Meet local Artist Jackie Astill

Meet the Maker : Jackie Astill

Here at The Bead Shop we love helping customer realise their designs and it’s wonderful when we get to see the final results. Which has lead us to create a new series of blogs posts introducing you to some of the talented makers who frequent The Bead Shop.

Jackie Astill - Meet the Maker

Our first maker in the series is Jackie Astill: an all round creative jewellery maker with a love for Crystal clay.

A collection of Jackie's Pendants
A collection of Jackie’s Pendants.

Jackie, how did you discover The Bead Shop? I honestly can’t remember! I’ve used your shop for a long time; buying findings etc., however I have recently been in a lot more often because I have started to use Swarovski crystals in my jewellery and you have a great selection of both Xilion beads and flat-back crystals at very reasonable prices. I like to be able to see the colour and size range when I’m deciding what to make.

Do you have a favourite Swarovski colour? It’s very hard to choose, because there are so many, but my favourite Swarovski colour is probably the Silver Night because it goes with everything, I also really like the Blue Zircon, which is so bright.

How long have you been Jewellery making? I’ve been making jewellery since I was at school (40 years ago!), when I had a stone tumbler and polished my own stones and turned them into jewellery that my Mum would sell at her workplace! Then I really started making jewellery again about 5 or 6 years ago and now I make a wide variety of items and in a range of mediums that I sell at craft and wedding fairs. I like wire-working and I also like to experiment with mixing media.

What do you love about jewellery making (and/or) crafting? I love to “get into the zone” and when I am jewellery making or crafting, I can switch off all the other stuff that is going on in my life and just create something. Crafting is very different to my working life and really helps me to relax. I have to admit that I also love it when other people see and complement the things that I make!

Where do you get your inspiration for your jewellery making? I pick up inspiration from a range of sources – I look at other people’s jewellery (either what they are wearing or what they have made); I like nature and natural forms, so they are often a basis for my ideas and I look in shop windows. I’m not the most innovative of designers, but I am very practical and can often see how to make things or improve on existing ideas. I also like mixing the medium I work with and that can create some “happy accidents” that work well.

How did you discover Crystal Clay? I actually saw it in your shop! I’d seen a similar product on a TV craft channel and I liked the sample jewellery that they had produced, so I thought I’d give it a try. (We gave Jackie some of the brand new Swarovski Ceralun clay to trial for us and you can see Steph chat to Jackie about here results in this video);

What else do you like about Swarovski Ceralun? I like the great range of colours and the metallic colours are really metallic. It is very easy to use and works well both with commercially available bezels and (with a bit of practice) freehand or with hand-crafted bezels. It is a little softer than Crystal Clay and is easier to mix. It remains workable for a couple of hours, so you have time to think about what you are making without rushing.

As mentioned in the vlog these are Jackie’s half Ceralun half Resin designs. A great way to mix different media.

Mixing media together is a great way to create unique jewellery, like the use of resin or glitter.
Mixing media together is a great way to create unique jewellery, like the use of resin or glitter.

Here’s a closer look at Jackie’s customised storage jar.
Jackie Jar

Any final thoughts Jackie? I’m a bit of a “magpie”, so I like the crystal clay because it makes it easy to make “sparkly stuff”. It’s the best way that I have found to use the crystals in more intricate pieces – using the tiny crystals to create complex effects. It is easy to use, versatile, does not need a lot of equipment and even the most inexperienced jewellery makers can make really effective pieces.

Where can people see more of your work? I sell my work on Esty, (www.etsy.com) and my store is called Ancient and Modern Gems, I also have a Facebook page called Ancient and Modern Gemstones (https://www.facebook.com/AncientAndModernGems/), where I post photos of my new designs and ideas that I am working on. I also have a small display in The Bead Shop and I sell at occasional craft fairs.

Jackie has also given us some great tips about working with Ceralun which you can read in this blog post.

