Stories

There’s a story behind every handmade piece.

I collect little pieces of nature. I can’t go for walk without picking up acorns, twigs, seed pods and pieces of bark. These gather on my jewellery bench until I find the perfect one and inspiration strikes as to what, and how, it could be.

Each piece of jewellery is individually made by hand, so no two pieces are exactly alike.

My Instagram posts @ditherellasworkshop will give you some insights into the process of making.

Acorn and cup

Acorns are one of those things I can’t help myself picking up.  Big ones and little ones – sorting through for the perfect one.

I think these tiny ones came from Ryton Pools Country Park, or the big oak near the beech hedge in Caldecott Park. 

The silver acorns have a satisfying weight, and in these pieces the acorn cup can lift and spin on the stem, and the solid acorn has a satisfying weight.

I think of acorns as holding quiet strength and potential. They are the seed from which huge oaks can grow.

Poppy seed head

Sometimes seed heads are as interesting and beautiful as the flower. I find poppy seed heads strikingly beautiful and intriguing in structure whether they are huge like ping pong balls and or tiny and delicate like this.

I love the delicacy of the poppy flower, and that this little seed head has a flower shape of its own on the top.

These poppy seed heads are large enough to make a lovely pendant, and small enough to work as earrings too – I like to make them as dramatic long drops.

Poppy top flowers

The flower shape on the top of the poppy seed head is so lovely and delicate that I couldn’t resist having it cast as a piece in its own right.

The poppy top flowers are the perfect size for earrings, studs or drops, and they work well as a delicate pendant too.

Poppy top spokes

Poppy seed heads come in a lot of different shapes, and change as they develop.

This piece is cast from a kind of poppy which has a seed pod with ridges like spokes radiating from the centre. This one came from a bed in Caldecott Park.

This piece is chunkier than the poppy top flower and again works well as earrings or a pendant with a handmade bail.

Lime/linden tree seed

Lime, or linden, trees line the street where I live. They are have beautiful bright green leaves and an unfortunate habit of making everything under them sticky!

The shape of their seeds, with its ridges and bumps make me think of the heavily decorated, embroidered and beaded, dresses of Elizabeth I.

These make lovely tactile pendants and dramatic earrings.

Half hazelnut

I love the textures on this half hazelnut, both inside and out.

Traditionally hazelnuts are said to be a symbol of wisdom and inspiration, but they make me think of Christmas.

Hazel trees are British natives and once you know what to look for you can spot them all over the place. They have beautiful flowers too, in the form of catkins.

Green Welsh poppy

Welsh poppies grow wild in our garden.

I love both the green seed heads like this one and the more delicate shape of the dried ones. The dried ones are more of a casting challenge but I’m working on how to make that possible.

Flat acorn cup

One of my newest cast pieces and one that I haven’t got a finished photograph of yet.

The flat acorn cup (bottom left in the photo) was selected out of pockets full that my children and I had collected both in the queue for the boat ride at Longleat Safari Park when we were allowed out between lockdowns, and in our local park, in the hot summer of 2020. My youngest boy wanted the acorns and I wanted the cups!

Smoothly textured inside, and deeply textured outside, it is beautiful on both sides and can be worn either way round.

Spindle pod

Spindles grow in the park where my boys do Parkrun. They don’t attract much attention until the autumn when their leaves turn red and they produce bright pink fruits with clashing bright orange seeds inside.

This piece is cast from the unripe fruit, before they burst open to reveal the seeds inside. It was via Chloe Breen who had been using the pods for printing, that I learned the name of the plant – it was one of the things she had been using to print with.