Louise from Nanuk Jewellery is one of those clever jewellers who are as happy working with precious metals and semi-precious gems as they are working with polymer clay.
The proliferation of dragons in her work also marks her out as a craftswoman skilled enough to transfer creations of myth and fantasy into works of silver and clay art.
And if you've ever fancied carrying your very own dragon with you, in a locket around your neck then you've found the right jeweller for you. Enjoy the interview.
When and how did you start making jewellery?
I have always enjoyed making things and trying different crafts, and eventually I came across beadwork and jewellery making. I was amazed to discover you could even study jewellery making at university, so that’s what I eventually did!
How did you think of your shop name and does it have a story behind it?
I knew I wanted a logo, so when I had trouble coming up with a name for my business I started working on a logo instead and came up with my bear. After some reading into bears, I discovered Nanuk is an Inuit name for a polar bear, which seemed to fit with my little bear and so I became Nanuk Jewellery.
Where do your design ideas come from and what is the process that sees them through to the finished product?
I like trying new techniques and materials, so quite often I will start by trying out some basic ideas in a new technique before starting to experiment and see where I can go with it. Quite often my ideas develop around a stone, or the beads or metal I have to hand and what I can do with them.
I read a lot and love illustrated books, and sometimes this or something I have seen on a walk will give me an idea which I will sketch for trying out in the future. I don’t often sketch ideas out before making them, at least not in full, unless I am working on a commission and have to show some suggestions; sometimes I sketch out the vaguest intention of what I have in mind and the final form comes into place once I start thinking about what materials and techniques I want to use to create the piece.
Where do you create your jewellery; do you have your own studio or use a kitchen table? Does your physical space affect how you work and what you can create?
I do have my own little studio space, but it is in an outside shed so it can get quite cold! It has a jeweller’s bench and my larger equipment, so it’s not really suitable for design work or metal clay (which I work with quite a lot) anyway. The rest of the time I work from the kitchen table, often with headphones on and something on my ipad in the background.
How do you motivate yourself to keep on creating?
I am usually always making something, jewellery or otherwise, so not much motivation required! I really enjoy making things and trying out new crafts. My problem is trying to narrow down my project list so I don’t have too much on the go all at once.
What jewellery making tools could you just not do without, and what tool/item is on your wish list?
Probably my many pairs of pliers are my most useful tools, and the ones I use just about every day, and my tumble polisher has become indispensable! My wishlist would include some enamelling equipment, as that’s the next technique I would like to try as another way to add colour to my work.
What is your favourite part of making and selling jewellery?
I enjoy being able to see an idea in my head made into something tangible, and being able to share it and hear what other people think of it, which is why I enjoy doing craft fairs and being able to meet the people looking at my work in person.
Which social media platform do you find the most enjoyable and helpful, and how do you use it?
Surprisingly, considering I wasn’t attracted to the site when I first decided to join it for my business, I have found Twitter to be probably my most successful social media outlet. I don’t always post very regularly, I have trouble thinking of things to say and have considered stopping it to concentrate on my Facebook and Instagram pages, but I have had some great conversations on there and found some of my most faithful fans through Twitter!
How do you hope your jewellery making will evolve over time? How do you see your shop changing?
I have so many different ideas I want to work on that I sometimes worry my shop is becoming a bit too eclectic; I already have two shops, Nanuk Jewellery and Nanuk Designs, to separate out my range of steampunk and fantasy-inspired polymer clay jewellery from my silver and stone jewellery. I would hope in the future to find a niche I can really focus on, and create a more cohesive, distinctive Nanuk style.
Thanks so much for such a great interview, Louise, I hope others have enjoyed your words and the photos of your beautiful jewellery.
All photographs in this post ©Nanuk Jewellery
If you would like to see more of Louise's work then do check out the links below - and I can definitely recommend taking a look at Nanuk Designs on Etsy for those whimsical locket dragons.
Website - Nanuk Jewellery
Shop - On Etsy and Folksy
Facebook - Nanuk Jewellery
Twitter - Nanuk Jewellery
Instgram - Nanuk Jewellery