Friday, 8 April 2016



Posted by James King on Apr 07, 2016 - Jewellery of Scotland

We recently spoke to Kathryn Maule of Kaledo Handmade Jewellery in the latest of our Made in Scotland Q&A Series. A passionate and skilled designer, Kathryn told us about her journey from chemistry student to full-time jewellery designer, as well as describing her design process and inspirations. Read on for a fascinating insight into the world of art and design.
You have been creating things since you were little. Can you tell us a bit about your journey to making jewellery and how you reached the point where you could do it for a living?
I studied Engineering at University and graduated with a degree in Chemistry. That sounds mad, but I could never quite make up my mind what I wanted to do. I’ve always been a maker and am happiest when I’m busy creating something. It’s always been there, part of my DNA, but for some reason, I never thought of it as a career choice.
After graduation I left Scotland to work in research and then manufacturing but it always felt like there was something missing. In a search for my next creative project, I started buying old run down properties, doing them up and selling them on. Having a huge blank canvas was a buzz and seeing an old property brought back to life was incredibly satisfying but it was really hard work.
It eventually turned into a second job and I had to make a decision. Keep a guaranteed income or take the riskier route. I chose the latter and gave up my day job. In my spare time I was still creating and had discovered a love of metal while using wire to support my clay sculptures. I loved the way metal could be easily manipulated into different shapes, either by hand, hammer or fire. I started sculpting in metal which then led me to learning silver smithing and jewellery making.
The next few years I continued renovating properties and making jewellery for friends and family before I finally realised that I was no longer tied to a job in a particular area. I immediately set the wheels in motion and moved back to Scotland. By this time I had savings and a husband who supported my decision but no job and lots of spare time on my hands.
This was my turning point and it wasn’t long before I had a workshop set up in my spare room and a website set up for selling my jewellery. I’ve never looked back since and I thank my lucky stars that I now spend my days doing something I really love.
A beautiful moon and star pendant handcrafted by Kathryn Maule
What is a typical day like for you?
I do an hour of yoga before anything else. It really helps me to focus and keeps away the aches and pains from sitting at a workbench all day. I have breakfast and respond to emails. I also update my online shop, adding any new items of jewellery, and do some marketing and promotion. I have to stay disciplined with this part of my day as it would be very easy for me to get out of bed and go straight to my workshop in my jammies if I allowed myself.
Once in my workshop I can have several orders at various stages awaiting attention, so I could be designing a new piece, cutting out, soldering, setting stones, polishing or packing. I always have new creations on the go too which I work on whenever I have spare time.
Early evenings I photograph and edit any finished pieces and try to tidy up the workshop for the following day. I try to stop around 6:00pm to get on with life outside of creating but sometimes the creative juices just keep flowing and the urge to make never stops so it can often be much later than this.
How would you best describe the style and inspiration of the jewellery that you make?
An eclectic mix from traditional to contemporary with a bit of whimsy and magic thrown in for good measure. Basically, wherever my creation takes me. Elements of nature, spirit, music and love feature heavily in my designs.
I’m inspired by everything around me but in particular the night sky, the oceans, woodland and wildlife of our wonderful planet. I’m a bit of a hippie at heart and love rustic, boho, tribal and ethnic design. I am also a big fan of natural gemstones which add a hint of colour and good vibrations.
Photography by K.Maule
Loch Sheil, part of the beautiful Scottish countryside that inspires Kathryn's work
Which items of jewellery that you have made are you most proud of and why? 
It changes all the time with each new piece I create, I love little details that a customer can connect with and form their own story. My favourites just now are the ‘treasures of the ocean’ pendant, a custom order inspired by a Waterboys song and the cosmic connections pendant.
The beautiful colours of the natural gemstones against either oxidised or polished sterling silver in ‘the treasures of the ocean’ pendant is stunning and takes you beneath the ocean waves to another world full of colour and magic.
Treasures of the Ocean
The musical pendant ‘when words fail music speaks’ has the words of the song ‘How long will I love you’ hand stamped onto the back. This was designed after speaking to the customer at length. It was a gift for his wife and it did make her cry when she saw it.....for the right reasons of course. Finally as a star gazer and dreamer, I love the unusual shape, the detail and beautiful purple amethyst gemstone in the cosmic connections pendant.
What does creating a new piece of jewellery involve from conception of the initial design to completion of the item sold in your store?
I always have a sketchbook beside me and am constantly scribbling down ideas. The cogs never stop turning so I have thousands of sketches ready and waiting. Once I have chosen a design to work on, I will spend several hours drawing it in detail until I am completely happy with it. If it includes gemstones I choose the best gemstone by colour, shape or energy to compliment the design. I then print the design to the required size and use this as a template for cutting out the main piece.
Texture or words can be added at this stage, using either a hammer, rolling mill or design stamps. Other elements of the design are cut out and formed and along with any gemstone settings, everything is set in place and soldered to the main piece. The metal is filthy at this point from the flame of the torch and requires cleaning in a pickle solution.
Once clean the polishing process begins which involves several stages and depends on whether the piece will be highly polished, satin or oxidised finish. Gemstones are then set in place before a final polish. It is then hung on the chain and photographed.
Photos are processed and added to the website along with a new description and price. If it’s a custom piece then I work closely with the customer throughout the process finding out what they like and what their interests are and putting ideas together in order to design a unique piece of jewellery just for them.
Photography by K. Maule 
"I’m inspired by everything in our natural environment."
Which other creative people do you admire and why?
There are so many it’s difficult to choose but off the top of my head I love the work of Robin Wight from Fantasywire. I love a bit of mischief, so his wire fairy sculptures really appeal to me. They are detailed, life like and full of fun. Josey P of Japeyart her highland cows and other animals just come to life on the canvas. They are full of character, expression, movement and that makes me smile every time I see it. Precious metal clay jewellery artists Terry Kovalcik and Gordon Uyehara, both have an incredible eye for detail and finally Nick Hubbard. I love the personality, humour and quirkiness of his designs.
You mention on your store bio that you love walking in the hills and forests of Scotland. Can you tell us about what makes Scotland special for you?
I love living in Glasgow. It’s full of fantastic people with a great sense of humour, great music, architecture, art and fabulous food but within half an hour I can be at the side of a loch surrounded by mountains and fantastic scenery and wildlife. The best of both worlds and appreciated a whole lot more after working away for so many years.
Photography by K. Maule
The Old Man of Storr in Skye
Apart from other jewellery, what inspires you to create?
The feeling I get when I see something I have sketched on paper come to life in the form of a piece of jewellery. The smile or glowing feedback from a customer who is over the moon with a piece that I have created for them and the thought of a piece of jewellery that I made by hand travelling the globe...I have many customers from the USA, Australia and Europe, but mainly I’m inspired by everything in our natural environment. I go to nature often to rebalance and am just drawn towards creating pieces that represent nature and remind me of how everything in the universe is connected.
More beautiful jewellery
What advice would you give to somebody who wanted to make their living in a creative field?
Go into it with your eyes open, It is not the easy option, but well worth it.
Promote what you do at every opportunity. Getting your name out into the world is hard work but the time spent here will pay off and allow you to continue on your creative path.
A big thanks to Kathryn for taking the time to answer our questions. Remember to check out her page on Etsy where you will find a diverse range of beautifully-designed jewellery. You can also find her on Facebook.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Follow Me on Twitter

