18 January 2013

A mentor

A few months ago, I started selling my jewellery through the website madebyhandonline.com. I was delighted to be accepted to sell with them, as they are selective about who they take on, which means that they are a quality destination for high end Contemporary British Craft, and I was thrilled that my jewellery was sitting alongside that of makers who I really admire.

madebyhandonline.com was set up by two friends Sarah James, and Katie Honnor two years ago. Sarah and Katie share a deep interest and respect for the making community and have always had craft and making in their lives. Not only have they created a place where you can buy good quality handmade products, they also strongly support the British Craft industry in other ways. They do this by sponsoring some of the big National craft events, by working closely with the teams at some of the major events, and also by offering their support to individual makers.

I was taken on by them on a 'Two Years On' scheme, where they offer support to makers just setting out on their journey. They work in partnership with ChristianDodd LLP, and one of the best bits for me about the scheme is that they aim to pair each new maker with an established maker, someone who has been on the scene longer, and who may have advice and wisdom to share.

I recently found out that I have been paired with Phiona Richards. This is how she describes herself on her website: Phiona Richards creates interactive book sculptures and intriguing jewellery using traditional needlework techniques. "Having been brought up with a ‘make do and mend’ mentality I tend to collect and gather materials including books near the end of their existence and regenerate them into pleasing tactile structures using a variety of needlework techniques. Although they appear to be fragile and delicate they are quite robust and interaction becomes a therapeutic experience on many sensory levels."

Phiona and I have exchanged our first e-mails with each other. It is very early days in our pairing, and who knows yet what we might learn from each other, and where it may take us. Certainly I am someone who is always willing to take advice and to learn. I love to make new friends, I love all creative fields, and I am very excited, and already inspired when I look at some of Phiona's amazing pieces. I promise to keep you all updated about the benefits of having a mentor, and also about Phiona's gorgeous work, and where you can see it for yourselves.

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