The jeweller whose craft is her lifeline

celtic shore studio

I used to work in accounts, but as my illness got worse I had to give up my job. My jewellery making allows me to work around how I feel. Without my jewellery I would not be working, so it gives me a reason to fight to keep going and it has kept me sane.

For Laura from Celtic Shore, jewellery making is “her lifeline”. It started as a hobby grown out of a love of sea glass, but as her health deteriorated, her craft enabled her to keep working, keep going and keep fighting. We talked to Laura to find out more about her sea glass collection and the medical alert jewellery that developed from her own needs…

Can you introduce yourself?
Hi, my name is Laura. I’m 40 years old with one teenage daughter and a very lazy golden Labrador. I’ve been creating jewellery for the last 10 years, which has over time allowed me to turn my obsession with sea glass into a business. My first foray into jewellery making was bead-weaving, which I still do but for relaxation and pleasure. Before I stared working with sea glass and making jewellery I was always making different bits and pieces for my home. I would always try to make something instead of buying new, so I would (and still do) make curtains, cushions and upcycle furniture.

sea glass jewellery, celtic shore

How did you learn your craft?
I have never had any formal training. A lot has been by trial and error and reading from books and the internet.

Although I add charms to a lot of my sea glass, I do make pieces that are just made out of sea glass and beach stone. The landscape and colours of the sea and sky have a great influence on these pieces.

How did your work with sea glass begin?
For the last 14 years I’ve been lucky enough to live in small villages on the Scottish coast. Until then I had never heard of sea glass but after finding these beautiful pieces of glass on the beach and doing some research I became aware of what I was collecting. To begin with I used to collect the sea glass and display it in jars and dishes, then – like a lot of other jewellery makers – I started to make pieces for friends and family.

personalised sea glass jewellery, scottish

Does where you live influence your work?
My environment definitely influences my work. Although I add charms to a lot of my sea glass, I do make pieces that are just made out of sea glass and beach stone. The landscape and colours of the sea and sky have a great influence on these pieces.

I can sometimes keep a piece of seaglass for months before I think of the perfect design.

What or who else inspires you?
Although I’m greatly inspired by other craftsmen and women, my biggest influence comes from my customers who are always pushing me to create new and different pieces. This is why I offer to make custom pieces, as it sometimes sends me in a direction I haven’t thought of.

medical alert jewellery

I couldn’t find a piece of medical alert jewellery that I liked and enjoyed wearing, so I thought about creating my own. My medical alert jewellery is my biggest seller and now sells all over the world.

Where did the idea for ‘medical alert’ jewellery come from?
I have Lupus along with some other related medical conditions. I couldn’t find a piece of medical alert jewellery that I liked and enjoyed wearing, so I thought about creating my own. I started to look at personalised hand-stamped jewellery and over the next few years taught myself to hand-stamp and work with silver. My medical alert jewellery is my biggest seller and now sells all over the world.

laura edwards

With my sea glass pieces I sometimes find a piece of glass that I instinctively know what I want to do with it as it speaks for itself.

Can you describe your creative process?
With my sea glass pieces I sometimes find a piece of glass that I instinctively know what I want to do with it as it speaks for itself. If that doesn’t happen, I lay out lots of pieces and study their shapes and form to see which pieces look good combined together and what charms work well with them. I can sometimes keep a piece for months before I think of the perfect design.

Where do you work?
I currently work from my kitchen, which luckily enough is quite large. I have added extra cupboards and a monk’s bench to store all my tools and supplies. My project for next year is to build some form of studio in the garden.

celtic shore interview

What’s the most precious item in your workspace?
My Dremel drill and hammer along with my iPod ~ I always have music playing while I work.

Never be scared to unleash your work to the public. It can be the most exhilarating feeling and will help you evolve as an artist.

What’s the best thing about being creative for a living?
I used to work in accounts, but as my illness got worse I had to give up my job. My jewellery allows me to work around how I feel (Lupus is a very unpredictable illness). Without my jewellery making I would not be working, so along with my daughter, it gives me a reason to fight to keep going and it has kept me sane.

craft is my lifeline

What would you say to someone thinking about selling their work?
Never be scared to unleash your work to the public. It can be the most exhilarating feeling and will help you evolve as an artist. Customer feedback will help you see what works and what doesn’t.

What does craft mean to you?
Craft is my lifeline.

sea star jewellery

See Laura’s whole jewellery collection in her Folksy shop Celtic Shore >

To celebrate being our featured maker, Laura is offering 10% off all her jewellery with the code SUMMER10. This discount is valid until 31 August 2015

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