It's a Jeweller's Life

Posted on by Eleanor Swinhoe

I have just started writing a monthly article in Making Jewellery Magazine.  I am very proud to report that the first article has been published on a double page spread - yay!

The content was all about my recent photo shoot - thoughts around it, preparation, and the day itself.  If you'd like to read the piece you'll find it below the photograph. 

The Bigger Picture

I am Eleanor, and my business is Eleanor Christine Jewellery.  I am a jewellery artist – designer and maker – and I sell my work commercially.  As everyone in this business knows, you have to be a jewellery fanatic and lover of the craft – passion is all important in jewellery design.  Each piece that I make is bespoke, unique, and includes that little bit of myself that lays my heart bare because I care so much – yes, I am a perfectionist and a control freak!  I work from my studio in Frome, Somerset, after moving here 4 years ago.

For my first article for Making Jewellery Magazine I have been asked to write about a photoshoot that I organised recently.  Photographs and branding are key to selling and for building up an image of your business.  For my recent shoot I was concentrating on my brand – I wanted to build a mood around my work.  It wasn’t specifically about the individual pieces of jewellery – I can take pictures of my work myself.  This shoot had been in the planning (in my mind) for a really long time, but I never felt ready enough to commit to exactly what I wanted.  Was my work ready?  Was I ready?  What was I going to use the images for?  How exactly do you find the people you need to put this together, and at the right price (at an affordable price?). 

My jewellery is sculptural, bold, and artistic and often I see each piece as a work of art – the photographs that I take are still lives.  It needed to be brought to life.  Customers and fans told me that they’d love to see images of it being worn – and of course, that is the main purpose of jewellery.  I had previously organised a very low key photo shoot with friends at my house and with a friendly local photographer – this was ideal for those “seeing the work being worn” shots, but it still didn’t convey my passion and aspirations for my work – it needed more artistry and a feeling of high fashion.

Over the course of the last year I have talked to loads of people about what I was after – they had advice on marketing, they gave me an alternative view on what I was trying to achieve.  As a jeweller, I work alone all day in my studio – sometimes you just can’t see the bigger picture.  I scoured the web for images that conveyed what I felt about my work – from fashion shoots, jewellery shoots, and general life shots.  I built up an inspiration board on Pinterest.  It became clear that my work has an “edge”, it is raw – I wanted a sexy, moody feel to my shoot – it is a mix of boho and rock.  I wanted that night after the party look – nothing too tidy, dark smudged eyes, brooding passion!

I didn’t have the money to pay for an expensive photographer, stylist, make-up and hair or models for that matter – and what about venues?  Where is this going to take place?  But because I am a perfectionist, I still wanted the best.  I was lucky to have already met Ciara in my home town of Frome – this town is packed to the rafters with creative people.  Ciara has many strings to her bow and one of them is photography – like me, she sees her craft as an art form – her photographs had an ethereal, arty “otherness” about them that I really like.  She loved my mood board and came up with ideas of who we could use and where we could shoot – everything and everybody was Frome based.  Living in a small, vibrant, artistic community meant that everyone was happy to help in my endeavour – the models are students and they turned out to be complete naturals, clothes were borrowed from local shops, hair and make-up was done by a gorgeous local girl, and we shot all the interior shots in our completely off-the-wall pub.

The result – well the pictures say it all!  I now have a look and feel that I am happy with – the images are being used on my website, on all my social media, they will be used for adverts and for posters to be used at upcoming shows.  They don’t focus on the detail (in the way that I am obsessed with as a jeweller), but they convey “the bigger picture”.