Maker’s Choice with jeweller Lynsey Walters

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From the archives…

Here’s another of our favourite blog posts – a very privileged look at the personal collection of one of our makers. Edinburgh based jeweller Lynsey Walters works with beautiful merino wool felt, creating bold designs that are light and easy to wear and sing with colour! She describes her work as “an imaginary garden crossed with a delicious haberdashery shop.” Lynsey exhibits her work at events around the UK as well as internationally and so naturally sees, covets and purchases a lot of contemporary craft. Finding out about the work she’s drawn to helps to tell a bit of the story behind her own work….

Can you remember the first piece of contemporary craft that you bought and what it was that attracted you to it?

The first pieces of craft I bought were at the New York Now Trade Show way back in 2001. I had done quite well at the show and as money notoriously burns a whole in my pocket I spent half of my takings at the show. At the first show I did I came home with a beautiful Laura McCafferty stitched picture for my wall.

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I loved the simplicity of Laura’s work and the way she draws with stitches, there’s also quite a lot of comedy in her work which really appeals to me.

When you’ve exhibited your work at recent events which other makers’ work have especially caught your eye?

When I did Hereford Contemporary Craft Fair last Autumn, I was really hankering after a piece of Anya Keeley’s work. It was that way though where everything was so beautiful I just couldn’t decide. I’ve admired her work at The Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair in the past too – the naive folky style really appeals to me. One day I shall make up my mind and make a purchase. I also love Carla Edwards Jewellery and when we were at Flock at Woodend Barn in Banchory last winter I aquired another pair of her colourful earrings. I love the colour in Carla’s work as, much like my own work, she uses lots of bright colours, but I also love the tactility of her pieces.

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Tell us about some of your favourite purchases.

I was recently given a beautiful paper dress by the supremely talented Jennifer Collier – it was a touching gift as she had noticed the shoes I had bought from her years earlier at Lustre at Lakeside in Nottingham. They were displayed on my wall at home and she sent me the dress in the same paper as a much appreciated thank you gift.

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My favourite recent aquisitions were a few pieces that came home from Craft at Top Drawer and added to my ever expanding Ken Eardley ceramics collection. I just love the bold pattern of his work – it is just so jolly you just can’t help but let his pieces lift your mood. I have a wee collection on my mantlepiece that I admire of an evening and another collection in the kitchen for during the day! His tiny jugs are the perfect size for filling the iron with water. Ken can nearly even make ironing a pleasure!

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I hugely covet Katrin Moye’s ceramics (it’s the too much choice/everything is too beautiful scenario again though – one day I will make up my mind.) I had a lovely suprise at The Contemporary Craft Festival when I had helped Katrin out with some paper bags (she’d forgotten hers). I came back to my stand and she’d left one of her mugs there for me. It was one of her manufactured ones but I enjoy it and use it daily. One day I will invest in one of her handmade pieces which I’m sure will bring me even more pleasure.

Where do your purchases live? 

Mainly my purchases live at home, I have a few pieces that I have been respectively requested by my husband to keep at my studio, but they are mainly weird vintage rather than contemporary craft! I live in Edinburgh where many of the period properties have what is called an Edinburgh Press: it’s a shallow cupboard built into the wall with shelving – with the door removed it’s a beautiful place to display treasures. We have 2 at home and they are pretty much full of craft and vintage finds.

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What other sort of work are you drawn to? Are you attracted to work that has a familiarity or connection to your own practice and do you feel there’s a theme to the pieces you own?

I am drawn to a huge variety of work and it in no way has to have a connection to what I create. I do love textiles and jewellery but I find I am seduced by colour and pattern above everything else. I don’t own that many plain subdued pieces, but if I do it will have a beautiful texture or an unusual quirk perhaps. I do love a bit of humour or weirdness in my contemporary craft! The theme is that there is no theme. I really love contrast, I love antique next to modern, cheap as chips next to precious. It’s just what pleases me.

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Do you have a favourite piece and what’s the story behind it?

I know this is a bit obvious, but it would have to be my wedding ring. its made by the amazing jeweller Tanja Ufer – I adore her work. She made my engagement ring too and I have a couple of other pieces that I have bought myself. The wedding ring is my favourite though, not only for the obvious reasons but because Tanja used gold from jewellery that had been my lovely gran’s to make the ring. It is so precious to me.

What’s your most recent purchase?

A piece of jewellery by Rachel Eardley. I had coveted it for a LONG time! Its a gold dollar from 1851 set into a ring. I love Rachel’s style – it’s charming and naive and fabulous.

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Do you buy contemporary craft as presents and if so what sort of work do you choose?

I often buy craft for my mum as gifts as she loves craft and vintage too, so I find it very easy to buy her work. I bought her some beautiful jewellery by Clare Hillerby for her 60th birthday – I was convinced she’d love it as it combines contemporary craft with beautiful vintage ephemera. I’ve also bought one of Anne Morgan’s gorgeous rope necklaces for my very stylish sister-in-law. It involved much texting back and forward to her husband to try and decide on a colour. We plumped for emerald green and it looked great on her! I have since seen about 3 friends wearing one of Anne’s necklaces and really wish I had bought one as a gift for myself too!

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If you could write the ultimate wish list which makers’ work would be on it?

Well I really wish I’d bought one of Teresa Green’s wash bags whilst I was at Craft at Top Drawer in London – I very nearly did but as I have a wee family sometimes buying a ‘frivilous’ item for myself seems very self-indulgent (jewellery doesn’t count as that is clearly an heirloom for my daughter, so perfectly justified!). But, it was a lovely wash bag and would have brought me a disproportionate amount of pleasure so at The Contemporary Craft Festival in the summer hopefully one will be mine! I do always hope that one day I will own one of Samantha Bryan’s fabulous creations. I have admired her work for a very long time – in fact since the first Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 6 or 7 years ago – her display at the fair was so beautiful and I can still remember the flying fairies hung from her stand looking wonderful. My good friend recently celebrated her 40th and was given one of Samantha’s fairies by her very thoughtful husband. My 40th has already passed but maybe for my 50th….

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Thank you very much to Lynsey for writing for us and telling us about her treasured possessions. We’re looking forward to seeing Lynsey again at the Contemporary Craft Festival here in our hometown in Devon. You can shop from Lynsey’s collection online with us here where you’ll find lots of beautiful new arrivals inspired by Hungarian embroidery.

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