Based in the Wairarapa, Sharyl Skipsey started her jewellery label flameRED in 2009 after moving with her family from Wellington to Featherston for a change of lifestyle. Since then, her creative outlet has grown into a successful small business both online and through retailers around the country.
What do you make?
I make jewellery using vintage finds, mixing old pieces with new including brass, copper, glass, crystals and gemstone beads.
How did you get into your craft?
I guess I have always been a bit creative. Growing up I enjoyed drawing, painting and sewing and tried my hand at a number of other crafts. Jewellery making began for me as a creative outlet about 10 years ago. I started with old pieces of costume jewellery that I had taken apart, bits of paua shell and other found objects. I like to experiment with different materials and techniques and my style has developed with this over time.
Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
Although I don’t have any formal jewellery making training or qualifications, I did complete a design degree (industrial design) in the late 1990s. Jewellery making is something that has been mainly self-taught through books, experimentation and trial and error.
Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
My favourite materials are brass, copper, glass – and beautiful and interesting vintage finds. Swarovski crystals are another favourite of mine as well as gemstone beads, old postage stamps and coins. My favourite and most used tools are my pliers and dremel.
Is there a philosophy behind your work?
I enjoy the process of taking something old and unused and infusing it with new life, wherever possible I use vintage pieces and mix these with quality new materials and components.
Five words that describe your mind: Busy, creative, focused, determined, eclectic.
Describe your workspace:
I currently have my workspace set up in a corner of the lounge. I have a great old retro cocktail cabinet which I have adapted and use as my desk, I can fold everything up and out of the way when I am not working. When I am really busy everything is not quite so self-contained, having my workspace in the living area means it can start to take over all available surfaces. Thank goodness we are in the process of converting our garage into a studio, this will give me a lot more room to spread out and will also allow me to set things up on a more permanent basis.
What inspires you?
Almost anything and everything vintage, I love trawling through op-shops looking for interesting furniture, nik naks, anything really that catches my eye. The jewellery I make is definitely an extension of this.
What are you currently listening to?
At the moment – peace and quiet, the sound of the birds in the trees.
Your favourite childhood book?
The Cat in the Hat, Dr Seuss – my youngest daughter is currently in love with this book also, it has been great fun reading this book again with her.
What are you reading now? The Gargoyle – Andrew Davidson
A favourite quote: “Imagination is more important than knowledge” – Albert Einstein
Do you have any pets? Yes, we have a fluffy ginger and white cat called Jasper.
If you were a crayon, what colour would you be? Green.
Check out more of Sharyl’s gorgeous creations in her Felt shop, flameRED.