Jewellery Masters: Montse Salguero


Montse Salguero at one of her stalls

Montse Salguero is the designer and owner of her own studio, and brand Cuques de llum. She currently lives in Terrassa, a Spanish city in the East Central region of Catalonia.

Although, she works for an multinational company during the day, she spends most of her evenings being very creative with glass. Her work is very beautiful, colourful, vibrant and full of life.

The use of glass in her pieces gives them an amazing feeling of movement as the light radiates through them. Not only does she make the finished pieces of jewellery but she also makes all the glass herself. Experimenting and discovering new techniques all the time. Her passion literally shines through in this pure element, as it helps her to express her ideas and feelings.

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

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

I have always liked artistic work and throughout my life I have always experimented and worked with different materials.


Preparing to hand blow glass in her studio

Until a few years ago, when I came into contact with glass … and everything stopped. I knew that I had finally found my element. A pure material that allows me to express all of my ideas, in which I can reflect my dreams, and representing my illusions.

I love working with glass because it is still not widely used for jewellery. There is still lots of room for developing new ideas.

Glass allows you to explore different techniques like fused glass, flame work, etc and even create your own. Like for instance hand drawing your pieces, is a technique that I particularly like and I’m considered a specialist in.

When did you first realise you wanted to make Jewellery as a career?


Montse Salguero working on a glass bead

To be honest, I still work in a multinational company during the day and with my jewellery at nights and weekends.

I realised after the first training I attended that all my passion and creativity has more potential through jewellery, rather than working for a multinational company.




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

I’m not sure where my inspiration comes from. In fact I think that is something that was always within me, fighting to see the light of day, and now finally can come out thanks to jewellery.

I’m the typical person that attends a serious meeting and cannot stop drawing and doodling. It’s my way of expressing myself, and sometimes it also helps me to relax and to concentrate, my mindfulness.

It’s a pity that nowadays drawing in meetings is not well perceived,  as creativity can open up thoughts and ideas.

How would you describe your designs?


Sterling silver ring with blue flower glass orb

Unique, in a sense that you will never see two of the same.

I don’t work with patterns, everything is handmade.

Depending on how I feel when I’m drawing, results will always be different.

So, you can like my designs or not, but you will definitely own a unique piece of jewellery.

 What is your favourite piece you’ve ever created?

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Hand drawn mandalas onto glass

I love drawing mandalas, there is something spiritual about them and the process.

When I have a stressful week the only way to calm down is to draw mandalas, while I’m listening to my favourite music. Bliss!

What are you currently working on?

I had a one week training course last year about flame work.

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Selection of sterling silver rings with different glass orbs and beads

Now I’m working hard on improving my skills using this technique.

In particular I’m trying to include red roses inside my glass bead rings… it’s being quite challenging. However, I recognize that I love challenges and love finding the solution.



 What advice would you give to someone interested in becoming a jewellery designer?


Glass pendant with blown butterfly design

My advice is not only for those who are interested in getting into the jewellery, but also for those who are looking for a change, and for those who have a dream.

My advice is that you should never give up. Sometimes it’s really hard to fight against the conventions, sometimes you can feel tired, but each step you make, you will be closer to your dreams.

By following your dreams your life will be more enriched and fulfilling.

You can find Montse’s talent and creativity at:




Jewellery Masters: Wendy Garver

Wendy Garver

Wendy Garver

Wendy Garver is the Jewellery designer and owner of SilverWhimsies Jewelry. born in Albuquerque she now lives in Darnestown, maryland, usA. Originally a portrait painter, she began to realise that she desperately needed a change. over time she discovered her new passion and has never looked back.

Wendy’s influences for making jewellery come from everyday nature and life. Sculpting designs in her head as she sees shapes appearing from the molten silver. She loves to melt precious metal and take her creativity from the very raw essence of the metal. This liquid form can even be seen in her finished jewellery. Since there are beautiful curves, smooth corners and a free flowing movement present in all her work.

Sterling Silver Glass Ocean Earrings

Her stunning jewellery organically grows around the gemstones and never has a start or finish. Wendy loves to use traditional materials such as sterling silver and semi precious stones. However, she has a love for the ocean and all the colours within it. She manages to echo the beauty in the water and beach by using sea glass. Every piece is unique, translucent, rounded by nature and is set using her very skilled hands. She literally makes the glass come alive again, as it once was in the ocean. Shimmering and reflecting natural light in abundance.

