Katherine Lawrie Jewellery

Designer & Maker

Tag: handmade

As any of my students will tell you I’m a bit of a stickler when it comes to original design. I accept that learning can come from imitating work by others. However, I feel that this can be a slippery slope. Once you learn to gain inspiration from someone else you become reliant on that being your source. I also acknowledge work may well be influenced by work of others as we are all swayed by fashion, trend and current styles.

I insist that learning a new craft should involve, learning to design too. This is not an easy skill, but once learnt becomes habitual. This skill cannot happen without input. Its a complex process that isn’t replicated in ‘normal’ life, and is not taught as a linear process. It’s almost learnt by osmosis at Art College.

Everyone’s design process is different. And many do, just think of a design and then make it! Others lean on their skills and process of technique to design. In my own work, I can’t help but be inspired by the area I live in, the countryside that surrounds my studio and the wildlife that lives there.

I recently joined my friend, Artist, Sarah Duffield on a walk around the Knepp Castle Estate, which is going to be featured in one of her paintings for a commission she has as part of Horsham Districts Year of Culture 2019.

 

I am inspired by a walk like this, but it also confirms ideas too.

During this walk I decided I will extend my local land marks range this year, which already includes Chanctonbury Ring. Adding the old Castle at Knepp, and the remains at Bramber Castle too. Can you think of any other icons I could add?

My working life is divided into making, teaching and selling what I have made.

Teaching goes on all year round apart from a break over the summer and Christmas.

Making tends to go in peaks and troughs throughout the year, but reaches its busiest in the months leading up to winter and in the spring. Previous to big selling seasons there is a lull in sales which gives which gives me the opportunity to reboot, stock take, design new work, try and predict what will sell in the next selling season and then make it. That is where we are now!

My busy selling seasons tend to be May-July and then November -December. All the while working on bespoke pieces and commissions for direct customers.

So the Christmas selling season is so very important to my business, and around 30% of sales are made between November and December.

This year is no exception. There are several opportunities to make a purchase. Most sales are made in person, but I have just added to my FACEBOOK shop and also have work available on FOLKSY

So where can you find my work between now and Christmas?

From the 31st October my work will be on display in a Pop-up Gallery in Worthing its called The Montague Gallery.
Open Wednesday to Sunday 10am to 4pm until the end of December (Closed Christmas day and Boxing day)

The Gallery will be displaying the work by 33 local and Sussex based artists. The venue has been painstakingly decorated to achieve a gallery finish which will really set off the work from the Artists and Makers.

 

 

Light up shoreham event in Shoreham by sea Friday 7th Dec 2018

Light up shoreham event in Shoreham by sea Friday 7th Dec 2018

Steyning arts at ChristmasSteyning Arts at Christmas which I have participated in from its inaugural year. Its such a great show withwork from local artists and Makers, accompanied with Tea and Cake which is sold to raise precious funds for SAfer (Steyning Area First Emergency Responders)  A one stop place to buy all your special gifts!

 

 

 

 

 

 

And last but not least, I will be holding and Open Studio 8th -16th December. 11am to 4pm.

This year is my 20th year in business, and I just though I’d mark this milestone by inviting nine local artists and makers to exhibit in my studio, which was a former stable. It seems quite fitting given the time of year. So, please, do join us in the Stable for a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie, and to enjoy the variety of goods on display for purchase.

 

 

 

Call 07866835640 or EMAIL for more details.

 

The Society was founded by a group of Botanical artists over 30 years ago, and now comprises of over 120 members. As a Society we hold one large exhibition every year, and members are currently working on an pieces for an exhibition which will be held at the Palmengarten in Frankfurt, Germany. We hold an exhibition biennially in Central London too. This calendar is interwoven with regional and themed exhibitions all over the country and abroad.

https://www.soc-botanical-artists.org/about/about-the-society/

Applying to be a member of the SBA was something I had never even considered until I had a conversation with my neighbour, Alice Harman SBA. Being a jeweller I assumed that an artist’s society was no place for me.

My plant inspired work has always been botanically inspired, and often very correct as quite often I use the botanical specimen to create the imprint on my silver. I use a technique called roller texturing which I learnt at college, as every jewellery student does. Once I left college this technique became the main focus for my work, I usually concentrated on leaves and flowers.

I offered my work for selection for the Open Exhibition and a few years down the line, my work having been selected every year, I was very pleased to be offered Associate and then Full membership. Over time I have seen the Societies’ exhibitions as a focus to create slightly more challenging and sculptural pieces. These have been very well received both by the Society, and my customers.

I was very honoured to be asked to design and make Sandra Wall-Armitage our President’s leaving present earlier this year. Which was presented to her at the Society’s AGM.

I am constantly looking for new inspiration in my surroundings, a walk in the countryside, around the garden or at the beach is always an excuse for a photo shoot to seek out the next piece of inspiration.

Follow me on Instagram to see what inspiration I’ve found recently!

Memorial Jewellery

Jewellery made in memory.

Jewellery has contained symbolism and has been part of the rituals in life for as far back as history has been recorded.

