Muddy says: Gather your dearest girls, be they friends or family, to make professional pieces that will tell their story for years, nay generations to come. Your teacher, the Royal College of Art trained Fiona Dowling, is a calm and deeply knowledgeable guide to the art of jewellery making.
Rings, necklaces, bracelets and bangles. Normally they’re created in hidden workrooms, emerging fully-formed then displayed in a clinical showroom, but what if you could wear, or give, a piece made by your own fair (if slightly shakey) hands? Something imbued with meaning, and created alongside family and friends.
Fiona believes passionately that jewellery-making should be a communal process, undertaken in the home — at your mum’s kitchen table even, which is what I did. [Read Mary’s review of a Jewellery Moves ring workshop]
None of the techniques that Fiona showed us were terribly difficult, but they did require just enough concentration to block out everyday mind chatter and focus instead on the job in hand and the people round the table.
Our lives are so terribly busy, and it’s hard to carve out time to sit; be; escape the mundane and chat at length with friends.
In fact, a large part of Fiona’s inspiration for Jewellery Moves came from a video found online about West African communities creating beautiful pieces of jewellery on the roadside, using whatever tools came to hand and surrounded by family, friends and children.
Swapping roadside for a kitchen table, a roaring fire and a cuppa (or glass of wine) Fiona wants to recreate the same sense of ease and fun in her jewellery workshops.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that kitchen table equals amateur though. Fi studied at The Royal College of Art and, before children, ran a hugely successful business supplying cuff links to city-boys.
Participants can choose either a ring, necklace, ear ring or bracelet workshop.
Fiona does runs occasional workshops at Andover’s Muddy Award winning interiors store, La Di Da and other venues across Hampshire (keep an eye on Muddy Hants’ What’s On for details or sign up to her newsletter).
What she really loves though is going into people’s homes. I don’t think you need an excuse for that special, and rare, bonding time with your gal pals, or the women in your family (or men, apologies males of the species for my shameless gender stereotyping).
A Jewellery Moves session would also be a special way to mark impending milestones: births, weddings, big birthdays — an excuse to spend time together and create something to mark the occasion for generations to come.
Fiona also helps children create bespoke gifts for parents, grandparents or anyone that they’re close to AND finally Fi leads jewellery making birthday parties for small groups of older children (8+).