Jewellery designer Hannah Clayton has been crafting her wares in a little house on the hill over looking Whitianga Bay for the last seven years. Already established selling under her own name through design stores and galleries throughout New Zealand, this year she launched Whalebird Jewellery, her own online shop on Felt.
What do you make? I handcraft jewellery in metals, mostly silver.
How did you get into your craft?
I began at a very young age, making woven friendship bracelets and polymer clay beads with a school friend. We sold our wares at the local Saturday craft market, off the end of her mum’s jumper stall. We usually made enough to keep us in penny chews for the rest of the weekend, so I thought perhaps a career in crafts could work.
Years later some broken travel plans led me to take a last minute place on a metalsmith course. Instantly a whole new universe opened up before me and I had found my perfect medium….. drawing, design, sculpture and craft all held within one tiny object.
Is there a philosophy behind your work?
I try not to let my designs be dictated by changing fashions and instead just concentrate on making beautifully crafted pieces that can become real little treasures in the heart and mind of their wearer.
Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
Two years study in Design Metals at Plymouth University (U.K)
Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
I love learning new tricks with metals, so this changes quite often. At the moment I’m working largely with lost wax casting. I’ve also recently bought myself a dinky little kiln, so expect to see some vibrant enamels in my store real soon.
Describe your workspace:
My jewellery making is squeezed in around my main job as a mum of two gorgeous, hectic little girls. So I’m really lucky to have a fantastic workshop tucked under our home that I can scurry down to whenever I have a moment spare. It has huge sliding doors on two sides framing bush views and is the perfect amount of space to house my chaotic stash of tools, machinery and mess.
What inspires you?
My home is nestled into a beautiful little pocket of native bush and as a result botanical themes are a very strong element in my work. I also draw ideas from music, textiles and illustrations, as well as the simple shapes and textures of everyday objects all around me.
What are you currently listening to?
Right this moment, my eighteen month old singing her crazy jumbled up version of “Twinkle Little Star”……it’s ridiculously cute!
Recommend an album:
Ralph Myerz & The Jack Herren Band – A Special Album. Chilled out funky grooves with some truly awesome percussion.
Your favourite childhood book?
The Never-Ending Story. A totally epic magical tale, just brilliant.
What are you reading now?
I am an absolute bookworm and always have a book on the go, at the moment it’s We Are All Made of Glue, by Marina Lewycka. It’s hilarious and revolves around a crazy old Jewish lady with a houseful of really smelly cats and a love of reduced price food.
Do you have any pets?
Two aging cats, Noodles and Mouse. These days they’re mostly in hiding, just out of reach of the little people.
If you were a crayon, what colour would you be?
Why one of those snazzy silver ones of course!
Check out more of Hannah’s gorgeous handcrafted pieces in her Felt shop, Whalebird Jewellery.