22 September 2012

Find me on the High Street

It's just so exciting. A few weeks ago, little old me - Charlotte Bezzant Jewellery, was selected as one of a handful of Start Up businesses, given the opportunity to take my product to the British High Street as part of Start up Britain.

Here's what StartUp Britain says about PopUp Britain: "A temporary shop in Richmond will be occupied by Britain’s most promising small enterprises for two weeks on a rolling basis. All of these start-up retailers already run online businesses, but none of them have the financial clout to take on a shop single-handed.  That's why StartUp Britain has stepped in to offer a co-working, co-funded space for brands to explore new ways of working - and a whole new audience."

So the countdown is on. The shop is in prime position, right opposite Richmond Station. The project is sponsored by such companies as PayPal, Dell and Intel; and supported by the likes of John Lewis and Dwell.

It's quite a leap for a one woman business like mine, and to be honest, I have no idea what the next couple of weeks hold for me. The bottom line is that I know I love what I do; and from the experience of taking my product to the public through the Borough's annual Open Studio Event - I do know I like meeting people and talking about it too! So I am positive that it will be an enjoyable and exciting experience, and that eventually, I will catch up on the sleepless nights leading up to it's start!

To find out how it's going, I promise to keep blogging through at www.cbezzant.blogspot.com, but if it's easier to remember, you can follow links at www.charlottebezzant.com

21 September 2012

New rings

This week I have been turning some of the lovely stones that I bought at IJL, and that I had in stock, into what I consider to be a scrummy bunch of rings. (It can be a very self indulgent thing this jewellery making. I would happily wear every one of these. But not at the same time you understand - that would just be excessive!) Anyway - the pictures are only work in progress as not one ring is polished or the stone set. I am going to give them all a high polish finish, but I must admit I am really keen on a brushed finish against these subtle blues. Some of these are whoppers, and this is the first time I have worked with a big pyramid cut stone. Jewellery makers reading this will appreciate the extra problems a square bezel can cause. I hope you like them!

19 September 2012

West Dean College

A weekend at West Dean is one of life's luxuries that I wish I could indulge in more often. Offer me a weekend at Spa with endless beauty treatments, or one with hours in a studio immersed in something arty, and the second would win hands down.

West Dean is a truly amazing place. It is based in a huge country house, surrounded by rolling grounds, in the Sussex countryside. It serves good food, has a great bar, and offers all sorts of courses, taught by some of the best tutors in their discipline. If you don't know West Dean, I urge you to take a look at their website here. I spent last weekend there starting to learn what I consider to be a dying art - hand engraving, taught by Wayne Parrot.

On past visits to West Dean, I have been doing textile courses, and this was my first time in the silversmithing studio there. It was really well equipped. Look at all this:

I was surprised to find the first bit of our course consisted of us making our own tools. We had to anneal, harden and temper steel, to makes rounded end and sharp scribes, and then we had to sharpen our gravers. To be honest, this was not what I was expecting, and I found it rather frustrating as it was new and difficult - but luckily Wayne came to my aid, and I now have the most precious set of scribes and gravers which can last me a life time!

We were a mixed bunch on the course. Some had done a little engraving, most had done none. A couple of guys were clock makers who wanted to engrave clock faces. One of the girls had raised a copper bowl that she wanted to engrave, someone wanted to enamel over the marks she engraved, and I was most interested in the ability to engrave text. (Which Wayne does oh so beautifully, and with the lightest of touches.)

We started with a really traditional heraldic design, which had lots of flowing marks to engrave. We had to scribe it onto acetate, rub conte crayon into the scratches, rub plasticine onto our metal plate, then turn the acetate over and burnish it down so the design was transferred to the plate. To make it more permanent, we then went over it very lightly with our rounded end scribe.

Then we were away; engraving our plates. I did the lion once, and found I was already a bit better when I completed it, than when I started it, so I turned my plate over and did it again. Much as I would like to share the pictures of the finished item with you - I have found that I didn't take a picture of it - so you will have to wait. Instead I'll leave you with some pictures of Wayne's work - and to be honest, they are much nicer to look at anyway!

11 September 2012


It's so exciting. Just as I was writing my 'Good things happen' post, I had another bit of fantastic news, that I had to wait a while to share with you.

Before I tripped off on my holidays, I had answered a 'call for makers' to apply to madebyhandonline.com. 

If you are not familiar with this site, you really must take a look. Here is what it says about itself "Madebyhandonline provides the ultimate antidote to buying mass-produced : bringing personality, individuality and something truly authentic to your home. Love the things you buy, get to know the person who made it. We offer a unique selection of beautiful hand made gifts to buy from some of Britain and Ireland’s most exciting contemporary designer makers. Shop for handmade jewellery, ceramics, bags, scarves, glass, furniture, sculpture, textiles and much more. Support British Handmade."