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

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

Sterling Silver Wrap Over Ring

Before I discovered metal works I was a portrait painter. One day while putting the “final touches” on a painting for the thousandth time, I realized I was not enjoying what I was doing so I put the paint away. After going cold turkey from creating art my son suggested I take a class at our local community college. I studied the course catalogue and saw metalsmithing. I signed up and it was love at first torch.

When did you first realise you wanted to make Jewellery as a career?

Sterling Silver Multi Stone Bracelet

Learning the techniques of moving metal around really resonated with me and after 3 semesters I decided I’d make jewellery full time. I opened an Etsy shop then built a website then started applying to Arts and Craft Festivals. The shop started out slowly and the website drained my brain but having a booth at a festival really changed my world. I love doing shows; you meet so many creative and wonderful people. A piece of advice here, research the show before entering though; some of the shows are real stinkers.

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

I get asked a lot what inspires my designs. I am inspired by everything I see around me. Whether it’s nature, architecture or seeing something on T.V. I observe and look at everything with a designers eye.

When something pops out at me I wonder how I can turn that image into a piece of jewellery.

Sterling Silver Bar and Blue Glass Pendant

I mull it over for a bit then sit down at my bench and get to work.

The majority of my jewellery begins by melting down scrap or virgin silver. It is easier for me to create jewellery using this technique because I don’t need to worry about ruining a pristine piece of silver. This frees me up to see a design in the blob of silver; sort of like making images out of clouds. Once I see my minds eye image I get to work hammering and shaping the metal.

How would you describe your designs?

Sterling Silver Two Tone Metal Rings

There is nothing dainty about my work because there is nothing dainty about my technique. There are very few angles or hard edges in my jewellery; I like to keep things round and organic. Since I work a lot with sea glass my goal is to have the metal reflect the free flowing lines of the glass. Since no two pieces of sea glass are the same no two pieces of my jewellery are the same.


What is your favourite piece you’ve ever created?

Sterling Silver Two Tone Hoop Earrings

Of all the pieces of jewellery I’ve made I like the one I did last the most then I make another piece and that one becomes my favourite.

I love the process of creating something new so it’s hard for me to dwell on something I’ve already completed. The beauty in the piece of jewellery is not just in its finished form but in the artistic and creative process.

What are you currently working on?

Sterling Silver Triangle Glass Pendant

Currently I’m focusing on melting down my old gold jewellery and incorporating it into different pieces.

I’m also working with different metals like copper and brass. I always want to try something new and hope that it surprises my customers.

What advice would you give to someone interested in becoming a jewellery designer?

Sterling Silver Ocean Colour Dangle Earrings

If you’re interested in starting your own jewellery line my best advice is to acquire thick skin. You’ll have many disappoints but having patience is a must, a huge must.

Continue to look forward, set goals, stretch your skills to their limits and finally be positive about your experience.

Most importantly, never give up. 


You can find wendy’s talent and creativity at:

Sterling Silver Statement Blue Glass Bracelet





Jewellery Masters: Jesse Watson

Jesse Watson

Jesse Watson is a jewellery designer and owner of Noctis Custom Jewelry. Born in Colorado Springs, and now living in Austin, Texas, USA, Jesse’s day career is in engineering. However, his passion in life is making jewellery and he happily spends his evenings in his studio. Few jewellery designers can say that it was true love that brought jewellery into their life, but Jesse can. His partner did jewellery part-time and as one of their early dating activities, they both shared a ring making class together. He hasn’t looked back since, both in jewellery and love.

Although Jesse is a self-confessed nerd during the day, like a marvel superhero, he transforms into an extremely talented artist in the evening.

His ability as a silversmith, is ever growing. But you can see that he is already very talented and on an incredible journey. Developing high quality traditional skills and using them in the most beautiful and contemporary way.


Sterling Silver Butterfly Filigree and Patina Pendant

Jesse’s love of jewellery making is very evident. Particularly in the way he uses different techniques such as stone setting, hydraulic metal stamping, filigree, silver clay moulding and metal work. All used in combination with various influences and inspiration such as nature, geometric shapes, movement, and love.

Jesse was kind enough to do a Q&A with me. He chatted about his work, jewellery and design, and much more.


