Wire flowers in the studio by Judith Brown Jewellery

Judith of Judith Brown Jewellery creates gorgeous wire flowers, jewellery and bridal collections. We hope you enjoy this tour of Judith’s beautiful studio and finding out more about she organises her workload, time and space.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your business

I’ve always been a maker. I was always making something as a child, including making clothes and houses for my dolls, and my Mum taught me to sew and knit. Eventually this led me to do a degree in Embroidery at Manchester Metropolitan University. A little while after that (after five years teaching English in fabulous Sicily), I started playing with wire and beads. In 2004, I started Judith Brown Jewellery, making wire jewellery with hand stitching techniques.

Tell us about your creative space

I’ve been in my current studio for seven years now. It’s on the top floor above a quirky coffee shop and bar in the North Staffordshire town of Leek, on the edge of the Peak District. At first I shared the space with another maker, we had both seen the space advertised, but couldn’t afford to take it on our own so we decided to go for it together – even though we’d only just met! We’re still good friends today, though she’s moved on to another space and I have a lovely big room all to myself.

What do you love about your creative space?

It’s practical, but also lovely. It’s great to be able to display my work how I want it to be, and surround myself with things I find inspiring. Also, as it’s above a café, although I work on my own, just the noise and bustle of the café is great company, as it can be very isolating working for yourself. Then there’s the coffee, and the cake, which is hard to resist! The final bonus is that it is just a few minutes’ walk from where I live too.

What sparks creative inspiration in your space?

There are vases with wildflowers that I’ve collected on walks. I try to pick ones in the summer that will dry out well and keep that feeling of bringing nature inside even in the winter months. I have two mood boards above my making desk that remind me of the feeling that inspires me.

What materials and tools are essential for your creative business?

Simply put, my hands! Plus some good pliers and lots of wire of all different kinds depending on whether I’m making wire flowers, jewellery or wedding accessories. Oh, and an excess of glass beads in every colour imaginable!

How do you organise your creative space?

I’ve divided up the space into a working area and a display area so I can welcome people in to see what I do. I’m usually open on Thursdays and Fridays with the occasional Saturday too. My working area, is the practical, less pretty part, with my making tables, mood boards, packing tables and an office corner. You can often tell when I’m working to a deadline as it does get messy at times, but a good tidy up can really help with productivity, so it doesn’t stay too messy for very long!

How much time do you spend in your creative space? What does a typical working week look like for you with your creative business?

I come to the studio Monday to Friday and work here full time, unless there is something that means I have to travel like a photoshoot or a craft fair. I do spend a lot of time working on my PC, writing blogs, newsletters, editing photos, updating my website and social media and other less interesting admin. The reality of running a creative business is that you do spend a lot of time on things other than making, unfortunately. In a typical week I’ll make and pack online orders at the beginning of the week, then later I might be making stock for galleries or shops. If I’ve made something new then I’ll photograph it too before it goes out to a gallery, so it can be shared online or added to my website. A typical day is very varied.

How do you organise your time and workload when you’re in your creative space?

This can be a real challenge! Over the years, I’ve had to learn how to plan so that I can grow in my business and creatively. I usually look at the coming six months or year and think about what I’d like to develop, break that down into smaller goals and then schedule in when I can realistically get things done, around other commitments such as events and busy seasons. That’s also how I approach my daily workload. There are lots of different aspects to what I do, and I love the variety, from selling online, through galleries, running workshops to my new Judith Brown Bridal collection too, but I have to take care not to get overwhelmed as I can be a bit overambitious with my time, but at least I know that now!

What are your top tips for designing and using a creative space?

Storage. Lots of it, and as hidden away as possible so that the collection of seemingly random stuff you might collect for display, or materials you might want for a project one day doesn’t stress you out!

More tables than you think you need. I have a couple of tables which I try to keep clear. I use the space for packing and unpacking things, organising workshop materials, curating collections of stock to see what works best together for a gallery display and for taking photos.

Having beautiful things that inspire you or mean something to you makes the space more personal, and can help when you are having a frustrating day with admin or a creative project that’s not going how you’d expected.

Accept that it gets messy sometimes, but enjoy that feeling when you get it sorted, as it means you have the physical and mental space to get creative.

Thank you so much Judith for sharing your inspiring space with us!