I have always been a bit of a Magpie, loving old silver and the craftsmanship that went into making it. Sadly though old silver spoons and dishwashers don’t mix; silver toast-racks don’t often find their way onto breakfast tables and more often than not people use tea bags rather than loose-leaf tea and an old silver strainer. Sadly a lot of old silver is simply melted down to be created into something new, which seems such a shame as so much of it is incredibly beautiful, even though it no longer has a practical use.
I started working with old silver to make myself a ring, as everything I found just felt heavy and not quite to my taste and then I made a pendant, then earrings and quickly fell in love with working with old silver, which has a wonderful ‘buttery’ feel to it. Since then I have moved from seeking out spoons to looking for any pieces that are usually blackened with tarnish, damaged or broken, but have a beauty in their own right.
Since those early days my work now includes pieces made from toast-racks, tea-strainers, napkin rings and even old Chatelaines, not only English silver, but beautiful pieces found in the rambling Brocante markets of Provence, where I also have a small workshop. From time to time other items find their way into my work, including vintage beads reclaimed from old necklaces and even light-catching vintage French chandelier pieces.
In effect I make ‘something old – something new’ and ‘every piece tells a story’ – rarely do 2 pieces ever turn out exactly the same and the larger repurposed pieces are all sold with their ‘Repurposing Certificate’ from Goldsmiths in London, where I am registered as a Silversmith.
All my pieces are made using a mix of antique and new silver, often incorporating old ‘things’ that I have found in Antique Fairs and more often than not French Brocante Markets, which I must admit are a bit of a passion of mine.
Often I use old solid silver spoons and other pieces of cutlery, but equally have found antique necklaces with beautiful and unusual beads that I can use in new pieces – I must admit that I really enjoy being able to give a new purpose to something, that would otherwise have been left lying in a drawer or would have simply just been discarded.