This week's Four Thoughts is contemporary, shiny and precious... all in one bundle! That's because we're talking to awesome jewellery designer & maker, Linda Sandeman.
Linda works with gold, silver and gemstones and began making jewellery about 10 years ago... developing her skills under the watchful eyes of respected designer makers Jesa and Al Marshal from Flux 'n' Flame, deep in rural Dorset! She then set up her own studio at Black Swan Arts in Frome last August, alongside talented filigree artist Yasemin Sweet.
We spotted Linda when a design of hers caught my eye last weekend, so we were keen to ask her four questions we thought you'd love to know the answers to:
1. Can you tell us what you love most about creating jewellery and the inspiration behind your designs?
There are two things I love most in equal measure - bringing my own creations to life and helping others to do the same. The unexpected surprises that come with nurturing an idea and allowing the metal and stones to guide you, makes each piece very special. I'm inspired by lines, shapes, textures and colours, and how they interplay with one another... or just stand alone in their own right.
2. Many of your pieces feature beautiful gemstones. Can you tell us which is your favourite stone to work with and why?
That's a tough question as I'm a bit of a gemstone addict :). Boulder opals, rainbow moonstones and labradorites are probably some of my favourites to work with. I love the way they play with the light when worn, to create flashes of iridescent hues which compliment silver and gold so well.
3. You also specialise in something called Keum boo. Can you share with us what this is and how you came to incorporate it in to some of your designs?
Keum boo is an ancient Korean gilding technique used to bond pure gold and silver to the surface of jewellery. I love using gold and silver together and Keum boo works really well with oxidised silver and makes it an affordable way of using gold in some of my pieces.
4. Tell us a secret about you, your jewellery or your studio that no-one else knows!
I'm a Pluviophile! I LOVE the rain. I love the smell of the wet streets. I love the sound of the raindrops hitting my roof. I love the moisture in the air. It's then that I see the shapes and textures of things around me more clearly, which really influences my work.
Well, we've definitely got a love of rain in common with Linda, as well as a bit of a soft spot for moonstones! In fact, Linda is now doing a commission of the ring design that originally caught my eye... and a moonstone will be right at the heart of it!
We'll show you the finished piece on Twitter very soon, but if you want to learn more about jewellery making and perhaps have a try, Linda and Yasmin provide monthly Keum boo and filigree workshops at their studio in Frome.
Update 2018: That beautiful moonstone ring we mentioned? We're over the moon with it!! Here it is, in all it's glory...
And workshops? We've been on two now and we've written about them. So, if you'd like to read about Yasemin's workshop, click right here and you can :). Linda's one day jewellery making workshop features in our 'Six of the best' creative workshops in Somerset. You can read about our experience and what we made, right here.