Craft Focus - December 2022/January 2023 (Issue 94)

59 PROFILE Holly Berkley Jewellery +44 (0)7789 971 396 Htpps:// kit. This kit was totally led by customer demand; people would see my wire work bonsai trees for sale on my stand at craft shows and ask me, “How do you make that? I want to make one of those!” In fact, it got to the point that I was actually feeling pestered, so I made it happen and now they’re one of my best sellers. As well as the Wire Work Crystal Bonsai Tree kit, I’m really excited about my Wire Beating Jewellery Kit, which comes with a mini anvil and chasing hammer. The kit I have currently available makes three pairs of earrings and a matching ring and my upcoming kit will feature a historical Celtic beaten wire brooch. My beaten wire workshops are always very popular at craft shows; I think people find hitting something with a hammer very satisfying; also, it makes them feel like a real jewellery smith too. My favourite kit would have to be my Wire Work Bead Ring Kit, it makes up three rings from silver plated wire and beautiful vintage beads; I never imagined that they’d be this popular, they’re definitely my best seller. People love them, they’re simple to make and incredibly fashionable too. My personal favourite is the sterling silver and semi-precious stone version of the kit, it just has that extra touch of quality and sparkle about it. Do your products suit all levels of crafters? The tradition of wire working contains a huge depth and variety of techniques from around the world and even the simplest can take a lot of practice to truly master, after all its kept me busy for the last 30-odd years; so my wire working craft kits are aimed at beginner and intermediate wire workers. Obviously, there’s some crossover of skills from other crafts, such as basic fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination but I’ve noticed when teaching that it’s often the first time that many people have ever used a pair of pliers and a hammer. Because of that I’ve made all my kits available with or without all the tools you need. I’ve found because of this use of tools, that boys (and men) are also very keen to have a go at wire working and are rightfully very proud of what they make. Craft has boomed over the last year! Have you noticed any new trends? Granted, wire working was being practiced by the Egyptians as early as 3500 BC but to the vast majority of crafters out there it’s completely new and I have to say that the response that I’ve had at craft shows and from the crafting community as a whole has been very welcoming and very enthusiastic. How often do you launch new ranges? Naturally, I like to have new kits released ready for the big present giving occasions throughout the year. Additionally, I aim to produce a new kit, in all its different variations on a bi-monthly basis. How would you advice a retailer who is interested in stocking your products? The simplest thing to do is contact me by phone or email and we can have a chat and work out which of my products would be best suited to you. What sets you apart from your competitors? What really sets me apart is my experience, not just as designer and maker but more importantly as a teacher. Being able to make something, is one set of skills but being able to teach other people how to make it, is a completely different thing altogether. I’ve learnt through experience that you can’t take anything for granted, as I said, some people have never even used a pair of pliers before. For this reason, my kits are tried, tested and modifications are made if need be before I make them available to the public. Do you visit any trade shows? Do you plan to visit any soon? Yes, I do! I really enjoy the chance to get out of my studio, meet new people, catch up with friends and of course teach and introduce people to the art of wire working. With regards to 2023, so far, I’m exhibiting at the ICHF Creative Craft Show at the Birmingham NEC on the 16th-19th March and the 23rd-25th June; I’ll be at the ICHF Creative Craft Show Farnborough Exhibition Centre from the 1st-3rd September and finally I’ll be at Craft4Crafters at Westpoint Arena, Exeter from the 30th March -1st April. What are you looking forward to most over the next year? I’m looking forward to going to trade shows, where I can try out some of the new kit ideas I have; not only do I still get a huge thrill from seeing people make my designs but it’s great for generating new ideas for future kits. Additionally, I’m currently in talks with a couple of television companies, which has the possibility of being a very exciting opportunity, but obviously I can’t say too much about this. What new products can we expect from you in future? Currently in the pipeline are new ring making kits as well as matching necklace and earring kits. As I mentioned earlier, I’m producing a historical Celtic beaten wire brooch, which I’m very excited about. As well as these, I’ll be producing some larger kits; at present my kits, on average, take between an hour to an hour and a half to complete, so I’d like to produce some kits for those crafters who really like to get their teeth into something and enjoy taking on a longer project.