Friday, 24 May 2013

Meeting Jewellery Designer Carole Allen

Cornwall Open Studios starts this weekend so we’ll be out and about getting tempted and inspired by a whole host of creative people. Carole Allen is part of this years line-up and we are so pleased she found time to talk to us!
How did you get into making jewellery?
I signed up for some evening classes in silversmithing at Cornwall College just as a hobby, many years ago. Before long I was hooked by the bug, invested in a few tools from Kernowcraft and started making some bits for friends and family at home. 
Describe your workspace
I have the most amazing purpose-built studio in my back garden, which is split into two rooms – one for teaching and 1 for working. Everyone who comes in loves it and I know how lucky I am to be working in such a lovely sunny space. 
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by nature and most of my Jewellery has an organic feel. I also have a passion for colour and many of my enamelled pieces are inspired by the colours and hues of the Cornish coastline. 
What’s your favourite gemstone and why?
Of course I love diamonds – who doesn’t!  They’re so easy to set as there’s no worry about breaking them or destroying them in the ultrasonic cleaner.
I also enjoy coloured stones, my favourites being peridot, aquamarine, rhodolite and amethyst.
What advice would you offer beginners wanted to start making their own jewellery?
Find a good teacher to learn the basics and then continue to learn from books until you decide what you want to specialise in. When you know, do some master classes with your heroes. That’s how I did it. It’s taken time but I now feel that I have a broad range of knowledge. 
What jewellery making technique do you use most often?
I don’t think there’s any one thing that I mostly do as every technique leads to another. Piercing leads to filing, which leads to soldering, which leads to buffing, which leads to polishing. 
Which other jewellery maker or designer do you admire? And why? 
I much admire some of the enamel artists with whom I’ve had the privilege to learn the art of enameling. These include Jessica Turrell, Joan Mackarrel and Gillie Byrom. I also love the work of Jessa Marshall for it’s mysterious and organic nature.
Why do you love Kernowcraft?
I love Kernowcraft because everything is of such a high quality.  I know if I order stones that I won’t be disappointed. I also like the fact that if I order in the morning, I’ll receive my parcel the next day, with minimum postage costs.
Carole Allen also offers courses in jewellery making and will be in her studio from 25th May – 2nd June. For more information visit Open Studios Cornwall.

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