To see our full range of Swarovsk Ceralun clay and related items please visit our website.
http://www.mailorder-beads.co.uk/shop/swarovski-ceralun

Would you like to be featured in our meet the maker series? You do not have to be a seller, as long as you make things from items we sell we’d love to share your creations with other makers and bead enthusiasts. Feel free to get in touch with Steph (steph@mailorder-beads.co.uk).

Thanks for reading!

The Bead Shop (Nottingham) Limited
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Cate Jones
Cate Jones
12:01 17 Jan 20
This shop and the people who work there are absolutely amazing! I order both online and via phone when I have a bigger order and they are so helpful. Recently I placed an order and it meant that they had to order some bits in because it was a big order and one or two items weren't normally stocked... by them. Rather than send me to another bead shop to get the non stock items, they put in a special order for me and went out of their way to make sure that all was done in one stop. They ship things quickly and securely and the packages are always well wrapped without being wasteful. In all, The Bead Shop (Nottingham) is one of the best bead shops around and I wish I lived closer so I could spend more time browsing the actual shop!read more
Jackie Harrison
Jackie Harrison
15:29 24 Dec 19
I contacted The Bead Shop for some advice and now wish we lived nearer! The advice I was given was fantastic and the parcel even arrived with a little extra something for my daughter and a lovely hand written note. The delivery was quick and the package well packed. Looking forward to many more... purchases.read more
Siobhan Somers
Siobhan Somers
20:23 17 Dec 19
I recently attended a beginners jewellery workshop at The Bead Shop in Nottingham, after being given a voucher for my birthday last year. I have fancied picking up a little creative hobby for a while, but what I hadn’t anticipated was just how relaxing it would be. I completely switched off to... everything else for 3 hours and it was so refreshing. Honestly think these workshops should be offered to big companies as a way to reduce stress and get their staff feeling creative. Can’t wait to come back for another!read more
Linda Robertson
Linda Robertson
12:26 12 Dec 19
I have had great service from this shop. I only needed a few beads to complete a project. Their delivery price was by far the best for a small order. They were dispatched quickly and were exactly as described. Would highly recommend.
Janice Arnold
Janice Arnold
06:56 21 Nov 19
Really pleased with my purchase, excellent service and the price was great I hunted everywhere for letter beads to put on my handmade wreaths Just placed another little order.
Joanne Johnson
Joanne Johnson
16:14 18 Nov 19
I recently visited the Bead Shop in Nottingham and was very pleased to be served by extremely helpful young lady. I am very much a beginner at Jewellery making and she identified everything I needed to make some earrings. She was also courteous and cheerful. I later tried to order some more... items using the mail order website but due to my lack of technological skills, I soon ran into difficulties. I telephoned the shop and a very pleasant gentleman talked me through the whole process (which incidently was very straightforward). I am grateful to the Bead Shop not only for the professionalism, patience and courtesy of their staff but also for the quality of their merchandise. Thank you and I look forward to my next visit.read more
Sam Self
Sam Self
10:23 17 Nov 19
Absolutely brilliant service! I ordered a few things and they arrived very quickly. The items were packaged exexcellently too. I have since contacted the shop about future workshops and nothing is too much trouble for these lovely peeps! Will definitely use them again.
Joe Ling
Joe Ling
16:08 13 Nov 19
They had the most amazing beads! Every shape and size you could imagine! They even had vibrating ones! Those made me feel the best !
Alyson Larholm
Alyson Larholm
09:54 10 Nov 19
I have used this company a few times and they have always been helpful, accommodating and really lovely too! When I've needed advice, they've also been very quick to look at photo's to help me work out what I need etc. Can't recommend them enough.
Kim Mitchell
Kim Mitchell
09:39 04 Nov 19
Keep returning to this company. Best value for money, quality of items and fast delivery. Highly recommended.
David Austen
David Austen
11:56 28 Oct 19
