Thursday, 25 June 2015

Meet the Maker: myBearHands

      myBearHands is a jewellery brand created by designer Sally Haysom, specialising in bright and bold designs, often featuring animal imagery or fun retro elements. We have stocked Sally's work in the past but have recently restocked with her new designs, which have proved very popular.

We asked Sally a few questions to get to know her and her brand a little better... read on for more!

Okay, let’s start with an introduction…tell us something interesting about yourself and give us the quick lowdown on what you make and do.

I am an illustrator and jewellery designer living and working in Easton, Bristol under the name myBearHands.  I originally trained in illustration, which has gradually developed into image and design led jewellery.
My work is fun, quirky and usually colourful!  Working with a variety of techniques and materials, all my current pieces are laser cut from wood and finished with either glossy resin or textured flock.  Featuring animals, characters and abstract pattern, I love the freedom I have to create without boundaries set by any kind of employer or client.
Something interesting about myself?  In my spare time I am a competitive rower, training and racing with the City of Bristol Rowing Club.  I love having something completely unrelated and physical to unwind and release energy with!

What objects, people, places or spaces influence and inspire you?

I feel very lucky to work in a field where I am surrounded by creative people, and events I take part in are full of talented makers and artists.  Shows and fairs are a wonderful mine of inspiration, as long as you can get someone to watch your stand while you look round!
When I’m not directly in work mode, I love to escape to the sea or a green space.  I find nature has a relaxing and calming effect which can recharge and inspire you to return to work with a fresh mind.

What do you do when you’re not making? Or is it a full-time job?

myBearhands has been my full time job for just over 3 years, and I feel privileged to be doing what I love for a living.   I cycle to work every morning to my studio, which I share with 6 other likeminded creative people.  Like every job it has it’s ups and downs, but I wouldn’t do anything else!

Do you listen to anything when you’re when you’re working?

I like to listen to Radio 4 quite a lot, especially when I’m doing more practical repetitive ‘making’ jobs that don’t use so much brain power!  But as a shared studio we also listen to a lot of Radio 6, which covers all tastes!

What’s the single best piece of advice you can give to someone starting out in jewellery design?

The ‘business’ side of things is a steep learning curve.  Don’t worry if you don’t know it all yet, but don’t give up! It takes time to accumulate the knowledge required to run a business.  When you first start out, you’ll make mistakes and stumble your way through meetings with stockists using industry lingo you don’t understand! But you’ll also meet some lovely people who will advise you and teach you how things work.  There are loads of good books out there for beginners on how to plan your year, and maybe look into courses run by the Craft Council or other similar bodies.
Fast forward a couple of years and you’ll be astonished by how far you’ve come and how much you’ve learned. 

What’s the most difficult part of your job?

Time management and PR!  I’m a designer and maker.  The business side of things doesn’t come that naturally to me.  I’m not a naturally organised person, and tend to flit from one thing to another rather than sticking to my ‘to-do’ list.  I also find the amount of social media we’re meant to keep up with a bit overwhelming sometimes.  Unfortunately this can sometimes mean a few late nights in the lead up to deadlines!

And the most enjoyable?

Designing new ranges, without a doubt!  This is the reason I do what I do, and unfortunately the thing I spend the least time doing.  But days when I get to sit drinking tea, drawing and playing around with colours make it all worth while.

Do you have a favourite handmade item that you own, or would love to own?

So many! It’s hard to choose one, but I’d probably have to go for my bangle.  It was a Christmas present from my parents a couple of years ago and I never take it off.  It’s from the Silver Shed, a lovely local maker of silver jewellery, and this piece has a quote from Peter Pan written around the outside.  It’s very subtle, and a simple shape, but I hadn’t had a great year, so it’s a little reminder of a fresh start.

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