31 December 2013

Looking back and moving on.

Lots of us bloggers will be writing our end of year posts, looking back on the year, and the things that have happened. 2013 has been an incredibly tough year for me, so I considered avoiding looking back over it, but... Charlotte Bezzant Jewellery has gone from strength to strength, and sometimes it helps us to remind ourselves of the good bits. Apologies in advance, this is a bit of a long one!

A burglary and filing for divorce. The toughest of starts to the year, especially as I have two children.

A small furry joined the family, and unwanted little kitty from the local pet rescue centre. The boys gave him his full name of 'Bertie, black cat, le miowler Bezzant'. He is a great addition to our gang.

I had my first few shells cast. A lovely reminder of the previous Summer holiday every time I make something with these.

More small furry things in the house. One of my boys had always wanted chicks, so this year his dream came true. We added to our flock with Honey and Sweetie who lived in Oliver's bedroom for a bit. One happy lad.

A lovely sunny few days on Moondaisy, my parent's narrow boat.

A lovely Abigail Brown bird making workshop with of my best friends and my mum. Our finished birds.

The boys finished the academic year on a high, one awarded the Public Speaking Cup, and the other the History Prize. (#proudmummy)

...and I taught myself to crochet.

A few days on the boat again.

Happy holiday adventures in Dorset with my folks and my boys. the highlight was the seafood feast we made from Mackerel, shrimp, and cockles caught by the boys - although the cockles didn't take much catching!

Country Living deputy Editor visited the studio to interview me.

An illustrator in the studio to draw me for the Country Living article.

Took part in Festival of Crafts at Farnham Matings and loved it.

Took part in Sparkle and exhibited with the Teddington Artists for the first time. Busy making things for Christmas including some of my signature aquamarine rings. 

Really thrilled that some of my work was included in a gallery exhibition entitled 'Aurora'

Still busy making things for Christmas. Christmas Open Studio to tie in with the Country Living article in December's magazine.

Final orders posted and shops shut ready for a restorative break.

Writing this has made me realise how many good things happened this year. I am generally a cup half full, and count your blessings type person; but sometimes it has been hard to remember that the sun is always shining in the sky, even on the days when it is hidden by cloud.

I want to end this post with some thank yous. Firstly to my utterly amazing parents. I could not have held my head so high and kept going without your never ending support. You are both incredible, and I am very lucky.

To my boys (who won't actually read this) for being resilient in the toughest of times, and brightening my life with your good bits.

To my stockists, on line and bricks and mortar, who have sold my work, and in some cases been very supportive. Thank you.

To my friends, especially Allie and Claire. I am lucky to have chums like you. Nothing like a year like mine to make it really clear who your friends are.

To the new friends I have made along the way during my jewellery journey this past year or so, often on line - It's lovely to chat with you. Sometimes I feel like I am checking in at the office with my far flung colleagues.

..and to everyone else who has taken the time to look, comment, and sometimes purchase my work. A HUGE thank you to you all. You have given me a reason to keep going with it all, you have raised my self esteem on the low days, and you have given me lots of smiles during very tough times.

Here's to 2014!

28 December 2013

My virtual Christmas Stocking

Having just loved picking all the thoughtful bits for my boy's Christmas stockings, and thrilled to watch their faces light up as they opened the perfect gifts that 'Santa' had left them, I was thinking about what I would put in my own Christmas stocking if I were to fill it. Come Christmas time, I think my own eyes would light up in wonder if my stocking were filled with...

Beautifully selected and stylishly packaged haberdashery from Merchant & Mills.

An ancient 'Frozen Charlotte' (Sorry, I don't know who's image this is, but will gladly credit). These little dolls were named after a story where 'young Charlotte' went on a sleigh ride, but refused to wear a coat which would cover her pretty party dress. She froze to death. These teeny china dolls are often dug up near German doll factories. As you can see from he pictures, they often have missing limbs.

