Made in Britain, Meet the Maker - Sophie Buckingham

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Hello!  Today we love to show you the work of Cardiff based jeweller Sophie Buckingham - over to you Sophie:

Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work.
Hello, my name is Sophie, I'm a designer maker based in Cardiff. My design work originates from my love of surface pattern and colour! I have a degree in Textile and Surface pattern design. I was introduced to during my MA in Print making in Bristol in 2008 and I was immediately drawn to the possibilities of this medium. Being made redundant in 2011 gave me the opportunity to focus on my real creative goals. I have recently been awarded an Arts Council of Wales project grant to explore this discipline further. This has given me great scope for experimentation into applying print onto enamel, creating a non-traditional approach to contemporary enamelling. My Jewellery making evolved from this point onwards, although I have no formula specific jewellery training. I most  recently showed at Made by Hand, my first experience of a professional craft fair, where I met lots of lovely craft makers and collectors. 

Apart from creating things what else do you do? 
I'm a mother to my little girl Eve Florence, so she keeps me fairly busy but in my spare time I like practising yoga and really enjoy zumba class! I'm starting to gear up to teach beginners workshops in basic enamel techniques. I haven't organised any for a while and feeling a little rusty to say the least. 

When did you know you were an artist/maker? 
I have always enjoyed making things and drawing. I remember when I was little, if I woke before everybody else in the house, which I generally did being the youngest, I would love to get up and make something out of bits and bobs in my bedroom. I have always found creating something from start to finish an exciting journey and thoroughly satisfying. Apparently, the first things I made out of plasticine was a necklace and ring! 

What do you love most about working in your chosen discipline?
Having the opportunity to meet other designers and makers, sharing that creative spark and developing my ideas from concept to reality. And there is so much more to be discovered!! It's nice being self reliant. 

Where does your inspiration come from? 
I love hardware shops, haberdashery shops and browsing in charity shops. I love finding old forgotten postcards and reading the messages on the back. I search book shops for old maps and atlas's. I find the colours used in geographical topography inspiring. My inspiration generally spirals from objects that carry a history. The origins of this developed from my fascination with artefacts, objects and specimens found within museum collections. The juxtaposition of these artefact's, boxed and labelled give an interesting 'slice'of social anthropology. 

Describe your studio or workspace? 
It depends what I'm doing, I could be in 1 of 3 areas, on the corner of my large kitchen table or at my computer desk which is an old singer sewing machine table painted red,working in the shed doing kiln based work, which can be cold and damp some days and sunny and peaceful on others, depending on the weather but I usually become so engrossed I don't feel the cold after a while. 

If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman (dead or alive), who would it be? 
It would be a German artist called, Bettina Speckner. I think her jewellery work is amazing, each of her pieces tells a story. 

How would you describe your creative process? 
It starts with a simple thought, then I develop it into an idea, sketch it out, take photographs, use Photoshop or Illustrator for image preparation, and consider the technical issues that may arise, I'm fairly new to contemporary enamelling and there's a lot of trial and error. I like to cross discipline and frequently my work may involve many mediums, so I have to reign myself in as it can get too complicated ...I get too many ideas sometimes! 

What handmade possession do you most cherish? 
It's hard to narrow it down to just one. I adore all my charity shop finds. I have a collection of patterned plates on the wall in my kitchen which have some gorgeous colours and unusual shapes. I'm really fond of a silk hand printed scarf from the 1950's of a map of Africa. I picked it up at a vintage sale and had it framed it's really unique,so many of the place names have changed now. 

What do you when you are stuck in a creative rut? 
If it starts to become too much of a struggle, I take time out, a walk in the fresh air and a visit to my local coffee shop always helps, this usually involves a delicious cake!.

Where would you like to be in ten years? 
It's early days still, but I'd love to be selling direct to companies such as Liberty's or Anthropology, I worked in Liberty's haberdashery department straight after graduation. I have always found the store so unique and inspiring. It's such a beautiful building full to the brim with quirky handmade items.

Thank you Sophie.  We love Liberty too, it is an amazing place.  You can find Sophie's unique creations in our Made in Britain shop.  Do come along and see them in person, they are truly gorgeous.

Made in Britain shop is OPEN
Mon - Sat: 10am - 6pm
Sun:  11am - 5pm
Quakers Friars, Cabot Circus, Bristol

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