Angels wings

Adornments and jewellery have been used to represent and remember those who have died.

The ancient Egyptians valued personal adornment highly. The deceased were adorned for their send off into the afterlife. The symbols within these adornments were equally important to those alive and in memory for those who had died. The rarer the gemstones and materials the better, as this was a sign of great wealth and success. Gemstones where carved to emulate symbolic forms like scarab beetles which conveyed renewal, regeneration and endurance of the soul. Snakes were used as a representation of spirit guardians and the spirit, and also a symbol of ever lasting love.

Memento Mori jewellery (16th-18th Century) was created to remind us of the inevitability of death. This often contained skulls, coffins and skeletons, and were often worn in remembrance. Also the wearing of such jewellery would be regarded as a kind of talisman and was worn as protection and a constant reminder.

This idea has been modernised in line with contemporary life. One can now have jewellery made containing your loved ones ashes, and even have their remains made into diamonds.

It is possible that a jewellery was comparable to a photograph in todays society. To commission a painting may well have been too costly where as a token piece of jewellery might have been a more achievable price.

In present times we think of the Victorians being most noted for their mourning jewellery. White enamel would represent a single person, black a wife or husband and the use of pearls in a piece of mourning jewellery represented the death of a child. Inscriptions were often included in these pieces of jewellery.  The mourning period during Victorians times had strict rules and etiquette. Both women and men wore mourning jewellery.

Different stages of mourning were represented by different colours. After a period of time the mourner could progress to colours other than black or white. The colours of Blue, Grey and Purple would have been reflected in the jewellery that was worn.

Often money was left in a will for the purpose of creating morning rings for specified list of mourners. Jewellery often contained a piece of the relatives hair.

I have had the honour of making several pieces of jewellery which were commissioned in memory of someone who had died.

turquoise

Turquoise is know as a stone of protection.

 

 

 

 

How us it ‘that time if year’ again already?

Wow, it’s December 2017 on Friday. I simply don’t know where this year has vanished. My life seems to be steered by work and life, and trying to keep both on an even keel. 

  
Thankfully, the boys are very good at looking after themselves, and Big G, aka Granny keeps an eye out and helps with lifts when I simply can’t be in two places at once. 

Chaos reins at this time of year in my studio, it’s never orderly, but it really does get in to one big mess as I try to keep on top of all the orders and commissions.

  
This time of year the exhibitions and sales seem to be all or nothing, next week I’m taking part in three different events, all helping to celebrate buying local, supporting small businesses, and opting to buy hand made unique gifts for Christmas. 

   
    
   
We don’t need to buy oodles of plastic, electronic or designer gear. Why not give your loved one a gift that no one else in the whole wide world has. All the while know that you are supporting a local business. That business is probably run buy someone who loves what they do, they love to create, it’s what they do best. However, the only way they can make that lifestyle choice work is if they actually sell their work. Artists and makers are very privileged to be able to earn a crust creating, but it’s tough. You have to be a Jack of all trades, and on a steep learning curve. Being a sales person, a business manager, a procurement officer and a creator all at once.

Just think though you are purchasing a one off gift, quite often for a very small price. You are saving resources, buying original designs and getting something really special.

  
  
  
I do hope to see you at one of my last events of this year. 

On reflection it’s been great for me, with so many new designs and potential new clients. I’m really looking forward to next year, and seeing where it takes me!

www.klawriejewellery.co.uk
https://folksy.com/shops/katherinelawriejewellery

Symbolism and Jewellery

People, very often, find there own symbolism and meaning for a piece of jewellery. Items of jewellery are predisposed to having sentimental values and memories attached to them. Jewellery is sometimes the only belonging people will keep as a keep sake if someone dies, or someone gives to another as a sign or love or affection.

I was inspired by a visit to The Pre-Raphaelite exhibition I visited a couple of years ago, and by participation in an exhibition which was names the Language of Flowers, with the Society Of Botanical Artists.
The Victorians created a secret language which could be used in art and jewellery to send a message.
An inclusion of a piece of turquoise in a piece of jewellery would mean ‘Forget-me-not’, rosemary would mean remember, Oak symbolises strength, Ivy represents fidelity and loyalty and adding an emerald to a work could symbolise hope.

At the start of this year I took some time out to create a new collection/body of work to celebrate British Wildlife. When I started researching I noticed two things. The first that people tend to have an be attracted to or have an affinity to different animals, whether its to do with a memory or experience or they simply just ‘like’ that particular animal. Secondly, animals have symbolism.
So, here is what I discovered and examples of my new work.

Deer: love, gentleness, kindness
Deer

Raven: teacher, healer, protection, creation and knowledge
blog7

blog10

Bee: immortality, rebirth, order, purity, secret wisdom, honesty
Owl: wisdom, truth and patience
Goose: guardian, inspiration and happiness

bee

Fox: the provider, feminine magic, diplomacy

blog8

blog2

Wren: spirit, witchcraft

blog11

Rabbit: safety, overcoming limiting beliefs, nurturing

blog18

Seagull: carefree, versatility, freedom

blog6

Squirrel: gathering, protection, trust

blog4

Hare: fertility and sensuality

blog14

blog16

blog17

Swallow: Love, care, affection, strength

blog-swallow

These pieces are on sale direct from my studio or at the Open house exhibitions I will be taking part in this summer
events

How it all began……

People often ask when did I start making jewellery. I often answer when I was little.

