Living my Dream - Exhibiting at IJL 2014
22 Aug, 2014
Five years ago, I embarked upon a silver jewellery making course at the Adult Education Centre in Tunbridge Wells under the inspirational guidance of Sue Martin Shipp. This new path has changed my life completely. I left my job in the City to bring up three wonderful children and had been seeking a creative outlet which would give more 'me time'. The course enabled me to develop new skills for myself and become known once again as Charlotte, rather than Mum! Over the last five years I’ve met many delightful people along the way and made new friends and colleagues.
Being in an environment with soldering irons, hammers, anvils and odd shaped tools that I had no idea how on earth they could be used, gave me a buzz. The first bangle I made seemed to be a miracle. How could I, who was never very good at creative subjects at school, make something so stunning out of a square shaped piece of wire? When it was finished and looked superb, I had a real sense of achievement.
Making jewellery turned into a passion and the following year I visited the IJL with a friend as we were beginning to think about setting up a business selling jewellery at craft fairs. For those that don’t know the International Jewellery Show, London, is the largest retail trade fair in England and stands range from the finest jewellers to new designers who are starting out on their path. It was a scary experience as everyone knew so much and my friend and I were complete beginners wandering round the exhibitors in complete awe of the amount of beautiful jewellery on display. We met one lady who was exhibiting for the first time who made original jewellery to go on scarves and jumpers. I remember talking to her, hearing that she was just launching her jewellery at the IJL and not long before she'd been a student. She said if we wanted to we could be exhibiting at the IJL. At the time it felt like exhibiting at the IJL would never be in my reach. Although I was very daunted by it all, a seed was planted that I’d one day like to run my own business and exhibit at the IJL.
Fast forward a few years - I've earned a Distinction in a Diploma from the London Jewellery School http://www.londonjewelleryschool.co.uk/ and set up Kara Jewellery (named after my first dog and best friend when I was a young girl) and I’ve only a few days to go before I travel to Olympia, set up Stand No P100 and launch my first Collection - Woodlands. So many mixed emotions are flooding through me - I'm petrified of how it will be received, I'm so excited I can't sleep (which is great as I've still so much work to do!) but most of all I am very, very happy.
When I started this journey just a few years ago I would never have believed at the age of 47 I would have started a new career becoming founder, creator and maker of Kara Jewellery. Dreams can come true if you really want them to.
Visit the IJL website
Visit the London Jewellery School website