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Sassy Finds – Jewellery Designer Number One

Corrie Chilcott, Cozam Creations

Being a Sassista is all about your life, your choice and not following the crowd. In our article “Jewellery for True Sassy Style” (published on 16thJune 2016) we talked about using striking accent jewellery to draw attention away from your less-liked parts.

But finding striking jewellery which is not mass-produced, is not always easy and you are not going to find it in standard retailers. So the Sassistas have started the hunt for great jewellery designers, working in small workshops creating things of beauty to make us feel Sassy with style.

We are asking every jeweller we find to answer the same questions to give you a feel for their work and approach – then it is over to you to get in touch.

Number one is Corrie Chilcott who is based in Somerset. She combines metal work, beading and enamelling to create pieces which draw the eye with their shape and colour. We found her work in a small craft shop in the town of Watchet and have to say, we think she is undercharging – so get in quick before she gets known. You can see more of her work on her Facebook page, "Cozam Creations"

How would you describe your jewellery?

Making jewellery is just natural to me, so to put it into words isn't easy. I'm not one who expresses well with words, I could say perhaps my jewellery does it for me! ...Its individual, unique for sure, intriguing, definitely something with a twist. Emotional, so much of my jewellery comes from within. Its strong, sometimes striking but has a softness and feeling to it. My jewellery is a blend of textures and tones, incorporating a combination of wirework, enamels, bead and metal work.

Where do you get your inspiration?

Sometimes ideas just spring to mind. I do design my pieces out on paper, even if it's just the elements of design, but more often I create the pieces as I'm going along. My designs aren't always created in one go, quite often I don't have a clear idea for the end product when I start making a piece. With each twist and turn, colour and shape, they slowly evolve, some elements being made up bit by bit, at various times. I trust an inspiration will come through and usually all falls into place when the moment strikes. I like the freedom to manipulate and tweak as I work through my designs. There is much around that inspires, I might see a colour combination, style, be it an image or in person. My own moods and feeling, along with my surroundings, are big influence. I like to view other crafts and jewellery too, there's so many wonderful creations out there. Whatever it may be that I've seen or felt, a seed is sown, an element captured, stored away, to be revived at later date, created into a new design. 

What materials do you use?

Making a variety of designs means I use a varied selection of materials, from the classic to the unusual, involving a wide range of techniques, ranging from hammering to enamelling, beading and wirework. I love working with wire, copper being my favourite, and use many sorts, from brass, sterling silver to galvanised steel. I like the varied movement and texture the materials can give. As well as the classic beads, glass, gemstones, pearls and wood, I also work with hardware such as washers, bolts and pipes. It’s great to use something so practical and twist a creative softness into it. 

What got you started on jewellery design?

From my teens I have been tweaking and adapting my own jewellery, to make something personal for me, to get what I'm looking for. Then about 10 years ago my daughter and I discovered a common interest in jewellery making and started making pieces for ourselves. My interest grew and that was the start of where I am now. Family and friends liked what I made and encouraged me to try selling some pieces which I did at a local market. It's a real confidence booster when you see your work being worn. Then, one day, I was asked to display my jewellery in a local craft shop, Corner Collection, where you will still find my jewellery. I can't quite believe I have my own business and smile when I hand over my card or see my facebook page. It’s very satisfying when you see your jewellery being worn and loved, it brings a warm smile from within.

Are you trained or self-taught?

Nearly all that I know about jewellery making, techniques, designs, how-tos, has been self-taught. Many a time doing something again and again until the end piece makes sense. I have developed and refined my jewellery skills over the years, as I have with my jewellery, creating my own style and creative ways. I like to research and study too, books and online and when I find something new I'm eager to try it out. My tool kit is ever growing as is my wish list! I did attend a local enamelling class, which I would recommend, and a friend taught me some soldering skills after she had attended silver classes. 

Where do you work?

Not having a workshop I tend to work wherever I feel comfortable, where I can be relaxed and happy, so I can focus and be inspired and creative. Often that's on the sofa surrounded with my beads and tools, which is fine for beading and wirework. For enamelling, hammering and soldering the kitchen is used! I'm more at home being surrounded with noise and distractions than in peace and quiet. I prefer not to be tucked away. I like company, so sit with hubby and annoy him with pinging of wire and beads! Though who knows if I had my own workshop I just might get to like my own company and enjoy my space.

Do you commission bespoke designs?

Yes, I do commission work and love to do so. My last pieces were for a wedding, my daughter’s, so were very special to do. Before that I had another wedding commission for two lovely ladies wanting to accessorise their outfits. They came across my jewellery in the shop, liked it a lot and I have now done several commissioned pieces for them. I also do alterations and repairs. It's great to rejuvenate, or to mend a favourite item of jewellery so to be worn and loved once again.

See more of Corrie’s work on her Facebook page, "Cozam Creations"

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