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

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Sterling Silver Offset Square Filigree Earrings

I am a native of Colorado currently living in central Texas (Austin). I have always had a strong slant towards the more creative aspects of life which is ironic seeing as my career is in engineering. Throughout my life I have always needed some sort of creative outlet. I have expressed that in many different mediums – drawing (graphite and charcoal), painting (oil and acrylic), sculpture (clay, wood, metal), etc.

However, life steered me down a different path. I went to school for business and then electrical engineering. Despite that, I always kept in touch with my artistic side as a necessary part of my life. In terms of jewellery, I never had any ambitions as a jeweller, it was just something  I enjoyed wearing.

Sterling Silver Bangle With 14K Gold Puzzle Piece

That was until I met my love and life-mate who did jewellery part-time in addition to having a day job. She is also a very artistic person, and when I asked her out it was to take a ring making class with me. We went on several dates before the actual ring making class, but it was because of her that I was introduced to metal-smithing. It has really taken off from that time, and with her encouragement  it has become a true passion of mine. While I still have to have a day job, at night you will find me happily creating shiny things up in my studio.

When did you first realise you wanted to make Jewellery as a career?

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14K White Gold Band With Rose Gold Rails And Diamonds

Unfortunately, at this point in my life, I am still required to have a day job in the engineering field and cannot make jewellery making my full time pursuit. However, I am in my studio whenever I have the opportunity and am hopeful that at some point in my life I can make my passion my full time gig. The best thing about doing something that you love is that it never feels like work. Sure, there are times when I am struggling with a difficult problem or doing a custom piece that doesn’t excite me, but in the end I am still doing what I love.

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

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Fine Silver Flower Cluster Necklace

Inspiration is a very interesting and shifting thing in my eyes. What I get inspiration from can change from day to day. Sometimes it will be something I have seen made which gives me an “ah ha” moment of a direction to go. Other times it can be learning a new technique from a class or fellow jeweller. Or it can be something as simple as a leaf on the ground or image in a book (unrelated to jewellery). I guess what I am saying is that inspiration can come from anywhere. It will just click when you see it.


How would you describe your designs?

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First Set Of Sterling Silver Filigree Earrings

My work really spans a large variety of things, however, there are certain themes that seem to be pervasive in many of the pieces. That theme is the combination of geometric forms with free-flowing elements. There is something about the combination of curves and angles that speaks to me. I also do a lot of work that tends to have fine detail integrated into it.

What is your favourite piece you’ve ever created?

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Sterling Silver Textured And Riveted Cuff

I would find it very difficult to choose a favourite piece. I have many pieces that I love for many different reasons. A lot of the pieces that I would call my favourites aren’t the ones that turned out the best or that are the prettiest. They are the ones where I had to really think through them to figure out how to make what was in my mind into reality. Or, pieces where I came up with something novel or very creative that I have never seen done before. It is ironic that my favourite pieces are not usually the ones that customers or friends love the most.

What are you currently working on?

Tension Set Rough Diamond Ring

Well, as a creative person I find that I always have to have at least 2 or 3 projects in flight at the same time. It helps to keep me motivated and prevent boredom and frustration. So I am currently working on a series of men’s wedding bands in a variety of metals as well as a custom pendant for a young lady who is about to graduate high school and head off to college.

What advice would you give to someone interested in becoming a jewellery designer?

Fine Silver Butterfly With Heavy Patina

The best advice that I could give to a new/young/novice jeweller would be to get a mentor. I have the luxury of having a fantastic local school that teaches courses throughout the year in a wide range of topics. Through these classes I have met many master jewellers and have become  friends with them. This is invaluable for learning techniques and tips for solving problems that you will encounter.

The creativity side of things you have to do yourself, but these types of mentors will increase your craft enormously and help guide you in the right direction through their years of experience. 

You can find Jesse’s talent and creativity at:



Jewellery Masters: Marisa Shuta

Jewellery Designer: Marisa Shuta

Jewellery Designer: Marisa Shuta

Marisa shuta is the jewellery designer and owner of Small Roar Studio. she is a self taught eclectic artist, currently living in Pennsylvania, usa, and who has a huge love for all things creative. She is a silversmith and metalsmith who treats all her designs like a blank canvas. Organically growing from nothing and each developing into a unique piece of jewellery.

She blends together different jewellery designs and styles from various sources, from bohemian vibes, to Native American culture, to punk metal. Never being scared to explore something new.

