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There's Always Time For Change...

Sarah Kinnersley of Skylark Jewellery shares how she realised her dream of becoming a professional jewellery maker during the middle of a pandemic.


There’s always time for change…

With every challenge in life, comes opportunity. The last couple of years, living under the Covid cloud has certainly been challenging for us all and for many, life changing. As we gradually move away from that space, it’s incredible to look back and reflect on resilience and amazingly, the good things that were born out of adversity…

For me, a life changing possibility became a reality. In the 20 years before the Pandemic, my professional life and much of my home life, was dedicated to work in the Charity Sector. Latterly, steering the Seasonal programming for properties across England and Wales for the National Trust. I worked long hard hours for a cause I believed in and fully expected to be there until retirement. But then came Covid…

I think the enforced slow down caused many of us to reflect on our lives. I remember being so grateful for the good weather during that first lockdown and being able to walk in the countryside from my home. I recall the soothing feeling that came with looking at the detail in the hedgerows or verges and having the time to look in person rather than from a car window, whilst speeding to the next meeting. Nature became almost like an antidote to the difficult world we were all living in. I realised that I wanted and I needed, to slow down.

I’m sure you can relate. As working women we spin so many plates, often at high speed. There’s no time to think about what we want and frankly even if we did, there was no way we could make a change. Especially not when you’ve just had your 50th birthday as I had….

Even so, as time passed, I started to consider it more and more. Prior to my career in the charity sector, I qualified and worked as a sculptor/jewellery maker in Cornwall. Then life intervened as it does and took me from Cornwall to the Midlands and a new career. I continued to make in my spare time but remember thinking, I carry the gift of being an artist with me. Sometime in the future I will bring it out again.

When I allowed my brain some space, what came quite clearly, was the gift I had quietly held with me for years. Perhaps I could make that switch from spare time maker to full time professional again? It sounds easy and straightforward. In reality it was neither of those things but once the idea had arrived, I knew I had to run with it. After many months of big changes at work, I took voluntary redundancy and set up my jewellery business, Skylark Jewellery.

I’ve never run my own business before. Cue steep learning curve! I didn't know how to do any social media and I’m not a natural techie person. But I was determined to master the tech, harness my creativity to make beautiful jewellery and build time for those things that I treasured into my work life with time out to enjoy them.

I have always loved nature and it has been a constant source of inspiration for my work through the years. Now, part of my everyday work is a walk in nature. My jewellery pieces are inspired by the detail in our natural world and the positive impact it can have on us. These key elements are then brought together with a contemporary design, striving for impact, elegance, individuality and above all, making the wearer feel good.

I work with recycled precious metal and ethically sourced gemstones. My pieces are inspired by natural materials and forms, often found near my studio in the countryside in the Cotswolds or from the beaches in the South where I grew up. Being in the outdoors, close to nature, I'm able to observe the finer details and experiment with smithing techniques, pushing the boundaries of what is possible.

This often happens directly; be-it forging onto pebbles on a beach, capturing texture and fluid forms or pouring molten gold or silver directly into charcoaled wood from the campfire. Then combining these little nuggets of nature with precious stones to create pieces of elegant wearable art.

‘Plein-air' way of working brings excitement and energy to my work and almost always something new to the jewellery design. In addition, foraged materials will usually come home to my studio with me and find their way through a rolling mill or under a forging hammer. For me, this direct way of working outdoors feels like I am capturing a little of natures positive energy, for us to carry with us.

Wellbeing, nature and creativity are precious things. In todays busy and challenging world, time to slow down and calm has never been more important. With this is mind, I have also started running small, relaxing jewellery making workshops at Honeybourne Pottery in the tranquil surroundings of the North Cotswolds. Creating a ring from a piece of raw silver wire is immensely satisfying. There’s something about immersing yourself in the task of making, feeling comfortable and learning a new skill that is so restorative and up lifting. I wanted to share that….

In some ways, I’m probably working harder that ever but my ethos has changed. I’d say I’m more peaceful. Though as a driven woman I still have to remind myself that ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’! Of course I worry about all that comes with running your own show but I’m happy. I’m a different tired. And quietly proud of my eco friendly jewellery business that took flight during the most unprecedented time in our lives.

I’d love to hear from creative/small business owners in the areas, so do get in touch if you’d like to. And remember to take a moment for yourself this summer. Get out into nature, look at the details, breathe it in. You’ll be amazed how good you feel afterwards…

If you’d like to find out more, buy or commission some beautiful jewellery or book on a workshop, visit my website www.skylarkjewellery.co.uk and you can follow me on Instagram (I’m an avid fan these days!) www.instagram.com/skylarkjewelleryuk


Sarah Kinnersley

Skylark Jewellery



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