an interview with ArtSpring artist
Hello Charlotte ……
how long have you been an artist and how did your artistic career begin?
I’ve been making jewellery under my brand Kara Jewellery for about 4 years now. When my youngest of 3 children was 4 I was going stir crazy being a stay at home Mum so I enrolled on an Adult Education Course in silversmithing. Little did I know it would alter the course of my life. After several years learning there, I enrolled on a one year diploma course at the London Jewellery School and finishing that Kara Jewellery and my artistic career began.
Why do you make art and what themes do you pursue?
I have always had a love of nature and in particular trees and tree bark. The sense of peace and wellbeing whilst walking the dogs in the woodlands and amongst the ancient pear trees in our orchard is something that I treasure and I wanted to recreate this in my jewellery. I also wanted to create designs that if you liked the texture I could create something special for you: no matter what sex you are, what size you are, what age or budget – if you liked the texture I could make a piece specially for you. There is no better feeling than designing and selling a piece you’ve created for someone to enjoy and treasure for years to come.
Who or what have most inspired you?
There are so many jewellers who inspire me. I’m in awe of the skill level of some of our top goldsmiths who have trained as apprenticeships from school and have been making and creating exquisite pieces throughout their careers. One of my favourites are Sarah and Eddie from https://www.quovadisjewellery.co.uk/ who work out of the Birmingham Jewellery Quarter. I will be forever learning new techniques and experimenting with new designs.
Can you describe your first big break?
Having just finished my course in London I designed the Woodlands Collection and applied to one of the top jewellery fairs in London – The Desire Jewellery and Silversmithing Fair in Chelsea. The stands were very expensive and I never expected to be accepted as I’d heard it was hard to get into you. Imagine my surprise when I heard I was accepted and an invoice for nearly £1000 came in the post! It was well worth it in the end!
What gives you joy?
Bespoke wedding rings. Selling any of my pieces or making a bespoke piece gives me joy but wedding rings are my favourite. Knowing that I’ve been a part of a couples very special day is amazing and to think that they’ll be wearing and treasure my work for years to come is very humbling. Also every time I send a piece I’ve created to the London Assay Office to be stamped with my hallmark gives me a warm feeling.
Are there any achievements of which you feel particularly proud?
Registering my own hallmark was a huge achievement. My mother used to run antique fairs and her passion was silver so she would have been very proud to have a daughter with her own hallmark.
The other achievement was a commission I accepted for a box with my tree bark texture on to sit in the middle of a dining table with 1.5 kgs of silver in it. I’d only worked on small things and had no idea how to do it. After several tries which failed I succeeded and made this stunning box which sits proudly on my customers dining room table. It took a year to do but was well worth persevering as I learnt so much on the way and ended with a stunning piece which have my hallmarks on and will be a family heirloom.
How do you like to spend your time when you are not being an artist?
I’m one of these people who seems to fill my time so don’t get much spare time but my favourite thing to do is put the dogs in the car and go somewhere new I haven’t been to and walk the dogs with my husband through the beautiful Kent countryside and finish with a delicious pub lunch.
What is the best piece of advice that you have ever been given regarding your art?
Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Just do your thing! Also don’t take offence! At the fairs not everyone is going to love what you do.
Anything else I should know?
“Nature displays incredible diversity in all her glory. There are fat trees and skinny ones, short ones and tall ones. Within a single clump of yellow flowers, you might see a pink one and realize that it’s a mutation. In nature, we don’t say “That flower is different; that tree is fat!’ Instead, we say, ‘How beautiful!’ Anonymous
What is the best thing for you about being a member of Artspring?
I love the camaraderie amongst the artists and working as a team. Everyone has different skills and it’s fabulous to be part of it and to learn from others and ask their advice. Also I love the stewarding side: chatting to other art lovers who visit the gallery and passing on information about the other events our artists are at. #sharetheloveofart.
Charlotte was interviewed by Caroline Fraser, November 2019