Kate Wood creates contemporary pieces of delicate jewellery shipped worldwide from her studio at Deben House in Bristol. We managed to catch up with Kate in between her busy schedule to get an insight on her creative business and the amazing work that she creates!
So Kate, could you tell us a bit about your business?
We make beaded and chainwork jewellery in silver and gold-plated silver with semi-precious and precious stones and pearls. It’s now stocked all over Europe and the US, as well as sold directly through my website.
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I sort of fell off the #marchmeetthemaker wagon this week, but I'm still joining in when I feel like it! Here's a little step by step of the ombré earrings (before they get their hooks) #howitsmade #wip #workinprogress #makersgonnamake #handcraftedjewelry #futureheirlooms #earringaddict #ombreallday #greenandgold #emeraldearrings #littledetails #ukhandmade #bristolmakers #meanwhilecreative
How did the business start?
It started as a hobby and gradually grew. I transitioned really slowly from making Jewellery as a hobby, to working part time and gradually going full time in roundabout 2009.
I’ve always loved making things and went from selling at markets like Spitalfields in London to seeing my work in London galleries and now wholesaling internationally.
My partner and I moved here from London looking for a more relaxed lifestyle closer to family. Bristol is a great balance – it feels like a mix of city and country living, chilled and friendly with a creative buzz about it and loads going on. I’ve had a studio here for 3 years (more or less since Meanwhile opened Deben House). I moved upstairs to a larger space at Deben last winter, sharing with Lauren of Maybe Mabel. I was looking for somewhere with more natural light and a sense of community so I was pleased to get my space at Deben House. It’s super convenient, just a quick ride down the cycle path.
Is this your first studio space and is there anyone else that helps you out with the business?
No, My first studio was at Cockpit Arts in Holborn in London which is a really special community of creatives run as a social enterprise with business support and amazing open studios twice a year. I was at Cockpit for five years and when I first moved to Bristol three and a half years ago I had a studio at BV Studios in Bedminster. It’s mainly me and my amazing assistant Chloe Solomon (also a talented jeweller in her own right – see her work here). I also employ other freelancers when things get busy and my partner Andy helps me out a lot too.
What big things have you got coming up in 2018? What’s next?
It’s been an incredibly busy year for the business so I’m looking forward to a bit of time off before the Christmas rush! There is also a fine jewellery range in the pipeline with gold and ‘salt and pepper’ diamond beads.
What are the best and worst parts of the job?
There are many great parts of the job such as getting to make things with my hands that make people happy. Having that direct connection to craft and making is important to me. However, juggling all the different aspects of running a business and trying not to get too stressed by it can be challenging!
Looking back at your journey/career, is there any advice you would have given yourself at the beginning?
Just give it go, if it doesn’t work out you’ll learn something from it anyway. Keep learning new skills, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
You can browse Kate’s jewellery on her Instagram and website, where you can also buy her designs direct. If you want to see her work in the flesh then you can go visit her at Dazzle London: 11 Nov – 6 Jan