Silversmith and self-confessed magpie Katie Attwell has always had a love for jewellery. Despite knowing that she wanted to be creative from a very young age, it wasn’t until she signed up for an evening course in 2016 that she finally decided on her artistic direction. She now handcrafts stunning silver jewellery from her kitchen table in Burtle, and gains her inspiration from Somerset’s beautiful – and laid back – surroundings.
Katie: “I’ve always had a love for jewellery from a young age – dressing up in my mum’s and being fascinated in anything that sparkles. Growing up I knew that I wanted to do something arty, spending most of my time as a child in my dad’s old shirts trying to make various things out of pipe cleaners and pegs. When I was older I did an art foundation degree at Strode College. I loved the idea of trying so many things before I had to specialise.”
Despite her obvious love of art and her natural creativity, Katie admits that it took a while for her to decide on which artistic direction to take. But under the tutorage of a nearby silversmith, and with a little help from her dad, she now creates unique jewellery designs from her home on the Somerset Levels.
Katie: “I still wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted to do after college so I started doing short courses to try and decide what path to take. I signed up for an evening course in jewellery making and silversmithing in Bristol at the end of last year and instantly fell in love. My teacher, Mim, was amazing, and I seemed to pick it up quickly. My amazing dad built me a workbench out of an old worktop which lives in my house. This is now where the company is run from – my workbench in the corner of my kitchen in Burtle!”
Katie’s family has played an important role in the building of both her creative confidence and her business. So much so that she quickly took the plunge and started selling to the public, with the Frome Independent Market one of her favourite spots.
Katie: “For a couple months after my course, my mum, sister, and anyone who had the slightest celebration, got an endless stream of jewellery as gifts. I just couldn’t stop, but wanted to improve before I started selling it. I don’t think they minded too much! About nine-months ago I started doing small markets to see if anything would sell. I was apprehensive that no-one would like it but it went down really well. Since then I’ve opened an Etsy page for a few of my pre-made pieces, but I mostly sell through Instagram and Facebook, with commissioned pieces. I also take part in the Frome Independent Market. It’s my favourite way to sell as you’re face-to-face with people. I love it when someone comes up to me with earrings they bought the month before and they love them!”
Each of Katie’s finished pieces of jewellery is unique and, metaphorically, a little rough around the edges, but it’s that handcrafted touch that she loves.
Katie: “My designs are not perfect, but it’s the way I like them! I like the hammered effect, and how each time I make something it’s different from the last. Also it’s the way the light reflects off the little dimples on hammered silver. My inspiration mainly comes from shapes that you see all around you. At the moment I’m circle mad – it seems to be in everything at the moment! My favourite of these are the hoops with little hammered circles on. To me these are little moons, thought up after siting in the garden with my partner after a long day, just staring into space and enjoying the peace of it all. I know it sounds cheesy but when I wear mine (had to keep a pair!), I feel that little bit more relaxed, and now it reminds me of these evenings.”
Katie’s passion for her craft is clear, but why does she love Somerset?
Katie: “I love Somerset for the peace. I prefer life at a slightly slower pace and love that it’s not rushed or panicked around here. You’re never too far away from a walk with a beautiful view to get rid of the stress of the day.”