The new web shop and updated web site are now live. The web shop now has almost 100 products, all the images taken with my iPhone at the jewellery bench where they were made. The new bench at Goldsmiths with its large windows, great light, professional jewellery lamp is bringing out the life in the stones. My favourite image is on this amethyst cocktail ring.
In my 20 years as a jewellery designer, I have had three jewellery bench pegs. Its where these photos were taken, on the iPhone with a jewellery loop. I think the reason why these images work is that they are where the jewellery starts – at the bench peg. Its where you make your work, carve your place in the world. Your bench is where you learn and practice and learn again. This bench peg in studio No. 55 – is where the silver flower met the victorian flower setting. This setting needs saving, it needs to be passed on to the next generation – its 6th. Its the designers profession to draw and design and sell. To find the skills that need saving, enable them to be passed on by creating a demand and desire for them in a new form.
Kate is thrilled announce that she is now working for Elizabeth Bradley Design – learning the craft of painting needlepoint canvas.
“this is a great opportunity to add painting skills to my botanical drawings, Elizabeth Bradley are a great brand to work for. Their botanical needlepoint using Victorian cross stitch are very inspiring. The new design director is a great believer in drawing as a key skill within design”
Kate’s new collections with the Victorian flower setting are having a great response at the autumn shows. The bespoke orders are coming in for the new collections, this is pushing Kate Hodgson Jewellery to the next level. This exciting development – frees up time for new skills and new experiences like working with Elizabeth Bradley.
New flower settings on show at Hand Made at Kew next week from 6-9th October. So excited to be exhibiting in the church of plants and all things botanical and to top it all Marianne North finally got her moment with an hour long documentary on her life and plant paintings with Kew’s Forgotten Queen on BBC4. New web shop up running so have a look at all the colours and stones and flower settings inspired by plants, come to Kew and see Hand Made with designers galore and take a moment to visit the Marianne North Gallery at Kew Gardens – a build dedicated to plants a church Darwin helped to inspire. Below a quote by Darwin which is as inspiring as Mariannes paintings, contrary to traditional botanical drawings of the time placing the plants on isolated empty back grounds, Marianne painted her plants where they grew with the interconnect life Darwin talks of below:
“It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent upon each other in so complex a manner.” Darwin
Count down to the first show of the season has started! New web shop should be ready to roll by the 6-9th October. Working hard on getting the show stock looking really beautiful with rich colours in the stones and plant inspired forms. It will be amazing to be near the plants at Kew and near the Marianne North Gallery with her sprit and stunning plant paintings always an inspiration.
I have been with Craft Central for almost 17 years. The support they give to business is weaved through my work. I remember sitting in the basement of pennybank and being told about this thing called “Google” and being taught how to do a web search – I said “where do I type what I want to find?”. Mad to think about it. I remember in all the fog of having little children going on a courses about this thing called “social media”. What social media can offer the self employed person, battling to do every task in a business. Its Craft Central that helps you look up from the jewellery bench and see whats ahead. This is what they have done with the new media, endlessly pushing the business benefits – for a visual business person, this new age is a massive boost. I have an app for every part of my business life now. izetter for taking payments, Quick books soon or Xero for my accounts and business management. I have no need to pay a PR agent – I can grow the business through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, blogging. I have an app for managing my bank account, an app for running my web shop. I have now developed a way of taking all my web shop images on my iphone with a jewellery loop, so my photography cost with drop. I will still need those stunning press shoots – I could never get that good with images but I can run and manage a web shop with 100 items now. Phew! And with this new media I can support my galleries with news and images rather than take business away from them. This media can development healthy business relationships, create connections, that are about the beauty of what you have made, with your own hands and eyes. What Craft Central and the other designers and makers do, is to push you and your business to renew and reinvent. I have now worked out a way to use Facebook to store my images and then down load them when I need, like a free icloud. Thats just such a tool with 100 products on a web shop and the memory you have to manage on your iphone. You just have to roll up your selves and learn and sell and grow and survive. You still need paper certainly, my files are all neat and tidy now – you still need drawing that is your competitive advantage, the hand skill that will never be replaced. It is a new world for a designer of 47 and we are very blessed to have all this magic at our finger tips and Craft Central to nag us about using it with their business courses.
I launched my business in 1995. I trained for four years getting a 2:1 BA hons. My designing career in the jewellery industry as lasted over 20 years and I am almost at the top of my profession and I have two children now 9 and 12. My new accountant now has a copy of my business plan which re launched my collections. When I first spoke to him to give an over view, he referred to my job a “hobby”. It is a very common mistake when your a jeweller and a woman. We laughed a bit and I corrected him. A hobby takes place in your leisure time, it takes you away from work, it gives you joy or you would not do it. No one wants to spend their leisure time doing something that brings them anything other than joy – if that happened you would change your hobby.
Now jewellery over the last 20 years as given me, an income, a tool to intellectually prove myself, it has given me a understanding of economics and a story together create an income revenue. It has also been one of the hardest things I have ever done, I have cried endlessly, I have been rejected too many times to remember, I have been ripped off, I have been let down, I have risked every penny and ounce of my energy in achieving what I have achieved. I have met some of the kindest people and some of the hardest people – every industry has the same of both. I have realized that jewellery is a “trade” and we all a little bit the same – we need to move our hands a lot, listen intently and love to buy some for less than we sell it for. So here I am 20 years on – still having the label hobby given to my occupation. The test is has jewellery given me joy, no I cant say joy – thats too simple. Moments of achievement in all the struggle yes and a pot of gold at the end – almost there. I have taken up surfing as a hobby – this will give me joy and make it clear that I have a business which is my career and a sport that is my hobby. And if surfing feels anything like being a jeweller, I will find another hobby fast.
Orders for the new fine jewellery collection are part of the new year at Kate Hodgson Jewellery. Gallery orders, web orders, appointment in the Clerkenwell studio are building, as the new collection, drawings, web site, on line shop, photographs build in reputation. Yellow and white gold ring collection is now on show at Pyramid Gallery, this gallery is called Pyramid for a reason – you have to get to the top brick by brick to be selected – so its great to have the fine jewellery collection on show here. Gill Wing are building the diamond and emerald collection in yellow gold with the delicate flower set stud earrings and pendants. In celebration I found the time to develop a new slide show for the web site with drawings and jewellery side by side. One would not happen without the other. A successful application to Hand Made at Kew in October topped off the start of 2016. The drawings come from Kew Gardens so to be there along side Marianne North who is one of my key inspirations – good design set where it comes from makes great business. Come and see the collections at open studios in May. Click on the links below to see social media links and web shop.