Next Craft Fair:

Stamford Arts Centre on
25 September 2011

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The Stamford Artisans Guild is a Not For Profit Group run totally by volunteers. We encourage our members to get involved, put forth their ideas and be part of our Local Craft Community.

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Featured Artisan: Jewellery By Shalini

Meet Shalini Austin from Stamford

Tell us a little bit about what you do 

I make semi-precious gemstones,  beads and pearl jewellery. My favourite medium is Wire (Copper and sterling silver are the nicest to work with!) I really enjoy playing with different types of wire and letting it take its own course when I start wrapping it around a stone or bead. I also make Wire Sculpture trees and cut and polish some of the gemstones used in my jewellery.

One of the First Pieces of Wire Sculpture jewellery I made!

How did it all start?

It all started when I bought a necklace in Peterborough and then commented that it was so difficult to get something unique and “different” at a reasonable price. My husband Dave said,  “Why don’t you make your own?” At that time (2007) I did not even know how to hold pliers properly! He bought me a set of jewellery making tools,  a couple of on-line basic wire work courses and some beads for my birthday and I was hooked! I fell in love with wire and enjoyed what I could create with it. And then we started exploring Lapidary so we could cut and polish our own stones. From then on it’s been a self taught journey which I am enjoying immensely.  ”Jewellery by Shalini”  was officially launched on 1st November 2008.

What do you enjoy most about what you do?

It’s relaxing and I am always learning new things.

What motivates you? What inspires you?

The support I have received from my family,  friends and customers is all the motivation I need. The smile on a customer’s face when they wear one of my creations gives me all the encouragement I need to carry on making and is the greatest boost for my creative process.

What frustrates you?

Lack of understanding from some people about the true value of hand-made items. I (and other artisans like me) put in a lot of effort and time in creating my pieces and I know I am good at what I do. But because a lot of us sell at local craft fairs people expect to pay nothing for our work,  yet are happy to go into a high street chain store and pay a lot of money for some mass produced,  poorly finished items.

How and where do you sell your creations?

I have an online showroom and I sell at local craft fairs,  Fund-raising events and through jewellery parties. My jewellery is also available for sale at Greensleaves Florist at the Stamford Garden Centre and a small selection can be seen at The Tourist Office shop at The Stamford Arts Centre.

How do you promote your work?

Mainly I use social media (face book,  twitter,  blogs etc) and via my website. I do get a lot of word of mouth business and I thank everyone who has referred a friend or family member to me. I hope I have been able to create something to their satisfaction too!

Any plans for expanding the business?

I would LOVE to have a shop one day…

What is the most important thing on your wish-list for your craft?

More time! To make more jewellery and definitely more time to spend on the Lapidary side of things. It does come to a halt during the winter months because the workshop is in the garage (its cold!) so I guess if I could have a proper heated workshop it would be heaven!

Any advise you would like to give upcoming makers of your particular craft?

Keep at it! You have to keep trying and keep learning all the time. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or advise from other people who make jewellery.

Any thoughts you would like to share with all fellow crafters?  

Believe in yourself and your talent!  I come across a lot of makers who never compliment each other and often give a cold shoulder to other artisans at craft fairs & events. Why? Don’t you have faith in your talent to make a name for yourself? Are you that insecure? Putting someone else down is not going to make you more successful. Co-operation will. We all have our own styles and we all work hard at it so there is no need to dismiss other people’s work! There is room for everyone!

If you wanted to expand your set of skills or learn a new craft what would it be?  

I would love to learn more about precious metal clay work. When I have some time that is the next plan! If  I had to learn a whole new craft I think it would be weaving :-)

Tell us about any craft events, exhibitions etc you are doing in the next 12 months:

The Stamford Artisans Guild Fairs at the Arts Centre Dates are confirmed and I will be at all of them. As I book more it will show on my website:  http://www.jewellerybyshalini.co.uk/events-and-shows/

  • At The Stamford Arts Centre:  25 September 2011,  04 December 2011
  • At Oakham Castle:  27 August 2011,  12 November 2011
  • At Top Lodge,  Fineshade Woods,  Corby:  1st Sunday of every month between April – November 2011.
  • Easton Walled Gardens Gardener’s Market:  Sunday: 11 September – 10:00 – 16:00
  • Bull Hotel Peterborough:  Saturday: 22 October – 11:00 – 16:00

Do you sell through any retail outlets?

Only at Greensleaves Florist,   Stamford Garden Centre,  Great Casterton,  Stamford PE9 4BB and The Tourist Office Shop at The Stamford Arts Centre at this time.

My Website:  http://www.jewellerybyshalini.co.uk  (It’s best to contact me via the website or leave a message on this page)

Let’s get personal!

Do We have to? Ok…

Favourite holiday destinations?  A Mediterranean Cruise or Anywhere in the Himalayas.

Favourite food?  Cheese,  Pizza,  Cake (Basically everything that is not good for my waistline!)  and most things my mother cooks.

Favourite past-time when you are not crafting?  Following Liverpool Football Club, Indian and English Cricket mainly but I enjoy most sports (except Golf).  Reading and spending time with my husband  &  dogs.

And of course music is very important –  we have a compulsory music at work policy!

Anything else you’d like to share?  Be Kind and Empathise.  And Look after yourself because if you don’t you won’t be in any position to look after or help others.

And something I read on a poster a long time ago “Live for Today… Plan for tomorrow… Party Tonight!;-)

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