We’ve had a few new tutors join us in recent months, so we thought it was about time you met some of them, starting with Helen Walls who teaches beading and fashion jewellery.
What sort of jewellery do you make and teach?
I like to use a wide range of materials in my work, from traditional sterling silver and semi-precious gemstones mixed with Ox horn and deer antler as well as delicate beaded jewellery with tiny pearls and rough diamonds – through to more summery and colourful beaded jewellery using leather, glass, wood etc.
All of my jewellery is influenced by my love of the natural world, ethnic/tribal costume from all over the world and vintage fashion – so people seeking unusual, one-off pieces with a bohemian twist would be my ideal wearer. I enjoy teaching beading techniques and fashion jewellery.
What got you started in jewellery?
I used to sew and embroider when I was little under the teachings of grandmothers, aunties and my mum and originally thought I would study fashion but somehow, all of my work used to concentrate more on little details and accessories so my 3-D skills developed in jewellery and silversmithing, which I studied at university and have been passionate about ever since.
What is your favourite medium and favourite types of jewellery?
I love silver and natural materials – at the moment I am developing my antler and ox horn collection further – and would like to concentrate on a range for men.
I always feel lost without rings but don’t often make them unless for a special commission. So if there was one thing I’d always make, it would be necklaces. I love making necklaces – the larger and bolder the better.
If you had unlimited budget/time, what would you make?
I would love to have an extravagant / outlandish commission for a pair of silver shoes or a crown!
Do you have a favourite jewellery tool?
For usefulness my pendant motor and a set of Swiss diamond cut needle files, but for sentimental value anything that my dad finds for me.
And finally, what’s your favourite biscuit or other jewellery making snack?