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Max Pring Handmade Jewellery Wales

Meet the Maker – Max Pring Jewellery

by Folksy

Meet jeweller Max Pring

Max Pring is a jeweller and metalwork artist based in Wales. Originally self-taught, Max has been honing her craft over the last 14 years, working with silver, copper and brass, ethically sourced gemstones and, more recently, incorporating her own glass work into her pieces. Max talks to fellow Folksy maker Frances from Eiderglass about her creative journey and the importance of finding a supportive community when you’re a maker.

 Use code HappyMaker for 10% off Max Pring Jewellery throughout September 2023

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Sterling silver bar bracelet with feather design by Max Pring

Hi Max, lovely to meet you. Please could you introduce yourself and your Folksy shop?

Hello Frances, I’m Maxine aka Max and my shop is Max Pring Jewellery and Metal Art. I make metal jewellery, accessories and art, mostly using silver and copper with gemstones and, more recently, my own fused glass.

Max Pring Handmade Jewellery Wales

Have you always been creative, and who or what would you identify as your influences?

I have always been creative, from making my own doll’s clothes when I was a youngster to my own clothes and jewellery as a teenager and then clothes for my own children. My greatest influence was from my nan. She taught me how to knit, crochet and sew. I have very fond memories of spending time with nan sitting on the floor with a big tin of buttons and scraps of material making clothes for my doll. I only have to open my own button jar now and the smell takes me right back to those memories, and I love nothing better than getting the button jar out and getting creative with my own grandchildren now, who also love to create.

Max Pring Handmade Jewellery Wales

I only have to open my own button jar now and the smell takes me right back to those memories

Max Pring

I believe you are mostly self-taught. Was that through trial and error, or did you make use of books/resources?

While I’m very hands-on and prefer to watch someone else, then try it myself, I also love to read, and I have lots of interesting books about jewellery making and read a lot about it as well.

Butterfly shawl pin by Max Pring

I started making my own jewellery as a teenager with wooden beads and findings. I learned through trial and error mostly, as there was no internet back then to check! But when I decided I wanted to make silver jewellery I went to a silversmithing class to learn the basics and have developed my skills more since then.

Max Pring Handmade Jewellery Wales

I love that you combine so many different elements in your work – silversmithing, beadwork, enamelling and working with gemstones. What is your creative process?

When it comes to making, I love to experiment and try new things, particularly combining different types of materials, be that different types of metal, beads or enamel and, more recently, my own glasswork.

Handmade dichroic glass brass necklace by Max Pring

I rarely start with a picture in mind and prefer my designs to be more organic and just evolve from whatever materials I’m working with, so I might start by making some fused glass cabochons, but have no idea what they will become until they’re finished. With metals, I’ll just sit down with a bunch of materials and start putting things together, like creating wire shapes and then turn them into earrings.

Max Pring Handmade Jewellery Wales

What is your favourite part of the making process?

My favourite is definitely the making step – the sculpting, cutting, filing, hammering, soldering and adding the little details. I’m not a big fan of polishing though, which is essential when working with metals, so I use a tumble polisher to do that for me, or for bigger pieces that task gets delegated to my other half, who enjoys it much more than me!

Max Pring Handmade Jewellery Wales

How important is sustainability to you and how do you achieve it?

Sustainability is really important to me. I use recycled metals and ethically sourced gemstones. One of the reasons I’ve been working with glass is that it makes me less reliant on finding sustainable gems, plus I like that I have made everything for a piece of jewellery myself, so I know where it has all come from.

‘Two Nested Hearts’ silver and turquoise enamel necklace by Max Pring

I like that I have made everything for a piece of jewellery myself, so I know where it has all come from.

Max Pring

My jewellery boxes are FSC approved as well and I designed my own logo stamp to use on them.

Max Pring Handmade Jewellery Wales

I see from your social media that you are very diligent in regularly promoting fellow artists. Is the crafting community important to you?

Having friends in the crafting community is really important. Being a maker and selling online is often isolating because much of what we do is on our own or virtual, so being part of a community of makers is hugely beneficial. I’m part of the Daily Listing group on the Folksy Forum and I have been there since the beginning, more than 10 years ago.

It’s a great thread to be on, as we all support each other not just with our crafts but also with what is happening in our lives. Members also support each other with Folksy Friday boards and group promotion.

Max Pring Handmade Jewellery Wales

Where do you work on your jewellery? Do you have a home studio?

I work mainly from what I call my multi-function room. It has a bench for making, a desk for the day job and for sewing, a futon for sleepovers and lots of storage for things like the ironing board. Heavy and hot work is in the garage or back garden.

Sterling silver bee charm necklace with pearl and chrysocolla

Outside of work, describe what a perfect day would look like…

A perfect day for me is being with family doing anything fun to create happy memories. If it’s just me and my husband, it’s being outside, walking along the beach, through a bluebell-filled woodland or gardens. We recently visited Kew Gardens and it was wonderful – the colours definitely inspired my latest fused-glass cabochons.

Max Pring Handmade Jewellery Wales

And finally, what is your favourite piece in your Folksy shop?

Oh gosh, I’m not sure I have a favourite piece at the moment, but if I had to choose it would be my enamel beach shoreline necklace. It’s a combination of both metals and different materials and represents one of my favourite places.

‘Silver Shoreline’ sterling silver and enamel necklace by Max Pring

 Get 10% off Max Pring Jewellery throughout September with code ‘HappyMaker’

Shop Max Pring on Folksy

Meet the interviewer

Frances Weir from Eiderglass

The maker asking the questions this time is Frances from Eiderglass. Frances is a stained glass artist based in Kent who makes flower stems, bouquets and botanical wreaths in glass.

Shop Eiderglass on Folksy – https://folksy.com/shops/Eiderglass

Read more about Frances in her Meet the Maker interview – Meet the Maker – Eiderglass

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