Friday, April 5, 2013

Interview with Faith Bowman - Abygem

Today's interview is with the very talented Faith Bowman of AbyGem. Faith makes exquisite hand crafted jewellery with beautiful gemstones and has also deigned a range of beautiful clasps and findings for jewellery designers.

How did you get started as a silversmith and jewellery designer?

I've always loved jewellery, not just to wear but to look at, especially ancient Egyptian jewellery. I said for years that one day I will make some jewellery, then my mum died suddenly and it made me realise that I should get on and do the things I wanted to do and not keep putting them off. When I returned from my mum's funeral my husband had bought me a couple of books on jewellery making. I bought a few findings, beads and silver wire and started playing. That was it, I was hooked. I had all good intentions of spending about £50 and having a play, thousands of pounds and 6 years later I'm still playing!

What would you like to do/learn/take up in the future to further your process?

I would very much like to try Delft clay silver casting - it would add another dimension to my silver work which is probably my biggest passion. I also want to do more stone setting and work with gold.

How has your crafting and inspiration evolved over time?

Well having started by making a simple pair of earrings, I have gone on to stringing, precious metal clay, chain maille, wire wrapping and metal forging and smithing. I am constantly testing my limits and have dabbled in stone setting both prong style and flush settings which have been challenging - I always have loads of ideas in my head, probably too many to ever get around to making!

What is your favourite ever piece of work?

My most favourite piece of work is this Jade ring and earring set. I had to take the stones out of their original settings, and make new items from them.

The customer gave me no idea of what she wanted, other than that she wanted a ring and earrings to match. When I showed her what I had done she was absolutely delighted - she's become quite a regular customer.

Where do you find your inspiration?

sometimes I will see a piece of jewellery and it will give me an idea of my own, sometimes inspiration will come from just a texture or a natural object - sometimes they just pop into my head from nowhere.

Do you craft for your living or is it more of a hobby/passion/obsession?

for me it started as a hobby but very quickly became a passion and an obsession. I dont think I would ever really want to make it a business as such, I think if I had to get up each day and make things, it may take away some of the fun - I like to make what I want when I want, if its a business I think you are fairly committed to making stuff you know is going to sell quickly

What is your greatest crafting success? And your most spectacular failure?

There have been a few things that I've been very pleased with, one of which was a massive ring which a guy commissioned for his girlfriend. The remit was in the form of a very fuzzy photograph with a request to try and re-create a similar ring! Thankfully the customer and his girlfriend were delighted with the finished ring.

The most spectacular failure - hmm, possibly melting a filigree pendant at the final stage of soldering! My attempts at seedbeading have been pretty grim as well. I did manage to over-cook a whole batch of polymer clay which pretty much put me off it. Oh and breaking a drill bit off in a silver bracelet and having to hack it out - I tell myself that each failure is another learning curve - lol

What other crafts do you dabble in/would you like to try?

I've done loads of knitting, crocheting, sewing, embroidery, cross-stitch, tapestry, in the past. There just aren't enough hours in a day to do everything I enjoy. I would love to have a go at lampworking, just to see how it all works - it fascinates me ! but I couldn't afford the time and investment to go down that route now so it would just be a fun day.

Do you listen to music while you create? What is your favourite track?

No, hardly ever- I've got a CD player in the craft room but it never goes on, I'm usually too engrossed in what I'm doing and tend to sing to myself or if its a nice day I open the window and listen to the birds singing.

Who is your favourite artists or designer?

I don't really favour particular artists - I see something and I either like it or I don't, whether its made or designed by someone famous or not doesn't really influence me - some of today's unknowns are tomorrows Masters.

When not creating/crafting what is your favourite thing to do?

I love bird and nature watching and astronomy - the night sky fascinates me and makes me realise how small and insignificant the human race is in relation to the Universe. Seeing the Aurora Borealis several times when we lived in Scotland was incredible.

Who would you choose to play you in the movie of your life?

Probably Dawn French - I've never taken myself too seriously.

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