Frankly, The Folksy Magazine

Meet the Maker… Jennifer Nicolson

by Emily. Average Reading Time: almost 5 minutes.

Jenny Nicolson FBstyleshot2

How long have you been selling on Folksy?

Not very long, I started selling my work in March but I have been an avid Folksy visitor for a couple of years now

Tell us about your work?

This is always tricky to sum up! Predominantly I work in silver. My collection includes a variety of necklaces, earrings and rings, some are simple and some are quite bold, almost statement pieces. My work offers people jewellery that is both playful and interesting.

Do you have a favourite piece of work? 

My favourite piece of work is definitely ‘Flora Necklace’. I had a bit of an obsession with vintage buttons for a while – but not an unhealthy one! I would find myself searching the internet, vintage and charity shops looking for unusual and intriguing buttons. I acquired ‘Flora’ from America and loved her so much I got her cast into silver and made her into a necklace. I named this one after my Auntie. I find them both really elegant and charming….

Flora Necklace - Jennifer Nicolson £35
Flora Necklace - Jennifer Nicolson £35

When did it all begin for you?

I always had a real interest in art and design at school but was never really sure what to do with it. I developed a passion for all kinds of jewellery and eventually realised how keen I was to learn how to make it for myself. Initially, a year after finishing high school I took a Jewellery & Silversmithing evening course at Hull College before spending three years at Sheffield Hallam University studying Metalwork and Jewellery, graduating in 2006. I started making again in 2009 and eventually in 2012 Hey Jenny Jenny was finally brave enough to get started! 

Dollie & Dickie earrings - Jennifer Nicolson £10
Dollie & Dickie earrings - Jennifer Nicolson £10

Tell us about your work space.

I use the spare room in my boyfriend’s house which he kindly lets me use as my ‘studio’. Luckily I don’t need a lot of room for my work but it’s an ideal space – plenty of light and cups of tea on tap. It’s fairly neat and compact with just my bench and some shelves to hold all my essentials. My dad built me my workbench from scratch which I think is great, it was the cheaper option for me but it’s perfect! My studio also includes (and couldn’t be without) the affectionately named ‘nine eyed Moomin’ chair.

Which three tools could you not live without?

My scoring tool (which my great tutor Jeff Durber from Uni made for me), my half round file and my scribe

How do you keep your work unique?

It’s difficult to say, I always make sure I focus on my own ideas and designs. I take inspiration from bold shapes and objects and find it important to have an individual take on things. I like experimenting with the silver to see what I can come up with.

Plane Jane ring - Jennifer Nicolson £55
Plane Jane ring - Jennifer Nicolson £55

Describe your day as a maker. Are you organised/disciplined?

I find it easier to plan out my day and set myself targets. I think you need to be disciplined when you work for yourself otherwise it’s easy to get distracted. My day is usually dictated by my ‘to do’ list and anything extra I manage to get done is a bonus, although not every day goes to plan!

What gets the creative juices flowing?

It’s quite easy to get stuck when I’m trying to create new pieces. It always helps to take a break. I find going for walks helps a lot. It’s great to clear your head and I use the time to find inspiration for my work.

Are you inspired by any artists from the past or present?

None in particular. I’d say I take inspiration from origami, all things miniature and all kinds of shapes.

How do you know when a piece is done?

A lot of work goes into each piece until it’s just right. I usually know it’s done when I’m completely happy with it and I am confident enough to show it to friends/family to get their honest opinions.

Betsy ring - Jennifer Nicolson £35
Betsy ring - Jennifer Nicolson £35

What do you love most about being a maker?

I love the independence that comes with it, I’m really enjoying being my own boss! It’s great to be able to use your ideas to create your own work and share it with other people.

Where would you like to be in 5 years time?

I hope to still be doing what I love and more! There are definitely things I would like to do and goals I have but right now I am just focusing on getting Hey Jenny Jenny started. Who knows where it will take me.

What would you say to any makers starting out?

Having just recently started myself I’m not sure how much wisdom I could offer!

I’d definitely say that taking your time and doing your research first is key. I started out by selling pieces at several local craft markets which is a really good way of gauging different reactions to your work and getting valuable feedback. It’s important to initially test the market and see what works and what doesn’t. There was a lot of trial and error involved at the start for me. I spent several long months working on a collection I was 100% happy with and it was only then I felt ready to fully launch my work. It’s still early days for me but I hope I’m on the right track.

You can see more of Jenny’s work in her Folksy shop Hey Jenny Jenny