The Woodlands Collection - Inspired by the Natural Beauty of Kent’s Heritage
31 Jul, 2014
Behind the Scenes, Inspiration
Kent is known as the Garden of England and was famous for the growing of hops. Each September when the hops were ready to be picked, workers/families came down to Kent, stayed in huts on the farm and worked in the hop gardens for 6 weeks. Victorian Londoners who lived in a dirty, polluted city would see it as a holiday in the country. Often the same families would come 'hopping down in Kent' year after year. Sadly this has all disappeared. The countryside now has a different feel and still earns its title "The Garden of England". The fields around us are filled with the growing of soft fruits and fruit orchards. Spring is when it's at its most beautiful as the blossom on the cherry, pear and apple trees is a sight to be seen. As well as the beautiful orchards we have a huge field of lavender growing behind us which not only looks eye-catching but the aromas are beneficial to a good nights sleep around harvest time!
Walking through the countryside with our two dogs, I cannot help but be inspired by the natural beauty of Kent's heritage, of the fruit orchards and woodlands. The different patterns in the bark of the many different species of tree, which surround us, are a constant source of wonder and amazement and I'm very grateful that nature provides this for me to enjoy on a daily basis. I've always reflected that the role of tree bark is similar to that of being a mother - to protect and look after.
Looking for inspiration for the first collection was the easy part, as I'd spent many hours searching for jewellery to wear which was simple, bold and eye-catching because of its textures and feel. Gems and intricate designs, although they are beautiful, aren't really me! I wanted to take the things I found striking in nature and recreate it in sterling silver. I'd seen before jewellery which was hammered to look like tree bark, made out of bark, even carved but nothing like the bark that I loved and yearned for; the bark that had a life which reflected the colours around it; the bark with deep uneven grooves, so I set about creating it myself as a homage to what makes Kent so special to me.
(Trees are so important to Kent that a group of volunteers have set up a five year lottery grant funded project called the Kent Heritage Trees Project which aims to celebrate and promote the value of heritage trees and to inspire local communities about the wonder of their local heritage trees and woodlands. If you'd like to find out more please visit their site http://kentheritagetrees.tcv.org.uk/)