By Jodie Mannion

 When I was 16 my life was turned upside down due to losing my mum. I was studying for my A Levels at the time and was totally ready to quit school. Thankfully I was encouraged to continue but focus on just one subject, so I changed to Art GNVQ. I am so glad that I didn’t leave school as it gave me a positive way to focus my energy.

With lots of encouragement from friends and family I went on to do a yearlong art course at University, which gave me an insight into Uni life and the courses that I could do. This is where I discovered jewellery making and went on to achieve a degree in jewellery and silversmithing.

 After Uni, I returned home to the Isle of Wight where I found a job in a beautiful jewellery shop, as a trainee silver spoon maker. After a year or two of making the spoons, I was trained to make the jewellery – which was really exciting to me.

After 13 years I am still working there and loving it! I love seeing the customers, chatting through ideas of what they would like to have made and being able to make them something they love and cherish. It’s very therapeutic and good for the soul. I love being able to make something special that a customer wants, whether it’s a special gift for an 18th birthday or a wedding ring, it’s amazing to know it will be loved, worn and treasured.

If you are inspired to make jewellery when you’re older, I’d say that a degree is brilliant for learning about form and design, but working in a jewellers teaches you the real skills needed on a daily basis. I work in a beautiful jewellery shop with a small team of makers.

Daily life involves designing, sawing, planishing, soldering and polishing. When each piece of jewellery is complete you feel a real sense of achievement. It really is therapeutic. Alongside working in a jewellers I work in my own workshop creating my own collections and also teach beginner jewellery classes in the hope I can spread the joy of making to others.

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