Mostly, this year I’ve been bruised, tired and covered in paint. After finishing a lot of long overdue decorating and DIY jobs at home by about mid July decided I never wanted to see a paintbrush again. I was looking forward to getting back to designing some new jewellery pieces, planning the new season and generally spending a lot more time working with my bum on a chair and not standing precariously on a ladder.
Then, one day I spotted that a unit in a location I’d always wanted to work became available. Only a few minutes from home, with gorgeous river view, it’s somewhere I walk past with my dog, Socks, most days and had often thought how it would make a great little studio.
The following week, I was in back with a paintbrush in hand, and paint in hair, on glasses and let’s face it, I probably ate some. The space had been used as an office and it needed brightening, adding some workspace, storage etc.
I’m so pleased to have much more space to work and the best thing is, you can visit! I’ve set aside an area to showcase lots of finished jewellery pieces too so come and say hello. The studio is located on the towpath, next to The Anglers pub, and sandwiched between two other wonderful creatives, Hannah Martin Flowers and Creative Native. There is also the Riverhouse Barn Arts centre right behind who have a great community cafe and pretty courtyard.
I’m looking forward to showing you what the river inspires.
I’ve taken 1000s of photographs of birds. I’ll never tire of the colours, textures and patterns of their gorgeous feathers. Making a collection featuring just a handful of them was quite a task, though I think this is something I may have to come back to in the future! For now, here are 14 new pieces based on 6 species of beautiful bird – some you’ll know, some a little more obscure.
I have my own little feathery shadow in the form of an African Grey so I’d be in big trouble if I didn’t include this popular parrot species. Not the most complex of feather patterns, but the light grey with the flash of red on the tail is iconic of this cheeky bird and this pendant and earrings are a stylish and subtle way for grey enthusiasts to wear a little nod to their feathery friends without looking like a full on ‘crazy bird person.’
You’ll be forgiven if you’re not familiar with the Lady Amherst’s Pheasant but when you see the stunning feathers you’ll know why I had to photograph them. The deep teal, navy and white feathers edged with black are somewhere between bird and mermaid. The complexity of this pattern lent itself to much bigger pieces so everything has been scaled up with this design.
There are many different species of spectacular Macaw and a collection could be created on these parrots alone. This pendant and earrings are based on the Green Winged Macaw, which is mainly red across the head and body but with these vibrant green and blue feathers in the wings.
The Reeves Pheasant is native to China, and named after the British naturalist who brought the bird to Europe, however their amazing feathers I liken to Moroccan floor tiles! The black, copper, red, white and bronze tones in the image have been given a metallic finish by printing the photograph onto acetate rather than paper, allowing the silver to shine through. Again, the complexity of this pattern meant it was much better used in large statement pieces.
When I first posed the question ‘What is your favourite bird’ to people, several said the Lilac Breasted Roller. Yes, this small bird does have some lilac on it’s breast but it also has feathers in pink, light and dark blue, white, black, green and brown. A bit greedy if you ask me.
One of the most loved and recognisable birds of them all – the Toco Toucan. Simple but striking feather colours in black, white and orange with that slightly bonkers electric blue eyeshadow. Beautiful.
See the whole ‘Patterns of the Bird World’ collection on Etsy here.
You may have noticed that Shutter Jewellery has gone a bit leafy recently. 🌿 Here’s why.
I began making jewellery from my photographs nearly 3 and a half years ago now. I have been releasing designs as they are finished, some on a common theme, some completely randomly – images simply picked purely on their desirability and ability to work well on a tiny scale. Certain collections seemed to come together all by themselves and more often than not come from a natural rather than an urban habitat. With so much more of the natural world to explore it seems I’ve found my focus. Pun 100% intended.
What’s even better is how much you seem to love it too. My fern leaf design has been far and away my most popular as well as one of my most long lived, having first used it in costume pieces right at the beginning. This is why I’ve adopted it – or rather you lovely customers have – as the little flag for Shutter Jewellery’s new direction :
Last year’s Butterfly collection was a real eye opener at how much you value the sustainability of using a photograph and not a flower or a real butterfly while achieving the same effect. I spoke to many people who came by my stall at events last year. Many were attracted to my statement butterfly pieces and commented how beautiful they are, but with an air of caution… “They aren’t real butterflies are they?” Relieved when I explained they were not. I was amazed also that this even extended to the flower jewellery, some customers commenting that they were pleased I didn’t pick real flowers to use in my charms.*
It stands to reason that if I’m respecting nature as I am, plastic packaging is a no no. I’m so pleased that nearly every day I see an Instagram post from another business that has gone plastic free. This is no mean feat and they should be congratulated. It’s so sad that plastic is the norm and it now takes effort and cost to avoid it. For this reason it’s lot easier and quicker for small businesses to implement than large businesses but hopefully if we set the example, the big boys will follow suit and we might be able to save our natural world and give me a chance to photograph it all. 😍
I’m nearly there on the plastic free thing, I’m no longer buying plastic packaging but I recycle plastic packaging that has been used to send supplies to me. It seems the logical thing to reuse it rather that throw it away in disgust, so if you order something from me please reuse again – after all this stuff was designed to last forever. That doesn’t always have to be a problem.
I’m currently working on a new collection based on another type of winged creature with an awesome palette of colours and patterns. You guessed it, an avian theme. I’ve been asking what your favourite feathered friends are so head over to Instagram or Facebook to join the discussion or comment below. I’ve already had some amazing suggestions. Thank you! 💚
One more thing, I’ve recently opened my VIP mailing list, so if you want to be in the know about new items first, please do go ahead and join here. You can of course unsubscribe at any time.
*Of course, there are many jewellery makers who do use real butterfly wings and flowers in their work and, no, they do not go around killing butterflies and pulling up handfuls of wildflowers. I’m not trying to make a comment on anyone’s else’s work!