Waving hello from the North Norfolk coast!

Well this year has seen another big change for me – I’ve moved to North Norfolk! I know – ‘you’ve only just settled at Cockpit Arts’ I hear you cry. It has been a tough decision but once I share the story behind my move I hope you’ll agree there was only one way to go…

Made in Cley

We moved a few times as a family while I was growing up. But the place we always came back to was Norfolk. Cley-next-the-Sea to be precise. It’s a little village that sits alongside the marshes approaching the sea. Open skies meet the reeds along the raised bank that meanders to the rugged stony beach.

Cley Mill now serves as a beautiful place to eat, drink and sleep.

Wild in winter, golden in summer, I grew up running in to the sea, picking berries, watching the sun set on the windmill from our garden.

Me in Cley

My siblings and I would wait for the school bus on the steps outside Made in Cley, the pottery in the centre of the village. We felt pretty comfortable jumping up and down the steps, hanging off the handrail, giving the onlooking potters heart attacks as we tripped and skipped over the cobbles. Made in Cley had become familiar to us as our parents became friends with the group of potters and jeweller. A creative bunch who landed in the early eighties to make beautiful functional pottery and had great parties.

The gallery was always an amazing place to me. Historically the old village shop, original shelves, counter and drawers made a perfect setting for the contemporary stoneware, handthrown in the workshops off from the gallery.

What really fascinated me was the jewellery. Quay Proctor Mears made all the jewellery on show and it was inspiring. The most enticing of it all, the chunky wooden blocks on the counter containing row upon row of rings and bangles. You could pick them up and try them on! Joy!

Fast forward a few years and a couple of moves, we’re back in Cley. This time as a teenager working at Picnic Fayre, the busy deli on the corner. I started working in the Made in Cley gallery too. My favourite tasks? To polish the rings and bangles in the blocks on the counter. Choosing how and which pots to display on the shelves. Watching Quay as she would measure a customers fingers and discuss designs.

A creative journey.

It took me a little longer to finally realise that Jewellery was my future. Once I realised I had found my vocation I persued it with everything I had. An expensive craft in an expensive city, I threw myself in to study in London and learning about the Jewellery Industry. Sometimes doing three jobs at a time I made sure I was always learning, whether it was workshop experience, gallery selling or making cocktails! Who knew I would be there seventeen years later!

I’ve had a few studios in my time in London. This was me working from the old Craft Central Studios in Clerkenwell. Image by Jonathan Birch

A long held dream was to have a studio at Cockpit Arts. When they started the LCN programmes it was a way of accessing their business coaching as a non-member. I became more determined to get a studio there. I didn’t manage it the first time. I wasn’t ready looking back, and they would have seen that. I worked harder and eventually found my design aesthetic. I got my work in to exhibitions and galleries, building a name for myself.

My first time exhibiting at Goldsmiths’ Fair 2016

I spent a year working on my second application to Cockpit – building a strong collection, getting professional images, working on my CV and Artist Statement. I wanted a yes this time and made sure they couldn’t say no!

Then, at the end of 2019 I got the answer I wanted. I’d been accepted and was offered a space in Holborn. A dream come true! I could move in the Spring of 2020, hooray!

Ahem.

In the meantime, Quay had been making moves towards her retirement after 38 years of being the resident Made in Cley jeweller. She had been mentioning for years how nice it would be if I could one day take over from her.

You see what’s coming?!

Decision Time?

Like buses. You feel like you’re waiting for ever and then two opportunities come along at the same time. Chuck in a global pandemic for luck and two amazing opportunities become unreachable and confused.

I delayed my move to Cockpit until September. I was worried about meeting payments while shops were closed. I had temporarily moved to my Dad’s in Norwich during lockdown and worked from a little table top, learning to photograph my own work and embrace the urgent rush to online selling.

I needed a plan. I wanted to experience all that Cockpit could offer having finally acheived this ambition. But I was being offered something that would mean I could work and make a living from the place I have always called home. So I talked to Quay and the potters and we agreed they would wait for me for a bit.

Having just got the keys to my Cockpit Space last summer – I was over the moon!

My studio at Cockpit is beautiful. It has light from every angle. High ceilings, white walls, incredible studio mates. I couldn’t have imagined how much I would fall in love with that place. Which is why I haven’t given it up. I moved to Norfolk a month ago now and I’m loving my new space and all the joy being at Made in Cley brings me. But I’m keeping my Cockpit studio for as long as I can. I’m going to work there next week on my website (I’m building a new one, watch this space), visit my suppliers and catch up with fellow jewellers in the area. I’m going to take part in the Cockpit Summer Festival in June which we hope upon hope will be a physical open studios event. So for a little while I’m going to be based from Made in Cley and Cockpit. I’m sorry if it sounds greedy but I’ve waited a long time for these things to happen and I didn’t expect it all to come at once! So I’m making the best of it.

