Hannah's Work at the Bowes Museum - #Untitled10 opens on 9th November!


If you follow us on social media, you’ll know that during the summer Hannah has been working on a really exciting project…and this project has finally reached it’s completion!

Yesterday, Hannah travelled over the moors with her car packed with all sorts of things - including one very big thing - to deliver her work for a wonderful exhibition which opens next week at the Bowes Museum.

We’ll be writing a series of blog posts about Hannah’s work and about the exhibition. This first post is all about the background…

Introduction 

In spring 2018, The Bowes Centre, in collaboration with The Bowes Museum and Durham Creatives, invited proposals from artists and makers to investigate the Museum, its collection, building and immediate environment. This open-call was specifically designed to encourage the expression of experimental and developmental practice. Over 230 artists applied.  Ten were selected.  These are now collectively known as #Untitled10.

The Open Call 

The Bowes Museum is a nationally important decorative and fine arts collection, housed in an imposing building which opened 1892.  The building, park and its collection were the philanthropic vison of founders John and Joséphine Bowes.

Bowes houses over 15,000 founders’ objects.  Almost every object is a finished work.  Each has a story to be told.  The #Untitled10 challenge was using Bowes as inspiration, to communicate the creative process that lies behind all work.  Central to the commission was there should be no finished work; only process.

Artists responded to individual objects in the collections at Bowes, to associated objects such as the monkey-puzzle tree and the sense of physical and emotional historic space, all connected by John and Joséphine Bowes’ bitter-sweet story.

Throughout the summer of 2018, #Untitled10 developed their projects and now tell their personal and professional journeys, of materials, making or manufacture, of creativity, experimentation and development, of failure and success.

I see museums as theatres for objects, which is to say that most pieces displayed within them are clean, shiny, finished, perfect. I seek to show that creative developmental processes have a great deal in common with everyday ways of living and working, which similarly include experimentation, error, repeat practice, dust, noise and mess. In response to the solid silver figure of Sappho, and with particular reference to Cellini’s breezy quote on the gallery wall nearby, I taught myself the traditional technique of sand-casting over the summer of 2018. My work for the Bowes Museum documents reflective, creative and practical processes.

The exhibition runs from Friday 9th November 2018 – Friday 11th January 2019, at the Bowes Museum in County Durham.

 The fabulous chateau-inspired architecture of the Bowes Museum in the market town of Barnard Castle, County Durham, in the wintery afternoon light of delivery day!

The fabulous chateau-inspired architecture of the Bowes Museum in the market town of Barnard Castle, County Durham, in the wintery afternoon light of delivery day!

NEW! Fledermaus Bat Rings

These have been in the pipeline for a loooooong time and we’re so pleased to share them with you, just in time for Halloween!

 a spooky silver night visitor, just outside our studio

a spooky silver night visitor, just outside our studio

Our beautiful Fledermaus ring is named after the German word for ‘bat’ which literally translates as “Flitter-mouse”.

Our Fledermaus rings are all cast directly from an antique mid-Victorian ring from Hannah’s personal collection. We use a slightly different casting technique for these rings (as opposed to sandcasting) to enable us to highlight the beautiful details of the bat’s ears and wing-bones.

The bat is wonderfully 3D and is positioned with her wings and tail outstretched, as if she is launching herself into flight directly from your finger. She has long pointed ears which are pricked and alert.

Her wingspan is 2.0cm, and from the tips of her toes to the tops of her ears she measures 1.2cm.

Available in any ring size from UK size H (approx US size 4) up to UK size V (approx US size 11). The price is the same for all sizes of the sterling silver Fledermaus ring. Please just let us know which size you need and we will make one to your size.

Maximum lead time is normally around 2 weeks, depending on our workload.

You can purchase your own little silver (and soon, gold!) Fledermaus right here…

Fledermaus Bat Ring
from 145.00
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Impromptu Summer Open Studio

We only decided to do this at 4pm the day before...but we were had vistors nearly all the time from five minutes after we opened until late afternoon, which was a real surprise considering where we are! The weather was against us in the evening with only a couple of callers, but nevertheless it was a really fun day.

We had on display the first bench-fresh Teeny-Tiny series pieces from our Wild & High collection in fine silver and 18ct yellow gold. These are individually hand-cast by Hannah from life (or rather...death) and are seldom larger than 1cm long.

