Lavender cottage jewellery and GIVEAWAY

Have you ever dreamed of keeping that beautiful dew drop you saw on a leaf in the morning, or capturing sun rays so that you could enjoy their glow any time you need some, or adorn your fingers with a few rain drops? Well, I did... So when I saw Lavender Cottage jewellery on Etsy I knew it was exactly what I've been looking for. Cheryl who creates these incredibly delicate stunning pieces turned out to be a wonderfully warm and interesting person. I was excited when she agreed to answer a few questions for Fashion Titbits! So this is my very first interview, which, I hope, you will enjoy.

Cheryl, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I've just celebrated my first anniversary as a full time metalsmith. I quit my day job in September 2008 to work on my art full time, and I am so happy to be able to make a living doing what I love. My three parrots, my cat and my dog love it too, as I am always home! I live in northeast Tennessee in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains near the Appalachian Trail. I try to get out and hike as often as possible to offset all the hours I spend at the bench.

On your blog you said that "making jewellery is a labour of love" for you. What first inspired you to become a jewellery designer and how did you learn how to do what you do?
A friend of mine gave me a pair of lovely little earrings that were quite unusual. When I asked her where in the world she had found them, she told me she had made them. From that moment on, I knew that I would make jewelry! I started out making earrings with purchased components, then learned how to make necklaces and bracelets. About 5 years ago I took a class in fusing fine silver, which was my introduction to the torch, and I fell in love with metalsmithing, and have never looked back. I am mostly self-taught - I have a million books on metalsmithing and various other jewelry making techniques. I also attend an annual artists retreat most years, where we all share skills - that's where I first learned to solder, and where I was introduced to anticlastic raising and fold-forming, which have become my two favorite techniques along with making various hammer textures such as ruffles.

Where does the name Lavender Cottage come from?
I live in a little cottage-style house, built in 1935, and have filled my gardens with lavender, which I love to grow.

What is your design process like?
I am always thinking about designs, and I keep notebooks where I make drawings of ideas. I often wake up with an idea, so keep a notebook right next to my bed, too. My mind is just filled with jewelry ideas - I think I have more than I could ever get made in my lifetime, but if I didn't write them down I'd forget them! However, there are days when I sit down at the bench and my mind goes blank - that's when I go get my trusty notebooks, lol! I also have a very messy workbench because I tend to keep things at hand to 'play with' for ideas. Oftentimes pieces and parts will be tinkered with off and on for weeks, and then one day they just come together and turn into a new design.

Do you remember the very first piece of jewellery you made?
I can't remember the first beaded piece I made, but I definitely remember every detail of my first metal piece! It was an abstract triangle pendant made from the corner of a piece of copper sheet that I sawed off to try out my brand new jeweler's saw.

What have been some of your favorite jewelry pieces you've created and why?
When I first learned to fuse, I made a Southwestern style pendant with a little gecko and a turquoise nugget. I used to live in the desert, and this piece reminds me of the desert. I am also partial to dragonflies and labradorite is my favorite stone, so a necklace of lovely chunky labradorite beads with a dragonfly wrapped onto a hammered spiral is another favorite piece of mine.

What elements do you need for inspiration?
Stones are my biggest inspiration. I have piles of them and keep then close at hand while I'm working at the bench. I also have piles of metal scrap that I 'doodle' with while I'm working on orders.

What are you creative plans for this autumn?
More fold formed leaves of copper and silver, plus a new 'celestial lights' series featuring stars and moons. I just made a new necklace design with a filigree brass star centered with a labradorite that I just love.

Cheryl, thank you so much for taking your time to answer these questions. It's been a real pleasure to learn more about you.

I'd also like to say a special thank you to Cheryl for offering my readers a very beautiful giveaway.

This silver pendant is called "La Petit Buttercup" and can be yours if you enter by leaving a comment here. You will need to be a follower and you can also enter twice to increase your chances. The winner will be selected via The competition is open worldwide and ends on 10 October 2009. The winner will be announced on Sunday, 11 October 2009. Good luck!

Images via LavenderCottage


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