Tiny blooms from fire, silver, glass: Adele Stewart’s enduring love for flowers

West Coast jeweller Adele Stewart‘s delight in flowers began as soon as she was aware of them in her infancy. By the time she was three years old, she was amazing her Mum’s friends by giving them a personal tour of the garden and telling them all the names of the flowers. That child-like enthusiasm for flowers hasn’t faded for Adele – in fact, it has intertwined with another passion: making.

What do you make?
Individually shaped and enamelled sterling silver flower jewellery. No solder or glue, just sterling silver and glass (melted enamel powder and glass beads).

How did you get into your craft?
I just love making intricate stuff. Flowers and their details bring me great joy. So it was natural to play around with how to make flowers that you could wear and would last.


 

Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
I did a three year apprenticeship in gemstone setting which is not directly related but has given me the fine motor skills and technical know how of fitting forms together.

Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
I love my files, smoothing off silver is so satisfying. The enamelling process amazes me how glass can bond to silver with heat.

Tell us about some of the techniques involved in producing one of your jewellery pieces:
Saw, file, form and heat.

The heat is the most fascinating, I put the silver component onto a mandrel and get it red hot, but not too hot or the enamel will not be bright. Not hot enough and the enamel will not stick to the silver. Then I dip the silver into the glass enamel powder before it cools down, then back to the flame to repeat two, three or four more times.


 

What inspires you?
Flower details, getting up close and studying them. When you look close, there are so many details and patterns. Go and check one out some time…

Flowers and their details bring me great joy. So it was natural to play around with how to make flowers that you could wear and would last.

Is there a philosophy behind your work?
Slow down and appreciate the little things in life, the simple pleasures.

Describe your creative process:
Trial and error. I used to think I could learn from others mistakes, but I reckon you learn way more in depth when you personally make the mistake.


 

Describe your workspace:
A rabbit warren!

Five words that describe your mind:
Playful, natural, cheerful, grateful, compassionate.

Your favourite feedback from a customer:
“Wearing them makes me feel the lovely thoughts of spring all year round.”

What are you currently listening to?
“On Being,” a podcast by Krista Tippett.

Recommend an album:
Albert King with Stevie Ray Vaughan: In Session – such beautiful rapport between them.

What’s your favourite childhood book and why?
Autumn Story by Jill Barklem. I’m such a homebody. I remember the emotions the book gave me; that comfort feeling of stocking up the cellar for winter, the last bit of warmth at the end of summer. The cozy home with the shelves up to the ceiling all packed with home preserves. The homemade quilt on the bed. The autumn harvest drying up in the ceiling…


 

What are you reading now?
The One Straw Revolution by Masanobu Fukuoka.

Who is your hero/heroine? Why?
Krista Tippett. She has an absolute golden heart and brings so much insight into the art of living compassionately.

Tell us about your pets:
I have seasonal pets, wild and temporary. At the moment, there are swallows circling around sharing the shed studio with me. Last week I had two sweet little waxeyes quietly chirping away in the loft on a plastic Christmas tree. In the morning and evenings, keas come to make sure the house is in good order…

What would your advice be for those starting out in a crafty business?
Limitations are a perfect excuse for creativity.

What was the last handmade item you bought and what attracted you to it?
A most inspirational, soulful artwork by a powerful artist Vashti Johnstone.

What’s in store for 2018?
Considering having flower jewellery making classes…

Prize draw!
Adele Stewart has very kindly offered a stunning prize for one lucky Felt reader of this beautiful, delicate bluebell necklace (see above). Adele is always looking for inspiration for what to make next, so to be in to win, simply leave a comment telling us and Adele what you enjoyed about her story and what your favourite flower is – and why!
The draw closes at 5pm on Friday 1 December and is open to New Zealand residents only.

See more gorgeous floral jewellery from Adele Stewart »

41 thoughts on “Tiny blooms from fire, silver, glass: Adele Stewart’s enduring love for flowers

  1. Love this article!! The finished pieces are so intricate and you can just see the soul that has gone into every last detail. And your hair Adele!!! Swallows are my favourite bird, i remember them nesting every year in our carport as children. In the way of flowers, its hard to choose. Daphne is pretty amazing with the punch it packs scent wise for some a small flower but i also love this time of year for my coral peony with its every changing petal colour before it falls again until next year. Great article!

