Last weekend saw our Christmas Gift Fair at the Colston Hall go off with a bang! It was a brilliant day with hundreds of people flocking through the doors to buy locally made Christmas gifts. We are about to do it all again this Sunday! We are so happy to have Jane Kenney back with us again this year. Jane designs beautiful jewellery which we know you will love - self gifting anyone? We caught up with Jane to find out more about her and her inspirations...
Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work?
Hi I’m Jane and I design and make jewellery in my workshop, at my home in Bristol. I completed a degree in Jewellery and Silversmithing at Loughborough University in 2003 and moved to Bristol to work in the workshop of an award winning jewellery designer, before setting up my own jewellery business in 2005. For the past 6 years I have worked as a part time Design and Technology teacher alongside making my own work but recently took the leap to leave teaching to focus on my jewellery full time. My jewellery is not based on one particular theme or idea but has been a natural development of a variety of interests and influences. I started adding texture to my work when I found a hammer in my Dad’s workshop that belonged to my Grandpa. Each piece of my work is hammered by hand by this hammer, to create unusual textures and shapes, giving my work a unique and individual quality. I work mainly in silver to create versatile, wearable pieces for everyday adornment alongside one- off commissions in a variety of precious metals.
How do you prepare yourself in the months running up to the Gift Fair?
I try to plan my time as well as possible using wall charts and I make a lot to do lists! I inevitably work better with a deadline looming though!
Do you have any tips to someone who is just starting out at Christmas markets?
When I first started selling my work at markets I would get quite stressed about having every piece in my collection represented and in as many variations as possible. I would get quite over whelmed trying to make enough stock. Although I still aim to have a large and varied collection of my work on display, I try to focus on the pieces that I know tend to be more popular and make suitable gifts. I also always try to have a few new pieces so that my stand is a bit different each year!
What special little touch do you offer your customers?
As I sell a lot of my work through galleries, exhibitions and on-line, I really love the opportunity to meet and chat to customers face to face at markets. I love hearing people’s responses and opinions about my work. Following last year’s Made in Bristol Gift Fair I had a few exciting commissions in which I made some lovely one- off pieces, these were all developments through chatting to customers about different possibilities.
What handmade item is high on your Christmas wish list?
I’ve been a huge fan of a maker called Atelier Stella for a long time now and would LOVE one of her sweet and quirky ceramic plant pots. They are very popular and always sell out very quickly.
What is your favourite part of Christmas?
The run up to Christmas is always quite a busy (but really enjoyable) time for makers so I always love that feeling of finally relaxing after a few fun and productive months. I really love getting cosy indoors, with lots of good food and watching cheesy Christmas films! I also love visiting and catching up with lots of our family and friends.
Which UK artist/maker’s Facebook or Twitter feed do you find most inspiring and why?
I’ve found it really hard to choose a favourite! I love independent shops and @paper_smiths in Clifton Village is one of my favourite. I have really enjoyed following their move from ‘Something Else’ on Park Row to their new location and identity. I also always find my friend Sarah Corbett’s @craftivists twitter and Instagram feed very inspiring and thought provoking. Sarah uses craft to educate, inform and respectably get her message seen and heard. Sarah founded the Craftivist Collective in 2009 with an aim to “expose the scandal of global poverty and human rights injustices through the power of craft and public art” and now has thousands of craft lovers all around the world joining her on different projects.
What is your favourite family Christmas tradition?
I have been taking part in a Christmas Market in Nottinghamshire (where I grew up) since 2005. My parents always come and help me with my stand and other family members always come to visit, I realise this has become a family tradition and really represents the start of Christmas for me.
Finally, if you could re-design a Christmas decoration, what would it be and why?
I really like traditional glass baubles and would love to try working in glass to create my own. I would also like to change the Christmas fairy at the top of the tree, to a greyhound with a halo and wings to represent my dog Arnie.
Thank you Jane! We too love the work of Atelier Stella - They do sell out in minutes flat! You can find Jane on the Middle Level of the Colston Hall Foyer this Sunday 7th December & on Saturday 13th December too. Hurrah!
Made in Bristol Gift Fair
Saturday 29th November 2014
Sunday 7th December 2014
10am - 4pm
10am - 4pm
Saturday 13th December 2014
10am - 3pm