Sterling Silver Petal Symbol Ring

In all her art you can see her attention to detail. Using elements of nature, symbols, patterns, cultures, precious metal and gemstones in beautiful combinations. Creating unusual and stunning statement jewellery pieces that really speak to you.

If you are looking for jewellery that has a unique style and has the ability to communicate your own individual voice then look no further.

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

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

Sterling Silver Stone Jewellery Being Made

Sterling Silver Stone Jewellery Being Made

I’m Marisa and I am such a mixture of so many different adjectives and verbs! I’m a combat veteran, mother, artist, and social worker. I started making jewellery at 8 years old, selling bracelets made of string at summer camp, to pay for vending machine snacks! It’s kind of comical as my bracelets at summer camp got so popular the camp counsellors had to shut it down as all the campers were asking their parents for money all the time!




When did you first realise you wanted to make Jewellery as a career?

I never honestly thought about turning jewellery making into a career.

Sterling Silver Stone Bangle

Everything kind of fell into place. I started practicing with copper and was practically begging people to buy my items so I could purchase silver to start working with it.

Eventually I started drawing my own designs and was very surprised when I started to sell things. So I don’t like to think of it as a career, just a hobby. I think that is important for someone like myself. If I ever think of anything I love doing as a career, I start to get bored and resist. So, I just kind of go with the flow and keep making, and thankful that people keep purchasing!

The best thing about making jewellery is meeting and talking to people. It’s really an enjoyment for me to interact with similar artists, or customers.

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

Sterling Silver Onyx Baphomet Pendant

My background is in painting and other mixed media art. So a lot of my ideas just come from my doodles. I try to think of every piece of jewellery as almost like a canvas. I don’t want to paint the same piece every time much like I don’t want to make the same item every time.

How would you describe your designs?

I find comfort in small details. I pull a lot of inspiration from bohemian vibes but I’m also not afraid to approach my darker punk/metal side.

What is your favourite piece you’ve ever created?

Sterling Silver Cremation Memory Pendant

One of my dear friends trusted me make her a piece with her significant lovers ashes. It was really important for me to create her something so beautiful and intimate. I made her a pendant with his initials and an opal on it.

It was really crazy because while working on it the ashes got very hot and I had intended to put a different stone on it to begin with. But something told me to put an opal on it, and I’m glad I did because I didn’t even know it was his birthstone! We were both so shocked.

She wears it everyday, and I then made one for their daughter as well. I love the fact now that she can carry around a little piece of her father and hold him close.

What are you currently working on?

Sterling Silver Labradorite Pendant

Currently I’m working on a bohemian engagement/wedding set. I’m also playing around with stamps and trying to get a feel for Navajo influenced style.

What advice would you give to someone interested in becoming a jewellery designer?

Sterling Silver Green Amethyst Ring And Labradorite Ring

Don’t make things to “sell” just do what you love. Sure, we all want to make money but don’t lose your vision. Be weird! Be unique! It’s really a piece of art that you make for someone else to express themselves on their body. Your pieces will be passed down for generations, so make it something like a little story being told. Oh and also – have fun! Don’t take anything too seriously!



Sterling Silver Rhodochrosite Pendant

Sterling Silver Rhodochrosite Pendant

You can find Marisa’s talent and creativity at:




Jewellery Masters: Annika Lahti

Annika Lahti With Her Own Designs – photo by Marcus Boman

Annika Lahti is the designer and owner of Aikasan Jewellery. Finland-based Annika Lahti hand makes precious metal jewellery. She has a love of butterflies, nature, archaeology, Viking folklore and elves. Which results in unusual yet striking and modern shapes that permeates throughout her art form design.

Her jewellery is of exquisite quality, with every detail and finish thought about meticulously. You can visually see why she calls herself a perfectionist.

Annika’s jewellery really stands out from other designers at the moment, probably because of the fact that her subject matter and influences are so different to current trends. Using older traditional symbols and emblems with a modern twist really creates something unique. The fact that she uses very polished silver makes the designs radiate even more.

I would highly recommend buying Annika’s jewellery as it can be worn for any occasion day or night. And a beautiful way to treat yourself or a loved one.

