Jewellery maker Rebecca Blakeway is a great fan of the outdoors, which also inspires her jewellery pieces, with the use of small details and colours in the statement pieces she creates. View some of her work, read about where she gets her inspiration from and more in this month’s Designer of the Month interview.
Let us know a bit about yourself, detailing your background, study and training in the jewellery making industry.
I am currently based in a small village called ‘Inkberrow’ in the heart of Worcestershire, where you will also find my workshop (in my parents’ garage). I have been making jewellery for the past 7 years, and graduated from the Birmingham School of Jewellery in 2015. I would love to become a full-time jeweller in the future. In my spare time you’ll most likely find me on a hill or mountain, or heading off on an overseas adventure. My love of the outdoors inspires the jewellery that I make.
I am moving to New Zealand at the end of February, and I hope to continue making jewellery whilst I’m there.
Tell us about your work – are there any particular materials or techniques that you favour?
I have a few collections at the moment, my favourite and most well-known being the ‘Surface’ collection which I make using sterling silver with etching and enamelling techniques. I love to use traditional materials but make it more unique and personal to my style. Enamelling is traditionally fired to a gloss, whereas I will put a matte effect to finish off my pieces.
How would you best describe your design style?
I would say that my style is very detailed and intricate, yet bold and chunky. I love to make large pieces of jewellery to make a statement, and then bring the detail back in with etching and enamelling techniques.
Where do you like to get your inspiration from for your pieces?
I am inspired by small details and surface patterns which can be found all around us. I have recently been incorporating my love of nature and travelling into my work, which makes the experience of making the jewellery more personal.
Do you have a piece that you have made which you favour or are particularly proud of?
I made a collection called ‘Surface: Nebula’ for a local gallery, and I have continued with this collection as I fell in love with the patterns I could make in enamel which beautifully complimented the etching designs I did beneath. I am particularly proud of the statement necklace I made for this.
What is the one item in your jewellery making workshop that you could not live without?
My guillotine. I am useless at cutting straight lines which is rather crucial to my work as it is all very linear in basic form.
What upcoming trends do you see being popular soon?
I believe that the skilful and traditional techniques are coming back, such as enamelling and unique handmade settings.
What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt from your time in the jewellery making industry?
I have learnt to just keep making and be true to what you are doing. It can be too easy to feel knocked down by someone who doesn’t like your work or even tells you that your prices are too high. We as jewellers are putting our skills, time, and years of experience into the pieces that we make, and it’s worth more than any mass-produced item.
Do you have any particular advice that you would give to up and coming jewellery designers, or someone interested in getting into jewellery making?
Jewellery making can be a career or even just a hobby, it’s also incredibly therapeutic (unless you have one of those days when you snap all of the saw blades you own). Don’t feel pressured just because someone you know in the same field is making it big-time and selling their work in all of the best galleries. One day the time will come for us all (including me), so don’t give up!
Finally, time for a bit of fun in our quick-fire round!
Tell us your favourite…
Colour – Orange
Biscuit – You can’t beat a chocolate hobnob
Drink – Gin and tonic (if we are getting specific, orange marmalade flavour is divine)
Place – The Malvern Hills
Animal – Penguins
Gemstone – Dendritic quartz
Food – Spaghetti Bolognese
Sport – Hiking
Film – The Sound of Music
City – Not a fan of cities, but Birmingham will always be ‘home’ for me
Many thanks to Rebecca for being our Designer of the Month this month and for sharing this information.
Want to discover the work of other jewellery makers?