March Meet The Maker 2018 – Part I

Carin in the workshop

Did you follow the March Meet the Maker challenge on Instagram? You may remember me talking about it back in March, when the challenge started. I took part in the challenge, which meant publishing content every day for a month, all to do with getting to know me as a maker and what makes me tick. Since I spent a lot of time creating the content and photos for these posts, I wanted to make sure that the content is always available and accessible in one place. Social media is such a fast paced medium and these posts are long gone by now. Unless you go and actively scroll through my feed, you would not be able to get the low down on me, and what goes on here in my little corner of the North Cornish Coast! So I decided to write a 3 part blog series about it, and show you the content that was posted druing March this year (2018). Basically, it’s a great way for people to get to know a little bit about me, my business, what inspires me and what keeps me going, all in one place and available anytime and anywhere. So here goes!

Carin in the workshop

Day 1 – YOU

ME is Carin, a born and bred Swede living in the UK since about 20 years now – OMG where did that time go?! Like a lot of others I am not overly keen on being seen in pictures, but I am getting used to it and in this one I am partially hidden behind my favourite magnifying glasses! 😎 Right, so a quick bit about me: I emigrated to the UK back in 2007, to take up my first job after university. 20+ years later I’m now living on the rugged north coast of Cornwall, married to my wonderful and supportive English husband Steve, and we have 2 children; 3 year old Maja and 7 year old Filip. After various different careers I am now the designer, maker and general dogsbody of my own jewellery business called Camali Design. Welcome to my little world, it’s great to meet you! Do say hello to me and I hope to get better acquainted over the next month! xx

Boscastle Harbour

Day 2 – WHERE

I work and live in Boscastle, an old fishing village on the north coast of Cornwall, down the far west end of the UK. It’s a beautiful and inspiring surrounding, not to mention being an awesome place to live and bring up kids. Ever since we moved to Cornwall 10 years ago, me and my husband will occasionally look at each other and say “we live here, you know!” 😎 We count ourselves lucky to be able to live here, people pay good money to holiday in Cornwall! As much as I love it, it IS in the middle of nowhere, so I need the odd fix now and then by making a trip up to “the real world” as I call it! We also go and see my dad, my brother and the rest of my family back in Sweden a few times a year.

How it all started

Day 3 – HOW YOU STARTED

It’s so long ago that I can’t really remember how it all started, but I think it was very much down to my innate desire to change things. Everything I see, there is usually something I would change to make it better in my opinion! It drives my husband up the wall, I think he’s secretly scared I’m gonna try to change HIM! I haven’t yet been outed!… 😉

A lot has happened over the 10 odd years that I have been doing this; from bead stringing to wire wrapping, then moving on to soldering, metal smithing and stone setting. One of the beauties of jewellery making is that there are so many ways to go with it, wonder where it will take me next!? Looking through old photos of a good one for this post, I found this pendant I made back in 2009 and I must say it’s a pendant I am still quite happy with and I made a ring recently in the same style. In fact I am hoping to do more in a similar vein this year.

Fossilised Wood and Silver Ring

Day 4 – FAVOURITE TO MAKE

I’m SUCH a magpie, I LOVE interesting and unusual stones and can (and do!) spend hours trawling the internet for them. So, because it’s a lot about the stones for me, a lot of my jewellery are one of a kinds. That’s why making jewellery with them is my “favourite make”, because every piece is unique and that’s what I love to offer my customers. Be it simple and understated and letting a particularly gorgeous stone shine, or something really textured and layered and full of character. It also means my job never gets boring, as every OOAK piece is new! My absolute favourite item to make has to be rings, in fact sometimes I think maybe I should JUST do rings! Hmmm…. 💍

I do most of my own photography

Day 5 – PHOTOGRAPHY

I take all photos myself with a point and shoot digital camera or my phone, I outsource clipping (white background) but otherwise I do all my own editing using Photoshop. I am not very knowledgeable about photography and I am forever wondering how best to show off my jewellery online as that is where I sell. In fact, I thought I could take this opportunity to ask you guys what you think!

Some people are advocates of products on a plain white background; some very successfully use various wood/stone/fabric backgrounds to create a mood fitting their brand. So, what do you think? Do you think artisan jewellery should be displayed on a white background, or should they be on brand and style appropriate backgrounds with props, or even model shots? If you have time, check out my web site (link in bio), which images do you like the best (on white, or on concrete and/or slate), and do you have any suggestions to improve things, or even what backgrounds you think I should use? Would love to hear your opinions!

Day 6 – WORKSPACE

So my workshop has moved around our house a number of times since we moved here! I have been working in the office, the dining room, the little stone barn in the garden (got too cold and damp in the winter), then back in the dining room and finally back in the office again. It’s actually now supposed to be my 3 year old daughter’s bedroom after we split the room in two. She’s sharing with big brother for now which is fine but it would obviously be lovely for her to have her own space. I am hoping to move into the small office next door very soon, banishing my husband to the dining room for now.

