I have always enjoyed making things. I started my working life as an occupational therapist, a profession that aims to assist people through purposeful activity. As I worked in mental health, creative activities were part of my day-today and later, I also qualified as a dramatherapist and a psychotherapist. An unlikely mix maybe, but it was one that allowed me to exercise my creativity in different ways
I first began making beaded jewellery as a hobby and then started to sell my work in markets and pop up shops. Whenever I went on holiday I would search for semi-precious beads, and occasionally I would go on buying trips to Paris and Athens too! My hobby was taking over. Eventually, I started an evening class at the National College of Art and Design, and it is there that I first worked with metal. I remember saying to my tutor that I could happily do this for the rest of my life!
Do you believe in serendipity, that sometimes things are meant to be?
As luck would have it, I was on holiday in India when I received an email about a training course in traditional goldsmith skills. As a therapist, you cannot end therapy abruptly but as I was on holidays, I was given the time to weigh up my options and come up with a plan in good time. On my return, I put this plan into action and started to juggle my career as a therapist and my education as a trainee goldsmith. Of course, none of this could have happened without my super supportive husband, who always encouraged me to “follow that dream!”
So that’s what I did! I went to class every morning, and continued my therapy practice in the afternoons and evenings. The module that I loved more than any other was the design module. I was utterly fascinated by the journey from concept to design, and as a psychotherapist I was interested in how our unconscious weaves its way into the pieces we create! It was tough sometimes, juggling it all, but I was enjoying it so much, I persevered.
About half way through my training I realised there was nothing else I would rather be doing, so I took the leap and let my therapy clients know that I would be ending my therapy journey in 18 months. Since my retirement as a therapist I have focused on building a small but sustainable jewellery business. As well as designing and creating collections I have also had to spend a lot of time learning what it means to be self-employed. It’s never too late to take that leap of faith and follow your dream!