An interview with Thorn & Claw

South Coast Makers Market is Dorset's independently ran, monthly curated market held in the heart of Bournemouth. I am proud to feature within their online directory among many other talent local artists and creators. I answered a few questions about my journey with Thorn & Claw.

Can you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your business?

I live on the edge of the wilds in Dorset, England, and spend my hours crafting evocative, primal jewellery designs, invoking the shadow side of nature. Drawing from British folklore, Norse mythology and Celtic legends, each talisman is handmade from ethically sourced materials and natural finds. 

What was your motivation to set up your business?

 I was called to create amulets of silver - lifecast from bones, talons, thorns and claws as I craved to keep a little of the wilds about my person when I felt far away from the outdoors. I soon discovered that others yearned to stay connected to their ancient roots while locked away in offices and concrete buildings. Thus Thorn & Claw was invoked into being on the wood-smoked winds of autumn, summoned by a beckoning call to re-wild ourselves. 

What drew you to your chosen materials and style of working?

Nature is the ultimate designer, so I knew intuitively I wanted to lifecast natural forms into silver to create my designs. I appreciate a more minimal and dark aesthetic and have always played among the umbrae in my tastes. I create my pieces with heavily oxidised textures and sharp accents, casting from flora and fauna often associated with dark folklore. My designs feel weathered and ancient as if recently unearthed after resting in the soil for many centuries, before being rediscovered in our modern timeline. 

Where do you go for inspiration?

Rugged wild horizons, old tomes of forgotten myths and the occasional fantasy-based video game. I have been lost in the pages of Tolkien since an early age, which has naturally transitioned into a thirst for ancient history and mythology. I try to weave the path of the old ways into my life and honour the seasons as the wheel turns.  

How has lockdown impacted your business?

I previously worked in UK wildlife conservation for over ten years, however was made redundant during the peak of covid. I took it as a sign to focus on my artistic endeavour and dove into the unknown. Thorn & Claw was officially birthed in January of 2020, so my little venture has only known adversity and rough terrain so far. However, it has only made me more resolute on my journey and certainly forced my hand to be more resourceful at times. A baptism of fire if you will. 

Covid aside, what challenges have you faced in setting up and running your business?

Breathing life into a creative business as a solo artisan, you have to take on many roles. Some of which I have learnt from scratch along the journey, others have emerged of their own will. You have to be incredibly heedful of your time and where your energies are best spent. I am appreciating the multiple facets of this artisanal undertaking.

Why is it important to you to run your own business?

I am deeply introverted and thrive in quiet spaces. I am also heavily influenced by my physical work environment. Having the ability to set up my jeweller's bench just so, while having ambient music or an audiobook playing as I work is blissful. I have an airy and open workshop, with a view of trees and fields with my allotment in the near distance. I am only occasionally interrupted by my feline familiar. I value freedom above all things, and the ability to be flexible with my time and energy is something I cherish highly. I have worked in looming offices, corporate environments and the politics that accompany them for most of my career. I realised quite early on it wasn't the life I desired. 

What do people love about your work?

There is a movement of late I am very thankful for, of supporting handmade artisans. I believe the fact that each of my talismans are meticulously crafted by hand, whilst honouring the old ways is something my customers deeply appreciate. My designs are each forged from the purest precious metals and gemstones, and I only craft from ethically sourced materials and natural finds. No creature is harmed by my hands and each creation is crafted in their honour. 

What's your favourite piece you've made and why?

It is hard to choose a favourite, however, Vörðr, the Icelandic raven talon carries the most meaning for me. Through the design of this talisman, my style was honed and concluded. It felt like a completion and a beginning all at once, and I could see my path laid before me. My sigil incorporates this piece for this very reason. It represents everything Thorn & Claw honours. 

Do you like taking on commissions?

I adore creating custom talismans and would be honoured to craft your vision. If you yearn for something undiscovered, custom designs can be conjured from your dreamings.

Where can we find you?

I can mostly be found roaming the wilds, or with my head down crafting on my jeweller's bench. However, if you wish to reach me across the digital ether, then please explore my website at your leisure. I can also be reached on Instagram.