After graduating with a degree in History of Art & Design, I unfortunately side stepped into a career less creative. It was when I became involved in the curating of an Art and Jewellery Exhibition that I realised that I needed to get back to my creative background.
This all coincided with my recover from the illness ME, I overcame the illness by embarking on several courses in silversmithing and lapidary. The result was a voyage of discovery from creative therapy to becoming a jewellery designer and the launch of my business Opal Gems.
I enjoy the creative process so every piece is made by hand in my studio situated in a renovated cotton mill in Stockport.
I use my sketchbook to draw designs, shapes and compositions. These then develop further as I work intuitively with the materials.
My designs are created using traditional bench making techniques using sterling silver, elements of 9ct gold and semi-precious gemstones. I am also a lapidarist, this means that I am able to cut and polish my own gemstones. “It constantly amazes me the transformation of a rough piece of gemstone to a gorgeous finished piece.”
The techniques used on some of the collections include stone setting, planishing and detailed surface texture which all add to the interest of each piece. I often choose to oxidise silver which gives it a lovely matt dark grey finish which works beautifully next to vibrant colours of the milk sea glass.
INSPIRATION & MATERIALS
One of my signature designs is jewellery incorporating milk sea glass from the North East of England.
I am inspired by natural elements and working with milk sea glass and its natural sea washed forms often determines the final designs for my collections.
With a background in Art History, I find I’m also inspired by many forms of art, be it a sculpture or artwork by a famous artist. These influences are reflected in my jewellery.