Why I said Yuup... Charlotte, Silver Duck

By Yuup

Thursday 3 September 2020

I’ve always been interested in art and design. I was originally studying for a photography degree, but I bought a simple wire jewellery kit and was immediately captivated by the process of making things in 3D. I decided to study silversmithing, metalwork and jewellery, and never looked back.

I then did a ten-month residency at the Bishopsland Educational Trust, an amazing place to study for a postgraduate qualification alongside aspiring silversmiths from all over the world. As part of the course, we went into schools to teach young people about jewellery making. I realised how much I enjoyed sharing my knowledge with other people, and that’s always been part of my dream for The Silver Duck.

I set the business up in 2012. As well as providing a studio and shop for my own work, we also run workshops and accept commissions from businesses and individuals. I’m a passionate cook and baker, and tableware has always been part of what we produce – we’ve worked with Michelin-starred chefs including Heston Blumenthal, who I made some pieces for and Michael Wignall, who collaborated with me on a design for an exhibition. Since I set up The Silver Duck I’ve won awards too, including from Goldsmiths Craft and a bronze award for 3D silversmithing from the Design Competition, among others.

We’re based in the Old Market Manor in Bristol. It’s an amazing space full of makers – furniture designers, set designers, steelworkers, carpenters, joiners – there’s even a studio where they make natural dyes, inks and textiles. It’s a very community-driven space, where everyone is on the same wavelength.

I manage the jewellery studio at the Old Market Manor, where my job includes managing the space, interviewing members and highlighting opportunities for the jewellers. There’s a really strong support network, and I love learning from other creative people – I’m constantly trying new techniques in my own work.

We find that customers love getting involved in the creative process, from the original idea right through all the production techniques that it takes to create something truly personal and unique. I recently had a couple who wanted to make their wedding rings with me – he made hers, and she made his. He was an engineer who was familiar with some of the tools and techniques that we use – they enjoyed the process so much that they ended up extending their time with us to finish the rings themselves over two whole days.

It’s the meaning of the experience that makes it so rewarding for people. Customers always have fun with us, but they also get a glimpse of the craft and time that it takes to produce a piece that they are happy with and proud to wear. We often find that people come back multiple times to discover more about the making process and techniques.

I’m excited about working with Yuup because it’s a great way for us to access new customers, but also because we’re proud to be part of the creative scene in Bristol. The city is so vibrant and entrepreneurial, and I believe that we can all benefit from being part of an online community that makes it easy for people to find new things to do.

My favourite thing about Bristol is the space. There are so many green spaces to explore and escape too – there are walks along the rivers, and it’s small enough that you can get anywhere by bike. We have the creative community of a big city, but also the intimacy that means everyone knows everyone, and we all support one another.

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