Woohoo it’s time for a Creative Q&A!
Get ready for polymer clay, like you’ve never seen it before…
This week I had the pleasure of chatting to Abi: the maker, designer, sculptor, marketer, and ‘ooo’ creator behind jewellery brand MelRose Makes.
You may recognise the name if you’re a regular around here – Abi was number 8 on my Halloween small business wish-list (catch up here!).
So let’s get going!
JANEY: Hi Abi! So how long have you been making for??
ABI: I have been making specifically with clay for about 18 months now. I’ve always been an arty type, however. Friends always say I’m creative and I’ve dabbled in nearly every craft and art. I was very into baking for quite a few years, in particular sugar craft so modelling with clay fitted. Luckily clay doesn’t get eaten either so people enjoy it for longer! I work full time but I always crave to let my creativity out – Melrose Makes was born from my need to create. I knew I wanted to do something which involved modelling, so tried clay and loved the results. After a few months of perfecting, I took the leap and set up a business. Seeing people happy to receive something I have made keeps me creating.
J: Fab, I can definitely empathise with that feeling of having tried every craft under the sun (some way more successfully than others… I’m looking at you crochet…), so I’m really glad you have found something that makes you happy. And I must say, you’re bloomin’ good at it! (See what I did there…?)
Where do you find inspiration for your jewellery?
A: Nature would be an obvious one but I actually get inspired by colours most. I love mixing colours and just sitting down and pairing new combinations. I love looking at flowers, their colours and then pairing them with something to make their beauty stand out.
J: Sounds like a beautiful way to pass the time – I love playing with colour combinations!
So other than mixing colour palettes, what else does your creative process involve?
A: I sketch a lot during the day as ideas pop into my head, and I’ll do lots of testing of new shapes or techniques. Working with flowers takes a lot of patience and a delicate hand as they are quite fragile. Working out how to set them into the clay took a bit of time but I’d say i know how to treat them now. There are many stages and steps in creating the pressed flower pieces and I also make a lot of hand sculpted items which take long periods of time at each step. The key thing is to not rush. Be precise at each stage, and trust the process. I’ve learnt that I would rather take my time and enjoy each creation than constantly have new items. I think it makes them more special too.
J: It absolutely does. I’ve got so much respect for your techniques – you must have such a steady hand! Those beautiful, delicate florals feature heavily in your work so are clearly special to you. What is your favourite flower?
A: Funny story. My tattoo artist says I’m addicted to flowers! They feature in all of my tattoos so I’m not surprised my art has gone in that direction. I personally adore hydrangeas. They have so many delicate petals and have a beautiful natural ombre.
J: Oh what a choice! I’ve definitely been noticing a lot more hydrangeas out there in recent years, you’ve gotta start a fan club!
What is one piece of creative equipment you couldn’t live without?
A: My sculpting tools. Obviously these are very useful for creating petals and leaves but I also use them to smooth edges and corners so everything is as neat as possible. I’m quite a stickler for precision!
J: That is clear from your jewellery! Absolutely perfection.
I saw on Insta that you’ve recently moved into a new workspace! Would you describe your new colourful studio at super-duper organised, or more creative chaos?
A: I’m known for being VERY organised! I actually share my studio with my partner. It was supposed to be a 50/50 split but i probably have 75%! I like to keep everything in the exact same place and actually tidy up after each stage of the process. I love a bit of organisation too! I mainly love my space as it is full of art and items from fellow small business makers, who I have got to know. Items which make me smile.
J: Which is exactly what we should surround ourselves with right?!
What has been your favourite collection that you have created this year? (I think my personal fave was the Tropical Floral collection, but I’m a sucker for pink and orange, so no surprise there!)
A: I can’t choose between my Cute Halloween collection and the Fallen Leaves range. The Halloween range was a test of new techniques and I love the result – something a bit different for the holiday. But the Fallen Leaves let me tap into some of my old cake decorating techniques and I really loved hand sculpting again. I get lost in the process when making them.
J: Honestly the detail that you have achieved in those autumn leaves is astounding – they look so delicate and life-like!
I think it is safe to say we are sold – how and where can we get our hands on some Melrose Makes earrings??
A: I currently sell on Etsy. The dream would be having my own website one day!
Shop Abi’s delightful collection of jewellery on Etsy here, or by searching ‘MelRose Makes UK’. Also, do give her a follow on Insta @melrosemakesuk for updates and behind the scenes peeks of what’s to come!
As always, thank you so so much for being here and reading along, I appreciate every single one of you!
I hope you have a wonderful week, (no matter how chilly!) and I’ll see you here next week… its time to get festive!!!