  2. Oh, I love Adele’s work, I find it so beautiful, in such a thoughtful way. She is so technically proficient and so creative at bringing her idea’s to reality. I have one of her necklaces and I always feel like I am putting on a little artwork when I wear it.

  3. Absolutely love these! Especially the Manuka and kowhai. Def added these to the gift wish list for Xmas! I love sweet peas and alstroemeria, do you take requests?

  4. Hi Adele,
    I love your seasonal pets 😀 I just discovered a new swallows nest with four chicks and it filled me with joy.
    Very hard to pick a favourite flower but right this minute I love the buttercups down by the creek. The remind me of spending hours and hours of my childhood summer days making dams on the river and catching slim ‘fish’, I feel so grateful watching my children do the same.
    Keep up the wonderful work
    Xx

  5. I love her philosophy of “Slow down and appreciate the little things in life, the simple pleasures“, with two little kids sometimes life is such a rush and it’s hard to remember to slow down and look at the beauty of a simple little flower.

  6. Beautiful work Adele, so unique and intricate, I also work with enamel a little bit, so am really impressed with your gorgeous work.I love the constant discovery of new work I have not seen before in this amazing world!

  7. I loved your comment about learning from your own mistakes…whilst frustrating it has been a proud part of my own creative explorations! Id love to see you do something like an oriental lily

  8. I love the ‘slow down and appreciate the small things in life’ philosophy and the daisy ear rings and daisy chain necklace are just exquisite. My favourite flowers are roses 🌹

  9. What a wonderful article on a talented thoughtful woman.
    Adele seems in tune with herself and nature and takes pleasure in her works. I love so many flowers, lavender and Daphne, cherry blossoms, jasmine. All of the flowers!
    Thanks for the inspiration! 💜

  10. Stunning pieces! I get so much joy from flowers, Spring is such a wonderful bounty of beautiful blossom, but treats can be found in the garden all year long, I just need to take the time to enjoy them. Your flowers are intricate, delicate and amazing. Pieces for a lifetime 🙂

  11. Absolutely love what your doing here Adele. I’ve been getting really into my gardening over the past couple of years while I’m home taking care of the littlies. It’s great to have to opportunity to slow down look at the tiny details on flowers while the kids are busying themselves in the sandpit. Parahebe and euphorbia are both fascinating close up.

  12. Ooh I love that she’s taken what we did as kids…. made daisy chains and worn flowers in our hair, and turned it into grown up art/ accessories. Just beautiful. I love native flowers especially pohutukawa.

  13. I love the concept of seasonal pets- looking at the world in a new light.

    I really enjoyed reading this and looking at the photos – my dad died 3 months ago and he wrote many books on native plants, plus he loved all plants. I think he would have loved this jewellery- looking at it makes me think of him, especially the manuka flowers. Lily of the valley, peonies and lithianthus are my favourite non native flowers. Kowhai and Hebe (Dad’s favourite) are my NZ native faves.

  14. I love the intelligence of her style and the connection she makes with the flowers. Her work is stunningly beautiful though it is hard to resist the strawberry flowers. As a child I used to check them out everyday, looking for the metamorphosis. Thank you for featuring this true artist.

  15. Wow what beautiful creations and a beautiful outlook on life. It’s hard to choose but I think I like the buttercup earings best, they remind me of holding the flowers under our chins as children, to tell if we liked butter or not 🙂

  16. I love Adele’s philosophy about slowing down and also share her long held love of flowers. Being in my garden and in nature brings so much peace and happiness. Adele’s creations are amazing, they are so stunning and beautifully reflect each flower they’re modelled from.

  17. Adele’s jewllery is very beautiful I enjoyed reading about her work. My favourite flower is a poppy which reminds me of my late mother and my aunt who also grew lovely poppies.. A daffodil reminds me of my grandmother.

