Friday, 1 October 2010

A random act of crafty kindness - Unique Beaded Gems

Credit: Jo Walters

I'd like to give a massive crafty shout out to a lovely lady called Jo Walters, a fellow Folksy shopkeeper who makes and sells her own jewellery creations.

About a month ago I posted a question on Folksy asking any jewellery makers if they would be able to customise a necklace and bracelet for my wedding. This was a set given to me by my future father-in-law and means a lot as it belonged to S's mum who sadly passed away in April this year. The set was gold, which I don't normally wear but I thought it would be nice if I could wear it on our wedding day as my something old and as a little tribute to Ruby.

Jo replied and said she had a few ideas. We discussed price and I said I was looking forward to seeing her designs.

However, a few days later, we got the news at work that due to the never ending downturn in the economic climate we would have to take a pay cut in order to avoid redundancies. Now, this is never good news but with our wedding and honeymoon just a few weeks away, it really couldn't have come at a worse time. I contacted Jo again and explained what had happened and that I would have to cut back on non-essentials and unfortunately wedding jewellery fell into that category.

Well, that's when Jo did something that really restored my faith in humanity. She offered to make my jewellery as a gift as she wasn't long married herself and understood how important this piece of jewellery was to me. Bearing in mind that we were virtual strangers having met only on the forum at Folksy, I was completely overwhelmed at Jo's kindness.

I received my jewellery last week and I absolutely love it as it manages to incorporate the silver and pearls, to match other accessories I'm wearing, intertwined with the original gold necklace and bracelet belonging to S's mum. Here's a sneaky peek -

Credit: Jo Walters

Jo has been making jewellery for about four years now.  As is often the case, it started as a hobby and slowly grew from there.  Jo's friends and family started to buy things and she started doing fairs.  Jo was so busy working full time that she didn't really get the time to get her jewellery making business off the ground properly.  Then her working circumstances changed when the recession hit and after changing to part-time hours, she started to spend more time on the jewellery, developed her website and started to do more fairs. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it) Jo was made redundant in February this year and that is when jewellery making became a full time business. Since then she hasn't looked back and loves the challenge of turning what started as a hobby into a business.

Credit: Jo Walters

Jo called her business Unique Beaded Gems as she was looking for something that would set her apart from other jewellery makers and found suppliers of high quality unusual gemstones in various shapes which are a bit different from the norm.  She has also spent a lot of time learning different ways to put the jewellery together to create something unique.  Jo did tell me that she now prefers to use her name as the designer rather than the name of the website, as she says 'you live and learn and Unique Beaded Gems is a bit of a mouthful!'

Credit: Jo Walters

As well as selling her jewellery through craft fairs, she has also hosted jewellery parties for friends and hopes to expand this side of the business.  Jo also has some of her work in galleries around the UK (Click here to find out where you can see and buy some of Jo's work).

Credit: Jo Walters
I wanted to repay Jo for what she did and then it struck me that I could return the favour by maybe doing a pointy portrait for her.  So I asked if she had a child or a pet and was delighted when she said she has a big old dog called Ned who is her child! (I can totally relate to that!) So I asked for some photos and got to work.  I'll post the results tomorrow!

You can see from some of the samples of Jo's work here, she is a very talented jewellery maker and not only that but she is also a very generous, genuine lady who I am pleased to have gotten to know in the cyber world of arts and crafts!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Nicola for a such a great write up!! It almost bought me to tears!! I really love the portrait you did of Ned, it captures his cheeky character perfectly. You are also very talented and so pleased I've got to know you too! Jo x


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