About two years ago I became aware of the number of independent designers on the net making lovely, different jewellery but most of them were US based. I found some supplies and started to make some jewellery for myself and friends and family which went down well then wondered if jewellery like this would appeal to other people like me in the UK. I took a leap of faith and launched This Charming Girl in October 2006 and haven't looked back!
What/who are your inspirations?
Lots of things - my friends, girls I pass in the street, films, vintage jewellery, trends over the years, music (after all my site was named after a Smiths song!) and especially my customers.
Sometimes I'll make a necklace and think "would anyone apart from me like this?!" and when it sells it's the biggest inspiration.
What do you think the difference is between art and craft?
I think they tend to overlap but generally craft is more functional as opposed to being for display. Personally I feel art and craft are one and the same as they both involve being creative, using skill and producing something from your imagination.
Any crafty tips to share?
I have to recommend the Craftermath forum! It's a great place to seek and share advice with fellow crafters and was a great help to me when I started.
For supplies I recommend the internet (I use it for practically everything), particularly eBay. There are many dedicated sellers there stocking everything you could ever need for your chosen craft, all you have to do is take a bit of time to search.
For inspiration, look at Etsy.com - it's similar to eBay but for handmade goods and there are some wonderful crafters selling their wares.
What do you think about the current UK craft scene?
It's certainly growing all the time, more and more people are turning to indie designers instead of the highstreet because they want to look more individual. I've seen a lot of talented young girls opening their own online shops recently selling everything from handmade jewellery like myself to lingerie, bags, stationery etc.
The UK scene isn't as developed as the US scene but it is getting there!
Also be sure to look at the Happy Customers! page to see some of the gorgeous jewellery modelled by real customers!
I just want to say a big thank you to Jackie - as a previous customer and now delighted owner of 'Secret Garden'
and also for the forum plug (which wasn't even hinted at by me!).