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

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

Sterling Silver Jewellery Set – photo by Marcus Boman

I first tried jewellery making while I was on a one year art course in Finland. Immediately I took to it, and I happened to have more talent for metalwork than painting or drawing.  Subsequently, I applied for a place to study at Kent Institute of Art and Design in Rochester, England. Spending the next three years on their course Silversmithing, Goldsmithing and Jewellery Design.

I soon discovered that I much prefer the actual making to the design process. After I finished the course I got a job with Aurum Jewellers in Worthing, West Sussex. It was my ideal job, really; I sat at the bench and made one-off pieces that my boss designed. It was great! I learned a lot about all aspects of running a business in the three years I was there. The business was really small (the owner + 1-2 employees). Because of this I was able to get involved in all aspects of the work. From management things to dealing with customers and designing pieces upon request.

Unfortunately, something happened in my life that made me want to move back home to my family in Finland. Hence I had to leave my perfect job.

When did you first realise you wanted to make Jewellery as a career?

I never made a conscious decision to become a jeweller, it just sort of happened. The profession suits me really well. Mainly because I’m really meticulous by nature and a true perfectionist, which is probably why I enjoy it so much. 

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

Sterling Silver Bangle and Butterfly Earrings and Pendant – photo by Marcus Boman

My first collection was a set of butterflies. I’ve always loved their natural beauty, so it came easily to me.

I suppose that’s the thing, I draw inspiration from things I find beautiful. I love fantasy, and elves in particular, so my style of designing tends to draw towards that. I’ve made a collection based on two archaeological finds for the local museum (Ålands Museum). And also developing a range for myself as well. I suppose that is my main source of inspiration at the moment – taking finds (particularly from the Viking era) and re-designing them with a modern twist.

How would you describe your designs?

Modern, with an elvish touch.

What is your favourite piece you’ve ever created?

Sterling Silver Bangle and Butterfly Set – photo by Marcus Boman

That would have to be when I was an independent jewellery and was given my first commissioned piece to make. It was a Thor’s hammer, and the customer was deliberately vague with directions. Because he wanted it to have as much of “me” in it as possible. I guess it would be creepy if I didn’t mention that the customer is a friend of mine.

We spent some time talking about Viking lore and what it means to him. I also spent a lot of time reading about the different Viking gods and creatures. In the end it became clear to me what symbolism I wanted to use in the piece. Normally I’d make a mock-up piece in copper to show the customer for approval. However, this particular customer wanted to be surprised.

Sterling Silver Wheel Design Taken From An Archaeological Find – photo by Marcus Boman

It was a little scary for me to be left with this responsibility. But at the same time it was a good and important opportunity for learning to trust myself. I think that’s what makes this piece special to me.

I put a lot of effort into research for the design, and I found out I enjoyed it. It was really important for me to learn this invaluable lesson. Since, my confidence as a designer has always been pretty weak and needs to be improved.

Personal bequests are now my favourite thing to do; I love getting to know the customer and making something truly special for them. 

What are you currently working on?

Two Sterling Silver Pendants for Mother and Daughter

Right now my biggest project is making pieces for an exhibition that will open in May. The theme is Kalevala (Finnish folklore/fantasy), and I’ve decided to make a couple of big statement pieces. However, I haven’t tackled something quite as big as this since I graduated from University. So I have spent a lot of time planning it all out. A secret dream of mine is to make costume jewellery for sci-fi/fantasy films, so I am enjoy thinking in this larger scale for a change.

I also have a couple of orders from customers, and of course my own collections that I’m constantly working on. I’ve applied for permission with Ålands Museum to make a replica of one of their items – a brooch.  I am hoping to have this finished for the local Viking fair that takes place in July this year.
I also aim to have a website up and running within the near future. 

What advice would you give to someone interested in becoming a jewellery designer?

Hmm. This is a hard question, as everyone’s situation is different. I would probably say that if possible, start your own business on the side of a regular job. This allows you to develop and find your way slowly, without having to worry too much about money.

Sterling Silver Pendants – Viking Symbol

If you’re throwing yourself into the deep water straight away, ask yourself (and be honest) what your strengths and weaknesses are. Running your own business is so much more than just designing and making jewellery. it can be a bit of a slap in the face if you’re not ready for it.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help with the things you feel are out of your comfort zone. Use all your contacts, and if you have the means, pay someone else to do the things you hate. Don’t give up when you face your first hurdle; take a deep breath, cry if necessary and then jump it. Then same again. 🙂 Oh, and remember to enjoy your victories! You’ve earned them.

