Meet The Jeweller, Tansy Wilson
We chat Making Jewellery Magazine, publishing your own books to strange commissions!
Tansy Wilson is a talented jeweller who features her techniques and projects in Making Jewellery Magazine.
Working from her home studio, Tansy mainly creates commissions for clients while also juggling her time training her new puppy!
We have been lucky enough to be featured in many of Tansy's Making Jewellery projects, so make sure you pick up the next issue to be inspired to create something new.
Use our crinkle metal sheet to create reticulated designs
Hi Tansy! Tell us about how you got started in making jewellery
I studied 3-Dimensional design for my BA honors degree, specialising in wood, metal, ceramics and plastic technology. I loved making crazy things that had a function, which led into the creative world of jewellery making. I love that you can combine any combination of materials like gold with wood or be classical and have everything made in sterling silver. It makes the design combinations and my creativity endless.
Your projects often feature in Making Jewellery Magazine! What’s the best thing about sharing these step by step projects?
The best thing is when you get emails from people that have tried your project idea and they share their pictures with you. I especially love it when they put their own twist on the design too. Its really rewarding.
What is your favourite project you’ve worked on for Making Jewellery Magazine?
That is such a hard question as I often create projects around jewellery items I would wear myself. I have been wearing a pair of reticulated earrings for the past two weeks and haven't even taken them off so I suppose they are my faves at the moment!
What is your favourite gemstone and why?
I adore turquoise. It looks great with silver or gold and can be made to look rustic or really modern in a design. Its such a versatile stone.
Tell us more about your creative process when starting a project?
There are two distinct ways that I work. I either sit down and design a piece of jewellery with a client or I let a material dictate the shape and form as I work with it. Either way I am a sponge absorbing shapes and colours whether they are in nature or cultures around me. I am always taking pictures on the mobile or making little scribbles of shapes in a notebook that I carry around everywhere with me for inspiration. When I need to I look at these and put elements together.
Tell us about your set up! Are you based at home or in a studio?
When I lived in London my studio was a shared space about an hour from my home. Although I loved it, I had to be so organised with my time. Now I live in Somerset, I have my studio at home, which is perfect for the way I work. If I have an idea at any time - day or night, I can get creative straight away.
What’s one area of jewellery making you would like to improve on or try?
I have put my hand to most techniques but I would love to be able to have better facilities for casting metal to obtain gorgeous solid forms.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I tend to have repetition in my work and am very process led. For example I love to create a texture onto a shape and then make several of those shapes and put them all together to make one item and I particularly like using wire in multiples to create a bold effect. (pictures included)
What’s one silversmithing tool you couldn’t be without and why?
I love tools and to pick one is hard because if I use pliers, I will have several to hand for one piece. However one large tool I cant be without is my rolling mill.
If you’re not making jewellery, where can we find you?
I got a puppy recently and she is my little bundle of joy. However she is full on so if I’m not making jewellery, I’m training her at the moment.
What’s the most interesting commission you’ve created?
One client gave me her wisdom teeth to be cased in sterling silver and turned into earrings. That is definitely the most unusual commission I have ever had.
What’s your favourite piece of jewellery you own and the story behind it?
I am a magpie and making jewellery does tend to mean that I wear so many different pieces but the one constant item I wear is my engagement ring. I designed it and a good friend made it. It was so exciting being the client for a change and choosing my diamond and seeing the ring come together.
How do you manage a busy schedule?
Managing my time is a challenge as I tend to get lots of commissions all at once and prioritising them along with the every day stuff is tricky. I have an old-fashioned paper diary so I can write things down and make lists and luckily I work well under pressure.
What advice would you give someone who’d like to turn their hobby into a business?
I am so enthusiastic I think it is great if people want to take their hobby to the next level. However my advice is nothing will happen overnight and you wont get it right the first time. That was my biggest learning curve.
You’ve published three jewellery making books! How did you find this experience?
I love writing the books for GMC Publications. It’s an immense pressure and the way it works is there are deadlines for each section of the book so its incredibly fast paced but the end results look so great.
What are your goals for the next 5 years?
I have two main goals one professional and personal.
Firstly to completely refurbish my studio as it’s got really chaotic and I’m often tidying up before I can start making something new.
The other one is to have a new patio laid and tidy up the garden so I can truly relax with a glass of wine in the Summer evenings rather than looking around thinking of all the jobs that need doing.
Tansy's Top Kernowcraft Picks
I adore Kernowcraft's gemstone cabochon and bead ranges and cannot recommend them highly enough for anyone who wants to buy wonderful quality good coloured gemstones for a piece.
Kernowcraft's wraptite settings are a fabulous product to use to set stones quickly and easily and come in lots of styles and sizes to create different designs.
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