Jewellery designer reveals how the Sussex coastline inspires her work
Even from a young age Veronique Pullen was fascinated with the construction of jewellery.
The St Leonard's On Sea resident said: "As a child I used to enjoy rummaging through my mother's jewellery box, looking at the stones and admiring how pieces were made.
"In my twenties, when I was working in London, I signed up to an evening class in jewellery making and have been hooked ever since. When my children were very young I studied for a degree in contemporary craft at Hastings College and specialised in metals. It was the best thing I ever did. I met a great crowd of individuals who just liked making stuff. This introduced me to a wider community who all felt the same."
She set up her business Veronique Pullen Jewellery four years ago, what started as selling to friends has grown to a studio and website.
Living near the sea it is clear from looking at her designs where her inspiration comes from.
"Our beautiful coastline," she explained.
"The sea is a great comfort. It's a constant but, as with life, always changing, light and dark, soft and hard, sometimes all at once! I am particularly inspired by Rock A Nore, the space where the fishing fleet in Hastings is based. It's quite a small area but crammed full of delights and so rich in colour and history."
She describes silver as a great metal to work with, as it is relatively soft, kind and she feels you can get such beautiful finishes with it.
She added: "I use recycled silver and gold, it's a bit more expensive to buy but it means I sleep better at night."
Veronique doesn't set out to make collections but says they just seem to emerge every so often.
Talking about how long it takes to make an item, she said: "It all depends, sometimes it can take weeks or even months to create a design that I'm happy with.
"Once I've decided it's time to make, it can take a few days of trial and error until I'm happy with the result and I've always got other work in progress at the same time so my days are a good mix of challenge and comfort.
"I work quite organically, work evolves naturally depending on how I'm feeling, what I want to do etc. For me, that's part of the real pleasure when I'm making, when it just happens naturally and there's no pressure to do certain things at certain times."
Veronique has lived in Sussex since she was a teenager, and as a child her family used to visit Hastings on day trips when visiting her grandparents.
She said: "I used to think it was the end of the world and now it is definitely the epicentre of my life, it's a great place to live."
On what she enjoys most about what she does, she said: "There is such a deep satisfaction in going on that journey of thinking up a design, drawing a few scribbles and then translating it into something tangiable that you really love.
"Humans were made to create. I think the benefits of making are untold, it definitely is my soul food and enriches my live greatly.
"When I travelled around China I was so inspired when I saw silversmiths and jewellers working with minimal tools, often made by themselves, working on pavements in markets and crafting the most beautiful objects. That made me realise you don't need as much as you think you do. It was a good life lesson.
"If you're interested in jewellery but have never tried making it, have a go! it's a wonderful craft and not as difficult as you might think."
To view her work, visit veroniquepullen.com
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