Jewellery Inspired By Your Home With Claire Halligan

Are you ever inspired by the flowers blooming in your garden, leaves falling from trees to the hills you can see from your bedroom window? Sometimes the inspiration you need for your jewellery designs is right in front of you.

We talk to Claire Halligan, a wonderful jeweller from the East End of Glasgow, with designs inspired by the hustle and bustle of the streets and wonderful architecture that surrounds her. Claire's jewellery always catches our eye, using gemstones such as mystic fire topaz and cubic zirconia!

Find out more about living life in this Scottish city, how Claire finds her inspiration and her top picks she couldn't be without. 

Carry on scrolling to discover more of our customer creations, inspired by their very own hometown too.

Hi Claire, firstly tell us about Pop Up Jewellery Ltd and how your jewellery making journey started

Pop Up Jewellery Ltd is a business that creates sterling silver jewellery inspired by many factors. From our dainty collection which is inspired around bright gemstones and feminine touches, to our designs inspired by the East End of Glasgow where we take areas from the city and work them into our designs. 

My jewellery making journey started four years ago when I done an art and designs course - I had started making small rose earrings and bone necklaces from polymer clay and they were hideous! Although I remember thinking I was so cool when I wore them! It wasn't until I studied an applied arts course where I got a taste of silversmithing - ever since that one jewellery class three years ago I was hooked! I then went on to study jewellery design and I have never looked back

How has living in East End Glasgow, Scotland influenced your designs?

Living in the East End of Glasgow has always been interesting, it is an area that has went from the most poverty ridden to a now flourishing area. We have community centres which helped stop gang violence and markets all around for entrepreneurs to flourish. So when I walk through my city and I see gates, tenements, windows I cant help but take aspects of there sights and celebrate them in my work.

How would you describe your home in three words?

- Noisy, I'm a city girl so I need to sounds of cars and people walking past to keep me sane!
- Changing, Glasgow EE has the amazing trick of staying the same yet changing at the same time! You could be looking at the new built flats which look so modern and then a few blocks away there is this rotting fence - I adore the chaos and order of my city
- Architectural - If you have a wonder around Glasgow you will see some of the most beautiful buildings, and I am not just speaking about the new ones, I am speaking of the old ones - like the fish and chips shops that have been there for 20+ years or the Barrowlands which is still one of the most popular sights in Glasgow today

Where’s your favourite place in Glasgow?

My favourite place in Glasgow has to be the area I used to play called ''The Castle'' which is right behind my house and is an area with a hill (The Castle) which is made up by different colour bricks and surrounded by brick walls enclosing it. This is my favourite area because it never changes - the missing brick in the wall is still there, the grit at the top of the hill is still there. When I was wee I used to think I could see the whole world from the top of the castle but really it was only the bus stop!

What shapes and colours do you associate with your home and how has this influenced your jewellery?

When it comes to shapes relating to my own I always think the East End and Glasgow is very architectural, its covered in buildings or stone/brick areas so there is a lot of rectangles and squares. Right now I am looking at the long rectangular tenement windows. When it comes to colours I always felt that the look of cold high polished silver fit well into the colour scheme as it has the cold and strong look I get from the buildings. Although I am obsessed with the bright double yellow lines found on the grey/black streets - its an amazing colour contrast.

What’s one tool you couldn’t part with and why?

My polisher! I have this horrible obsession with making things highly polished to the point I have found myself polishing the same piece for three days. When I hear the squeak from the jewellery and the polish cloth I know its good enough!

Tell us a little bit about your current collection and the inspiration behind it.

Currently I have two collections I am always working on, the first being the dainty collection which is feminie delicate designs that have been designed around brightly coloured gemstones. The second and most important collection is my ''Street'' or ''East End'' collection which is where I take aspects of my surroundings such as double yellow lines or old rotting gates and incorporate these into jewellery.

What has your experience been with craft fairs and do you have any tips?

When it comes to market stalls or fairs I learned very quickly that you should try every one to see where you do best. I have had sell out stalls and I have had quiet stalls but with either of them I didn't loose anything, new jewellers need to remember that we are starting out and it is okay if one stall doesn't go well! It means we now know that, that stall is not for us so time to try the next! When I have a bad stall and I feel a bit disheartened my mum always says ''There is now ten more people who knew about Pop Up Jewellery Ltd'' than there was yesterday!

Do you have a favourite design which means a lot to you and why?

My favourite design has to be my tenement brooch, it was the design that started my brand and helped me believe that I didn't have to follow a trend. My brooch is one of the most complicated pieces I have ever made and at the end of the production period I look back at this brooch and I don't see just metal or enamel - I see my home, my memories made into this piece of jewellery I can take anywhere with me.

Where can we find you on a Sunday afternoon?

Sundays are usually my day off! So I spend these days replying to emails, sketching some designs and of course watching Game of Thrones wrapped up in a big housecoat with a cup of tea! May not be the most exciting Sunday but it is the best way to unwind from the week!

What advice would you give to someone struggling to find inspiration for designs?

If someone is stuggling the first thing I would say is ''your not alone!'' all designers go through dry spells where we cant think of any design! So when it is me I usually turn off my phone, get the dog and go a long walk and ignore everything about. Sometimes I think we have so much going through our head all the time we just need complete silence for one moment to clear our heads!

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pop up jewellery recommendations
Oh I have been excited for this! With all the gemstones in my work I buy them from Kernowcraft and it is not just because the stones are amazing but it is the team! They don't make me feel silly when I phone asking for advice! So my top three products have to be...

Blue Topaz Coloured Cubic Zirconia Faceted Stones

Topaz colour cubic zirconia is my best selling gemstone!

Emerald Coloured Cubic Zirconia Faceted Stones

There have been so many times I bought this stone for my designs!

Mystic Fire Topaz Faceted Stones

In my opinion the best stone on Kernowcraft's website.

Customer Creations Inspired By Their Home...

We asked if your home inspires your jewellery designs and we received amazing photos oof beautiful designs...

Take a look below and for more, like us on Facebook!

Tundra Jewellers Devizes

Love the Wiltshire Hare, even better with a moon!

Bent Arrow Studio

Many of my designs are inspired by nature and my surroundings.

Katherine Lawrie Jewellery

Swallows always remind me that summer has arrived. Can't wait to see them again next spring!

MMM Jewellery

My 'Trees' collection pieces are all inspired by my surroundings. They contain stones that reflect the colours I see as well as twigs cast from my garden. 

Josephine Jardine

I get to visit the shoreline quite a bit living in Dorset and having dogs and kids. my favourite beaches are ones that have small scattering of puddles with smatterings of pebbles on sandy beaches, I try to captures the pebbles scattered around but I'm still working on capturing the water part.