Have you heard of an enamel jeweller? I hadn’t until I met Rachel at a Somerset Etsy Team meetup. Rachel makes stunning jewellery and gifts from enamel. The combination of shapes and colours that she uses really caught my eye, so I just had to find out more about her creative world!
Hi there, can you tell the Simple Stylish Makes readers a little bit about yourself?
Hey, I am Rachel from… iamrachel (yes, I know, how did I ever think of that business name?). I design and create enamel jewellery and gifts from my home workshop, aka shed. I recently moved out of Bristol and back to Somerset to be near my family, which has proved to be a great decision.
When did you start designing/making?
I have always had a passion for creativity, my only A grade at GCSE was in Art. When at school I did an evening class in photography and then went on to do an art and design course and photography BTEC. Whilst doing my teacher training in Bristol in 2004, I took an evening course in enamelling and fell in love, as I do with most arts and crafts I try. Not long after I bought a kiln, enamel powders and other various tools and began experimenting with colours and developing my own style.
What do you love about designing/making?
I particularly like enamelling over other creative processes because it is a lesser known craft, although that can make it difficult when explaining to people how much work goes in to each piece, and my Dad still calls it ‘ceramics’!
The best thing about it is experimenting, which isn’t always possible when you have orders to fulfil and a limited amount of time due to having an almost 2-year-old. Each enamel powder colour takes time to master as they need varying amounts of time in the kiln (between 45 seconds and 1.5 minutes), some also require different application methods and varying heat temperatures but that’s all part of the fun.
If I wasn’t enamelling for a business, I would definitely be doing something else creative like upcycling furniture or sculpting using beach finds.
Can you share any top designing/making tips?
I’m still learning lots of tips as my business expands but some things I’d wish I had known when starting, which would have saved a lot of time in the long run, are:
- Research product shots and get them great from the start. Include a close-up shot and one showing the scale of the item; a white background usually works well with most makes.
- Have a good price range in your store. Some people want to buy your designs but only have a few pounds, so provide something for them too (this is something I’m currently working on with a range of cards).
- Don’t be afraid to wear/ show/ use your own makes and talk about them to everyone you meet. Be proud of what you do and believe that people WILL be interested, surely it’s better than saying, “I work for an IT company”?
When you’re not designing/making, what do you like to do?
As previously mentioned, I have a son who will be 2 in October and our 2nd child is due in January so a lot of my “spare time” is taken up with family, which is wonderful, rewarding and challenging all at once. It doesn’t leave me much time for other things I love to do such as read, follow recipes and dance to funky music.
My favourite place to be is the beach, any beach, so I like to escape there when I can and never come home without a beach find!
I seem to spend a lot of time on social media but I actually quite like networking and making new crafting friends, after all it’s how I found the wonderful Somerset Etsy Team and Sparkle Showcase events, which I am now part of.
Thank you so much, Rachel! It’s been wonderful hearing all about how you got started on your creative journey. Keep up the incredible designs!