Jewellery Masters: Anna Ancell

Hampshire, UK-based jewellery designer and maker Anna Ancell has been making jewellery from her home for the last few years. She creates beautiful, unique and custom handmade pieces for customers all over the world.

2017-02-20 18.54.51You’ll find her pieces completely captivating as they draw inspiration from the elegance of nature to cute animal motifs. Her jewellery always displays a beautiful flow and energy. The love and detail that she puts into every piece really make them stand out – they simply speak to you. The array of styles she has to offer makes her jewellery appealing to all ages.

Anna was kind enough to do a Q&A with me, talking about her work, jewellery and design, and much more.

Tell us about yourself, and your love affair with Jewellery.

I am currently a busy Mum to two children aged 12 and 7. My previous background was in Finance. But when I left to have my first child it was made clear that the role I had was not a part-time position. I wanted to be at home to look after my children. So I made the decision to stop working and be a full-time stay-at-home Mum.

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Sterling Silver Moon Gazing Hare

I have always loved Jewellery. But when I discovered a product called Metal Clay I combined this love with the desire to capture mementoes of my children as they grew. This then led to friends asking if I would make pieces for them. It progressed from there like a ripple effect. I have now been working with the clay for several years. As I progressed it led me to develop more silversmith techniques and to take further training. I really love creating one-of-a-kind special pieces for people to cherish and treasure for years to come. From children’s fingerprints, loved ones’ handwriting, or a pet’s paw print, I truly appreciate the sentiment behind each piece.

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Finished Sawing Charms in the Workshop

My absolute passion now is piercing.  I love nothing better than a long session in the workshop hand-sawing pieces from sheet sterling silver. I also enjoy the challenge and variety of custom work and working with a customer’s ideas to create something truly special.

When did you first realise you wanted to make Jewellery as a career and what has been the best thing about following this career path?

Once both of my children were in full-time schooling I made the decision to take my very part-time ‘as and when’ Jewellery making to the next level. I am very uncomfortable with face-to-face sales, such a craft fairs. So I opened an Etsy shop and began listing items. Worth a try I thought, and it was even easy enough for a very non-techy person such as myself. I made painfully slow progress to begin with, struggling to be seen within such a massive market place. Slowly but surely my sales on Etsy increased and I took the next step and set up a Facebook page my own website, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

I absolutely love my time in the workshop. Considering myself so fortunate to be able to do a job I adore, and that I can fit around busy family life. Any parent will relate to the very real struggles of working around the children, school runs and holidays.

As a designer, where do you draw your inspiration from?

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Sterling Silver Bracelet and Earring Set

I make lots of custom pieces and many items listed in my shop started life as just that. So you might say it is often my customers that inspire me. When I make a piece that I am making of my own accord, my inspiration is always drawn from nature. I love the beauty that can be found in the simplest of things. I own a working Cocker Spaniel and spend many hours a week walking around the beautiful countryside that surrounds my home in Hampshire.

How would you describe your designs?

Most of my designs are of a simple nature and some are probably a bit quirky. I have a broad range of items due to the number of custom designs I have undertaken. I am hoping I am nearing a point when I can make more of the designs that really show who I am as a maker.

What is your favourite piece you’ve ever created – and what made it so special?

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Feather Pendant with Set Stone

My favourite piece currently is a fairly new piece, a feather design that is set with a stone. I enjoy the different processes involved in making it and feel it is a step in the direction I wish to take my designs. I am very new to stone setting but am determined to stop shying away from processes that ‘scare and challenge me’.

What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on a large amount of orders including spinner/worry rings, fingerprints, handwriting, T-Rex, Swallow pendants, to name but a few.  I have a new design I am excited to get finished and off my bench. It’s based on a dandelion and I am looking to set them with various stones. As with any new piece it always sits on the back burner until I am up-to-date with my orders…….which I currently am not!

What advice would you give to someone interested in getting into the jewellery design business, or having an online business?

For anyone looking to get into Jewellery making, or start his or her own business, I would categorically tell you to GO FOR IT. Being self-employed is without question, the hardest I have ever ever worked, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  Follow your passion and let it take down the unknown path to your future. It isn’t easy and there are many many very talented makers out there already.

Make your designs unique and yours, make them stand out, and follow your designing heart. Use social media, it really does work. Whilst face-to-face I struggle to talk up my work, but with social media I can shout it from the rooftops without feeling too much like a fool. Etsy has been amazing for me, I have just reached a milestone of 600 sales which completely blows my mind. It is just me, in my workshop and I am immensely grateful for each and every one.

You can find Anna’s talent and creativity at:

Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/AnnaAncellJewellery

Website: https://www.annaancell.co.uk/

Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/annaancelljewellery/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/anna_ancell/

Twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/AnnaAncell

Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/anna76silver/

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