Becoming Allum & Sidaway director and growing her own stockist list.
In Abigail Stradling’s nomination, which was penned by a high-profile retailer, one phrase shone through: “Abi’s creativity appears unlimited.”
What it left out is that Abi is incredibly likeable, has added to her stockist list this year, taking her past the 20 store mark, and that she has been festooned with awards and privileges.
But they were right. Her creativity is unlimited. Her Moment earrings – to take just one example – encapsulate an assemblage of objects in a tiny hand blown glass vessel, designed to capture a memory or an idea forever. It’s a beautiful concept not too far removed from the work of one Damien Hirst, and he seems to have become the art world’s darling number one on the back of it. Yet unlike his grizzly assemblages – you know, cow heads, flies, Insect-O-Cutor – Stradling’s work poses an altogether more pleasant aesthetic quality.
She explains that her fascination with glass began during her degree. “I was exploring the theme of time and it seemed the perfect material to reflect my concept. In its hollow, blown form it also provides an ideal vessel for the natural materials that I encapsulate with allowing for movement of the contents and bringing a new dimension to the jewellery that never fails to get a reaction.”
She says she will return to “larger statement pieces” one day, but says for now it’s about keeping it sensible. “I learnt a few years ago it needs to be wearable and as such I scaled things down a little. Actually, a lot.”
Her sheer originality has led to her being feted by retailers from Wakefields to Green + Benz as well as garnering support from the magisterial CMJ chief executive Willie Hamilton – “a massive boost for which I am very grateful”.
In the meantime she has been made a company director at Allum & Sidaway, where she has worked for four years managing the Salisbury store.
And while she denies any aspiration for world domination with her brand, saying she still enjoys the fact that every piece is different, her ascent, like her creativity, is irresistible.
Abigail Stradling was selected as a NexGem in the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2013, in association with The Company of Master Jewellers. To read a digital edition of the book in full online, click here.