"Anyone can love a rose but it takes a lot to love a leaf. It's ordinary to love the beautiful but it's beautiful to love the ordinary."
I'm Jen, a jeweller based in Gateshead, UK. There's me in my home studio!
I graduated in 2016, from Hereford College of Arts with a degree in BA(Hons) Contemporary Design Crafts and previous to that I attended Cleveland College of Art & Design (now known as The Northern School of Art) in Hartlepool where I studied FdA Applied Arts.
Over the years I've been on quite a rollercoaster of discipline changes. From textiles, to ceramics (I'm allergic to clay, of all things!) and now I work in paper & metal!
After learning how to make jewellery in 2012 at university, I didn't engage with metal to the point of making wearable pieces for a couple of years. However in 2017, I set up a mini-jewellery studio in my outhouse in the garden and started playing around with metal again. This decision was brought on by a "career change", I'd gotten a job as a Jewellery Sales Assistant in a small family run company. Having a working Jeweller's bench in the back of the shop definitely gave me the drive to pick up my tools again.
I've always been drawn to nature, ever since I can remember. I was lucky enough to have a large garden to play in and explore as a child and I think this played a huge part in my love for flowers and the great outdoors. So it was natural (excuse the pun...) for me to choose a leaf as my motif!
I just love the simplicity, elegance and familiarity of the leaf motif. As the quote above says, it takes a lot to love a leaf because it's ordinary. But to me it's not ordinary, its beautiful and deserves to be immortalised in metal and worn with pride.
In June 2019, I got married! I made everything from wedding invitations to my jewellery to table settings...never again... But this is how I developed my paper flowers. I made paper sunflowers, roses and daisies to adorn my table plan and other items that were to be used on the day! Now these flowers are used in all my displays and I use them a great deal in my photography of my jewellery pieces. One day I hope to create a gorgeous window display with them!
On 30th August 2019, I declared myself self-employed and left my job as a Jewellery Sales Assistant! It was the biggest decision of my life and I took a massive leap of faith but it turned into one of the best decisions.
I still have a day job as an Assistant Designer in an artist studio where I'm surrounded by amazing creatives. Emerging myself in such a gifted pool of artists and designers has really helped me grow both as a person and a creative.
When I'm not at the day job, I can be found in my indoor studio! I packed up the shed (sometimes I go out there if I need to be super noisy and the husband is home!) and moved into our spare room! I can be found at the jewellery bench making more exciting jewellery pieces or at my desk designing or making paper flowers for displays!
In the near future, I hope to exhibit my work in gallery shops and at craft fairs across the country! Due to Covid that's been put on hold but you can catch me showing my work on instagram! @JenLithgo