About Charlotte Whitmore

Charlotte Whitmore at work in the workshop
Charlotte Whitmore at work in the workshop

I was born in Derbyshire and brought up in Bingley, West Yorkshire. After leaving school I spent two years at Bradford Art college studying jewellery design where I gained an OND. I then went on to study jewellery design and silversmithing at Sheffield Hallam University in the early 1990’s where I acquired a BA (hons) degree in 3D Design. This was followed by a post grad in education (I loved being a student) and twelve years spent teaching design at a progressive school in North London. The school was very flexible and open to new ideas and while there I was able to do courses in Blacksmithing and Welded Steel sculpture. Not your average school!

 

When I had the first of my two daughters we left London and moved back to West Yorkshire. In-between child care I was able to slowly start to set up my own workshop in the cellar (not as grim as it sounds, Victorian houses have great cellars - although freezing in winter!) and began to design and make jewellery again.

 

I have been trading since 2014. All of the jewellery I sell is designed and hand crafted by me in my cellar workshop. The pieces I create are either one offs or batch produced in small numbers. I use a lot of pattern and texture in my work, most of which is created by hand stamping. The stamps I use are either handmade or antique / salvaged, which means that the prints are often quite unique to my work. As well as silver I work with a range of other materials.

 

Recently I have been experimenting with vintage plastics such as Bakelite and Lucite to add colour to my work. Vintage plastic comes in far more subtle colours than modern plastics and the age can also give interesting variations in patina which helps to create unique pieces. The plastic I use is sourced from old Bakelite tiddly winks and vintage buttons made from Cellulose, Lucite and Casein. These are often acquired in small batches  which means the pieces they are incorporated into can not be repeated.

 

Much of my work is unique due to the combination of materials, my use of vintage plastics and vintage glass to add colour which I source from all over the place, including America, Israel and Czechoslovakia. I use Victorian boot buttons (used in pendants and bangles) found in a small shop on the Isles of Scilly. I use vintage, leather stamping tools which I found and use to stamp into the silver. I love sourcing old tools and re-purposing tools to use in my work. I am also championing the brooch at the moment, which has been out of fashion for a while but is proving to be very popular again.