You can find Annika’s talent and creativity at:



Jewellery Masters: Martina Bradach

rosewood leather necklace 1e

Rosewood Leather Necklace

Martina Bradach is the designer and owner of Martina Bradach Art Design. Croatian born Martina currently lives in Zagreb and creates unique handmade jewellery from wood, minerals, leather and brass. The way she combines the natural materials really stimulates the senses. This can be seen in her stunning statement pieces which evoke the feeling of being part of the natural world. You can just about smell the beautiful aroma of a pine forest in summer.

Martina’s art creations have a lovely natural flow and movement which captivates and accentuates any style of fashion. You can literally see the wood transforming in front of your very eyes. Martina’s jewellery will definitely add a very beautiful, natural and organic feel to your collection and wardrobe. A perfect gift for yourself or a loved one.

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

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

Beech Leather Cuff

I grew up in a small Croatian village, in a nature park, in a valley surrounded by woods, streams, hills, mountains and wild animals. I always felt the strongest connection and my perception was nourished by nature.

Through the course of my life I was living in a city, doing various day jobs, living abroad, traveling etc. However, no matter what I was doing, creativity was always part of my life. Because I always had a need to make something, draw, paint and create…it kept me connected to the nature and myself.

During my travels, I would always walk through nature. As a result I would find some beautiful stones, pieces of wood, shells and minerals. I would then make them into jewellery which would keep the energy and beauty of the natural world close to me.

When did you first realise you wanted to make Jewellery as a career?

Oak Lava Rock Earrings

At first I just wanted to be surrounded by pieces from nature, but one thing led to another. Jewellery design soon became the natural next step for me. I don’t really look at it as career because it looses spontaneity. I rather think of it as doing something that fulfils me and makes me happy.

The way that materials lead me to its shape, really connects me to nature and myself. For me, nature makes the best art, I just need to follow it into the shape.

The best thing about following this path is that it makes me happy . When I can connect with people who can recognize this and appreciate the nature, it is wonderful. I love it when people wish to wear something that has grown out of that relationship.

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

Wild Cherry Leather Necklace

My inspiration always comes from nature. It’s elements with various shapes, sizes, colours, textures, energies etc. really stimulate my creativity. Since the child in me still sees shapes and beings in clouds, in the grains of wood, in textures of minerals.

The power and beauty of the natural world leaves me in awe and moves me to creation.

How would you describe your designs?

Wenge Hematite Leather Necklace

My designs are natural, organic, following the story and history of the wood. It feels like the wood itself is transforming with my help.

Each piece of wood brings its own shape with its grain, colours, cracks and in combining it with leather, minerals and brass creates unique synergy.

Nature has designed the most beautiful part already I just bring it out and make it visible and wearable. Simple lines with power in details.

What is your favourite piece you’ve ever created?

I don’t really have one favourite piece, each has its own beauty. Each piece fascinates me with its uniqueness, due to the story of the wood combining with the leather, minerals and brass. 

What are you currently working on?

Plum Brooch

I’m working on a new line where I wouldn’t use leather, only wood and brass. Because I find, using wood- leather combination has some kind of powerful statement energy.

Whereas, combining wood with brass wire adds some lightness to it. Of course in my mind, I come up with a concept and how I would like it to look. However, it is only when the hands start to work that the magic happens.

What advice would you give to someone interested in becoming a jewellery designer?

Mahogany Leather Cuff

Follow your inspiration and your feeling. Do what you love and makes you happy, don’t try to fit yourself into someone else’s concepts.

Jewellery Masters: Jen Neame-Collins

Jen Neame-Collins of atelier jen makes jewellery from her studio every hour she can. She creates stunning and dramatic statement pieces for customers all over the world. and Each piece is handmade from papier-mâché.

South-West France-based Jen uses only paper as the basis for her jewellery designs. 2017-02-28 20.40.34Surprisingly they are completely waterproof, and can be worn for any occasion, in all weather, day or night. They provide the wearer with a beautiful and light weight statement piece. These amazing pieces radiate in colour and style and feature gold, silver and copper leaf as well as different patterns. Each item gives off a different, complex and decorative effect, becoming completely captivating to look at. They are also very sophisticated, fun, stylish and ooze glamour. The wearer will definitely feel special displaying her works of art.