We also raided our archives to show off a tempting selection of handmade sterling silver and gemstone pieces. 

But most of all, it was wonderful to be able to show off our beloved studio with fresh garden flowers, cups of tea and glasses of wine, and just to hang out with lovely people and talk about jewellery!

Keep an eye on our new EVENTS CALENDAR where we'll be sharing details of our Christmas Open Studio. 

We'll have on display a handpicked selection of affordable sterling silver jewellery, perfect to give as gifts (or of course as a treat for yourself!). Prices will start at £15 for handmade sterling silver stud earrings, and rise to around £300 for a statement necklace, with everything else in between. We'll also have a very limited number of gold and precious gemstone pieces, as well as hand-picked antique and vintage jewels to tempt you.

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Our studio and garden will be transformed with fairy lights, candles and (weather permitting) outdoor braziers, and there'll be edible wintery treats, wine, mulled cider, and hot drinks to wash down any purchases and to keep you toasty!

We look forward to seeing you later in the year - and we promise you'll have advance warning this time...

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Wild & High Collection Launched - Opening Pieces Now Available!

This Friday we are thrilled to launch the opening pieces from our Wild & High collection. This first release is inspired by the folk tale The Teeny Tiny Woman.

In early January of 2018, Hannah found the tiniest perfect rabbit bone whilst out walking on the fells near her studio, which led to the creation of the Teeny-Tiny series.

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Each piece is painstakingly hand-made to order in our own studio and individually hand crafted by Hannah from fine silver and solid 18ct yellow gold. We use found bones and teeth from native British mammals, and then breathe new life into them through the ancient technique of sand casting; each bone or tooth is hand-cast from the original. We only use fine silver and 18ct yellow gold for our castings. 

Each time Hannah makes a casting, she has to make a brand new mould. This is extremely small-scale craftsmanship... teeny-tiny, in fact.

There are endless things to consider...

Did you know that to reach full melting point, 18ct gold must reach over 927ºC/1700ºF, and fine silver even higher at more than 961ºC/1762ºF?!

When we open the cooled mould to inspect the new casting, it's not uncommon for a casting to be incomplete. This means that Hannah has to re-make the mould, re-melt the silver or gold, and re-cast right from the beginning.

Each finished piece of jewellery from the Teeny-Tiny series takes around 2 hours to make, if everything happens as it should, and depending on complexity. Since each piece is individually made, there will naturally be small (teeny-tiny...) variations between them all. We inspect our finished castings very carefully, and only turn the ones which meet our strict standards into jewellery; those which we would be proud to wear ourselves. 

Our sand casting is a very eco friendly process; the casting rings are permanently re-useable, and we use the sand again and again (the only waste is the small burnt part). Most of the 18ct gold that we use is recycled, and our fine silver and gold can be re-melted and refined as many times as we need; incomplete castings are simply re-melted!

We have a limited number of 18ct gold necklaces with natural faceted tourmaline droplets. The tourmaline pieces are all one-offs, and the ones you see in the photographs are the one you will receive.

Each piece is made to order but since everything is made in-house and made by ourselves, we can control every step of the process; meaning no lengthy waiting times!

Please allow around one week for us to make your jewellery for you. 


The main inspiration as to why this is called the Teeny-Tiny series (aside from the obvious fact that everything is really small) is Hannah's favourite childhood folk tale. You can read it here; it's called The Teeny-Tiny Woman. You'll have to imagine the very particular way Hannah's mama would say "Give me my bone!"...

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Once upon a time there lived a teeny-tiny woman who lived in a teeny-tiny house, in a teeny-tiny village. Now, one day this teeny-tiny woman put on her teeny-tiny hat and her teeny tiny coat, and went out of her teeny-tiny house to take a teeny-tiny walk. Whilst this teeny-tiny woman had gone a teeny-tiny way, she came to a teeny-tiny stile, and so the teeny-tiny woman climbed the teeny-tiny stile, and went into a teeny-tiny churchyard. And when this teeny-tiny woman was standing in the teeny-tiny churchyard, she saw a teeny-tiny bone on a teeny-tiny grave, and the teeny-tiny woman said to her teeny-tiny self, ‘This teeny-tiny bone will make me some teeny-tiny soup for my teeny-tiny supper.’ So the teeny-tiny woman put the teeny-tiny bone into her teeny-tiny pocket, and went home to her teeny-tiny house.

