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Blog about living a life to nurture, cherish and create.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Mummy who makes: Anna Fine Jewellery

Today I'm honoured to feature an interview with Anna Clifton who makes jewellery under her label Anna Fine Jewellery. Like me, Anna used to be a Secondary School teacher and is now using her creative business, amongst other things, to strike a balance between work and family life.
Anna, how did you come to start your handmade business? I've always wanted to be an artist for as long as I can remember. From the age of 5 I used to tell my teachers I
was going to art college when I left school. I ended up doing A Levels in Fine Art and 3D Design, followed by an Art Foundation at Derby University and finally a degree in Jewellery and Silversmithing at the prestigious Birmingham School of Jewellery (now part of Birmingham City University).
 Grace circle drop earrings
Grace circle drop earrings
What is your favourite thing about running your own creative business? What
do you find most difficult about it? Being my own boss and being able to work when I want! It's also really important to me to be able to fit my business around my children's school day but it does mean being really disciplined and working hard during the hours I do get to be in my workshop. When I was teaching full time I would drop my daughter off at 8am and pick her up again at 5pm. I felt like I was missing watching her grow. The nursery fees also costs more than the mortgage! I want my children to be proud of me and see that work doesn't have to be a 9-5 job. I still use my teaching skills by running free-lance workshops in schools.
Anna Fine Jewellery jeweller's bench
Anna at work
Anne Fine Jewellery workbench
Anna's workbench
What inspires you or puts you in a creative mood? Everything around me! I moved to Malvern a few years ago and I find the surrounding countryside and woodlands very inspiring. A walk to the top of the hill or listening to my favourite music usually puts
me in a creative mood.
Grace ring by Anna Fine Jewellery
Grace ring 
Where do you work? I have a workshop near to where I live in a lovely log cabin.I have my jewellers bench and a soldering area in there as well as a big drawing board. It's a working space, so not always all that tidy! I use renewable energy in my workshop which I'm really proud of. People are often attracted to my work because of my environmental principles and because they are looking for something unique.  I use recycled precious metals wherever possible. My Grace rings are very popular although most of my customers come to me because they want to commission a bespoke piece.

What advice would you give to someone aspiring to make a living from their art or craft?  Be prepared to put in a lot of hours and work the hardest you've ever worked for very little pay! To begin with anyway. Include your family in what you want to do and make them part of the business.
You can keep in touch with Anna and her work by visiting her website or etsy shop, liking her facebook page or following her on twitter. If you are interested in ordering any of Anna's work she has said that if you contact her through any of these means she will send you a special discount code.
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