November 8th, 2009
My next victim is Anna Clifton who runs Anna Clifton Jewellery who combines precious metals with recycled materials to make stunning pieces of jewellery.
1. What is the name of your business and how did the name come about?
Anna Clifton Jewellery – sorry, no exciting story as to how it cam about – it’s my name and I make jewellery!
2. Tell me a little about your business – what is it that you make and sell and where are you based
I’m based in Birmingham but hope to be moving out to somewhere more rural in the next year. I design and make jewellery and bridal hair accessories using a combination of precious metals and recycled materials. I’m currently working with aluminium cans and plastic bags but will probably be introducing other materials such as more recycled plastics and vintage fabrics into my next pieces.
3. What inspired you to start your business?
I’ve always loved drawing and making things and from a very early age (probably about 3 years old) decided that I was going to be an artist when I grew up. Well, I don’t think I’ve grown up yet but I guess I am an artist! The main thing that made me actually start a “proper” business and use my Jewellery and Silversmithing degree was the birth of my daughter. I was teaching at the time and started up my business so that I could spend more time at home with her and choose my own working hours.
4. How long does it usually take for you to complete a piece?
I hate this question because I can’t really answer it. Some pieces take me half an hour, some might take a month!
5. Where do you work?
I have a fully equipped workshop at the end of the garden.
6. What would be your dream project?
Ooooh, good question! I love making catwalk pieces so to have my own show or to work alongside a fashion designer to make jewellery to accompany their designs for a big London fashion week catwalk.
7. What is the most challenging piece you’ve ever made?
The work for my degree show in 2000. More recently, my first Eco tiara was very challenging because I’d never really thought about making a high quality piece out of recycled materials before.
8. What is your favourite thing to do when you are not crafting/working?
I love being outdoors with my children and also going to see bands, especially the Levellers and my husband’s 2 bands, System Trap and Bumblecat.
9. Who are some of your favourite crafters/artists/designers?
Vivien Westwood‘s punk designs have always been a favourite of mine. I also love Indian/Asian design and all things a bit hippy!
10. What inspires you / where do you get your inspiration when you are designing/creating your products?
I won travel bursary to India in the final year of my degree and this is still a major influence on my designs. I also get inspiration from natural form, taking photos of anything that catches my eye while out with my family.
11. What are your favourite blogs and what online site do you visit a lot?
I’m only just getting into the whole blogging thing so don’t really have any favourites yet. I do like twitter though and seem to be getting more new followers every day! I also like the handmade craft site Etsy where I’ve recently set up a shop and am enjoying becoming part of the Etsy community.
12. Where do you source your materials/supplies?
At the moment, my precious metals come from a local bullion dealer that have a good ethical policy but I have sourced a supplier of recycled silver and gold and so intend to change to them soon. My recycled materials come from things that we throw away at home and I also have lots of family and friends on the look out for interesting materials for me to use.
13. How do you balance your day job [if you have one] and your crafting enterprise?
I work as an art teacher 2 days a week and my jewellery business takes up the rest of my working week. As I’m also a mum I don’t really have set hours for my business but as I work from home this isn’t usually a problem.
14. If you could have any super power what would it be?
Being able to be in several different places at once, or maybe being able to stop time and add a few more hours to the day!!
15. What is the last book that you read and enjoyed?
I don’t’ really get time to read books. I do read Green Parent magazine every month and enjoy that.
16. What is the last film you watched and enjoyed?
I’ve seen it a million times but Dirty Dancing was the last film I watched – RIP Patrick Swayze x
17. If you won a million on the lottery tomorrow what would you do with the money?
Buy a big house in the countryside – probably somewhere near Glastonbury.
19. Any advice for other crafters out there who may want to start their own business?
Be prepared to work very hard and also make the most of any free advertising/networking opportunities.
20. What is your favourite recipe – savoury or sweet – care to share it?
If it’s something I make myself then it has to be my homemade pizza. I don’t have a recipe though, it just sort of evolves!!!
Many thanks Anna for taking the time to answer all my questions.
All photographs taken with kind permission from Anna’s online shops/blogs.
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Do you want to get featured on this blog? ‘Milomade 20 Questions’ is going to be a regular spot on my blog which will showcase other crafters/designers/artists who work predominantly with recycled, upcycled and reused materials. If you are interested in getting featured then please get in touch.
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