We’re excited to showcase our new ceramic jewelry for SS17 and introduce the very talented lady behind the operation. Janine Roper from Janine Roper Ceramics talks us through her inspirations and gives us a little insight into how it’s all made.
Since I was a little girl, I have always loved making things – I even learned to sew before I went to school! My Gran was a dressmaker and I spent hours watching her make me clothes and I used the scraps to make outfits for my dolls. As a teenager, I used to make jewelry out of beads and wire, which I sold to friends and in a few small shops in Bath, England. But I didn’t discover clay and ceramics until much later.
I worked for years cooking in a restaurant and discovered my mother was learning stained glass at evening classes, it looked interesting and I took a short course which led on to a BTEC in design and crafts which included jewelry and ceramics. I decided to continue with ceramics at Bath Spa University, taking courses part time and continuing to work in the restaurant in order to support myself. By the end of the course, I was making some screen printed blue and white ceramics which were very popular and sold well at my degree show – and I got a first!
Since finishing my course in 2008, I have slowly built up my business. I joined the Gloucestershire Guild of Craftsmen who were very supportive and started to sell in a few craft galleries. I had a studio built on the side of the house and I work here every day; it is useful working at home, ceramics has a certain pace. It needs time to dry and often I work late at night if things need finishing off or I might need to fire the kiln and get ready for the morning. I can also get up really early and start before I even get dressed. I use liquid clay which I pour onto plaster sheets, they take an hour or two to dry until ready to print onto. If I pour it at 6 am, I can get dressed, eat breakfast, go out with the dog and then the clay is ready to print onto and then make into vases and other pieces I create.
My designs are inspired by my surroundings -vintage tea sets and other things that I have collected, things which hold meaning for me. Also, places I visit, natural and architectural, provide topics for designs, but mostly it is simple local things that ideas come from.
Last spring I was approached by Laura Ashley to produce a range of jewelry, a great opportunity for me to expand my business.
The designs are taken directly from Laura Ashley’s vintage archive designs, and here is how they are made…
1. I use liquid clay which is poured onto a plaster sheet, it sets to make a sheet of clay. I then screen print the Laura Ashley floral design onto it.
2. Each brooch or pendant is then cut out individually – each piece will capture a slightly different part of the design so each one is unique.
3. They are loaded into my small kiln and fired to 1100C before they are glazed.
4. Each piece is individually dipped into the glaze, dried, and again loaded into the kiln.
5. It is fired again to 1100C and the glaze melts to form the shiny finish.
6. After the kiln has completely cooled, it is unloaded and each piece is finished with a gold edge which is painted on by hand and fired for a third time to 715C.
7. The piece is now ready to be made into a brooch or pendant.
Here are the finished pieces – a range of pendants and brooches which I hope you will like!
Aren’t these pieces stunning? It makes such a difference to know that each piece is individually hand made. To see more of Janine’s work check out her website and let us know your thoughts below or on Facebook.