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Delicate and meaningful jewellery inspired by nature.

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Filtering by Category: Inspiration

New Celestial Jewellery

Erica Sharp

Hello! I hope you're all well and enjoying summer? I'd like to share some new designs with you all, I've recently added some new pieces to my celestial range. I love watching the stars and moon this time of year, there's nothing more beautiful than stargazing on a warm summer's evening.

I was so inspired by pieces I've seen online from the Met Museum's "Heavenly Bodies" exhibition, especially the exquisite textures and details from the Byzantine Empire, and the way these translate into contemporary fashion design. I only wish I could go there in person to see the show in real life.... but for now I have been watching videos and slideshows in awe. The exhibition's theme is fashion inspired by the Catholic religion, with many highly detailed artefacts and fashion designs on show. I'm really drawn to the designs in opulent golds and reds, it's such a beautiful colour combination and I think that's why I love gold with rubies and garnets so much!

 Byzantine cross, from the Met Museum's Heavenly Bodies exhibit.

Byzantine cross, from the Met Museum's Heavenly Bodies exhibit.

I wanted to experiment with intricate textures and so designed some crescent moons with both engraved details and relief. Here is one of the moon designs in wax form, before it was cast in silver. 

 Crescent moon hand carved in wax.

Crescent moon hand carved in wax.

I was really pleased with the way this turned out as it was hard to imagine it in silver. I also etched in a secret message on the back of the pendant, "a la luna", meaning "to the moon". I love the secret language and symbolism of jewellery and thought this would be a special sentiment for its wearer.

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 A special secret message.

A special secret message.

I created another little moon which I've made into a ring, pendant and earrings, and also a simple textured disc pendant set with a tiny white sapphire. Here are some of the new pieces together.

 Celestial magic!

Celestial magic!

I've also carved a teeny tiny north star in wax, I'm not sure what it will be like in metal just yet, but will post an update if I decide to add it to the shop. I've also got a few new ring designs that I'm waiting to come back from casting, and hope to add some of these to the shop for Christmas.

 North star in jeweller's wax.

North star in jeweller's wax.

I hope you've enjoyed reading about my design process and that you like my new pieces. Wishing you all a lovely week and will post another update here sometime soon!

Erica x

Skill swap day with Upside Down Tree Studio

Erica Sharp

Hi everyone, can you believe its nearly the end of May already, these last few months have whizzed by! I've been very lucky and have recently had two amazing holidays to Valencia and Naples, both very beautiful cities, and wonderful memories made with friends and family.

I've been meaning to write about a skill swap day I did with Denya, jewellery designer and founder of Upside Down Tree Studio, because it was such a brilliant opportunity to connect with another creative and share our skills and form a new friendship. I got to know Denya over Instagram and we had talked about meeting up for a while. When Denya asked if I wanted to meet to do a skill swap day I jumped at the chance, the thought of sharing our skills really appealed to me. Denya works in precious metal clay which I was keen to learn more about, and Denya was interested in developing some wax carving techniques. 

Take a look at some of Denya's gorgeous jewellery designs... aren't they stunning?

 The detailed textures on Denya's feather pendant are exquisite.

The detailed textures on Denya's feather pendant are exquisite.

 The most delicate daisy earrings. So dainty and are on my wishlist!

The most delicate daisy earrings. So dainty and are on my wishlist!

On the day of our skill swap I drove through the beautiful West Sussex countryside to Denya's home where she made me feel instantly welcome. We hit it off straight away and spent a lot of time chatting over a shared love of jewellery design and creativity in general- she also showed me some amazing ceramics she had created at a previous skills swap day with a potter, they were beautiful! Denya is really keen to take the concept of skill swap further which I think is such a wonderful idea; I've mentioned it to several other designer friends and they were equally enthusiastic about the concept. What are your thoughts on this, would you be keep to join a skill swap community and be able to share your skills whilst learning new ones? 

Denya works from her home studio, and she also teaches precious metal clay classes which you can read about here. She is a thorough, patient and encouraging teacher and I really felt like I learned a lot about the science of precious metal clay which I never knew about before. The day left me full of inspiration to develop some ideas of my own. It's such an interesting technique and would love to share a little of what I made....

The precious metal clay can be sculpted like regular clay but there are special ways in which to handle it I was unaware of. Denya showed me a really great technique where I could create a relief effect on the clay. As I love drawing this was so exciting to do! The clay was left to dry out and was then ready to fire. I could not wait to see what happened- it was magical alchemy before my eyes!

 Firing the precious metal clay. Care needs to be taken with timings and temperatures.

Firing the precious metal clay. Care needs to be taken with timings and temperatures.

Once the precious metal clay was fired and quenched, I polished it with a brass brush and special papers to buff and get a lovely shine and finish. 

 And as if by magic... the brass brush revealed beautiful shiny silver! 

And as if by magic... the brass brush revealed beautiful shiny silver! 

I loved the alchemical nature of this process and the detailed, delicate effects that were created. Denya also showed me some other techniques like using moulds which were also really amazing. Learning a new and exciting skill in the company of a fellow designer was so much fun! I'm hoping to do more of this (more skill swaps anyone?) as it's a lovely way to learn and support one another's craft.