When the teeny-tiny woman got home to her teeny-tiny house, she was a teeny-tiny bit tired; so she went up her teeny-tiny stairs to her teeny-tiny bed, and put the teeny-tiny bone into a teeny-tiny cupboard. And when the teeny-tiny woman had been to sleep a teeny-tiny time, she was awakened by a teeny-tiny voice from the teeny-tiny cupboard, which said:

’Give me my bone!’

The teeny-tiny woman was a teeny-tiny bit frightened, so she hid her teeny-tiny head under the teeny-tiny clothes and went to have another teeny-tiny sleep. And when she had been to sleep again a teeny-tiny time, the teeny-tiny voice again cried out from the teeny-tiny cupboard a teeny-tiny bit louder,

’Give me my bone!’

This made the teeny-tiny woman a teeny-tiny bit more frightened, so she hid her teeny-tiny head a teeny-tiny further under the teeny-tiny clothes. And when the teeny-tiny woman had been to sleep again a teeny-tiny time, the teeny-tiny voice from the teeny-tiny cupboard said again a teeny-tiny bit louder,

’Give me my bone!!’

And this teeny-tiny woman was a teeny-tiny bit more frightened, but she put her teeny-tiny head out of the teeny tiny clothes, and said in her loudest teeny-tiny voice..

’TAKE IT!!!’
— traditional folk tale

Pop-Up Workshop to Celebrate the Bowes Museum's 125th Anniversary

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Last weekend I had an intense but super-fun day! On Sunday, the Bowes Museum held a summer fete to mark the end of a years' worth of celebrations of the 125th anniversary of the museum. There was so much going on... live music, face painting, dance, a wood-fired pizza oven...even a pop-up prosecco bar for the grown-ups! It was a beautiful, hot sunny day and was absolutely packed with happy families enjoying a summer day out. 

And I was there too! Just inside the main foyer I had a table laid out with all kinds of coloured glass, wood and semi-precious beads, tempting-looking metallic wires, and coloured cords for pendants. I'd also cleaned out my workshop of every pair of pliers and wire snips that I could find, plus few pairs of safety goggles for our younger visitors.

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Obviously it's not my usual area of jewellery practice, but for events like this I think it's so important not to get too hung up about precision and technique. For me it was about sharing my enthusiasm for pure creative joy, and making sure that it was a fun thing to do, and also to be very relaxed and accessible. It was clear from so many faces (from little 5 year old faces to the older ones!) that there is a very real satisfaction and sense of reward in creating something new, and navigating all the thought processes that go with it!

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We kicked off at 11am, and I didn't catch a breath all day. I was hoping that people would follow their own creative paths and be spontaneous with what they found on my table, but I had also pre-made a few example projects which people could copy if they were stumped for ideas.

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The most complex was a wire-wrapped ring which was popular with adults, and the simplest was a wire bracelet with hook clasp and a bead or three in the centre which was great for the smallest visitors. I made sure to have alphabet beads as I thought the youngest visitors might enjoy making name bracelets, and even some fun super-detailed Fimo fruit beads which went down surprisingly well with some of the mamas!

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Most of all, I enjoyed working with the younger children. I was amazed at how confident some of them were at creating their own pieces, from their own imagination. Here are a couple of my favourites.

The ring below was designed and made by 7 year old Sophie, all by herself, whilst I was helping someone at the other end of the table. I think this is absolutely fantastic - and could totally see the same ring working amazingly well with 18ct yellow gold wire and drilled diamond beads!

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The gorgeous, free spirited pendant below was made by little Freyja. She took one of the example pieces I'd brought along as her starting point, and she was absolutely adamant that this three-bead pendant was what she wanted to make! So so just went for it, and came up with this utterly joyful "3D scribble". You can see her happy smile in the top right corner!

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By the time 4pm rolled around, just over half of the beads and wire that I'd brought along had been turned into jewellery and was being proudly worn around the museum and grounds. The day had begun with an ordered, well-laid out table, but what with every stool and seat taken all day long (and several layers of people standing behind to wait for their turn) I was left with an explosion of creative chaos! Which I truly believe is the mark of a day very well spent. 

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