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In the studio with Nicky Sadler

How it all began...

Working with copper and enamel has become an all-consuming passion! I’ve always been creative and started selling handmade earrings from my Mum’s shop at the end of the 70’s and early 80’s. In those days I would haunt the local charity shops for beautiful old glass and crystal necklaces (which were in abundance back then) using shop-bought components, I would make my own creations to sell.

Learning the craft

It’s more recently that I’ve taught myself metalsmithing and now have the skills to make the things I visualise, from scratch. I love techniques such as fold forming and air chasing which allow me to create interesting patterns and textures from flat copper sheet. A desire to add colour to my copper pieces lead me to explore the world of enamelling, there are so many different techniques and colours to try!

Recent experiments

My most recent experiments have led to my new collection that Helen is now stocking – brimming with beautiful colours which look as if they have been applied rather like watercolour paints. It’s hard to believe they started out as white enamel powder.

Inspiration in nature

Rambles in rural France, where I now spend some of my time, have inspired the sometimes hand drawn, sometimes stencilled elements of these designs, the leaves, the seed pods and the lizards to name but a few. In Devon, it’s the coast; sea, skies, shattered rock formations and shells that give me inspiration. I’m hoping to expand this collection to include for the first time, some small enamel pictures. I have lots of designs just waiting to materialise but also have to work on how I will mount them etc!

The joys of copper

One of the lovely things about working with copper is that it’s relatively inexpensive which means I can keep my work affordable. I also often use reclaimed copper, usually in tube form, sourced from my local scrap merchant and sometimes friends, so let me know if you’re planning a bathroom refit! There is a lot of work involved in preparing the scrap; cutting, cleaning, annealing, flattening etc. but it’s really worthwhile when at the end of the day you have a beautiful item, be it jewellery, a spoon or a picture that can be worn or treasured for years to come.

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