I am truly astounded that I have been selected to have my work alongside some amazing designer makers that I admire. This week I have been building my page. It still needs a few tweaks, but please pop along and take a look. You can see some pieces on there that I have not offered for sale on-line before.

I am going to be very busy in the studio, working on pieces for the site, and hope to share some new designs there soon. 

Best of all, madebyhandonline.com are truly committed to supporting British Contemporary Craft, and have generously offered me a package of support as a new contemporary craft business, which includes invaluable advice and mentoring. Let's hope it's the start of a long and happy relationship!

September garden

It was lovely to be in my garden studio today. A beautiful September day. I had the doors wide open. The sky was a beautiful blue, the sun was shining, and it warming the floor by my feet. Bliss.

I had to write a little bit about myself the other day, and I mentioned that I worked in a garden studio with my chickens one side, and my vegetable patch the other. Today as I worked at one end of the garden, I watched the chickens sneak into the kitchen at the other end. (They know they can find food there!) Through the glass doors, I watched them peck the crumbs from under the breakfast table - naughty things!

The veggie patch is full of little things to look at. Here are my little terracotta cane toppers, a willow obelisk that I use to grow beans or peas up, 'magic stones' that I pick up at the beach hanging on my shed, 'our patch' that I carved in Cotswold stone (after I did a stone carving course), a bird house, and one for ladybirds to hibernate in, some lanterns, and an old beer flaggon from where my husband grew up....

...There's a good crop of courgettes - both green and yellow this year, some corn, some beetroot, leeks, onions, Pumpkin 'Jack o Lantern' grown for carving, and a tiny variety of pumpkin I grow to eat on Halloween, you roast them whole, chop the top off and add a knob of butter...

I keep meaning to do a post about the inside of my studio. I'll try to get round to it soon!

10 September 2012

For 'W'

I sold a pair of these on Etsy. One square, one round. The customer needed bigger ones, and I managed to tick these off the list today.

Simple and subtle

This pair of delicate bangles, one with a lovely aquamarine stone, are packaged up for posting today, to a customer across the pond in the USA.

7 September 2012

Another commission finished

I forget how long these take. I have been working on this all day while the boys have been at school. I had to grind the glass, set the pictures, and polish it up. Doesn't sound like it could take hours - but it really does. I can't wait to hand this one over, and I can't thank the lovely N enough for her patience. A new friend made.

6 September 2012

Boys back at school, me back in the Studio

What a gorgeous day it was today. The boys started back at school, the sun was shining, and it was so warm. With the doors wide open, my studio was a perfect place to be. Things had ground to a halt somewhat over the Summer, and I have some lovely people who have been patiently waiting for special commissions. Today I had five jobs at the top of my list of 'to do'. I managed to get part way through two of the five - things always take longer than I think they will. Here is a version of a 'Family' necklace, that will soon be off to a lovely lady in Australia.

It's not quite finished here, as I wanted to make sure 'E' was happy with it before I finished it totally. Tomorrow I will add the little bit of picture glass that I have filed to shape, and then I will use a traditional stone setting technique, to 'rub over' the metal and hold the glass in place.

The Family behind this commission... The person who commissioned it - her name means 'life' which is symbolised by the leaf (she called this a seaside daisy which she has growing in her garden in Australia), her mother's name means pearl - hence the keisha pearl, the photo shows her grandmother (as a girl) with her great grandmother. Wow!

I'm really pleased with this. The main bezel is about 2.5cm, and the leaf and pearl just over 1 cm. Its on a really long chain. The tiny scale, and the little pieces, are so me. Its just the sort of thing I would wear. In fact it has been lovely to do a commission that so hits the customers brief, without losing the feeling of my work at all. I just wish I could see her face when she gets it!

5 September 2012

Duck Pond Market, Richmond

On Sunday I headed into Richmond as there were a couple of things I wanted to look at. One of these was Duck Pond Markets - Richmond Artisan Market. It is so local, but somehow I have never managed to make it there before. It is held in Heron Square right near the riverside. It is a lovely little square, and the market looked beautiful. Lots of effort had been made with gorgeous bunting hung all around. What lovely attention to detail.

This is what www.duckpondmarket.co.uk says: Richmond Artisan Food & Craft market runs weekly every Sunday. It is an atmospheric mixed market featuring locally made arts & crafts, gifts, vintage, homewares, clothing and a tempting array of locally made food and beverages. There are live local musicians, hot food, and a strong creative vibe, in the elegant setting of the Heron Square, set in the 
centre of busy Richmond, and accessible from Richmond Road Hill Street and the riverside. 

OK so my photos show some of the food on offer - (I can personally vouch for the brownies and the sweet, salted popcorn!) but there was a great mix of stalls, including a couple of ones with hand made jewellery and it is definitely somewhere that you might find me in the future.