Josie Mitchell is a Bournemouth based jewellery designer and maker originally from Frome in Somerset, specialising in reclaimed silver. She first started designing and making jewellery in 2017 when she was working as a hairdresser after feeling really unhappy and lost in her role. She knew she needed a new avenue to explore, and jewellery has allowed her to follow her creative path.
She had always envisioned herself living by the coast and making jewellery and so she started a weekly jewellery making class at Trowbridge College in Wiltshire. After the first class, she fell completely in love and embarked on the mission to create her own independent business and become her own boss. When the classes finished, she was introduced to Frome local jeweller, Tom McEwan, who welcomed Josie into his studio space and encouraged her to grow and develop her own style under his tuition. He taught Josie a lot in the short few months she spent with him in his workshop and she is very grateful for all his help and the experience working with him.
Josie finds inspiration in a number of things including historical Roman and Egyptian jewellery. Her new collection is actually based on ancient Roman jewellery and is called the ‘Star Dust’ collection, with each piece having a Roman name. Josie really enjoys mixing the historical elements with innovative and modern movement, all the while with comfort being hugely important within the pieces she creates. Each and every piece is tested by Josie herself to make sure it fits comfortably and securely before launching online. Her work is also inspired by nature and the effects it has on landscapes. There was a past collection called the ‘Reticulated’ collection, which focused entirely on organic and raw textures that you would find under the ocean.
'Sunset' Hoops, available from www.josiemitchelljewellery.com
The process from concept to final piece doesn’t always start with a sketch, Josie reveals. She likes to go with the flow and see where her imagination and the shape of the stone will take her. She has found this process of working usually creates her best pieces, where she hasn’t put too much pressure on the finishing outcome in terms of how they look and feel.
Josie sources and uses recycled silver, also known as eco-silver, and gold from a jewellery company called Cooks and Gold. She buys it in the form of sheets and wire of different sizes and thicknesses, which she then cuts, anneals, solders and creates her jewellery from, whether this be into rings, earrings, bracelets or necklaces. She sources her stones mostly from Glastonbury, specifically from a beautiful little crystal shop called ‘Celestial’. She loves to choose and pick the stones in person to visualise what she wants to make it into. Josie understandably finds this process a lot more personal and involved when sourcing pieces by hand, which from a consumer angle I can definitely appreciate.
'Citrine' pendant, available from www.josiemitchelljewellery.com
This year, Josie has been making jewellery forged from hand eco-silver and gold by herself in her studio. This is something she has always wanted to do, but only recently invested in the tools to do so. She has always worked with sustainable materials in one way or another, but this is something she is very passionate about and would like to develop further. Future investments in a number of tools will help develop her skills and allow Josie to experiment with new designs and techniques. Eventually she would like to cut her own stones so that the whole process can be made entirely in-house, making each piece even more timeless and unique (and also very sustainable!)
'NEW Lander' ring, available from www.josiemitchelljewellery.com
Social media is amazing for finding other independent artists, and Josie loves using it to find how other jewellers make their pieces and create different textures. It can be a great way to find influence and also an incredible platform to network, learn and cultivate techniques. Josie explains that most jewellers are pretty open and happy to help when it comes to advice, with one being ‘Rusty’s Jewellery’, who’s instagram page is full of beautiful pieces and is happy to help Josie with any tips within the making process. Further pages of her influence on instagram are, ‘@frannyjewelry’, ‘@alison_macleod’, ‘@siataylorjewellery’ and ‘@tomflondon’.
Josie has had so many pieces of jewellery that she has fallen in love with and never wanted to sell (benefits of being the maker, am I right?) She has made a gorgeous ring using Paua shell that she was bittersweet to see go to a good home. Josie explains that sometimes it’s the simplest pieces that she falls in love with the most. She designs all of her jewellery around her own personal style, and so 9 times out of 10 she ends up falling in love with them, I mean who can blame her?!
Hoops, available from www.josiemitchelljewellery.com
Since relocating from Frome to Bournemouth, Josie has her workshop in the Factory Shop 779 where you can give her a visit and try items on. She sells most of her jewellery on her website, while also specialising in bespoke pieces, which you can discuss through the contact page on her site. Josie is a regular trader at the Frome Independent Market, which is the first Sunday of every month (which is this coming Sunday everyone! Put it in your calendar and find her in the center of town).
Other past markets also include Bournemouth’s South Coast Maker’s Market and Bath Artisan. More markets in Bristol and London are to be announced on Josie’s website and social media for later in the year, give her a follow for the latest updates!
"I began to realise how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. If you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passsionate about it. Lukewarm is no good" -Roald Dahl