Meet the Maker - Folk & Fortune

Meet the Maker - Folk & Fortune

Claire Lewis is the designer/maker behind Folk & Fortune. She uses recycled Perspex acrylic to make unique, eye-catching jewellery for literary lovers.

What got you started making / creating your designs / products?
Seven years ago I was working in a school, feeling burnt out and with no creative outlet. I used the school holidays to play around and learn how to digitise my scribbled ideas, and produced a few things just for myself. Instagram really helped me to share those early designs and gain interest, and I took the plunge and opened an online shop as a side hustle alongside my full time job. 4 years ago I made creating products my full time job and I’ve never been happier!

How would you describe your designing / creating style?
Literature heavy! Whether it’s classic novels, plays or folk tales, a great deal of designs I make are inspired by written works. I make the things I am passionate about, and I’m truly a bookworm.

What is your motto?
‘To thine ownself be true’

What was your first success with your designs / products?
Honestly, it was getting stocked at the Globe! I hadn’t been designing for long and had put together a Shakespeare-themed collection I loved, but I thought it was perhaps a little niche and might not interest a wide audience. Luckily some pieces reached the Globe and I found my people. I’m so proud that I’m still making those early Shakespeare designs, and a whole lot more, so many years later.

Tell us about your design process.
I like to keep a notebook with me to jot down in when I’m out and about, if something sparks an idea. I sketch these on paper then digitise, then I’ll make digital mock ups to help me narrow down colour options. Once I’ve finalised the design, I head to the laser cutter. Cut designs are then all individually hand painted and assembled by me.

How important is the environmental sustainability of your products?
With the materials I use, I’m aware that comes with a great deal of responsibility. I use recycled acrylics where possible, which are thankfully becoming much more widely available, as well as FSC certified wood where wood is incorporated in my pieces. I also have a zero-waste jewellery line, made up of off-cuts of acrylic so that no scrap is wasted. These smaller pieces are often well suited for earring designs or larger ‘mosaic’ style jewellery pieces, and in fact it becomes a fun challenge to think about how to use every last bit of the material. Environmental sustainability is very important to me, and I am taking further steps to make my products and packaging as eco-friendly as possible going forward.

What has been your most interesting commission (apart from the Globe, obvs?)
I’ve taken on lots of custom design commissions over the years, and it’s been a real privilege to be trusted with bringing other people’s ideas to life. I’ve often been asked to work on pieces with very classical or historic British themes, from Tudor rose designs, to postboxes and immortalising the works of Charles Dickens! My favourite commission was to produce a brooch to resemble a bust that is displayed at Chatsworth. Trying to recreate the shadows and tones of a marble bust on 2-dimensional acrylic proved to be quite a challenge, but really pushed me to think outside the box. Luckily it turned out well – perhaps a Shakespeare bust should come next??

Shop Folk & Fortune jewellery here

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