Pretty Japanese paper Washi tape. I am seriously addicted, and not a parcel leaves this house with at least two types on. This little lot comes from Wonderland Room on Etsy (and no I haven't got this particular collection - I am fighting the addiction!)

A little bundle of fabrics for crafting. In fact I just bought a these really small scale print Tilda fabrics from Pretty Fabric and Trims on Etsy, as needle and tread are calling me.

Chocolate. Post recent new eating plan, this is my favourite, and apparently it's good for you too! 

A new wooden handled address stamp, but this one will have to wait. My divorce means there will be a new house in 2014, but I don't know yet where it will be be.

A photography course. I'm considering this one. (Image from Pinterest, will happily credit)

Some teeny pottery houses by  Julie Whitmore. These ones are beads, but I am dreaming of a little row to stand at eye level on my studio windowsill. I wonder Julie, if you are in the mood for a new commission?

Finally I would add a new duplicate book, (carbonless) as they are so useful, and sellotape sticky dots to use when gift wrapping my jewellery. 

Too much? Oh well, good job I'm only dreaming.


18 December 2013

Beautiful aquamarine

A beautiful aquamarine. Not clear, but a gorgeous colour, and sparkly too. 48 ct. Not a precise cut, and very tall. I knew from the start it would be testing to set, and due to it's height it would be a tall ring. But lets face it, a gemstone like this is not for everyday wear. Hurrah for the party season.

I fell in love with this stone while working with it, and really wished I could have kept this for myself. A real sense of achievement when it was done, and really pleased with the final ring.

17 December 2013

Snapshots from Sparkle

My poor blog is not up to date what with the madness of the Festive Season and all that. However, this evening, I just have one more ring to finish and then I am done ; closed; on holiday. I'm tidying my house and then enjoying Christmas.

Back in November I took part in Sparkle at the Landmark Arts Centre, Teddington, SW London.

(Look closely and you will see my twig bangle on that huge banner!) This is a really local event for me; just half a mile from the house. It's a gorgeous building, an old Church so really atmospheric. It's well run, and it's nice to be playing to a home crowd - friends and Family always pop along to say hello. I had the loveliest of stall holders as my neighbours, we had lots of fun and laughs and I really enjoyed the weekend.

As always I took a few snaps and here are some of the things that caught my eye...

Fellow www.madebyhandonline.com maker Anya Keeley took part in Sparkle for the first time. She was tucked away in a corner with her quirky creatures and constructions. I hope lots of people found her there.

There were gorgeous and affordable hand screen printed paper goods from  Frances Kiernan and Charlotte Castle. Not a design duo, but their palette worked well together that I had assumed they were.

There were some nice ceramics from Rhian Winslade I loved some of her pretty decorations, had to resist some of her ceramic flower topped drawing pins supplied in teeny jars, but couldn't resist asking her for one of her most beautiful business cards, which is a little work of art in itself as each one is adorned with a ceramic flower.

Next to me were gorgeous hand made, machine knits, that talented Jules Hogan knocks up in her garden studio. The pale blues and greys were right up my street, and early on I fell in love with some stripy 'wrist warmers' - sort of fingerless gloves without even a hint of finger to them, beautifully finished with a perfectly sourced button. I did think her stall may be empty by the end of the weekend, as customers were snapping up her goods, sometimes buying three or four pieces. I am sure she is headed for great things, as I think she was approached to supply a rather lovely gallery while she was there, and one of her scarves is also featured in Country Living Mag this month.

Both Jules and Mr Jules (who some people assumed was knitwear man 'Julian') were lovely people to spend time with, and guess what I received a week or so after Sparkle? Jules had knitted me my very own wrist warmers and sent them as a gift. they have been keeping me snuggly ever since.

7 December 2013

Baking day

Today I am happily multi tasking, decorating for Christmas, making jewellery, and baking.

One of these is in the oven. Hopefully it will rise as well as this one that I made.

