Friday, 19 August 2011

Guest Interview - Nicky Townsend, Enchanted Handmade Jewellery

A little bit about Nicky:
Nicky Townsend is the designer and creator behind Enchanted Handmade Jewellery and is renowned for her gorgeous and intricate charm bracelets. Nicky’s work can be found online at

Nicky is a regular contributor to Making Jewellery magazine and has recently begun to teach workshops at the Magick Minx Studio in Hinckley, Leicestershire. She’ll also be joining up with Beadelicious at the Nottingham Bead Fair at the Gateway Hotel on 20 November to run more of her workshops.

Blog: There is a blog page on my website but I’m shamefully bad at keeping it up to date - sorry! You can also find me on Facebook under Enchanted Handmade Jewellery, I’m much better at keeping that up to date.

How long have you been making jewellery and how did it all begin?
Although I have a design background I never really took an interest in jewellery until later on.  I left school and studied fashion design at college and then had my son at an early age so had to put my ‘career’ on hold.

My bead ‘obsession’ began around 8 years ago in 2003 whilst I was suffering with a severe bout of depression. I was working in quite a stressful job at the time as a Teaching Assistant to children with behavioural problems. At the same time my own 10 year old son was diagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome, ADHD and OCD and my partner who had been in the army for 12 years suffered a mental breakdown. Within a very short space of time I found myself being a full time carer to my partner and was unable to cope with the added pressures of work, I was also of course trying to deal with my own depression it was then that I discovered beads…my saviour! I found that I could lose myself and clear my head for hours at a time whilst beading and creating jewellery and this became my therapeutic hobby. The hobby evolved into a full time business later on, in around 2007.

What inspires you?
My inspiration comes from colour and nature. You will usually find all kinds of insects and bugs nestling between the flowers and leaves that I like to incorporate into my pieces. My favourites are butterflies and ladybirds.

The main feature of Enchanted jewellery is the size. I create bright, bold and chunky jewellery that is made to be seen and stand out in the crowd. I’ve always had a love of colour, and seem to have a good eye for putting unusual mixes of colour together in my work, I receive lots of compliments on my use of colour.

What equipment and techniques do you use in your work?
There is no specialised equipment used in the
making of my jewellery, the only tools I use are the usual jewellery makers pliers - round nosed, chain nosed, wire cutters and crimping pliers. My favourite tool though has to be my jump ring tool! Lots of people find they can’t use them but I would definitely be lost without mine.

During the process of making one of my charm bracelets I can perform a wrapped loop on up to 100 beads! This is a technique I have now perfected and my wrapped loops are very neat,
even if I do say so myself.  I can now do this without the sore thumbs and it no longer takes me days to finish a bracelet. These 100 beads are then attached to chain with jump rings, so you can now understand why I love my jump ring tool so much :0)

Where can people learn more about your work and the workshops you offer?
I have a page on my website that is dedicated to my beading workshops which are taught at the Magick Minx Studio in Hinckley, Leicestershire. I’m currently in the process of developing some brand new workshops and the details of these will be added to the website soon. At the moment there are 3 workshops available, each being a unique Enchanted design, including the Floral Charm Bracelet which anyone can come along and learn to make. There is a section on the Magick Minx Productions website - which has full details on the Enchanted @ Magick Minx Beading Workshops.

People can also find regular projects designed by myself in Making Jewellery magazine. I’ve been a regular contributor to Making Jewellery for 2 years now and I like to design projects that are simple to create, easy enough for total beginners but just as much fun for more advanced jewellery makers.

What advice would you give to others interested in making and selling their own jewellery?
My advice to those interested in making jewellery would be to develop your own unique style. Take inspiration from around you but never copy another artists work, this is frowned upon greatly in the artistic world. Take ideas and develop them to make your very own designs, this is also much more satisfying. Experiment with colours that you would never expect to ‘go’ you’ll often be pleasantly surprised!

If you would like to sell your work some of the most important pieces of advice I can give would be to ensure you are registered as self employed with HMRC.  Lots of crafters often don’t realise that it is a legal requirement that they register. I have heard the words “but it’s only my hobby” soooo many times! It doesn’t matter - if you are making a product which you then sell, even if you are only making the money back to cover your costs, you MUST register with HMRC. If you don’t, then you are trading illegally and could face prosecution!

When selling handmade products you are required by law to have Product Liability insurance. You are also required to have Public Liability insurance when selling at craft fairs etc.

When selling online you must adhere to the Distance Selling Regulations. These are a set of rules designed to protect the consumer who are not physically present with the seller at the time of purchase.

Three words that sum you up: Just like my jewellery I’m BIG, BOLD and CHEERFUL

What makes you smile: My lovely family, especially my fantastic son who is so inspirational in the way he copes with life despite his disabilities. My 3 beautiful dogs who keep me thoroughly entertained, and the wonderful compliments I receive for my work, these mean an awful lot to me - Thank you

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