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

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

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Papier-Mâché Jewellery Set

My first love is for pattern and colour. I studied for a Textile Design degree at college and worked as a designer in a London studio after graduating. I started making 3D papier-mâché pieces to decorate my flat. This led to several exhibitions and a gallery in London, where I exhibited and sold decorative objects. Trompe l’oeil mirror frames that looked like draped fabric, tables with draped cloths over them – all in paper. Since moving to France I have been experimenting with smaller pieces. A gallery owner here suggested jewellery…… stopping me now!

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?

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Papier-Mâché Earrings

As I started making jewellery only recently, it is all part of my whole career. This seems to have been about decorating anything that doesn’t move! However now I am so full of ideas for jewellery collections and designs, there are not enough hours in the day. I will be doing this for many years to come.

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

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Papier-Mâché Earrings and Necklace

I am inspired by and love many things including history, renaissance, fashion, Dolly Parton, Mexican art, Versailles, Elvis, textile design, memento mori, ornament, kitsch.

How would you describe your designs?

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Papier-Mâché Earrings and Necklace

More is more, gold leaf on everything, the bigger the better. Although I also do a range of smaller pieces and drop earrings as I realise statement jewellery is not for everyone! But I do love the more dramatic pieces.

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

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Papier-Mâché Charm Necklace

My favourite is usually a recent piece as I feel I get better and better all the time. At the moment it’s a tie between the charm necklace from my new collection, and the layer earrings. These have given me the theme for my next collection.

What are you currently working on?

My new Charm collection, and ideas for the next statement earrings. And at the back of my mind, thinking about layer pieces.

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Papier-Mâché Layered Earrings

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Papier-Mâché Charm Bracelet

You can find Jen’s talent and creativity at:




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:







Viking weave to your heart’s content in Oslo

Where better to come for a long weekend break but Oslo, Norway, particularly if you love Viking weave. I am staying at the First Hotel Millenium and currently sitting in their quiet café. Through the window I can see typical Norwegian weather, freezing cold outside, crisp snow on the ground, fog above the city, where your cheeks feel as though they are numb to touch.

IMG_20170218_125924_306Making Viking Weave

But I am nice and snug inside, happily relaxing with my favourite pastime, knitting Viking weave. I was only introduced to Viking weave about a year ago by a friend, but I have completely fallen in love with it. I often sit for a few hours at a time just knitting away, and because it takes patience and concentration, it is a great way to relax the mind. For me, it is the best form of mindfulness ever, since time has no meaning when I am working on Viking weave.


It is a beautiful form to work with and one of my favourite techniques. It’s based on a very old wire work technique, also known as Trichinopoly Chain. It is believed to date back to 8th to 10th Centuries, when Anglo-Saxon, Celts and Norse used it for decorative purposes, such as bracelets, necklaces or trimming clothes. I produce a variety of different pieces of jewellery through this method, using the traditional skills. I like to bulk knit, when I am in the mood, so that I can have a lot of stock in the cupboard. I mainly knit with sterling silver as it gives a beautiful shine when finished and I use 0.4mm gauge half hard wire so that it is easy to work with and pull through the loops.

Viking Weave Blue Druzy Sterling Silver Bracelet

Viking Weave Bracelet

An example of one of the bracelets I made quite recently for a commission. You can use all Viking Weave, or like I did in this piece, you can use smaller amounts to set off a stone with sterling silver chain.

If you have never tried making Viking weave then give it a go. Like me, you could end up having a new love affair.

When creativity comes a-knocking

When creativity enters your life, it can knock loudly on your door or can come quietly through the window, like a butterfly in summer. But believe me, once it enters your life, you will never forget its power for transformation. It ignites the road to innovation, aspiration, inspiration, exploring new ways to face challenges and will help your dreams become reality.

I love creativity in everything I do in life, but particularly value it in jewellery making and coaching at the moment. However, creativity belongs to everyone.

Has this ever happened to you? You’re on the bus or sitting in a café and completely relaxed, with your mind empty and watching life around you. Then suddenly, from nowhere, a solution to a problem you’ve been mulling over for weeks pops into your head. You can’t help but wonder why you didn’t think of it before.

Connect to creativity 


In that second that the thought came to you, you connected to creativity, that secret deliverer of inspiration and ideas. Yet it is more than a brief encounter, since when the creativity comes to life it can empower your ability to innovate, explore, learn new skills and can make your dreams come true.