Riding the waves of change…

Now my commute has changed from masking up on the underground, to cycling past the reeds on the marshes.
So much is familiar but the journey I’ve taken to get here makes it new and exciting. I’m looking forward to working on new designs and sharing them with you. To getting to know Cley as a grown up with a craft and a business. To being the person who might inspire a local kid in to following a creative career.

All the support that I can get to make it a success is invaluable. Thanks to Cockpit I’m getting support in making these changes as well as with building a creative living in a time of great challenges. And thanks to the welcome I’ve had from the other makers and visitors at Made in Cley I know I’ve made the right move. I’m home!

Cockpit Makers Market – Onine Open Studios!

This Thursday 26th November sees the start of Cockpit Makers Market! Like many others we at Cockpit are going online to try to reach those of you who would usually be enjoying the open studios in real life at this time of year!

In preparation I have been updating the website and adding new pieces to the Shop. I’ve added prices to pieces in the Jewellery section – usually more of a gallery space, and given instructions on how things can be ordered or if they are available to buy now. I am aiming to do a full update next year to make a clear and cohesive site. In the meantime I hope I have made things a little bit clearer.

I have signed up to one of the online tours, so if you would like to take a vitual studio tour with myself and 3 other statement jewellers, then follow this link.

I will also be introducing my new project Faraway Faces in a live Instagram video. This is a project started during the first lockdown exploring the importance of relationships and human contact. Manifesting in linear sculptural pieces I have been using my folding and forging techniques to create simplified faces, each relaying some aspect or feeling of lockdown life. Date to be confirmed as yet, but I look forward to sharing with you some of the thoughts and processes behind this body of work.

If you would like to make an appointment for a personal virtual shopping experience where I can talk you through the work I have for sale then get in touch anytime. My final order date for guaranteed Christmas delivery is Thursday 17th December.

Ellen moves to Cockpit Arts Studios!

As Autumn approaches I have finally moved my studio in to the business hub of Cockpit Arts, Holborn, London. A move that was meant to happen in May this year, like everyone else my plans were put on hold due to the pandemic that hit this spring.

I rolled with the punches and took the opportunity to base myself in Norfolk with family, where I was able to continue working and running the business through lockdown. This was in a reduced capacity, and while things were on hold I spent my time learning and working on skills I need within my work that get put to the bottom of the list in usual circumstances! These include photography – now I don’t claim to be any expert, but I think I’m now at a point where I can take images for the website myself. In a world that is increasingly going online this is invaluable and I look forward to sharing more of my work here on the website with you more regularly. I hasten to add that professional photographs cannot be compared, so I will certainly still be using professionals when I need new images for press, applications and printed material!

I’ve been gradually getting my new space at Cockpit organised – a mammoth job as I bring my workshop and office together for the first time. I’ve had a busy month with workshops in Yorkshire (a whole other post due in a week or so!) and also with orders. I’ve got my bench functional and printer plugged in so can continue providing the usual service while working out exactly how I want the space to work. It’s like moving in to a new home – it takes ages to settle in properly! I’m so happy to finally be here.

I have five new studio mates who I will introduce over the next few months – some fantastic creative businesses and everyone has been so friendly and kind while I cause havoc as I move in! As well as the immediate studio sharers there are also some brilliant neighbours within Cockpit. None of us know what the next few months will bring. Usually there would be a fantastic Open Studio at the end of November, but we will have to wait to see if and how this will go. There are options of how we can bring our work to the visitors that would usually come and I know the Cockpit Office team are working tirelessly to make something happen for us studio holders.

In the mean time I will continue working on new pieces, supplying galleries around the country and updating my website. If you have any jewellery needs contact me via email on ellen@ellenmonaghan.net. Follow me on Instagram or Facebook to find out the latest!

Ellen Monaghan Gift Cards now available!

I am excited to be able to offer this new product on on my Webshop! I have had many people get in touch over the years wanting to buy a gift for someone from me but not sure which piece. Well now you can give your loved ones the opportunity to choose for them selves!

During the past few months as we all adjust to a new way of life, small creative businesses like myself have been finding ways to adapt. I have decided to introduce gift cards to my webshop as part of these efforts. As we tentatively begin to open up, it is still uncertain how and when us makers will be able to open our studios and take part in exhibitions again.