The pendant was polished when I got home and is now a pretty little pendant that I love wearing. Not only does it show off a new skill I now love but also a new friendship formed over a shared love for creativity.

 After buffing with a brass brush.

After buffing with a brass brush.

We then spent some time doing some wax filing and carving (and making loads of mess!) and I showed Denya a few wax methods of taking away and building up. I wish we had had more time as the day ended too quickly but I have promised Denya a visit to my house when my new little studio is ready.

One thing Denya shared with me before I left was some stories about her Father. He sounded like an wonderful creative man who taught himself many skills, and shared them with other creatives and artists in the same way that Denya and I did. She opened a box of the tiniest most delicate silver castings that her Father had made; of the many things he did, he had taught himself the art of lost wax casting. How incredible is that! I was really touched that I was able to take a little crab pendant away with me and I am wearing it now, I think it is a really precious piece of jewellery. That's what I love most about jewellery- the story and meaning it holds is what makes it so very special to the wearer.

 My new leaf pendant next to Denya's Father's crab charm. It's so tiny and I adore it!

My new leaf pendant next to Denya's Father's crab charm. It's so tiny and I adore it!

If you want to find out more about Upside Down Tree Studio, see the details below:

Shop: https://www.upsidedowntreestudio.com

Precious Metal Clay Classes: https://www.upsidedowntreestudio.com/classes/

Also if any of you would like to share your thoughts on a skill swap community, skills you'd love to learn or share, I would love to hear your thoughts!

Chelsea Physic Garden

Erica Sharp

Hello! I hope you're all having a great weekend. Spring has sprung, hooray! I absolutely love this time of year when mother nature wakes from her slumber. At the moment I am designing and making jewellery inspired by wildflowers and botanicals, and am heading outdoors a lot more in search of inspiration.

Last week I went into town to drop some pieces off for casting, and had an hour free so decided to visit the Chelsea Physic Garden. I'd been a few summers ago with my Mum for her birthday, we had an amazing lunch in the Tangerine Dream Cafe before exploring the gardens. Founded in 1673 by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries to study and identify medicinal plants, it's the oldest botanical garden in London; a beautiful little haven tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the nearby King's Road. A warm microclimate is created within its secret garden walls, housing some of the rarest plants and trees, including a grapefruit tree, gingko tree and the largest olive tree in Britain. The beautiful glasshouses house exotic plants and flowers, and the different sections in the gardens showcase the wide range of healing and medicinal properties of the plants and flowers growing there. It's a real hidden gem and I will be coming back in the summer to gather more inspiration for my designs. 

It was the most glorious day in the sunshine and a perfect way to spend an hour relaxing surrounded by beautiful greenery. Do give the gardens a visit if you are ever in the area. The cafe is also wonderful and the food and cakes are delicious. 

Where are your favourite gardens in the UK?

Nest and Make

Erica Sharp

Hi everyone! Have you had a lovely Christmas? We have just got back from staying at my parent's house and now enjoying some quiet time at home. I love these in between Christmas and New Year days, doing a little bit of work here and there but nothing too taxing. A nice few days to slow down, reflect on the year gone, and see a new one in.

 A highlight of staying at my parent's is walking at Nonsuch Park every morning. A beautiful 300 acres of parkland which was once the home of Henry VIII's Nonsuch Palace.

A highlight of staying at my parent's is walking at Nonsuch Park every morning. A beautiful 300 acres of parkland which was once the home of Henry VIII's Nonsuch Palace.

I find the beginning of winter such a lovely cosy time of year and one that draws me in to spending evenings making things with my hands. There is something comforting, safe and satisfying about it. As the darker nights set in, it is a ritual I look forward to each year.

 An embroidery I've been working on- my "slow art" project.

An embroidery I've been working on- my "slow art" project.

 The immediate and etherial nature of watercolours is something I love. Those smudgy drips of colour have a mind of their own!

The immediate and etherial nature of watercolours is something I love. Those smudgy drips of colour have a mind of their own!

January and February are harder months and I quite often feel less motivated- but I am determined to continue creating my own colour and inspiration as the dark cold nights press on. To challenge myself I have introduced a hashtag on Instagram, #NestandMake, and I'd be delighted if you would like to join in. It can be anything that's created by hand and with love; from baking, to floral arrangements, sketches, or a rustic flat lay. I would love to see the different interpretations of how we nest and make, and discover more about your winter rituals. Instagram is such a wonderful community; so many things catch my eye and fill me with awe and inspiration, I'm looking forward to see how we all capture that magic of cosiness and creativity.

 A little woodland faffing with our acorn necklace.

A little woodland faffing with our acorn necklace.

 Ivy and dried wildflowers collected from the woods made a festive garland for our fireplace.

Ivy and dried wildflowers collected from the woods made a festive garland for our fireplace.

 Our buzzy bumblebee necklace against a little sketch of wildflowers.

Our buzzy bumblebee necklace against a little sketch of wildflowers.

 An illustrated winter's poem.

An illustrated winter's poem.

What are you making this winter? What winter rituals bring you comfort and joy?