environmental impact of what I do to a minimum.
I’m pleased to say this is getting ever easier as the jewellery industry as a whole is slowly starting to wake up to its repsonsibilities, to ensure ethical practice across the board and through the whole supply chain. Glasswing jewellery incorporates traceable, ethically sourced gemstones, from a handful of trusted suppliers, Fairtrade & recycled precious metals, & found objects. Find out more about the gemstones I use here