I got a tip-off from a friend about Judith Brown's jewellery. I have become particularly interested in the wave of 'sew and wear' workshops that are now becoming so popular worldwide. The haberdashery department used to be stocked with the most miraculous components for creating things and until a few years ago, I used to find trims and buttons in little sewing shops tucked away down side streets in most cities. Revival looks like it's on its way!
Judith, I am agog at the beauty you create with the most unusual things. Bra eyelets? How unheard off. I love lingerie and never thought of the different components. It certainly highlights the different pieces that make up a piece of underwear. I understand that the ones are old stock and unused?
Most of the haberdashery is old. Some pieces are around 100 years old.
Tell us about your collections and your company.
I’ve been making jewellery since 2004 and have been developing my collections and company since then. My collections are heavily influenced by my textiles background. I have a degree in Embroidery, so I like to use textile techniques and materials to create my jewellery rather than traditional jewellery methods. I choose unusual materials and recycle and upcycle them into elegant feminine jewellery with a nostalgic feel. My jewellery is sold and exhibited in a wide variety of places from boutiques to galleries and big museums such as the British Museum and the V &A in London.
I know you utilise different items to make jewellery. What has been the most unusual so far - bra bits aside?
I use all sorts of haberdashery to make my jewellery. I started by raiding my mum’s button tin, and found a stunning carved mother of pearl button, which was probably Victorian. This sparked my “Vintage Affair – Blanc” collection, which is created with these lovely luminescent buttons, many of which are around 100 years old, with silver wire. From there the next step was black hooks, eyes and press-studs worked with black wire and glass beads. I also have limited edition pieces made with vintage lace, silver and pearls and am now working on making my own lace with the traditional technique of tatting for future collections. Apart from the haberdashery I use that’s unusual, it’s also the technique that I use of hand stitching with wire - my own technique that I have developed from my embroidery studies.
'Make your own' seems to be very much happening. How did you start down this path?
I have always been a maker. Even when I was a small child I made clothes for my dolls from off cuts of fabric from the clothes my mum made for me! She also taught me to sew and knit, and I just loved making! I went on to study art and then Embroidery and that is how my journey began, and I still love making now.
And, tell us more about The Haberdashers.
The Haberdashers is a collection of quirkily named jewellery made from hooks, eyes and press-studs with sterling silver findings. I had help naming the pieces in the collection from my Facebook likers. There’s a pendant and earrings called “Clever Little Sew and Sew” and a pair of earrings called “Sew Darn Fabulous”. The pieces are presented on colourful cards based on original haberdashery packaging from the 1940s and before.
I have a couple of workshops in galleries planned for early 2014 and am planning on organising some of my own “The Haberdashers” workshops too!
What are your plans for this New Year? Have you anything special in production?
I’m really looking forward to having some time to work on some ideas that have been buzzing around my head for a while! I have some designs that I’ve been working on for my new bridal collection, which will launch early in 2014. I also have plans for a collection for autumn/winter where I will be exploring this lace making technique further and introducing some subtle colours into my collections. There’s lots to look forward to in 2014!