Remember my jewellery making phase of 2010? I’d become fascinated by the creations of a few New York designers, obsessed with a certain shop selling every manner of chain and determined to become an accessory whizz within the space of a few weeks. I made one necklace and returned to England, never to pick up my pliers again but always wanting to get back into this sort of crafting eventually. Since then my jewellery collection has definitely evolved from just loving mixed chains and ranges from unusual charms to a few perspex creations. When I was invited to make one of Tatty Devine’s trademark dinosaur necklaces, I could hardly refuse and thought it was the perfect oppurtunity to learn more about the creation of their products. As one of my favourite independent brands, you can’t fail to be inspired by their story and reaching international success by staying true to their ‘Made in the UK’ values.
For some crazy reason I’d never been to the Brick Lane store before and managed to fit in a quick visit before the class. Opened in 2001, it holds a lot of history for the brand and it is the perfect home for everything they sell, including their first book and even Christmas crackers! You might have guessed that the paisley collection would be a firm favourite of mine and I’m frantically working out a way to splash out on one of the necklaces before the year is over.
I love creative working spaces and was spoilt for choice in terms of photo material; there was plenty of inspiration everywhere complete with tools to realise it. Pretty much everyone in the business is able to make jewellery and can help pitch in at a moment’s notice. After snapping away and exploring every nook and cranny of the studio, I suddenly realised that I was there to make something and felt a bit anxious about creating something so intricate. Luckily I needn’t have worried. The class lasts for four hours and everyone is able to work at their own pace (in my case it may have been a snail’s), ask questions and take a biscuit break if needed. There are no hard feelings if you mess up (I had to unthread a few parts as I realised number 12 was on the wrong way) and you get to chat to a guaranteed interesting mix of people and share stories. I now definitely want to incorporate a stint of travelling into my twenties and am planning my next visit to the Tate Modern.
Eventually I managed to finish, thanks to plenty of coffee, willpower and dinosaur shaped biscuits. Only then could I appreciate all of the effort that went into designing and making each of the pieces in the shop. Somehow each design that comes from Rosie Wolfenden’s head is made into reality by Harriet Vine’s technical know-how. The most skilled Tatty worker can produce the 51-piece dinosaur in about an hour and some of their more complex styles need an array of time consuming techniques, seemingly all made worth it by the end result.
If you’re not quite ready for creating a dinosaur, Tatty Devine run a few variations of these workshops every month. At the moment you can make an Ice Skate brooch at Somerset House and I’m hoping to make it to the next bunting necklace workshop after hearing about an ombre style someone had created at the last one. Everything you create is fully customisable and a collaboration of sorts, plus I can now proudly tell everyone that I’m wearing a necklace I made myself and the story behind it.
Are you tempted by the T-Rex?