I’ve lived here for seven years now, but grew up only a couple of miles from the north Somerset coast. As a child, we’d go on many outings to Kilve beach, a pebbly affair with cliffs of oily shale and the chance of finding some good fossils. I don’t recall ever actually swimming there, the Bristol channel at this point is best described as brown and lumpy, a spot of light paddling in the rock pools was as good as it got. So I’d find a rock to perch on and stare across the sea, past Flatholm and Steepholm islands, to the mist shrouded land beyond. Sometimes the RAF and Fleet Air Arm would fly up and down the water, practicing bombing runs, this was at the time of the Falklands War. I’d never been to Wales but always felt a strong pull towards it, my first visit was age elevel when we went on a school trip to Big Pit mining museum and St Fagins, the Welsh Folk Museum. I felt right at home, like I belonged. I found out much later in my life that I have a fair bit of Welsh blood in my veins, but could it cause that much of a pull? The Welsh call it hiraeth. I feel rooted here, and a deep love has grown for the Rhondda valley, where I now live with my husband and son.
When I’m not in my shed bashing metal and setting fire to stuff, or asleep (having been eaten by the duvet monster), I love to go to the beach. From Llantwit Major, I can look across the water, and I see Kilve, the beach of my childhood. No yearning any more, just fond memories. After a fortifying tea and cake stop in the cafe, we go HUNTING. Beardy and Scroticule for fossils, and me for pretty things to use in my jewellery. Sea glass is my favourite, sea scoured jewels among the seaweed and boulders. Regular readers will have seen this ring before, it went to a lovely lady in Canada who had Welsh roots and wanted a piece of her motherland.
I have also been combining slate, the backbone of Wales, with silver. These domino earrings are my newest design, I’m currently making a matching pendant.
I have a love/hate relationship with slate. It’s so lovely to work, yet creates just SOOOOOO much dust. But the end result is so worthwhile, the layers and soft edges are so tactile.
These are things I have made “from” Wales. Small pieces of the land itself. I felt it would be a good thing to give these pieces of jewellery their own identity, really emphasising their origin. So I’d like to present our “Made in Wales: Made FROM Wales” graphics. Everything we make that contains a littke piece of Wales will declare itself loud and proud. Hope you like it.