Monday, 11 March 2013

Maker of the Week - Liz Willis

Liz Willis is a jeweller who will be showing her work at the Palace Art and Craft Fair. Liz is also running the London Marathon for Spinal Research. If you would like to sponsor her, please go to,
At what age did you know you wanted to become a maker?
Probably from the age of about 16, but I went into nursing instead. I have always been creative & eventually decided to go back & study art in my 30’s, & did a part time foundation course, then a part time degree in Applied Arts, graduating in 2008.

Is being a designer your only job?No, I still work shifts as a carer, but these are early morning & late afternoon, so I concentrate on Liz Willis Jewellery in the time in between.

If you could be anything else what would you be?A full time jeweller!

One favourite living artist / designer?
Nora Fok – love the delicate nature of her work & the interesting materials & techniques she uses.

One favourite historical artist / designer?
Can’t think of any, they’re all still alive – particularly like landscape artists & sculptors though

Who / what has had most influence on your work? 
Running – it provides me with the inspiration for my work, as well as the time & space to think, design, plan, imagine, & generally declutter my brain so I can focus on my jewellery.

What is the most interesting / fun job you have had? 
I was a support worker at The Jewellery Project, a social enterprise run by the St Elizabeth Centre in Much Hadham, Herts. It gives work experience, as well as teaching learning & life skills, to adults with severe epilepsy & learning difficulties. We would work with the clients in the workshop behind The Cross Gallery, Bishops Stortford, which is run by the centre, teaching basic jewellery skills, as well as encouraging retail & social skills in the gallery. The work we made was sold through the gallery, as well as work from other local & national artists.

What is your most prized item of art / design / craft?
I recently bought some of Kate Gilliland’s tiny spine & tiny bone earrings – I love the fact that they are cast from the finds in owl pellets, & maybe I like them because I spent years working in orthopaedics!

What item of design / craft do you covet most?Wouldn’t know where to start with that one, there are just too many!

Last book / film that blew your mind?Robert MacFarlane – The Old Ways

What are you listening to? 
Foo Fighters Greatest Hits

How many hours do you waste on the internet each day?
Probably up to 2, usually looking & dreaming over estate agents websites in South Cornwall

If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why? 
See above! Everything makes sense when I’m on the Roseland Peninsula.

Where and what is your studio?A room on the end of our house -used to be a kitchen, spare room, kids play room, teenage haunt, general dumping ground, place to put smelly running shoes & wellies, & now my place to work, although still retains an air of all its former uses.

Three words that describe your feeling of doing your work?
Relaxed, enjoyment, happy

Chips or mash?
Both – I’m training for the London Marathon & need the carbs!

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