1. How long have you been working on the work bench you currently using? Does it have a story / history?
I have had my bench since 2007. It was made for me by one of my students, back when I was an artist in residence and taught evening classes. I knew exactly how I wanted it to be, so it was fantastic to have it made to my bespoke requirements. It has a little soldering table which I can pull out or put away. It is the perfect height for me to make granules – as this is the what I spend the majority of my time doing!
It has changed over the years, as when I was pregnant with my eldest daughter I had it cut in two, so I could have a bench at home as well as in the studio. Both benches are now reunited back in the studio, one for me and one for my assistant Judith to work from.
2. Which is your favourite tool, and why?
This is a tricky one as I have a few favorites! I have a beautiful old burnisher, with a wooden handle, the weight and proportions just work so well for me. I use this to add a fine polish line to the edge of my pieces or to harden earring posts. I also have a pair of tweezers and some snips which I have had since my university days in 2001. Both have become so important to my granulation process, the snips to cut metal for granules and the tweezers for picking up the granules. As I have had them for so long they almost feel like part of me – if they aren’t to hand things just don’t feel right!
3. What is the jewellery making technique / process you enjoy the most, and why?
Granulation! This is integral to everything that I make. I love the process and how, just by just changing the metal or the scale of the granule, you can create a completely different aesthetic. Making granules is very therapeutic and calming. Working with the granules is much more skilled - it absorbs all my attention and I can almost feel like I'm lost in the piece I'm creating. I love this feeling and the sense of discovering fresh, innovative ways to use these beautiful precious droplets.
4. Anything else you want to tell us about your jewellery bench?
My bench has some two bars fitted under the skin, where I keep all my pliers. This means they are easy to access and not clustering up the top of the work bench. When I am working I like to spread out across the whole bench, tools, metal, sketches and work are scattered across it. When I finish at the end of the day, I have to put everything back in its place - ready for a fresh start the next day!