Jo Bagshaw went to jewellery college as a mature student and has never looked back

JO BAGSHAW turns 50 this year and it will be a double celebration. For 2017 marks the 10th anniversary of her business, Jo Bagshaw Jewellery, which she runs from her workshop at her York home.

She will be selling her collection, including new pieces, during the York Open Studios event later this month, and at the Fashion City York marquee in Parliament Street this Friday and Saturday.

She already sells pieces in a range of outlets including Olive’s Nest, Scarcroft Road, York, and Saltbox Gallery, Helmsley.

“I was always making and creating,” says Jo.

“I did a jewellery night class when I was 18 and I got really into that.”

Then she started a family – Oliver, is now 30, and Alice, 24 – and domestic life put her creative plans on hold.

It wasn’t until she was in her 30s that she went back to college, taking an art foundation course at York College.

This led to her taking a degree in jewellery and silversmithing at Sheffield Hallam University.

Alice was only ten at this point and juggling college and home life was a challenge for Jo.

“It was tough having to get back in time to pick Alice up from afterschool club. But I loved it. I loved being with people of all the same mindset, all talking about jewellery, styles and techniques.”

Jo was quickly hooked on working with precious metals.

“I love creating something from a flat sheet of metal,” she says.

“I really like simple shapes and that seems to work best from a wearing point of view – they seem to be the most popular styles.”

Jo’s core collection feature hearts and inverted domes in a selection of sizes to work as pendants and earrings. A hallmark of her style is an unusual textural effect on the metal.

She explains: “I heat the silver then roll it in lace through a rolling mill to create the effect.” It’s a versatile technique that creates a range of effects on the silver sheet.

“In my new collection, I rolled a feather to create a different texture. I have used crushed paper before too. It is amazing what works.”

New for 2017 – and to be premiered at the open studios – are some square-shaped pendants, again with a textured surface. However, best-sellers continue to be a design dating back from her student days, when she made silver napkin rings in the shape of fortune fish.

“They are the paper fish that curl up in your hands and contain a Chinese proverb – they are a great ice breaker at dinner parties.”

Jo also uses the design to make silver rings to wear – each with a proverb engraved inside.

For the third year running, she will be hosting her open studio alongside York photographer Simon Palmour at his home: 60 Mob Moor Drive, from April 21-23 and April 29-30.

Jo is on the organising committee of the popular event, which uniquely brings artists and their audiences together, often at the maker’s home.

It’s an event that works well for both parties, says Jo.

“I like the fact that people know they are coming to see quality work. They are coming to see your work – and you don’t have to sell at all.

“Also, people are quite happy to tell you what they don’t like about something and could they have it done in a slightly different way. I can make a new one for them. It is great to get direct feedback.”

Check out the complete York Open Studio’s programme at yorkopenstudios.co.uk

Find out more at: jobagshaw.co.uk

Follow the latest news about Fashion City York, at fashioncityyork.org