This month we’re back with another exciting Guest Showcase! We’ve invited Abby from Abby Hook Jewellery to tell us all about her craft and hopefully inspire others to give it a go! Her collection is stunning and versatile, but you don’t need us to tell you that… just take a look at it! Wow!
Welcome Abby. Can you tell us a little bit about what got you into crafting?
I grew up surrounded by artistic people. Living in a very close community with a diverse mix of characters, I was able to try my hand at a whole array of crafts, from sewing to polymer clay modelling, and eventually Abby Hook Jewellery. I come from a long line of artists: My Great, Great Grandfather was Frank Paton, well known for his realistic portrayal of both wild and domestic animals using oil paints, but he is probably more fondly remembered for his pencil etchings. Many other family members have continued the tradition of painting and drawing. Although I enjoyed drawing, I wasn’t particularly good at it. Imagine my delight when I discovered the possibility of bringing things to life with wire!
What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out their crafting journey?
Practice, practice, practice and more practice!! There are many authors of tutorials and instructional YouTube videos out there. Find someone whose work you admire and learn the basics from them. Keep working on those techniques until you have perfected them. With jewellery making, be mindful of each placement of wire, making sure that it is straight and in line, before moving onto the next.
Once you have finished a piece, congratulate yourself, enjoy what you have achieved and then look at it with a critical eye and identify where and what you can improve next time.
Above all else – ENJOY IT!
What does the new year hold for you and Abby Hook Jewellery?
Well due to Covid it is very difficult to make any firm plans, as things are still so uncertain so I intend to continue to develop my brand with new jewellery collections along with kits and tutorials but I also hope to be able to put some of the plans I had to put on hold this year into action, for example holding the Glastonbury wire retreat that we had to postpone.
What have you enjoyed the most about being part of the Hochanda family?
I love the opportunity to encourage people’s creativity. It has been really exciting to work with such an energetic and vibrant team so far and I can’t wait to show you all some of the things that we have planned together!
What is your favourite thing you have ever made, and why?
I was honoured to be asked to make a bridal head piece by Lesley Smith (Curator of Tutbury Castle) for her wedding to Gareth Williams (Curator of Early Medieval Coinage at the British Museum and an expert on the Viking Age). Once the excitement subsided, the enormity of the challenge dawned on me. Carried away with excitement, I began the process of researching and designing the piece based on the brief that Lesley had provided: the bow of the infamous Osberg Viking ship, upright and looming forward with prowess, strength and symbolism, yet delicate and comfortable to wear!
The task of capturing the flowing curves of such a mighty ship in something so small seemed daunting, but after days of sketching, designing and planning I had a strong vision of what I wanted to do. This included the use of traditional Viking chain to form the planks of the ship’s main body, alongside infinity swirls to represent love, and spirals to represent Viking shields. This is by far the most complicated and rewarding design I have made to date. I am absolutely delighted with the final result and have to admit I spent a couple of evenings just looking at it, before I told Lesley it was ready!