When I ordered the breakaway beads for the lanyard I have been making I got confirmation of the order in minutes less than 24hrs had notification that my order had been packed and sent and I received it in 2 days absolutely brilliant thank you so much for speed and good packaging no worries I... will be back again.read more
Alison Chase
Alison Chase
20:21 27 Oct 19
Beautiful products, excellent service, speedy delivery. .still loving The Bead Shop (Nottingham)! Great job everyone - Thank you!
Steve Wisker
Steve Wisker
13:33 24 Oct 19
as always very impressed with delivery. Will be ordering again soon, plus hoping to call in at the shop for a good browse. Thank you and keep up the good work
Hollie Cranham
Hollie Cranham
06:39 15 Oct 19
Really quick service and great prices! Really low postage costs too. My usual bead order shop closed, this was a light amongst many pricier alternatives!
Mo Beach-Morris
Mo Beach-Morris
14:42 01 Sep 19
I was recently trying to find a specific Beadalon item and discovered one version of it at the Bead Shop, one of the few places to sell these components at a competitive price. I mentioned on the site feedback that I would have liked this item in another colour, and much to my surprise, I... received a phone call regarding this item. The Bead Shop have now ordered this item for me, and I am beyond grateful. What superb customer service, certainly going above and beyond. Thank you Bead Shop.read more
Mairi McInerney
Mairi McInerney
14:17 30 Aug 19
First time I've ordered from them, and will definitely order from them again. They had the book I was looking for, and at a great price. Really speedy service too. It arrived the day after I ordered it, and I live in the Highlands.
Susan Horsman
Susan Horsman
18:44 27 Aug 19
They stock some unusual items, brooch to pendant converters, as well as a good range of beads and accessories. Service is always quick. A good place to shop.
Justyna Lewandowska
Justyna Lewandowska
06:27 09 Aug 19
Love this place! Such a nice atmosphere I love browsing through hundreds of beads. Great selection of jewellery making tools and findings.
Sue E
Sue E
14:24 06 Aug 19
Enjoyed an introduction to Jewelry making workshop this morning. Made a pair of earrings and a bracelet! Thank you Emma for a great workshop and your patience
sue truesdale
sue truesdale
14:11 18 Jul 19
Lovely bead shop that I miss now that I'm back in Devon. Great selection of beads and findings and great online service too. Thank you :)
yogicaspi
yogicaspi
21:21 20 Jun 19
Lovely quality flower beads. I’ve shopped here online a few times & I always find the process very easy, the service is very efficient too. I’ll definitely be back for more.
Frances McCarthy
Frances McCarthy
12:04 13 Jun 19
Great local shop with products for a wide range of skills. Knowledgable and friendly staff. Kits, beads, equipment and findings all easy to browse, lots of examples, and even workshops.
Nicole C
Nicole C
06:19 10 Jun 19
Stumbled across this wonderful site while I was shopping for some new delica beads and I was thrilled by the choice of colours and the different types of beads they offer at very reasonable prices. Their site is super easy to navigate and they have a very handy quick-add of various amounts of the... beads you want which makes it very quick to fill up your basket (much to the dismay of my bank balance!) Once I placed my order I chose 1st class post and they arrived within 2 days of placing it, I will DEFINITELY be buying from here againread more
Wendy Booth
Wendy Booth
23:26 01 Jun 19
I recently attended an 'Introduction to jewellery making' class here and thoroughly enjoyed it! It was a nice,small group, which meant help was at hand when needed, and the instructor was really patient and knowledgeable. We left with a bracelet and a pair of earrings each that we had made... ourselves, which I am wearing with pride. Great value for money and a brilliant way to spend a Saturday morning -thank you.read more
Glenys Newton
Glenys Newton
06:01 24 May 19
Only ordered by post so far and have ditched the Amazon link now. Excellent service, price and quality. I had to phone in to amend some details, it was all done quickly and followed up.
CAROL REID
CAROL REID
13:57 12 Apr 19
I am new to bead weaving and having bought seed beads ,needles and a book to start I realised storage was an issue. I bought bead tubes and a needle case to protect my tools. I then saw the beginners kit so that went in my basket. The delivery was quick and by Royal mail, wooden needle case take... my new beading needles(can't find them anywhere else). The kit is beautifully presented and has what appears to be comprehensive instructions.looking forward to starting it. Will certainly be back.read more
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