As a little girl, I collected owls. Big owls, little owls. And I still have them all lined up on my office shelf. As a slightly older girl – I collect little pins …. of owls, and robins, and squirrels and hedgehogs.
Little pins are the perfect feature on a jumper, or jacket and so many people comment which makes me feel as happy as an owl in a tree.
I want to introduce you to 3 of my new broochy friends – Sarah Kelly of Shark Alley, Fran Cornish of Pea Green and Blue. and Cat Marple of Miss Marple Makes. They are all supremely talented and handcraft brooches in completely different ways.
The wordsmiths among you will have realised that Shark Alley is an anagram of Sarah Kelly – how cool is that. I “almost but not quite” met Brighton based designer-maker Sarah last month at the Country Living Christmas Fayre. She had a great but exhausting time, but sadly I didn’t make it down to London. Sarah hand makes all her jewellery in her tiny studio by the sea.
Here’s a fascinating fact about Sarah. Not only was her grandfather was a passionate amateur botanist and photographer and his brother Gilbert corresponded with Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain about the bird life in St James’s Park during the Second World War. Sarah still has these precious letters and his voluminous and ancient bird journal.
Shark Alley was born in 2010 out of Sarah’s passion for jewellery, animals and creating small, beautiful things, using her background in textile and design, colour, pattern and everyday materials.
My first and most beloved Shark Alley brooch is my Tawny Owl. We have a Tawny in the woods next to our home and often hear him hooting at night. I keep hoping I’ll hear Mrs Tawny one night, but he’s all on his lonesome so far.
My cheeky little squirrel reminds me of our early summer break in Squirrel Cottage on the edge of Pitlochry. Seeing a red squirrel for the first time was amazing and we spent the best part of a week peering out at a whole bunch of them running around the forest. Our hosts had thoughtfully located a feeding station outside every window!
Mr Hedgehog is the latest addition to my Shark Alley collection, gifted from Sarah for our Christmas Gift Guide.
Mr Badger is on my Christmas list, if my family are reading ……
Fran loves to make and create. She describes herself as a designer maker, artist and illustrator at Pea Green & Blue. As well as her lovely brooches, Fran crafts original art, hand sewn felt gifts and hand painted cards.
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