Tea & Chat with Scottish Princess
Hello! Great to have you here, the kettle’s just boiled – what would you like to drink?
I’d like a lemon and ginger tea please. I’ve finally weaned myself off caffeine.
So, tell us a bit about yourself and your business.
At the moment I have a full time job in the public sector so I have to fit my business around that. I also like to go cycling and I teach scuba diving in my ever diminishing spare time. My business is called Scottish Princess and I make jewellery. I felt that many popular jewellery retailers charged an awful lot of money for their products and I wanted to be able to make unique pieces of jewellery that would also be affordable. To that end I sometimes use beads and components from vintage or broken jewellery items as well as brand new materials. My mum has donated a few pieces for me to take apart and turn into something new. To me, reusing jewellery components is better than throwing perfectly good beads away. I always know where the jewellery has come from and there are certain components (such as ear wires) that I would never re-use.
What inspired you to start your creative business? How did it all begin?
When I was looking for jewellery for my wedding I was shocked at the price of tiaras so I learned how to make my own. Then I realised that I was going to have trouble finding other jewellery to match a one-off tiara so I made the rest of my wedding jewellery as well. I got hooked making jewellery and decided to start selling the jewellery I made. I am truly addicted to shiny things – it’s an affliction.
How has your business changed and developed since it started?
I wasn’t too adventurous to begin with as I had only mastered a few techniques. However, not long after my wedding I was made redundant and I used that as an opportunity to take some courses in jewellery making such as silversmithing, enamelling, polymer clay and precious metal clay techniques. I bought a kiln so that I could fire my own silver clay creations. A few fine silver components that I made have just been tested and stamped by the Assay office so I will be coming up with some designs to use them in soon.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your designs and product range?
I get ideas from all sorts of places. Sometimes it’s just a colour that grabs my attention or a plant or shape that I’ve seen when I’ve been out cycling. I will sometimes sit surrounded by different beads and metalwork, putting things together to see if the colours and textures work. Very often the finished product turns out to be nothing like the image I first imagined. There are tiny creatures called nudibranchs that live in the oceans. They come in a huge variation of shapes and colours. I want to recreate one s a pendant in polymer clay or metal clay with enameling.
What are you working on at the moment? Anything new coming up in your on-line shop?
I am about to start a new tiara. I will be making the tiara band instead of buying commercially made ones. I have a few ideas. We’ll see how it all turns out. I have also just invested in some silversmithing tools and sheet silver so watch this space. My younger daughter gave me some amethysts a little while ago and asked me to incorporate them into jewellery. There are two hearts and a marquise cut stone. I’m thinking sterling silver wirework designs at the moment.
So, where does all this takes place? What’s your workspace like?
At the moment my workspace is not ideal. I used to have the monopoly on the spare room but, my husband recently started working from home so I have been evicted. The dining room table is my workspace for now and I have all of my tools and components beside me. As long as I have light and space I’m happy.
What do you like most about running your own handmade business?
I like having the freedom to make my own choices and do things at times that suit me. If it all goes well then I am entitled to take the credit. If something goes wrong then I have no-one to blame but myself.
What are your plans for your creative business for the future?
I want to do more silversmithing and precious metal clay designs. I also want to make more of my components, such as ear wires, fasteners and connectors myself so that my jewellery is truly unique. I may be forced to buy more tools to facilitate that, as if I needed any encouragement to buy tools.
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us!