Part of our ‘Meet the Resident Makers’ series
Yes, that is Nancye with and ‘e’ on the end. An addition in the ‘70s which could have been Nansi if I hadn’t seen my current spelling in an advert … but that is another story.
I too am obsessed. Obsessed more with the design and making of jewellery than the wearing but I do love to dress up when given the chance. The obsession probably started as young as about 5 when I saw one of my sister’s drawings and thought ‘I want to do that – I want to be an artist”. Later, I found my niche with the help of a very good friend of the family and antique jewellery dealer with a shop on Bond Street and clientele to match.
My first tentative steps into selling my work helped me to see exactly what type of jewellery I wanted to make … technique-led art jewellery – but I still wanted (needed?) to sell it! This was the dichotomy, art jewellery was more difficult to sell, less commercial but I was fortunate with my second range called GILT. Based on Egyptian hieroglyphics it was a relative success and when I came back to making jewellery after nearly 20 years of earning a living (!), I used a similar design principle, style and technique to initially inspire and prompt ideas.
For the last ten years I have been inspired by things I never thought would end up as jewellery. Saxon bucket decoration, ellipses, prehistoric standing stones, Neolithic man (yep…), Neolithic pottery shards (with dots on!), sea urchins (ok, that one is a little more obvious), Cumbrian red sandstone walls (see above), Strata (so obsessed) and more recently, Planets (Nasa images etc etc). I have two more concepts evolving, local (Borrowdale and Keswick) Arts & Crafts inspired and The Lakes, who cannot be inspired by the Lakes!
Which brings me to The Makers Mill. Having now set up over a dozen workshops, I’m beginning to get an idea what works. On the banks of the river Greta overlooking Fitz Park not only does the position inspire but the open, modern and light space makes for a perfect environment to create and make. I also love being around other artists and I am thrilled to be a part of Luke and Sophie’s journey to create a shared learning environment for local artists and craftsmen.