Choosing materials is definitely one of the most fun parts of my work! I love trawling through my favourite suppliers’ websites picking out new bits and pieces. The most important considerations when I’m deciding on a supplier are pricing and ethics. Pricing is obvious - in order to keep my prices as low as possible for you guys I need to make sure I shop around and consider a good balance between quality and cost. Ethics is a little more complicated. For one thing, I make a point of only choosing metal alloys that are lead and nickel free - taking care of my customers is important to me, and that definitely includes not slowly poisoning people through their skin!! But also I aim to use recycled and recyclable materials as often as possible - I’m in the process of switching over to fully recyclable packaging, including biodegradable plastic bags for earrings, and I have quite a stash of old jewelry pieces for upcycling. I also try to make sure my gemstones are from conflict-free sources, and have the lowest possible carbon-footprint.
Beyond these primary concerns, it’s just about having fun. Sometimes I’ll start a materials buying binge because I have a list of designs in mind and an associated shopping list, other times I’ll have a theme in mind and then see where that takes me. So my most recent shopping spree was to flesh out my Halloween selection. I particularly wanted more skeletal hands and some skulls, but I’ve also added some lovely focal pendants to my collection, and topped up my supplies of chain, clasps and pins. Last year I left shopping for Yule pieces too late, and ended up not getting anything new made for it. This year it means I already have those bits in stock, and can get making nice and early. I can’t wait!!