Meet The KOEL Kids: Sarah Shakespeare
With multiple gorgeous, internationally praised jewellery collections and a great love for various materials, Sarah Shakespeare inspires us to think big and create. And for those of us still waiting to take the plunge, Sarah designed something special for a creative and meaningful gathering. Let’s find out all we can about talented designer Sarah Shakespeare.
Tell us more about your background and what led you to choosing hand weaving and jewellry making as a craft?
Since an early age, I was always obsessed with texture and touch. I found comfort in rubbing silky clothing labels between my fingers and using soft cotton to tickle the tip of my nose! At the age of just four, I’d tell anyone that when I grew up I wanted to be an ‘artist’. With this dream in mind, I decided to study creative arts throughout school, specialising in silversmithing and jewellery in University. I began my creative journey as an independent designer and made jewellery from laser cut paper because the traditional metals I had been trained with simply did not offer the tactile nature that I craved for.
When I set up my jewellery business, Saloukee, in 2008, I developed a collection of folded paper jewellery, which I exhibited and sold worldwide and later a book on the subject. During the writing of the book, I began to experiment with the use of paper yarn in jewellery making. This was an urge to return to making something with dexterity, and without the use of machinery and tools. Hand weaving was a naïve application, which I found cathartic, later developing the technique into a collection of necklaces.
What makes you a KOEL Kid?
My passion for making, for learning and for exploration. My love of texture and obsession with materials. What I think sets me apart is my determination to share my works with others. It’s very vulnerable and exhausting to build a business out of your creativity and definitely not for the fainthearted. However, I strongly believe that inspiring others to choose and wear handmade is a calling of mine.
Share with us the creative process behind each of your project.
My jewellery designs usually unveil themselves through my ongoing exploration of natural and found materials and my continual curiosity of the world. I try to find ways to transform the ordinary every day, getting unconventional jewellery making materials working in harmony, with a desire to pass on my need for discovery, escape and inspiration to other like-minded and adventurous souls.
Your favorite designs…
My Saloukee Home concept.
The inspiration behind this design is… A well-being concept that I came up with after feeling overwhelmed last year from fulfilling a large order for US retail giant Anthropologie. I felt disconnected and trapped behind technology. So I wanted a way to reconnect. Drawing on my experience in running workshops, and lecturing, I conjured a new idea. To share my passion for jewellery making and the sense of calmness it brings, without compromising my slow living beliefs.
My idea is simple, as all good things are. A box delivered to a self-nominated host, containing all the items needed for an evening retreat. So hosts can then invite friends to join in, persuading them to take more time, to create and to do less.
And so, ‘Saloukee Home’ was born. I gathered groups of friends for evenings in, allowing them to unplug from the world and reconnect with their values. It is the ultimate nostalgic comfort to sit cosily by the fire and appreciating life’s little things. At the end of the night, they felt relaxed and reconnected, with their own Saloukee necklace to wear, take home and cherish.
The dream store in which I would like to stock this design is… Anthropologie. Making and selling my jewellery to them was a huge learning curve for me and my small business, but also a great honour.
Which celebrity can you picture wearing your design… I would be honoured to see any of my jewellery on the fabulous designer, Iris Apfel, a courageous lady with amazing style and expression.
If this design made it big, I would… Take myself on a relaxing yoga retreat by the sea. Time away is often where I find inspiration.
If this design could talk, it would say… I inspire escapism surrounded by friends, take time to simply be and find your own handmade happiness through creativity.
How much has changed since you first started hand weaving? And where do you see it in the next five years?
I love that there is such a fabulous array of talented designers around the world. I believe that the quality and scope of my work has improved greatly since I first started. So the next five years will see me continuing to inspire people to engage in such crafts at home. Because I feel that our down time will go full circle. The last few years have seen a huge increase in the need to access technology at our fingertips, day and night. My prediction is that our world will become so saturated with technology. There will soon be a conscious move away from being connected. Instead there will be a need to return to simplicity and mindful activity, giving meaning and reality to a world that is often catapulted beyond our capacity.
We couldn’t agree more, Sarah!
Photo Credits: Sarah Shakespeare & Louise Hall