From a very early age, I have always been obsessed with treasure, more specifically, very shiny, very beautiful treasure. As a little girl, I would beg my Grandmother to let me polish her brass plates and nic nacs. As an adult and a mother myself, I don’t know why she was so hard to persuade as I couldn’t think of anything I’d like more than to hear my 7 year old son asking if he could do a bit of cleaning! On the rare occasion that she agreed, I would be in heaven. I’d sit in front of her open fire with cleaning cloths in hand turning the mat, conker brown hues into rich, gleaming golden tones. The metamorphosis of this colour change felt like something close to magic.
I have vivid memories of waking up from pirate-esqu dreams, my small fists still clenched tightly shut from holding all of the shining coins, jewel encrusted crowns and bright rainbow coloured gemstones which I’d discovered buried deep within wooden chests, only to feel so much disappointment when I awoke to find them empty.
My obsession with shiny went hand in hand with anything miniature or even better, miniature with a kind of function. I still have my childhood sketchbooks where I’d taken apart old watches to study their inner workings. I’d sketch the cogs like a botanists sketches rare plants. I remember how much I loved the way that the cogs looked like tiny works of art, so small, so precise. Each unique, some patterned, some plain but when re-assembled, I loved how they worked together to enable something to move and flow, like little toy soldiers slowly waking up.
The collecting & recording of objects remained a constant for me whilst growing up. My grandfather’s shed was strictly out of bounds for my sister & I but whenever possible, I’d sneak in & marvel at the beautiful woodwork tools, well worn & oxidised from many years of work. Along with most men of his generation, he kept everything ‘just in case’. From tiny springs, nuts & bolts to worn down pencils & old picture frames. I still remember the soothing smell of that old shed, slightly musty but wooden, cedar tonnes.My grandad stored lots of these everyday treasures in drawers & matchboxes & it wasn’t long before I started to do collate my own treasure filled boxes. From dead bumble bees, butterfly wings & turquoise shards of discarded birds eggs to pressed wild flowers & plated meadow grasses, each element held a certain beauty to me..
Little did I know that I was slowly training myself to become a jeweller. My appreciation of tools, movement, repetition of shapes, patterns & forms and my obsessive need to collect and collate would stand me in good stead for what would become my passion & later my career.