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Indigo Berry - how it all began

Updated: May 9

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t being creative. I have a background steeped in creativity. In fact, you might say that it’s in my blood! In their spare time, both of my parents had creative hobbies. My mum painted water-colours and enjoyed china painting. My dad was a woodworker and silver-smith. My brother took things to a whole other level, and ran a very successful graphic design business in London, and now my niece is studying Art at college.

Back in the dark ages, I began with O and A Level Art at school, and then graduated with an Art History degree from Leeds University. For nearly 10 years I was lucky enough to work with some of the most amazing collections in museums and galleries across the UK - including the Pre-Raphaelite paintings in Birmingham, 19th Century prints in Stoke on Trent and portraiture at the Ferens in Hull. I also completed an Open College of Arts course in Art and Design.

During all that time, I continued to design and create in my spare time. I loved painting and drawing, creating greetings cards and crafted gifts. Over the years my friends and family have received numerous handcrafted creations. Their support and encouragement gave me the confidence to keep designing and creating.

But I didn't turn to jewellery making until much later. By which time I had moved to the Isle of Skye. Jewellery making began as a solution to a personal dilemma! Basically I am a coward. I love wearing jewellery, but the thought of having my ears pierced was a step too far. I was way too nervous for that. I still wanted to wear ear-rings though. And in those days, it was extremely difficult to get decent clip-on ear-rings.

The solution, was to start making my own! My first attempts were simple, but I gained basic skills along the way. I am still largely self-taught.

I continued working (with a career in tourism, and then in the voluntary sector working with community groups in Skye and Lochalsh) and being creative in the background.

So, fast forward to the winter of 2010-2011. If you live in the UK, you will remember that one, right? Endless snow and ice. The UK brought to a standstill. So there I was - lying flat on my back recovering from a slipped disc. Yep, I picked the worst winter for that to happen! To keep me sane, I started making plans and determined there and then to give more time to my creative side. I took down my grandmother’s button box and my gemstone bead stash, and started jewellery making again.

The vintage buttons were a joy to work with, and I gradually started working increasingly with gemstones. I realised how much I enjoyed it and began making earrings and necklaces for friends and family. And that's basically, how it all began...

I launched Indigo Berry in November 2012 – nearly 25 years after making my first earring!

In 2016 I began working with silver clay and attended a couple of excellent workshops run by the Silver Clay School. The wonderful tutor Emma, continues to encourage and support me, and I can't thank her enough. Adding the opportunity to create handcrafted silver has opened up even more creative possibilities!

I still work part time to pay the bills, but creativity is always going to be my first love.

Oh...and in case you're wondering...yes I did eventually pluck up the courage to get my ears pierced!

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