That moment when the light bulb switches on inside your head is actually the final moment of a journey that has taken time to grow; stepping stones along the way—the basic steps in creative problem-solving.

Stepping stones of creative thought

image.jpegThe initial step is preparation, when you look for any information that might be relevant. This is the step when you let your imagination happily run wild. Being receptive, being able to listen openly and well, is a crucial skill here. But being able to listen to yourself, your natural ability and instincts takes time and belief.

These skills are easier said than done. We are used to our boring or limited way of thinking about solutions. Psychologists call this “functional fixedness.” We see only the first and obvious way of looking at a problem—the same comfortable way we always think about it, our thinking routines. The natural way of thinking that has developed in each of our lives, influenced by the experiences we have had etc. Another critical barrier to us letting the creativity in is self-judgement, that voice inside your head that constricts and limits our creativity within the parameters of what we deem acceptable, based on our life, ethos, belief system and perceptions. It’s your inner self that whispers to you, “I cannot say that as they will laugh at me” or “there is no way I can solve this issue”. However, through connecting to that negative thoughts/judgements and recognising they exist, then that is the first moment that you can try and change the pattern to let creativity in. Have the courage to discount its destructive advice.

Once you have considered and thought about all the relevant pieces and pushed your rational mind beyond the barriers, you can let the problem simmer. This is the development stage, when you think about all you have gathered. It’s a stage and process when much of what goes on occurs outside your focused awareness, in the unconscious. As the saying goes, “you sleep on it.”

Strangely, the unconscious mind is far more suited to creative insight than the conscious mind, since it is freer and is not limited by overthinking, and we are not able to control it in the same way as the conscious mind. Ideas are freer to mix together with other ideas in unpredictable ways, forming new patterns and links. It is also the memory bank of everything you know, including things you can’t readily recall. Further, the unconscious speaks to us in ways that go beyond words, including the rich feelings and deep imagery of the senses.

Listen to creativity


We are far more susceptible to “hearing” the unconscious mind when we are relaxing, having a mindfulness moment and not distracted by our surroundings. That is why I find daydreams are so useful in my quest for creativity. I seem to spend a considerable amount of time each day just away in my own world thinking of possibilities. Is this a waste of time? No, I have come to realise that it is invaluable. For any time you can just daydream and relax is useful in the creative process: a quiet walk, listening to music, travelling. For example, as Sandra Schmidt Bunkers, RN; PhD; FAAN mentions in her paper The Gifts of Silence and Solitude, “Nolan Bushnell, the founder of the Atari company, got the inspiration for what became a best-selling video game while idly flicking sand on a beach”.

Thinking about the problem and daydreaming hopefully leads to that eureka moment, when from nowhere the answer appears. This is the stage that steals all the other stages’ glory—the moment that people sweat and long for, the feeling “this is it!” But the thought alone is still not a creative act. The final stage is translation, when you take your insight and transform it into action; it becomes useful to you and others.

Creativity beckons

Our lives can be filled with creative moments, whatever we do, as long as we’re flexible and open to new possibilities—willing to push beyond routine. My life at the moment is filled with jewellery and silversmithing, coaching, painting, music, and anything arty I can try. However, the everyday expression of creativity often takes the form of trying out a new approach to a familiar dilemma. Yet half the world still thinks of creativity as a mysterious quality that the other half has. In this instance the grass is definitely not greener on the other side, for everyone has the power to be creative not just with their hands, but their thinking processes as well.

A good deal of research suggests, that everyone is capable of tapping into their creativity. We don’t just mean getting better ideas; we’re talking about a kind of general awareness that leads to greater enjoyment of your work and the people in your life: an energy that can improve collaboration and communication with others.

Many of us do not see ourselves as being creative, because we don’t have much of an audience for what we do. In fact, we focus too much on “Big C” creativity—the glamorous achievements of geniuses—and overlook the ways each of us displays flair and imagination in our own lives.

imageCreativity isn’t just for artists, musicians, poets, writers, jewellers and designers etc, it is for everyone. It is not a rare gift for the professional creator, but a tool that we all can use.

Next time you “hear a knock at the door” whilst you are in the kitchen cooking, playing with your children, doing some DIY at home, doing some gardening, painting a room, wrapping a gift – open the door and let creativity in and think.