Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Hilary and I live in a small market town between the beautiful Cotswolds and the historic cities of Bristol and Bath. I have been making jewellery for a couple of years now and a year ago began to extended my skills by learning to make Lampwork Glass Beads. I love creating beautiful things and am constantly looking for ways to develop my skills. Alongside making beads and jewellery, I work part time as a Business Analyst for a local charity, look after my husband, three children, and two cats and enter the occasional running event.
How did you get started in your handmade business? I first started making jewellery purely for myself. I was just happy to receive admiring comments from people I met. It was not long before I realised that I could never wear as much jewellery as I wanted to make. There were so many different styles of jewellery that I wanted to create. Not all of these styles would suit me, but would look great on other people. Whilst making different pieces I started to think about the people I know and the styles and colours that would suit them. It was a while before I plucked up the courage to show anybody my jewellery – even my close friends. When I finally did I was pleasantly surprised by their favourable comments. I was then given the opportunity to run a jewellery party at a friend’s house, closely followed by a stall at the local Carnival. Both of which were very successful. From then on I haven’t looked back.
What first made you want to become an artist/craftsperson? I started making jewellery a couple of years ago following a running injury. I had been training for months in preparation for the Disney Marathon and was just 6 weeks away from the event when I suffered an injury to my foot. At the time I was devastated. Not only was I unable to take part in the Marathon, but I could not even walk half a mile! I needed to find things to do that allowed me to sit down – most frustrating to someone who was previously running 15 miles and more! It was at this point that I started to make jewellery and I have never looked back since. My injury is now fully recovered thankfully, and I am delighted to have discovered a real passion for creating unique, beautiful and very wearable jewellery.
Apart fom crafts, what do you like to do in your spare time? I enjoy running – on a very low key level these days. I enter about one small event a year. Last year it was the local 4 mile Fun Run, where I was beaten (by nearly 4 minutes!) by my 9 year old son! Needless to say we will be entering again this year….!
How long have you been creating art/crafts and how long have you been selling online? I have been making jewellery for 2 years and lampwork beads for just about a year. I have been selling online for about 6 months.
How many different places do you sell from?
Local Craft Fayres etc. Two local shops Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/jocaledesign My website: www.jocaledesign.co.uk
Have any pets? Yes – one very fat but lovely black cat and his very pretty sister. We also have a dwarf hamster.
Do you have another job? What is it? I work part time as a Business Analyst for a local Brain Tumour charity. It’s a fantastic place to work – the people are lovely, the work rewarding and varied.
What are three tools in your workspace that you could not live without? For Beadmaking it has to be: – My torch – I can’t melt glass without it! – My Kiln – without it my beads would not be strong enough to sell. – Tweezers – I am for ever using these to pull very thin rods of glass (called stringers) which I then use to decorate beads.
Any other handmade shops you’d like to recommend? I recently received some Ninjas from another Etsy shop – they arrived very quickly and are as good as the pictures. Very pleased. http://www.etsy.com/shop/Lilley I was taught to make lampwork beads by Julie Fountain (Lush Lampwork). She’s a lovely lady and her beads are beautiful. http://www.lushlampwork.co.uk/
I hope you enjoyed the interview today!