Saturday, 23 February 2013

Day 54 - Assja is perhaps the best of the best.....

Saturday 23rd February

The most glorious day on the island as the sun burns through. We had winter flurries this morning and I could have watched them drift to the ground all day. But no time for such luxuries as I am in the middle of a very busy day. I have just posted a lovely collection of Mother's Day gifts on my With Love from Arran facebook page. This year I have invited three other craftworkers to join me and the collection is truly special. One of the ladies is Assja. I have known Assja for years. In my view her creativity knows no bounds and her work imprints a memory that will never fade. There is something incredibly unique about Assja and I do so want you to meet her....

I started to design my own jewellery when our blog host, the lovely Fiona, had a small shop on Arran. For a while, I had made some textile shawls and bags for her. But with running a small hotel, having a wonderful son and a husband, there was not that much time for creativity. Although I dabbled in all kinds of skills over the winter. To quote my husband, there was the year of the quilt, the year of the bag, the year of altered art, the year... You get the idea. As one day, an expected jewellery delivery for Fiona's shop was announced to be delayed, I had this idea of trying my hand on jewellery. I have never stopped since.

My well of inspiration is the Isle of Arran. Alone the colours! The yellow of goarse and daffodils covers the island in late winter and spring, everything seems to turn hot and soft pink when the Rhododendrons are flowering. There's the blue of the bluebells and the bright outburst of colours in summer which finally eases into shades of yellow, gold and brown in autumn. It's followed by winter's more monochrome palette on which the red hawthorn berries glow with intense fire. I love to design jewellery that thrives on colours.

Our island is a place of extraordinary beauty; it is also a delicate eco system which is very fragile. Therefore, sustainability is important to me. I try to use more re- and up-cycled materials, to avoid or replace poisenous chemicals with biodegradable versions when it comes to metal work. Reusing, reforging and reshaping of old silver and copper, jewellery bits and other objects have their own rules of creativity.

My absolute favourite is sea glass. Our shores are littered with glass and ceramic pieces which have been tumbled by the sea. What I love about them is the fact, that I can't simply sit down and plan a necklace or bracelet, go to a shop and get the matching ingredients. On the contrary, it is the material which dictates the form. It is the pebble, the shard, the glass which has to inspire me. It's always a challenge, sometimes a fight between what I want it to be and what it lets me to turn it into, but it is always an immense satisfaction to create a piece of jewellery. A piece that can't be replicated. A piece, which captures a bit of the spirit of the Isle of Arran.

You can view Assja's work on her website Arran Gems by Assja B. and this includes her etsy shop. For me Assja draws on the island perhaps more than most of us and it is her true inspiration.  This is what I take from the lovely lady.  I hope that you will visit her web site and the next time you need something for a special birthday Assja is so you girl!

All pics today are from Assja.  Many thanks Assja.

Until tomorrow.xx