Interview with Jewellery Designer Melissa Keith-Jopp

This afternoon, we bring you our latest interview with jewellery designer and textile fanatic Melissa Keith-Jopp of JoppDesign. Here, we gain an insight into her experiences, designs and working life. 

Hi Melissa, it’s a pleasure to continue our interview series with you! Firstly, could you explain to our readers what you do and how you started off?

For many years I have been creating my own jewellery and gifts, for birthday and Christmas presents for friends and family. The designs went down so well that I (with the encouragement of friends and family) have now made them available to everyone. The Jopp Design collection shows up-cycling in action; using found and restored materials such as ornate beads, buttons and vintage fabrics to create each ring, necklace or brooch uniquely cast in resin. My keen eye for spotting beauty in these every day bits and bobs ensures each found fragment has a new life, transformed into wearable, affordable accessories.

What kind of formal education / training or experience do you have that applies to what you do?

BA Hons Degree in Textile Design. BTEC National Foundation Diploma in Art and Design. PGCE Secondary Art and Design. I am currently a Secondary School Art and Design teacher and learning new skills is essential to my professional development as well and personal enjoyment! I learnt how to cast resin using my own moulds whilst writing an A-Level jewellery project. I not only taught this to the students but also became quite fond of the skill myself, which was the start of Jopp Design.

Describe your work setting for us.

I currently work in a very small studio in my flat in Didsbury, Manchester. I am looking to hire a permanent working space within Manchester to develop and expand my Jewellery company.

How did you find your style? Has it changed over the years?

My style is something that has evolved over time. It tends to be influenced by the objects I find, be it a unique piece of fabric, an old cardigan button or a handful of beads from a car boot sale. My aim is to produce jewellery that is totally different to anything on the high street.

What are your tools of the trade, which is your favourite?

I use a water clear casting resin, which is the foundation of my jewellery pieces. This gives the pieces a clear, crisp finish and allows me to cast virtually anything inside.

How do you get the word out about your work?

A lot of my business comes from word of mouth or at local craft fairs around Manchester and Cheshire. I have had considerable success promoting Jopp design on social networking sites Facebook and Twitter, as well as utilising my boyfriend’s web skills to promote new products via email marketing. I have also been featured on a number of ‘craft’, ‘handmade’ and ‘jewellery’ blogs.

Who are some of your favourite artists/designers/makers?

From a Textile design point of view, I have always been strongly influenced by the bright, optimistic and abstract patterns of Lucienne Day. I am a huge fan of Claire Coles and her vintage, intricately embroidered fabrics and prints. I also admire the way textile and jewellery designer Betty Pepper manages to effortlessly find that elusive something which makes an object desirable to view or wear.

How did you come up with your company name?

My Surname has a great history. ‘Jopp’ is the original part of my name, with a family tree dating back to 1795. ‘Jopp Design’ seemed perfect!

What’s the ethos behind your work?

I have a strong ethos which is simply: up-cycling. I find old and interesting haberdashery, paper, newspaper, toys, sweets etc and restore them by setting them into my resin casts. I aim to create jewellery that is affordable and completely unique.

Did you always dream of being an artist/designer maker when you were growing up?

I have always been involved in arts and crafts. Since leaving University I have always wanted to start and run a successful and unique craft business, hoping that one day I can own my own ‘little shop around the corner’ in a quaint village somewhere beautiful. Well here goes…

Thanks Melissa, all the best for the future!

See more at www.joppdesign.com, Twitter @joppdesign, Facebook and contact at melissa@joppdesign.com.

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