  18. Simply stunning!
    Adele’s philosophy to Slow down and appreciate the little things in life, the simple pleasures is my Philosophy also and especially at this time of year – we all need to remember to breathe and fill our lives with all things that make us happy. The lily flower is my favorite of all time and is why I named my eldest daughter Lily x

  19. These are truly a delight! The intricacies and attention to detail quite breathtaking too. My favourite flowers are snowdrops – they are so fleeting just like the moments in life we should slow down to appreciate. I love gerbera too as they always remind me of children’s drawings of flowers. So bold and colorful. Adele’s crafting is skilled and her love of flowers really comes across in each piece. A lovely article to read and be inspired by. Thank you Adele and Felt.

  20. I enjoyed reading about 3 year old Adele giving garden tours. It bought to mind a lovely image.

    My favourite flower is the blue Forget Me Not, they are simple and beautiful and always make me smile. I love that they grow wild, and sometimes walking along a path I’ll see a plant, and it’s like a little ray of love – not to be forgotten.

  21. Your jewellery is beautiful and so life like!
    I absolutely agree with your comment about learning more from your own mistakes then other people’s.
    My favourite flower is the gerbera. So many beautiful colours. Like giant daisies

  22. Absolutely gorgeous jewellery. I love your connection to and passion for nature. The bluebell necklace would be a wonderful present for my sister. We used to walk in the woods close to home and there were lots of blueberry.

  23. It’s obvious that Adele has an affinity with the natural world. The jewellery pieces are delicate and beautiful and I would live to wear them.

  24. This jewellery is just so beautiful – I know what hints I will be dropping this christmas! The fuschia flowers are my favourite – they are such an elegant flower and so ‘kiwi’!

  25. I love your tidy, colourful work area!
    I was going to say Kowhai because I am working with it in my own work, but I see you already have some lovely Kowhai jewellery. So, pansies? I love their bright & variable blooms throughout the winter, even in the snow, brightening my day.
    Keep up the lovely work & inspirational attitude to life, Adele!

  26. I am in awe of your lovely talent, and the tiny Viola is my fave flower, such a pretty, dainty sweet scented lil flower, and wax eyes are pretty special birds. I love the way the flit from flower to branch and they sound sweet when there are a few of them…

  27. My favourite part of the article is the image of Adele holding the tiny, seemingly-fragile flower in the powerful blue flame which, instead of destroying it, transforms the materials and captures the beauty of nature. I think each piece speaks of this, which makes Adele’s unique pieces the perfect gift (self treats included, of course!) for someone who has been through a lot in life and come out the other side, still as beautiful and even stronger for the ordeal. That’s my thoughts, anyway 🙂

  28. Hi All., For me the strongest moment when reading Adele’s creative story was the comment that said ” ” limitations are the perfect excuse for creativity ” that statement summed up the the delicate nature of her designs and the expansion ahead of her . May you break through every limitation to reach your truly creative core and unlimited designs.

  29. What an amazing talent, What absolutely beautiful and delicate work!
    I love Frilillaria – it amazes me how nature can produce a checkerboard pattern on a flower!

  30. What a special lady! I love her attitude towards nature ❤ manika flowers are one of my faves and her interpretation of them is stunning 😍

  31. What beautiful pieces of art!! I love that you have ‘seasonal pets’. My son is a real bird lover and will love this when I tell him. My favourite flowers are peonies, and I am also eagerly awaiting for my agapanthus to flower. A weed to some but I love them planted in bulk and their delicate flowers.

  32. Love your work Adele, you are very talented!. I love how beautifully delicate your creations are and how wonderfully colourful they are. Really original designs, so different to mainstream jewellery. I love simple things so I would have to say a Daisy for my flower of choice 🙂

  33. Your creations are simply stunning Adele. So much detail. You sound gentle with an inner calm and passionate about your subject matter and inspirations. I love all flowers and my current favourite is a wild jasmine that I see on my morning walks with an intricate lantern shape flower and the perfume is delicious! You can’t help but breath it in

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