Monday, 24 March 2014

A Day's Crafting at Hope & Elvis

On Saturday I was lucky enough to spent a day crafting to my heart's content at Hope & Elvis, in the beautiful grounds of Welbeck Abbey in Nottinghamshire. 

I first read about this magical workshop space in Mollie Makes issue sixteen, when I had one of those, "ooh, that's local, why haven't I been there yet?" moments. Past and future guest teachers include such big names of the craft world as Tiff Fussell (Dottie Angel), Rachelle Blondel (Ted & Agnes and together of the book Granny Chic), Julie Arkell and Tom of Holland. It's been an ambition of mine to visit for a long time. And so it was with a skip of glee that I journeyed along on Saturday, to be taught how to make intricate nostalgic jewellery by the talented Judith Brown.

Isn't Judith's work stunning? She uses fine wire and beads, as well as fasteners, hooks and eyes and other haberdashery items to make her delicate, lace-like pieces with a vintage feel. I think the beauty of this workshop for me was that at the start, when I ambled over the admire Judith's work, I couldn't even begin to fathom how we were going to go about attempting to make anything similar. And as Judith says, the story behind her work is that it isn't immediately obvious what her jewellery is made from; it's only on close inspection that the familiar components make themselves known.

As you know, I love the idea of making something new from something old, so this notion really appealed to me.

Fancy a look around the Hope & Elvis studio? Here we are...

As you can see, Louise Presley, owner of Hope & Elvis, has a real eye for collecting vintage materials, and she also uses this space to make her own creations. 

...Sigh. Meanwhile, back over at the workshop table, I had made my first attempt at 'sewing' with fine wire. My piece turned out rather... 'loopier' than I anticipated (stop that), which surprised me slightly, as I'm often saying that all of my crafts tend to be detail-focused and intricate. Anyway, the Gods of Craft are fickle beings, and on this occasion I ended up with quite a bold effect, compared to others' more neatly sewn creations. I'd never worked with wire before, or made jewellery, so it was great fun to give a completely new craft a go.

That's a bra ring, in the middle there.

Here was my afternoon effort - a work in progress. My nan recently gave me the lace sleeves from her wedding dress with attached pearl buttons, with the instruction that I have to turn them into something (no pressure!) so I intend to finish below with a pearl drop button, and one of my other grandmother's traditional pearl buttons in the middle. It will be a celebration of grandmothers!

Others in the group managed much more sophisticated techniques than I, and I think we were all impressed by the collection at the end of the day!

Thank you so much to Judith for her patience and excellent teaching skills on the day - it's never easy to teach small, detailed work to a group. And thank you to Louise for making me feel so welcome, providing a fantastically yummy lunch, and allowing me to amble around her studio with my iPad snapping photos. I'm so pleased to have been able to visit at last!

Visit Louise's website to learn more about booking your very own Hope & Elvis experience.


  1. Wow this place look great I will definitely check out the website :)

  2. Love the photos Anna. What a creative, vintage space. Sounds like you had a great time!

  3. What a lovely blog, really glad you enjoyed the day, and yes what a lovely space, if I hadn't been running the workshop I'd have been tempeted to rummage around to find more lovely haberdashery treasures!

  4. Wow, amazing creations! I love your silver loopiness - and it works perfectly with the lace. It looks as though you had a lovely day :)

  5. Wow I would love to have a mooch around that place!

  6. Gosh! lots and lots of loveliness!!! Beautiful jewellery. Fascinating workshop! I could quietly spend the day nosing around there ! Just look at all those jars,drawers,pot and shelves ....heavan!

    keep well

    Amanda :-)


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