Monday 8 October 2012

Artisan Whimsy UK Team - Let Us Inspire You..

Have you joined Artisan Whimsy - the new website and learning centre for all things handmade jewellery yet? I hope you have because today the first post from the UK Team will be live on the blog and we've set our readers a little challenge that could win them some lovely rewards. 

The UK team is made up of jewellery designers and component makers who encompass a wide range of media and our aim is to share a little of what we do and maybe give a bit of Brit insight into the world of jewellery. In our first post you'll find short biographies of the team's founding members and a bit of information about the places we live.

Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to pick one of these regions and create a piece of jewellery or a component using it as your inspiration and then showcase it with a mini blog and page hop at Artisan Whimsy. Each region will have it's own prize draw for it's entrants and one person will be randomly selected to win a prize made by that team member - that's 6 prizes up for grabs. To enter you need to leave a comment on the blog post on the Artisan Whimsy site which you can find here along with the full details.

For anyone who might be considering my region I thought I'd show you bit more of the place I call home to help get the creative juices flowing. I live in a small county called Dorset on the south coast of England...

That's me right there at the bottom - can you see me waving? Dorset is well known for it's stunning scenery. As the birthplace of author Thomas Hardy (Tess of the D'Urbeville's, Far From The Madding Crowd) and the setting for many of his novels, it is often referred to as Hardy country and as you can see it's very beautiful...

Golden Hill Shaftesbury was the setting for a nostalgic TV advert for Hovis bread.

 Some of our fabulous rural landscapes.

The region also boasts a 'World Heritage Site' Jurassic coast which is simply stunning.

Landscape photographs courtesy of Joe D /

Are those not truly inspirational views?

When I began looking for something jewellery related that might help inspire you I remembered that Dorset has a long tradition of button making with a thriving cottage industry in the 18th and 19th Centuries before it inevitably became more mechanised. These old buttons were made from rings of sheep's horn, covered in cloth and embroidered with linen - you can read more about the history here.

Although the buttons weren't originally designed for it, modern day versions are great for making jewellery as you can see from these pieces by Louise Armitage.


If you fancy having a go at making these here's a tutorial and I'd be really interested to see what you do...I've not tried it yet but I think I should.

There you have it - some visual inspiration should you decide to choose my little piece of the planet to base your design on. And if you do, this is what you'll go into the draw to win...a patinated bronze seahorse pendant and a pair of patinated turtle charms similar to these. Seahorses have a protected breeding environment off the Dorset coast and turtles, well I thought they'd be good company for him.

All you need to do now is pop over to the Artisan Whimsy site and enter the challenge on the UK Team blog post; if you haven't yet joined Artisan Whimsy you can do that first here.

So I hope you all find some inspiration somewhere in the UK. You can of course make more than one piece if more than one place inspires you but prizes will be limited to one per person. I'm looking forward to seeing the results



  1. How come the hill I live on doesn't look like that?! If that inspiration were out my window, I'd never get anything done!

  2. Hi Lesley,
    I have signed up over on the Artisan Whimsy site and Dorset was one of the places I chose along with Edinburgh (because of my Scottish roots). I already have so many ideas rolling around in my head for both locations. What a great idea for a challenge!

  3. ERMAHGERD....gorgeous views Ms Lesley!!!I would love to do this !

  4. What amazing scenery! I do love Dorset - and considering I live in the county next door I don't visit Dorset often enough!

  5. Stunning!! Thank you for the map too! Just beautiful!

  6. Stunning country-side Lesley!!!!! Hope you don't have to hike up and down those streets too many times a day, I'm huffing and puffing just looking at the pictures. But it's still stunningly beautiful!!!! . . . . Jan

  7. Your comment about "common" ravens and the tower of London on Kristi's blog made me laugh, so I just had to come visit you! Beautiful country where you live -- I enjoyed the tour.

  8. The coast looks spectacular. I love your jewellery components too. Have a lovely weekend!


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