Meet the maker: Julie Bailey

Autumn Winter 2019 exclusively designed jewellery collection by Julie Bailey

Discover the jewellery treasures of British maker, Julie Bailey, handcrafted in her studio on the Lincolnshire Coast. Selected to be the 2019 maker for our Artisan and Craft collection in partnership with the Crafts Council, Julie has designed a unique range for the National Trust. Her designs draw inspiration from the formal gardens and parterres seen across many of the historic houses we care for.

Embossed with unusual patterns taken from box hedges and striped lawns, each piece has been individually handcrafted from fine silver & rose bronze in her signature style. Ageless and effortless to wear, the range is exclusive to the National Trust and is available online as well as in some of our shops this winter.

We spoke to Julie to find out more about the bespoke collection and the inspiration behind it.

Julie in her studio sat at her jewellery bench

How did you start crafting jewellery?

I’ve always had an interest in how materials, processes and surfaces within different practices can inform each other to create something intimate and with integrity. Experiments in jewellery making and printmaking at university revealed a vast overlap of technical skills and tools, and with that opened exciting possibilities. When I lived in France for a few years from 2012, I unfortunately couldn’t take my printmaking etching press, but I could take my smaller jewellery bench and tools. While I was there I had the opportunity to focus my time and reflect more on what sort of jewellery I wanted to make and experiment with further.

The parterre at Clandon Park

What inspires your work?

I’ve always had a love for gardens. Since my grandfather worked as a gardener at Croome Court, and I worked as a gardener in France, I’ve been lucky to work in some beautifully designed gardens. The 2018 heatwave revealed a ‘ghost garden’ at Gawthorpe Hall which sparked the thought process of focusing on the aerial plans of formal gardens and parterres. I was particularly drawn to the idea of formal contained spaces where topiary, flowers and lawns are edged and defined. Their repetition, geometry and symmetrical shapes can be often overlooked while we physically experience them. Looking from above, our perspectives of them change seeing unique patterns and lines that our eyes are drawn to explore.

" My approach to contemporary jewellery is based on a strong connection to the materials, processes and surfaces."
- Julie Bailey, Jewellery maker
Looking at some of Julie's sketches and experiments for the collection

What's your creative process for these pieces?

I love experimenting with my materials as it means I can play around with new textures, shapes and collage designs. When I emboss my jewellery, I use fine silver because it’s a softer metal. This means that it’s good for taking the intricate impressions of the cut handmade papers once its run through the rolling mill, normally just used for thinning metal. I considered the design elements of the gardens from their layouts on maps and paper and to the physical plantings. I created a library of shapes that I can use for paper cut-outs to test and revise before creating the jewellery version.

Julie Bailey stood drawing in her sketch book at her desk

What's so special about working by hand?

I have the desire to marry the traditional craftsmanship of silversmithing with contemporary design. The nature of my designs can’t be easily made by a machine, as it’s all to do with the intimacy of the process through direct contact with the materials. You can see how the fragility of the paper and the way it’s been hand-cut is impressed into the metal. For me, there is pleasure in seeing the nuances of each jewellery piece, knowing that no two pieces are identical making them unique to every individual.