Making Jewellery with Tatty Devine

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Tatty Devine have been a huge favourite of mine for…well, just about the full 15 years that they’ve been designing and creating unique jewellery and accessories in London, now that I come to think of it. I’ve gushed about their amazing pieces and genius collections here and on the podcast many times, and when it comes to jewellery you can keep your turquoise boxes (sorry, Tiffany’s!), I’m much more likely to get excited by a little black Tatty Devine box!

My bestie Elaine knows this too, and over the years of our friendship (15 of those too, incidentally!), we’ve exchanged Tatty Devine gifts at Christmas, texted each other frantically when the sample sale dates get announced and cooed over each other’s purchases more times than I can count. Our passion for brightly coloured accessories is one of the things that first brought us together (well, that and a love of music, Paul Rudd and good cake, of course!).

So, when I turned 30 this year, Elaine knocked it out of the park with her gift. “I’ve got your present sorted”, she grinned. “I’m not telling you what it is. But yeah…it’s good”. What a tease, right?!

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She wasn’t lying. It WAS good. On my birthday I discovered that she’d arranged a trip to Newcastle for us to attend one of Tatty Devine’s famous jewellery making workshops at the fabulous BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Arts. Oh, and as if that wasn’t enough, she’d also booked us places at an exclusive talk being given by the ladies themselves later that day! And as if THAT wasn’t enough, Gary and Craig were going to come with us, so we could spend a couple of days in the city and explore. A birthday road trip! I was BURSTING with excitement!

So last weekend, it was time to pack up and go! I’ll be posting separately about our road trip (though you can catch a sneak peek on Instagram by searching #TApurebaltic), so let’s fast-forward to just after lunchtime at BALTIC, when our workshop was about to begin.

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In a little section of the gallery, a large table had been set up with individual stations for each of us. I’d say there were about 20 places at the workshop in total, and we all started to file in around the table. At each station, we had everything we needed to create our own versions of Tatty Devine’s classic parakeet necklace – including pliers, jump rings and pre-cut perspex.

Tatty Devine’s founders Rosie Wolfenden and Harriet Vine were on hand with the rest of Team Tatty to help us through the process, which took just over an hour. We learned how best to use the materials and how NOT to use them, in order to get the desired results. I have so much respect for the ladies at Tatty Devine – they make this gig look easy! The atmosphere in the room was really lovely – so many excited babes with a fierce sense of style were sitting round the table, it felt really special to be at the event.

I used Periscope during the workshop to share our experience, and ended up doing an impromptu broadcast with Harriet! It was so awesome to chat with one of my fashion heroes and tell her a little bit about Glasgow.

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Soon, our little parakeets were ready to fly! Made from mirrored perspex in a rainbow of colours, they were the perfect statement necklaces. I decided to use gold coloured jump rings and chains, and Elaine selected silver for hers. We couldn’t wait to put them on, and I love that we have matching necklaces from our day at the workshop.

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After the workshop ended, it was time for our next activity, so we whizzed upstairs to take our seats for Rosie and Harriet’s presentation. Taking us back to how Tatty Devine was formed, after Rosie and Harriet struck up their friendship at Art School, and shared the same dilemma – they couldn’t find what they wanted to wear in shops or at affordable price points. The solution? Making their own from whatever they could get their hands on. Within a few months they were meeting with Vogue, shooting a collection and the rest, as they say, is history!

Listening to Tatty Devine’s adventure was exciting, funny, and above all – inspiring. I’m a huge believer in doing things your own way, and having as much fun as you can in the process, so it was great to learn from other ladies that have the same approach to their business.

From collaborating with massive designers, to throwing incredible parties and beyond – Tatty Devine have come a long way since their roots in Harriet’s East London flat (which doubled up as their studio and office in the early days!). What remains throughout is the pair’s fun approach to fashion, celebrating the freedom to wear whatever feels good, “because, why not?”.

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I had the best time at BALTIC with Elaine and Team Tatty, and if you’re thinking about booking a place at one of Tatty Devine’s jewellery-making workshops I say DO IT!

Stay tuned for the rest of our adventure in Newcastle! In the meantime, share your fashion heroes with me – are there any style or design icons that I should know about?

Here’s to fun, fashion and friendship,

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