The longer term plan is to convert the little stone building in our back garden into my workshop. I’m hoping that 2018 will be the year when that all happens, as it would really mean a lot to me and my business but more so for the family, to make sure everybody has their own space and independence etc. I just need to raise the funds (easy, right?!). I know for sure my daughter will thank me, and big brother too! The picture is of one of my messy looking work benches, it looks like a bomb went off, but I know exactly where everything is! Organised chaos… 😁

My routine isn't really a routine!

Day 7 – ROUTINE

My routine is more of a “non-routine” really! Work is very much done around our kids and anyone who has children will know that things just don’t work out how you expect them to most of the time! This was very apparent last week when we had 2 “snow days” after having had more snow that I’ve ever seen in Boscastle, meaning school was closed… My “normal” working week is now Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday between about 9.15 am and 14.45pm so I can drop off and pick up our 2 children from school and nursery every day. My 3 and a bit year old daughter has recently started nursery 3 days a week, which really helps and she loves it too, which is the most important thing really!

The routine on a usual day starts with a check of email and social media, follow ups and interactions needed, a bit of admin and maybe some online training or an article. Then I go through what I need to make that day and what can wait, and get to work at the bench. I work until lunch which is usually spent with my husband, who also works from home, and then I’ve got a few more hours at the bench. Then it’s pickup time! I try to set aside a day now and then for doing business related things like work on my web site, social media, accounts, blogging, training, research and product development. So, there we have it, not the most exciting of routines and also not very much “routine” but it makes for an interesting work-life balance! 😁

cow parsley flat lay

Day 8 – FLATLAY

Flatlays seem to be the big thing in photography these days! Being rather inexperienced in the art of photography, and also making most of my jewellery to order (hence rarely having the entire collection available to photograph), I have only really attempted this once, a little while back. So bear with this flatlay virgin and don’t be too harsh! 😁 This one is of one of my collections, Cow Parsley, a range inspired by my childhood, spending time on my aunt and uncle’s farm, my mum’s childhood home, back in Sweden. It also brings back fond memories of my mum, who sadly lost out to the big C nearly 3 years ago now. She was, and still is, a huge inspiration to me in everything I do. 💕

The making of a pair of prehnite and silver leaf earrings 1
The making of a pair of prehnite and silver leaf earrings 2
The making of a pair of prehnite and silver leaf earrings 3
The making of a pair of prehnite and silver leaf earrings 4
The making of a pair of prehnite and silver leaf earrings 5
The making of a pair of prehnite and silver leaf earrings 6
The making of a pair of prehnite and silver leaf earrings 7
The making of a pair of prehnite and silver leaf earrings 8
The making of a pair of prehnite and silver leaf earrings 9

Day 9 – HOW IT’S MADE

I try to take photos of a lot of my making processes, because it’s lovely to be able to show those that don’t know what’s involved in making things in silver and gemstones. I am just finishing off 3 pairs of the February Earring Club earrings for orders and thought I’d take pics as I went along and show you. So that’s what’s in the video, the progress from raw materials; stones, sheet and wire, through to finished article.

The pattern on the silver leaf drops is made using roller printing with real leaf skeletons, which gives that lovely subtle veining to the silver. It’s then brought out by patina, the black stuff, and then finished off to leave darker colour in the recesses and a gentle brushed effect for the rest. The soft green stones are called Prehnite. Hope you enjoy seeing the process!

I do most of my own photography

Day 10 -TIME TO RELAX

Time to relax is in short supply! It’s something we all need of course; taking time out in a busy work life is crucial for your own well being and for that of those around you. However, being a mum of 2 young children, your time is not always your own! The last 6-7 years have mostly been about the kids and I wouldn’t have had it any other way but now they’re getting a little bit older I’ve been able to squeeze in a bit of “me” time each week. I have rediscovered music and singing again! When growing up I played the piano and sang in choirs and I always loved it, especially the singing. So when recently a new chorus was started locally I threw myself head first into it!

Singing a capella in 4 part harmony is quite hard and may not always seem like relaxation, but it’s something I do for me, just me, and I love it! It has also resulted in a separate little quartet where we have a lot of fun, singing and chatting. This has all given me extra motivation to support my children in music. I help my son when he practises cello and he has also just started learning to play the guitar, even my husband is giving it a good stab! I’m hoping my little girl will want to start playing an instrument or sing. She is already singing “Let it go”, with great feeling while I do my own singing practise! So, all in all, music has had a really big impact on my life recently, I’m so grateful for it and I hope it’s here to stay!

That’s the first 10 days of the challenge, hope you enjoyed getting to know a bit more about me, my business and what makes me tick! The next 10 days will be out nex week, so watch this space!

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