This month we were delighted to hear from one of our learners Charlotte Tabor who was singing our praises on our KAE Twitter page. Charlotte Tabor owner of Kara Jewellery based in Yalding started her journey with us only four years ago on a jewellery and silversmithing course. Now, she is the proud owner of a successful jewellery company, the realisation of a dream. At KAE we love hearing learner success stories, so caught up with Charlotte to hear more about her journey to success.

When did you start learning with KAE?

“When my son was small. “Charlotte started learning with us back in 2012, taking jewellery and silversmithing courses at our Tunbridge Wells centre.  “My tutor was Susan Martin-Shipp.  I’m not the kind of person who is very good at putting my ideas down on paper, but she was very good at understanding what I was trying to make and was good at nurturing our ideas. She was always pushing us to do better; you could ask her any questions you wanted. It was amazing because of her and the diverse range of people on the course. In my first class I made a bangle and found using the blowtorch quite empowering – I fell in love.”

What made you start learning?

“My mother used to run antiques fairs in Cheshire. But I loved silver jewellery instead of the more traditional precious stones, jewels and gems. After three children I wanted to do something to stop me going senile – I needed it for my own sanity and a bit of ‘me’ time.”

Describe how you moved into the professional sector?

“I’d been talking about it for ages and finally set up a business with a friend who I met on my course. We went to the International Jewellery Show at Earls Court in London and got talking to some of the silversmiths there. The idea was that we’d buy and sell jewellery as well as making and selling our own.”

Charlotte at work
Charlotte at work

What do you most enjoy about jewellery making?

“I most enjoy seeing people wearing things I created. Also cre

ating things I’d want to wear – you never know it might be on antiques roadshow in years to come!”

Which jewellery techniques do you use?

“I use resin and polymer clay, but my favourite techniques to use is

Charlotte's creations
Charlotte’s creations

wax carving and lost wax casting. I adore trees and woodlands, I work in a shed in a garden and am inspired by the trees around the back of my house. I like the tree-bark texture – it’s a comforter and protector of a tree. I use woodworking tools on wax to get the tree-bark effect – it looks great on earrings and pendants or brooches.”

Tell us about your business?

“Kara Jewellery is named after my first dog! I fit the jewellery around my kids. I’m usually in my shed from around 9-4 everyday working on commissions.”

Top three jewellery-making tips for our readers?

  • “Always make the effort to get the finish right – aim for perfection.”
  • “Believe in yourself and love what you do – you can’t suit everyone but if you love it other people will love it too.”
  • “When you’re creating you’ve got to enjoy it – get your work-life balance right and make sure you’ve got a little money behind you to make it work.”

What would you say to anyone looking to do an adult education course?

“Don’t hesitate. Do it. It’s fantastic. It was my best decision. There are so many courses I still want to do!”

If you’ve been inspired by what Charlotte Tabor had to say then why not take a look at our silversmithing & jewellery courses? Our courses will enable you to work with hand tools to design and construct a range of pieces using silver, gold and copper amongst other metals. Students will be taken through the process of design, to basic metal work through to the finished article.

We also offer a number of business courses to help those of you thinking of starting out on your own and want to improve your knowledge. From learning the ins-and-outs of Microsoft Office and bookkeeping to search engine optimisation and website development, we have the course to help you achieve your goals.

Has KAE helped you achieve your dream? Have you started your own business or used your skills to benefit others? If so, we’d love to hear from you! Email and share your story with us.

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