Now you may think that little children can’t make jewellery, or indeed that they shouldn’t even be allowed in to a jewellery workshop! When me and my younger sister were little we lived in a house which had a purpose built studio attached to the back.

penfold

As my Dad, a jeweller, worked from home we spent many hours with him in his studio when he was working.

dad

I have vivid memories of hammering metal, creating melted blobs of silver from scraps and drilling holes with a hand drill. This was all before the age of ten!

I do often feel guilty that I haven’t offered this opportunity to my own children. The only time they actually entered into my studio, before the aged of ten, the boys grabbed hammers and began to whack them onto the anvil. Once they had left I found a sweet had been mashed into the cogs of my prized rolling mills. So that was the end of that!

When I was ten years old we moved from Steyning high street to a farm just outside the town. My dad set up a new workshop in the old farm buildings.

cowshed-two

I would often spend time ‘playing’ with bits of metal in his workshop.

When  I got to secondary school I manage to incorporate some of my designs into my coursework. I also found that my friends would actually pay me to make them pieces of jewellery, so it was a great way to earn some pocket money.

By the age of 17, I concentrated on working a piece from design through to finished product.I took part in Young Craftsman of the Year Competition, which was part of the South of England Show in June. I came third and won first place over a couple of years. Winning quite a nice pot of money! My winning piece’s design was derived from a poppy seed head.

yound-craftsman-of-the-year

At sixth form college I designed and made portable work bench. I think by this point I still regarded jewellery making as a hobby, but I did have several customers!

In 1993, once again following in my father’s footsteps, I went on to complete a foundation course at the Union Place campus of Northbrook College.

1995artunionplace

Thank you to The Worthing Sociey for this image of the building in 1995, it has since been replaced with housing.

I wasn’t very creative student, and my tutors were a little concerned that I didn’t have what it takes to go to Art College. I worked hard and learnt how to draw, paint, work in clay and develop photos. Than came the time where students had to decide which course to apply to next. My tutors took me to one side, and asked why I was applying for Jewellery and silversmithing courses. Obviously, I had forgotten to mention my hobby to them. I took my jewellery to show them, and I they were impressed!

I applied to the Surrey Institute of Arts and Design and completed a two year HND. From there I decide I was not yet ready to hit the real world, so I became a student at Edinburgh College of Art.

In 1997 reality hit, I left college and took over my Father’s studio, which had moved from the Cowshed to the Stable. I have been working there ever since.

 

 

 

 

It’s nearly ‘that’ time of year!

Every professional artist maker is hectic this time of year, making up orders or getting stock ready for sales, I’m no different.
The only problem for me is that my kids lives seem to go on extra busy too! So I become the juggler.

I’m currently getting all the stock sorted for:

20141121-080229.jpg

And also Steyning Arts at Christmas

20141121-080503.jpg

Getting ready for Christmas means that my stock design turns to making gifts, these do tend to be smaller pieces which are slightly more affordable and so slightly more available.

This year I am concentrating on helping raise money for Breast Cancer Care in memory of Jane. She was one of my students who battled with cancer for many years but lost that fight this summer.

20141121-080848.jpg

20141121-080931.jpg

20141121-080946.jpg

20141121-080958.jpg

20141121-081015.jpg

20141121-081029.jpg

20141121-081053.jpg

20141121-081137.jpg

20141121-081150.jpg

20141121-081202.jpg

I do love this time of year as I get to meet all my customers, who I may only see once a year. It’s fun to catch up! I enjoy making jewellery that I know is appreciated by others and bought with love!

If you would like to come an visit my studio please do get in touch.

Have a lovely festive season.

Spring time

20140317-094246.jpg

20140317-093602.jpg

20140317-093613.jpg

20140317-093624.jpg

20140317-093635.jpg

Spring time for me is one of the best times of year! Everything is bursting back into life after the winter. It is also a time of great promise, the gears are set into motion for the rest of the years exhibitions. Applications processed for all the up coming shows and open houses are filled in and stocks is prepared ready.
It seems to have been a busy few months already!
I have been asked to exhibit in two Open Houses in Brighton this year and have been heavily involved with the organisation of the Steyning Arts Art trail.
I will also be taking part in Henfield garden and arts event in June. This sees the conclusion of my eight weeks with no weekend breaks! It’s hard work but a necessary evil when you work for yourself! I love meeting the people who buy my work, it’s the closure of the circle for me, it’s weird not knowing your client.
Today I’m off up to London to take my work up to the annual exhibition for The Society of Botanical Artist, I have been a member for a few years now and am one of only a few non painter members. The exhibition is always brimming with gorgeous images of botanical life, a highlight on my calendar!

20140317-094253.jpg

20140317-094303.jpg

20140317-094633.jpg

20140317-094643.jpg

20140317-094721.jpg