Q&A: Sian Bostwick

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A busy year of fairytale jewellery-making, Treasure and pop-up shops.

Sian Bostwick has been steadily building her name on the jewellery scene, but last year marked a breakthrough with appearances at trade shows, pop-up shops, and new stockists. Her collections are inspired by everything from fairytales to modern sci-fi adventures. She was named a NexGem in the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2012, in association with The Company of Master Jewellers and IJL.

Professional Jeweller: The past year has been one of big developments for you and your jewellery brands – tell us about your highlights
Sian Bostwick: Moving into my workshop at the Nucleus arts centre – having a proper workshop and in such a creative place – has been wonderful and meant I could do so much more with my jewellery making, and has given me the space I need. Taking part in Treasure and IJL once again really helped to establish Sian Bostwick Jewellery, and I have taken part in lots of very fun pop-ups and shows and am now being sold through the JeDeCo OXO Tower shop. I also got some really great press and feedback and some very exciting new stockists including Johnny Rocket, which is such beautiful boutique of wonders. Lots of really wonderful things have happened this past year, too many to name.

PJ: Have you hit any challenges along the way? And if so how have you overcome them?
SB: On a personal level my challenge has been anxiety and shyness. In the beginning, especially at New Designers, I couldn’t talk to anyone, it made me panic and generally feel awful. But I have come to cope with this, growing hugely and now I happily chat away. It seems silly but this has really been a big step for me. Nothing is ever easy when setting up and running your own jewellery business, there are always challenges and things that happen but I always believe that you should just go with the flow of it, work with the challenges and find a way to get though them making the most of every opportunity around. I also don’t think opportunities just happen or are given to you – everything must be worked for – so I work very hard to take my jewellery making where I want it to go.

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PJ: What inspires your work? It has a bit of a fairytale theme
SB: Mostly I’m inspired by my reading which is somewhat extensive but I find wondrous tales, parallel fictional universes like Alan Moore’s writings and Neil Giamen, old fairytales from across the world. The stories of wonder like Alice in Wonderland and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea inspired the Wonderland and Nautilus collections. My Springtime collection was inspired by fairytales, a sense of magical enchantment and my wanderings in the countryside. Hopefully I am bringing the detail and themes of these stories into elegant jewellery to be treasured forever. I have always played with materials and ideas, the pieces involve in a way with some sketching and but mostly playing and making to bring the ideas and themes to life. Over time I want to explore more stories focuses on the detail, I love creating jewellery which will be treasured.

PJ: What sort of boost did appearing at IJL last year give your business?
SB: After launching at IJL as part of the Kickstart stand time I returned last year. I had a truly wonderful time as part of Kickstart, at the time I had only been in business for a few months, so it was the most fantastic launch pad. Returning in 2011 and then 2012 has really helped establish Sian Bostwick Jewellery, it was a great to set up my own stand reflecting my brand and have a bit of fun, I have also learnt a huge amount and made some great lovely shiny jewellery friends. It has really helped to grow me, my designs and brand and I look to build on that.

PJ: You are also part of JeDeCo, which also opened a shop last year. How has being part of the group helped you?
SB: Being part of JeDeCo has been wonderful, our OXO Tower shop is huge step for the group and very, very exciting. Having the support of so many very talented contemporaries with different experiences and skills in great, being part of JeDeCo means support of the other designers; we all have something to learn from one another and skills to develop. Being part of the group also enables us to take part in larger shows, exhibitions and pop-ups and our new OXO Tower shop, which I wouldn’t be able to do otherwise or even have known about and have access to, which in turn has really helped me and my jewellery develop hugely in such a short time. I have built up connections and met people I wouldn’t have without the group. We all work hard promote JeDeCo and the designers giving both customers, stylists and press direct access to the most dynamic range of award winning designer jewellery.

PJ: How would you describe your approach to work?
SB: I fell in love with jewellery making as soon as I tried it, the moment I stated making my first piece on a taster session I just knew this was what I wanted to do for the rest of forever. I love every minute of jewellery making though I particularly enjoy intricate hand piercing – the more detailed the better. My designs tend to evolve from reading and sketching as I read, then pulling together general ideas and themes with particular points of influence. But they really start evolving though making and experimenting then a bit more drawing and ta-dah, a beautiful new collection! So I guess I can be a bit of an over-worker, in the workshop all day and more writing and admin in the evenings, but I enjoy it all even if sometimes I forget what sleep is.

PJ: How do you manage your work-life balance and how do you relax off the job?
SB: I’m a bit of a chain reader particularly old fairytale and collected works such as Angela Carter’s books, or fantasies by Neil Gaimen or some great classics. I am based in Kent in the historic city of Rochester which has a buzzing artistic community and that’s a great escape as there are lots of art exhibitions, arty cafés, studios and events to enjoy. I also get away from the workshop by going for a wander in the beautiful Kent countryside around us, I love to explore the woodlands and the coast with my other half, Fred.

PJ: What are your plans for your business looking ahead this year?
SB: I would like to take part in more shows, I am already looking forward to Jewellery Week and Treasure this year, reaching new stockists (especially internationally) and more press. Basically I want to build up awareness of Sian Bostwick Jewellery. I also really want to experiment with some new materials and colours in the collections to come. With influences from my favourite tales that I have in mind I want to push what I do, and can do, with my jewellery making and play with some new ideas, pushing what is expected of me and producing some new dynamic work.
 

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