Posted: Emma White
A founder jeweller of our Jewellery Collective and a very lovely person
Melanie has been with THE JEWELLERY MAKERS from the very beginning, 3 years ago, when the seeds of the idea were sown at BCTF, a Trade Fair for Contemporary Craft in Harrogate. However I've known Mel a lot longer than that and I've always admired her beautiful jewellery and her lovely softly spoken way of interacting with people. I knew she would be an absolute pleasure to work with and was delighted that she agreed to come on board as one of our founder jewellers. We started out with the stunning high end 'Electra', gold and silver jewellery collection, and have been planning to launch 'Halo' her luscious coloured enamel jewellery collection for some time. Finally it is ready to launch and I am very excited to be able to share it with you.
But first, a little insider knowledge about Mel and what it is like, in her own words, to make jewellery for a living.
What inspired this collection/your work?
In designing this collection I very much wanted a form that would be minimal and simple to let the gorgeous enamel colour speak for itself. I also wanted a form that allows the light to interact with the transparent nature of the enamel, and these concave forms create an optical illusion in some lights, so they almost look like gem stones. I am just so drawn to colour and find it's so great for adding to an outfit - you can change a look just by the choice of necklace.
What do you love most about making jewellery?
I've always loved making all sorts of things things, be it clothes, crafts, food or diy! But jewellery is so special as it is often a way to show appreciation to a loved one, a reminder of a special day or person, or a treat to make yourself feel special and treasured. The meaning that goes along with jewellery is so wonderful and it's such a privilege to create things that are meaningful and enduring like that.
What is your least favourite thing about making jewellery?
I'm not sure - perhaps the accounts, but I have learned to love all of the different aspects of running a business and the new things that you have to learn. Making the jewellery is only a small part of the story really.
Where are you based in the country, where did you start out?
Now I am in Hinckley, Leicestershire in my own workshop. When I started I I shared a workshop in the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham which was a wonderful place to be in many ways, but I moved to Worcester and the commute was not fun.
What does your creative space look like? Is it tidy or messy?
My current workspace is great, I have lots of natural light, it veers between very tidy and very messy! I have to admit to being naturally a little untidy so I start the day with a clear bench but as the day goes on and I work on things, it can get a little cluttered until I have to stop and clear the desks before starting again! I'd love more space but I would probably buy more tools and spead out to fill it - somewhere peaceful and calm, maybe a workshop in the garden or even with a sea view one day!
How would you describe your own sense of style?
I suppose relaxed with a touch of hippy. I love a vintage dress or a colourful skirt. What is your favourite outfit and what jewellery (from your collection) would you wear with it? I have a gorgeous yellow skirt in a kind of waffle fabric. I didn't wear it for quite some time as I thought it was perhaps too bright but I love wearing it now - it has such a great shape and cheery colour. It's fab with a multi-strand necklace either from the Electra collection or a contrasting blue is really fun.
Who inspires you?
At the moment I'm rediscovering the work of artist Andy Goldsworthy, the way he creates sculptures in nature is just so amazing.
Do you have any workshop company?
At the moment during lockdown, my only company is Polly the little black cat but I love to listen to 6 music or listen to podcasts, something funny or vaguely educational!
What is/are your career highlights?
I have been lucky enough to exibit at some wonderful shows. Art in Action was always wonderful, Goldsmiths Fair in London, plus Loot in New York, I do miss all of the shows at the moment. Another of my favourites was a collection I did for the British Museum to accompany an exhibition to celebration a beautiful temple in Iran.
What is your favourite piece in your collection?
My favourite pieces at the moment are the Two in One Earrings, I am enjoying mixing and matching the shapes and colours. Watch this space for more options soon!