In conversation with Deborah Kelly-Hopkins
Who are you and what do you do?
"Deborah Kelly-Hopkins, I am a designer and maker of precious metal jewellery."
What is your background?
"I have always loved art and drawing from an early age. Convinced I would be a 2D artist, I used my art foundation course to experiment with all sorts of different media and discovered I loved working with metal in the forge. A careers discussion with my tutor led me to scale down the size of the metal work I made from free standing sculptures to jewellery. I studied jewellery making at Birmingham’s School of Jewellery and started my business in 1998, based in the Jewellery Quarter. With the help of a grant in 2000 I was able to focus on jewellery design full-time. In 2006 I moved to Cambridge to be with my now husband. Over the last 20 years my collections have changed and evolved. I have also had the pleasure of making many bespoke pieces of jewellery."
How would you describe your jewellery and what makes your work unique?
"The organic beaten texture contrasts with the fine details and sparkling gemstones to give you something… "just a little bit different"."
Where do you find inspiration when designing and making jewellery?
"The inspiration for the textures in my work are the chalk cliffs of Dorset and the sparkling sea. The initial design criteria is: "the piece has to be a little bit different". The progression of the design is: "because I can do better or because I can make it more exciting"."
Do you follow any rituals when you get in the studio/workshop?
"A cup of tea starts the day."
What steps do you follow when creating a new range of jewellery?
"New ideas often come to me when I am at a show. This is a time when all my work is on display and I see the whole collection. Back home in my studio I get a chance to make a test piece or two. Once they work, I draw the pieces for the collection before going into production."
One of Deborah's collections. Click on the photo to see more of Deborah's work.
Do you wear your own jewellery?
"Yes, along with other designers' work too and I always 'test run' a new piece by wearing it for a couple of days to make sure it is comfortable and works with the body as it should."
Do you have a favourite piece of art, and if so, who is it by?
"Nothing specific but I have always liked surrealism. When things aren’t quite what you were expecting."
Lastly, what advice would you give to somebody who has just started making jewellery or working with silver?
"Make what you want to make, not what you think you should be making."