Gift cards are a way of you being able to support my business by paying it forward and sharing the joy of choosing ones own special piece. They can be redeemed on my webshop or by contacting me directly if you have seen something on social media that is not yet on the shop. It also means that once Craft Fairs and Exhibitions begin again then they can be redeemed in person with me at those events.

The only restriction is that I can’t accept them as part or full payment towards bespoke work. This is because bespoke work is very carefully priced to cover the costs of materials and time on that one special piece, at that specific time. This makes it difficult for me to accept these gift cards as payment towards commissioned work.

There are currently three values to choose from; £50, £150, £250. You can also select multiples. You can put in your personal message and select the date you would like it sent to the recipient via email. Valid for 6 months there is plenty of time for them to consider which piece they would like.

I will be adding more to the shop over the coming weeks so the selection will expand giving you even more choice to pass on to your loved ones!

Wishing everyone good health,

Ellen

COVID-19; Taking measures…

And suddenly it was June 2020!

I hope everyone is keeping well out there. The pandemic that made its way over to us earlier this year has had an effect on everybody. I am no exception! I was looking forward to moving in to a new studio in May, now postponed until September. In the mean time I made a hasty retreat to Norwich to stay with family as my London digs weren’t up to the task of keeping me safe and useful to my loved ones!

So here I am in Norwich, having had to make a new plan every few weeks in response to changing restrictions, personal circumstances etc. I’m really enjoying my time here, trying to make the most of a break from the norm. I’ve been learning to take my own photographs, and after some technical hitches I am beginning to upload the results to my Webshop.

With so many highstreet businesses having to close it has been more important than ever for me to get to grips with selling online. And with this I am working out ways to ensure online orders are sent out safely. I am cleaning everything thoroughly and wearing gloves when packing work for shipment.

Thank you for your support at this time! Whether it is purchasing, following me on social media or telling a friend, it is so appreciated and a real lifeline at a time when normal income channels have taken a hit.

Let me know if you have any questions, I’m working from home, commissions can still be made, designs discussed.

Look out for Gift Vouchers, coming soon!

Stay safe,

Ellen x

Turquoise Twice Curled Earrings available through my webshop.

COVID-19 UPDATE: Please note I am currently working from home. I can still discuss commissions via email, telephone or video call. Online orders are being shipped with the utmost care and safety. Some delays can be expected with shipping at this time due to current restrictions. Thank you for your support and understanding, stay safe and well.

COVID-19 – Taking measures

And suddenly it was June 2020!

I hope everyone is keeping well out there. The pandemic that made its way over to us earlier this year has had an effect on everybody. I am no exception! I was looking forward to moving in to a new studio in May, now postponed until September. In the mean time I made a hasty retreat to Norwich to stay with family as my London digs weren’t up to the task of keeping me safe and useful to my loved ones!

So here I am in Norwich, having had to make a new plan every few weeks in response to changing restrictions, personal circumstances etc. I’m really enjoying my time here, trying to make the most of a break from the norm. I’ve been learning to take my own photographs, and after some technical hitches I am beginning to upload the results to my Webshop.

With so many highstreet businesses having to close it has been more important than ever for me to get to grips with selling online. And with this I am working out ways to ensure online orders are sent out safely. I am cleaning everything thoroughly and wearing gloves when packing work for shipment.

Thank you for your support at this time! Whether it is purchasing, following me on social media or telling a friend, it is so appreciated and a real lifeline at a time when normal income channels have taken a hit.

Let me know if you have any questions, I’m working from home, commissions can still be made, designs discussed.

Look out for Gift Vouchers, coming soon!

Stay safe,

Ellen x

Turquoise Twice Curled Earrings available through my webshop.

Ellen Monaghan exhibits for the 4th time at BCTF 2019

This weekend I will be exhibiting for the fourth time at The British Craft Trade Fair, Harrogate. This is a great opportunity for me to meet buyers from the industry, gallery and shop owners and launch new pieces. Last year I was given the National Association of Jewellers Award For Excellence in Jewellery which was a wonderful honour! If you would like to visit the show please visit the BCTF Website to register. Unfortunately this is not open to the public but just those connected to the Craft Industries. I’ll be posting from the show though so even if you can’t make it you can keep up to date with what is happening by following my Instagram or Facebook pages.

Paisley Wave Collection

I am currently developing my latest collection ‘Paisley Wave’. Inspired by the iconic Paisley Pattern, this collection features a bold linear motif designed to highlight beautiful gemstones aswell as stand alone as a beautiful symbol of artistic heritage.