Seconds & Sample online market: Clare Lloyd of Colour Designs Jewellery explains her process

From 28th to 30th January, I will be taking part in the Bristol Market Online Seconds and Sample Sale.  It’s been a year since I have had a sample sale so this is a brilliant chance for me to go through my stock and sell off any bits and bobs at a reduced price. 

When I say ‘bits and bobs’ what I really mean are all those little experiments that have happened but didn’t get any further than experiment stage, those pieces that didn’t turn out quite perfectly or ex-display pieces that have been sat in a gallery that closed during the pandemic.   

I make all of my jewellery from scratch in my studio in Frome, Somerset.  I work with sterling silver – 90% of it is recycled – occasionally brass and polymer and resin clays.  Making my jewellery is a slow and labour intensive process. I use old fashioned hand tools and no chemicals at all (Ecover, lemon juice and elbow grease feature heavily).  I mix all of my colours using a porcelain polymer clay and a white resin clay with artists’ dry powdered pigments.  It’s a time consuming process of adding tiny bits of pigment and slowly blending it into the clay to gradually build up the colours.  It’s very satisfying to create your own colours but it’s slow and messy work!  

I also have a zero waste policy so when I sand my finished clay pieces I will save the powdery filings and use them as pigments to create pastel colours.  I will also save all of my silver scraps and either melt them down to re-use or send them off for recycling.  Any left over clay is used to make the tiniest of studs so nothing is ever wasted. 

I love to experiment and I’m always trying out new ideas and designs some of which turn out well and others which are just too fiddly or not quite what I was aiming for.  I hand roll, shape and cut all my beads and earrings so sometimes they don’t turn out quite a perfectly as I want them too.  My resin pieces can also sometimes be a little unpredictable.  Pigments much prefer a warm ambient temperature to mix properly into the resin clay so sometimes, when I’m sanding my jewellery, I’ll notice that there are too many specs of un-mixed pigment or there might be a blob of a colour that hasn’t blended in properly.  I love an unexpected blob of colour but it doesn’t quite work with my solid matt colours!  Sometimes, when I’m soldering, something might move and solder together in a bit of wonky shape.  All of these items that are not quite perfect are perfectly wearable – they’re just a little less perfect but they need a loving home so I’ll add these bits and bobs to my sample sale. 

The last two years have been pretty tough on the creative industries and I’ve sadly lost a few of the wonderful independent shops and galleries that I sold my jewellery through so this year, I will also have some of my more regular designs that have come back from galleries that sadly closed.  I’ll be adding these pieces to my sample sale too.  

So now begins the process of gathering together all these little random bits and bobs of jewellery and taking photos of them, measuring them and getting them onto my website.  That’s the bit I’m least good at! Hopefully, I’ll clear a little bit of space in the studio and all my little experiments, rejects and gallery returns can find someone to love them! 

Clare Lloyd

Click here to contact Clare

Click here to visit the Colour Designs Jewellery website

Product images by Jo Hounsome Photography