A Charmed Life in Devon, Amy Elson designs jewellery in Ashburton
PUBLISHED: 12:34 18 March 2011 | UPDATED: 17:04 20 February 2013
Devon jewellery designer Amy Elson, creator of Chambers & Beau, balances work and children.
Jewellery designer Amy Elson, creator of Chambers & Beau, balances work and children
Award-winning designer Amy Elson runs her business from the attic of her Ashburton home. She fits in her hours around her children, Sam Chambers and Molly Beau, who were the inspiration for her collection of customised jewellery. Running your own business is such an emotional rollercoaster, but I wouldnt change it for the world, says Amy who works as a one-man band apart from at Christmas when she gets her family in to help out.
Amy left Devon for London when she studied jewellery design and silversmithing at London Guildhall University. She went on to work for names such as Jasper Conran and Monsoon, but a yearning for the beaches and countryside of her childhood, not to mention her Devon-based boyfriend (now husband), news cameraman Matt Mulcrone, brought her back home.
There is nowhere else in the country I would choose to live, says the former Torquay Grammar School student. I had such an amazing upbringing in Torbay spending summers on the beach and winters on the moor, I want my children to enjoy it too.
The birth of her two children, combined with her love of jewellery, was the catalyst for her jewellery collection.
I wanted to celebrate the birth of my children with a piece of personalised jewellery. Although there were plenty of products on the market with the same sentiment, there was nothing that I would choose to wear, so I decided to create my own.
First Amy designed a necklace with organic-shaped tags, which she customised with the names and dates of birth of her children. She added textured hearts and semi-precious gemstone beads. The result sparked such an interest from her friends that Amy decided to give up the security of a steady job, and she hasnt stopped making necklaces since. Late in 2008 after the arrival of her second child, Chambers & Beau was born.
The collection has now expanded to include bracelets, cufflinks, key rings and shirt collar stiffeners, all of which are personalised using old-fashioned hand punches to include names, dates, words or messages. The demand for her jewellery continues to grow Charlotte Church recently commissioned a necklace from Amy with the names of her husband and children on it.
She constantly adds new designs, and customises each one herself by hand in a studio studded with freshwater pearls and semi-precious stones.
I am surrounded by creative people. I have so many friends working in a similar way to me artists, crafters, writers, all creative types. We are very lucky to work in such an environment, making a living from doing something we love and fitting it all in around the children. I hope I have a good balance with my family and work life, although my husband probably would not agree due to my small Twitter and blogging addiction!
Amy says the Tallulah classic is her most popular necklace. I think people like the fact that it fastens at the front. Surprisingly, the other big hit is the shirt collar stiffeners. I originally added these as I wanted a gift for men that was different to the standard cufflink. I never thought they would go as well as they have. I think one of the reasons Chambers and Beau has worked so well is that people love the fact that their piece is different to anyone elses and that they have had some input into the design process.