As you may know, I am always looking for hidden, as
well as 'known', wireworking talent to feature on the
Guild blog (so if you've been hiding, like Sheala!)
rise up from your wireworking chair and announce
yourself and you too, could become a Featured Artist!
So it's my biggest pleasure (BIG DRUM ROLL) to introduce
to you to this month's talented artist: SHEALA DENNING!
Sit back and enjoy our recent interview and images of her
stunning work ...
WHAT'S YOUR BACKGROUND?
I was born in Lincolnshire, but my father being in the Royal Air Force
travelled about Britain a lot. When I was 14 years old, he eventually
retired from the Forces and we settled in Bristol. I now live in Yate,
which is a small village (or, it was when I moved here, but now its
a town!) situated half way between Bristol and Bath.
DID YOU ALWAYS ASPIRE TO BE A JEWELLERY
Not specifically jewellery, but I did want to design things. I have
always been artistic and had paints and pencils in front of me.
Originally, I wanted to be an illustrator and on leaving school
I went to the West of England College of Art to study Design.
Unfortunately, I did not finish my training due to pregnancy and
subsequently becoming a full-time mother - a decision, I have
never regretted! However, during my working career, I always
worked in some capacity in design - initially in the design office
of a packaging company and later for a small magazine for coach drivers,
which was a subscription only publication.
WHEN DID YOU START MAKING JEWELLERY?
Two years ago I hurt my back and was laid up, literally spending many
hours propped up on the sofa in front of the TV totally bored. My
partner, Gordon, bought me some beads and a basic tool kit and I
started beading, but making necklaces and earrings using components
that were made in their thousands (and the same as everyone else used!)
was not challenging enough for me. I felt there was something missing!
Then flicking through the TV channels, I came across a programme that
had RACHEL NORRIS in it and I thought 'WOW'! So I started watching and
people like Rachel, GEMMA CROW and LAURA BINDING became
my inspiration! I wanted to do what they did, so out came the purse and
my wireworking began ... I had surgery last year and I am walking again,
but still totally addicted to working with wire!
DO YOU HAVE AN FORMAL TRAINING, OR ARE YOU
I am totally self-taught. I had a few books to go on and watched
Jewellery Maker TV and You Tube. My first attempts looked
very much like bird nests blown around in a storm, but practice
makes perfect and although I know my work isn't perfect, it's
handcrafted and to me that is part of the appeal. No two pieces
are identical, they may be similar but NOT the same.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE AND
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
I don't have any particular style, I just "go with the flow",
so to speak. I like soft flourishes and swirls, Victoriana.
I also like big bold pieces, but I must admit I am not too
keen on geometric styles, squares and triangles don't appeal
to me and I will only create them on request. As for what
inspires me, everything in nature. As for artists, it's
Rachel Norris, Gemma Crow, Abbey Hook and
Nicole Hanna - all these designers get my creative juices
flowing. When I see their work it gives me inspiration,
not to copy, but certain flourishes or components in their styles
will trigger an idea for me.
WHERE DO YOU SELL YOUR WORK?
I sell to friends and family, craft fairs and through word of mouth.
I have sold through the internet just before Christmas - selling 8
items simply from posting pictures on a Facebook group!
HAVE YOU ANY ADVICE TO PASS ON TO OTHERS?
Never be too critical of your own work. I have found that I
have made something and thought that's not good, yet other
people have totally drooled over it and bought it! I once had
two ladies wanting the same item (that I personally thought
was awful and could have made better) ... so somebody out
there will always love what you have created!
WHAT ARE YOU FUTURE ASPIRATIONS AND PLANS?
I don't want to be a world famous designer, just to have my work
appreciated and still be creating jewellery until they nail the lid
Sheala, THANK YOU for sharing your work and words with us!
Your talent is evident! There is no doubt your beautiful jewellery
will always be enjoyed and appreciated and I'm sure that you will
gain many more admirers after this exposure!