Honey and Sweetie (named by the children!) have kindly provided the eggs.

I am baking because the Studio is open to the public tomorrow, the lovely folks at Country Living Magazine persuaded me to do this. I have no idea if anyone will turn up, but if they do, as well as little mince pies and mulled wine I am giving free to everyone, I just thought if people had come from a little farther away, tea and cake might be nice too. (and brownies, and banana loaf, and possibly carrot cake too?) 

If anyone does have tea and cake, then I am giving all the money to Refuge which is a charity for victims of Domestic Abuse. This year 1.2 million women and 750,000 children suffered domestic abuse. 

20 November 2013

November Events

This weekend you can find me and my shiny jewellery at 'Sparkle' which is a wonderful Christmas shopping type event of Contemporary Craft and Gourmet food gifts. It is held in the Landmark Arts Centre in Teddington, SW London. A beautiful old converted Church. 

Sparkle is open on Friday 22nd 6 - 8.30 pm
Sat 23rd & Sun 24th 10 am - 5 pm

The following weekend, I will be out and about again. This time the Teddington Artists have invited me to take my jewellery along to their 'Christmas Fair', where you will find my work amongst that of fine artists and photographers. I am really delighted to be asked. 

Saturday 30th
10 am - 5.30 pm

Mince pies and mulled wine.

Those lovely folk at Country Living Magazine, persuaded me to Open the studio to the public to tie in with the article they wrote about me in the December issue. I can't promise snow, but the pastry on my mum's mice pies is exceptionally good!

9 November 2013


One of the big inspirations for some of my work was the most amazing trip I made into the Arctic Circle. I had always wanted to see the Northern lights, and on my 40th birthday I was lucky enough to take a trip to the very North of Finland to see if I could spot them.

The jewellery that I designed following that beautiful and inspiring trip has recently been included in an exhibition in The Fenwick Gallery in Northumberland. The exhibition is called Aurora. It's difficult to convey how excited I feel about being included in the exhibition. I feel it's perfect that my Arctic inspired jewellery has found a place among along side other beautiful objects celebrating something as magical as the Northern Lights.

This is me at -28 degrees. It was so amazingly cold that you could feel the ice crystals form up your nose as you were breathing. 

That particular day I was searching for a twig that I could cast in silver. It is an extreme environment there, but some varieties of flora and fauna thrive. I picked a small birch twig that was emerging from the snow and ice. I wrapped it in tissue and carried it back to the UK for it to be small batch cast for me to use. Every time I see that twig I am transported back to that day.

While I was there as well, as spending every night hunting the Northern Lights, I also drove my own team of Huskies, went ice fishing, travelled by skidoo right out to the Russian border through the wilderness where wolves run wild, and forged my way through thick virgin snow on snow shoes; pausing to look at the dips in the snow where the reindeer had rested and peering eagerly at tracks of small arctic mammals.

It is that day and having all the animal tracks pointed out to me that led me to produce my arctic hare pieces. It was the lolloping footprints that inspired me as I didn't actually see one! 

Of course, this blog post would not be complete without some pictures of the lights. I didn't manage to take any good one! But fellow traveller Stephen Worrall took these...

"The snow fell like dust and sparked like glitter"

We stayed at Nellim Wilderness Hotel which really was just on the edge of the wilderness. The husband and wife who run it are amazing. You are treated as an individual - our snowshoeing was just with the owner and his friend, our dog sledding was with just one other guest on her own sledge plus the dog handlers on theirs. I really cannot recommend the place enough if you are an outdoor type who really wants to experience the Arctic. They also have a facebook page where they post the amazing pictures of the Northern lights.

This winter is the 'Solar Maximum.' The Northern lights are caused by solar flares from the sun, and the cosmic dust moving across Earth's atmosphere. We are in twelve year high period of the sun's activity, so the Aurora will be at their best this season. Go in February, if you go now you might get the lights, but not necessarily the snow. You need to be there in the snow!