Morning peeps

I've been spending an awful lot of time online trying to promote my Etsy shop. I don't mind admitting that it is not something that I am very good at or really enjoy doing. I would much rather be creating, but needs must.

To make a start on my networking, I signed up to twitter and have no idea whatsoever how it really works or what to talk about. That may surprise you but I do find it much easier to use 100 words where ten would have done just fine. This makes twitter an absolute nightmare for me.

From what I can see most people are either talking about what they had for breakfast or promoting product after product from their online stores, and it seems that most people follow you, not because they are all that interested in what you have to say but just so that you follow them back and increase their follower total hhhmmmmmm Does this actually do anything for my business.....well I guess I will just have to wait and see.

Do let me know if you are tweeters and give me some tips, I could really do with the help.

Until next time, you can follow me on twitter :-) or Like my Facebook page for updates.

Kathryn x

Saturday, 27 October 2012

I know I haven't posted for a while. I've been a very bad blogger. My excuse, well I've been busy creating lots of new jewellery for my etsy shop and at the same time organising a big tiara sale at my online bridal store .

I made a big decision recently about the bridal side of my business. I will no longer be making bridal tiaras, hence the BIG SALE. This is a good thing for me. The decision was based on the long and slow suffocation of my creativity.

Unfortunately, although I could produce a new design for every bride on the planet and make every bridal headdress completely unique, the majority of brides were asking me to make more or less the same design over and over again until my creative spirit wanted to give up the ghost. 


I mean no disrespect to any of my bridal customers as their choice and style is their own and I was very happy to make their dream tiara for them, but the time has now come for me to move on, back to my first love which has always been  creating one off pieces of jewellery.

I've put a few photos up of some of the tiaras and headdresses that I absolutely loved designing and creating, before I say farewell at least for the foreseeable future.

So enough about tiaras.
I've just received a delivery of some very beautiful semi precious gemstones and will be attempting to set these in sterling silver after the weekend. I will update with some photos as soon as I produce some jewellery with them.

Until next time, you can follow me on twitter or check for updates on facebook

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Warm Welcome

Hi all,

It's another stunning but cold autumn day here in Glasgow, so I thought I would add a wee photo to show you just how glorious it is.

I'm currently uploading a lot of new jewellery items to the Etsy shop, which can take some time, so bare with me as the posts may be lacking for a few days.

I would also like to extend a big warm welcome to our latest members. Glad you could make it and hope you enjoy the blog.
Kathryn x

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Copper Jewellery For Autumn

A wet and windy walk in the park today not only blew away the cobwebs  but reminded me that Autumn (fall) is fast approaching. The trees are already turning beautiful shades of red, orange, yellow and brown here in Glasgow. 

Copper always reminds me of this season with its changing colours and warm glow, so once again my walk with nature has inspired me. I decided it was time to put a copper collection together and so couldn't wait to get back to my workshop to make a start.

Over the next few weeks, I will update with previews of the copper collection before they enter the Etsy shop (kaledo) and how I made some of them. In the meantime here are a few pieces I produced today.

Fold Formed Copper Cuff

Copper Domed Pendant With Sterling Silver Spiral
Hammered Copper Cuff

Hammered Copper Cuff
Don't forget to wear some copper this year. It looks absolutely fabulous with all skin types and gives the wearer a warm healthy glow.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Fire and Water Casting - Update

As promised, here's a wee update of the pendants I made from the last post on water casting.


Hope you like them. I'll be adding these to the Kaledo shop next week.