Saturday, 2 March 2013

RACHEL NORRIS

ARTIST SHOWCASE
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RACHEL NORRIS
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(Above: ROSE Necklace by Rachel Norris)

We've started the year, bathed in stunning wirework 
craftswomenship! with Feature Artists such as 
Ruth Jensen, Louise Goodchild and now ... to complete 
the trio ... RACHEL NORRIS!  

How many wirework artists can lay claim to having  
a piece of their jewellery exhibited in the Victoria and 
Albert Museum in London?  Well, Rachel can!!  

I had the good fortune to catch up with Rachel recently
So, sit yourself down, with a brew of some sort and enjoy 
a little insight into her working life ... 

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WHAT'S YOUR BACKGROUND, RACHEL?

I was born in Derby and have lived in Nottinghamshire,
Bedfordshire and all over London, Surrey, Devon and now
finally, in beautiful Cornwall, where my heart is and I am
not moving ever again!!





















(Above: PEACOCK PIN by Rachel Norris)

DID YOU ALWAYS ASPIRE TO BE A JEWELLERY
DESIGNER?

I come from a long line of family artists (my mother
was a wonderful watercolour botanical painter) however,
I actually ended up being a specialist in Vascular
Ultrasound, which is my main profession.  But even
then, I have been doing medical illustration in my spare
time and I have illustrated, written and edited books in
Vascular Ultrasound. 

However, jewellery and gemstones were always a 
consuming passion for me and it was later in life that
I realised that I could perhaps start to make and design 
my own jewellery.
        




















(Above: Silver Clay pendant by Rachel Norris)

DO YOU HAVE ANY FORMAL TRAINING OR ARE
YOU SELF-TAUGHT?

I went on a silver-smithing 6 week Adult Education
evening class about 6 years ago ... but I was concentrating
on the process of soldering and setting of gemstones and
did not really understand how to use or really work with
wire and did not progress any further ... Then I had a baby
in my mid-forties and everything stopped for a few years ...
so it was not until Jewellery Maker TV started, 3 years
ago, that I began to make jewellery properly and from
basic beading techniques, I taught myself to work with
wire and have not looked back since!

       

  














(Above: Wirework PEARL pendant by Rachel Norris)

WHERE DO YOU WORK FROM?

My work takes place at home in my sitting room, as
my son is still pre-school and so he has been brought
up with beads, wire and tools around him.  I use
numerous household objects to twist wire from, as well
as clamp vices to hold and work from my lap, sitting in 
an armchair!! 

   


















(Above: GOLDEN BIRD brooch by Rachel Norris)


HAVE YOU FILMED ANY WIREWORK TUTORIALS?

I have been a guest designer for Jewellery Maker TV for over 
two years and specialise in making and designing wirework 
jewellery.  I have filmed 4 DVD's teaching various aspects of 
wirework jewellery making with JM and love to inspire people 
to make and learn to make all forms of jewellery.  I have also taught  
on a jewellery making workshop for JM and am in the process
of setting up similar workshops more locally in Cornwall.

Last year, I was judge's favourite on Paul Martin's Handmade
Revolution on BBC2 and as the head judge was the Director of
the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, I had my winning design
exhibited in the V and A for 2 months, which was a wonderful and
exciting opportunity!     

     


















(Above: The Gecko and Dragonfly Necklace by Rachel Norris which was exhibited in the
Victoria and Albert Museum in London in 2012)

WHERE DO YOU SELL YOUR WORK? AND HOW DO YOU
PROMOTE YOURSELF?

I sell by word of mouth.  I post on FACEBOOK and then I have 
requests to make a piece.  I get commissions from friends and family 
too.  I do have a WEBSITE and welcome anybody to have a look around ... 
(I must update it more regularly though!!). 





















(Above: GOLDEN BIRD OF PARADISE by Rachel Norris)

WHAT PIECES ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON?

I have just finished the 'Golden Bird of Paradise and Flower'
Necklace set (see image above) which has Amethyst and
Peridot stones - a design I had been waiting to make for some
time! It took about a week to create, in between all the other stuff
to do in life, but it was worth it!  

I love the dragonfly as a natural form and its body shape and 
veins in the wings are perfectly suited to wirework.  The Gecko 
and Dragonfly Necklace also has a special place in my heart, as it 
was the one that made it into the Victoria and Albert Museum last 
year!






















(Above: 'HEART' Necklace by Rachel Norris)

HAVE YOU ANY ADVICE TO PASS ON TO OTHERS?

Pay attention to detail and place your wires carefully as you
create a piece.  Enjoy making your design and never make a
piece when you are in a bad mood, as the wire will not work
well for you!!

    















(Above: FISH brooch by Rachel Norris)

WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE ASPIRATIONS AND PLANS?

I want to make further  DVD's and one day write a book about
jewellery making and it would be an ultimate for me, to make
it onto the catwalk in London with one of my pieces!  I like to
create big statement jewellery and I think they would be suited 
to that! It's worth thinking big ... one can but dream!

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Thank you for sharing your stunning work with us, Rachel, 
your dream is most definitely attainable!  and do let us know 
when your workshops are up and running in Cornwall, so 
that we can help 'spread the word'. What an amazing treat 
that will be!  ...  A visit to lovely Cornwall,  plus + ... 
a Rachel Norris workshop!























(Above: Flower and Dragonfly Necklace by Rachel Norris ... definitely ready to be seen on the catwalk!!)

4 comments:

  1. Well done Rachel all your designs are so stunning :)

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  2. I totally agree! The work of a true artist! :D

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  3. First of all a very big thank you for bringing us, the reader many examples and tutorials of yours and others, wire working skills. I'm into my second day of reading through your blog. As I sit and click on page to page, I want to try this design then that design, but I keep on clicking just to see more, I have to book mark my place of reading each time I leave the computer, just to make sure I will not miss a thing. I know how time consuming it is to bring us what you do, I have achieved this with my crochet blog, but my hook is resting as I have discovered the art of wire and I am in the early learning stages. I need help with one troubling thing, wire weaving between 2 or more wires, it looks so stunning and I'd like to achieve that skill. I have watched many tutorials and still cannot get it to look good. Any advice would be appreciated. Once again and very big thank you, cheers Cat.

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