I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Jessica Rose, founder of Jewellers Academy and the London Jewellery School, about my work and experiences as a freelance bench assistant, for an episode of the Jewellers Academy podcast.
As well as designing, making and selling my own jewellery, part of my business is dedicated to working for other jewellers on a freelance basis, helping them with a variety of bench tasks.
It's something that I love doing, for so many reasons. I love to be at the bench and on the tools (as any small, independent, creative business owner will tell you, I seem to spend more time taking photos, answering emails, doing my accounts and managing my social media than actually making what I sell) and am very happy getting my head down to work on varied jobs that I wouldn't usually do in my own jewellery practice. It's also a total joy working alongside other jewellers and small businesses, albeit remotely (we're all used to that now!). I work alone, in my own space, and while it's never lonely, it certainly is solitary much of the time, so to join forces with other jewellers and foster meaningful, respectful working relationships feels a bit like having really amazing colleagues! It's also wonderful to be able to make a real difference to other jewellers and the way they manage their workload - I'm able to put my own skills to great use by giving them a helping hand when they need it most.
You can read a blog post and find more information about the podcast on the Jewellers Academy website here.