Meet the Maker: Tina Ashmore, Tina Ashmore Fine Jewellery
Tina Ashmore Benton is an international jewellery designer who runs her business, Tina Ashmore Fine Jewellery, from her private studio in Sutton, by the Dublin coast. She has a passion for creating one-of-a-kind and limited edition pieces of jewellery. The technique she uses is meticulous and time-consuming and requires a series of stages very similar to sculpture. Tina has been making jewellery for almost two decades; constantly learning, improving and honing her craft. Read more about Tina and purchase her work at www.tinaashmore.com.
What's a typical day in the studio like for you?
I mostly make one-of-a-kind pieces, so the work is detailed and time consuming. On any typical day I could be preparing stones to set, sometimes hundreds at a time, or - like any jeweller - I do a lot of filing and sanding. What keeps it interesting for me is that most ear settings and clasps I make are custom-made for each necklace or earring so it’s not repetitive, mind-numbing work. I am always searching for inspiration, and so a typical day can begin with me working with materials, waiting for the ignition of some spark or fire in my belly to give direction to a new idea.
What do you like most about your work?
I mostly make one-off pieces, working with an idea until it evolves is what excites me. I never sketch or draw a piece before I make it, I just work with whatever materials I have until a piece of jewellery introduces itself to me. Sometimes I feel like my hands are working independently and I have nothing to do with what’s happening until it’s finished.
What do you like least about your work?
Taking time away from creating and making jewellery to market and sell my work. What's your favourite craft item in your home? The beautiful collection of colourful hand-painted plates that my husband and I have collected on our travels. Our dining room wall is covered with them and each one has a special memory.
What other maker in your discipline do you most look up to?
I love the work of Paula Crevoshay. I did a few open houses with her at a gallery we both sold our work at in Connecticut and not only is her work out of this world, but she is also an incredibly decent and nice person. I also really admire the works of Jar, Wallace Chang, Paulding Farnham (Tiffany & Co 1880’s) to name but a few.
What advice would you give someone who is considering this craft career?
Find a signature style. It’s an important survival tactic to stand out from your competition. Make what you love, but have a bread and butter line to keep some money coming in. What's your favourite time of the day? Mornings are my favourite time of day. How do you switch off? I like to cycle and walk.
How do you start your day?
I start my day by checking my phone messages and emails over a strong cup of coffee.
What's the first thing you do when you leave the studio?
Think of food : )
Jeweled Garden: A Colorful History of Gems, Jewels and Nature by Suzanne Tennenbaum and Janet Zapata
Mr Smith Goes to Washington (James Stewart)
Best concert you have ever been to?
I will never forget seeing Tony Bennet at Vicar Street. It was incredible, but I have to say, the most epic and unforgettable performance I have ever experienced was in a small intimate concert setting in Granada when my husband and I went to a venue that only the locals knew about to listen to two Spanish guitarists/singers. The sounds they produced were like nothing I had ever heard before. It was full of passion and seemed to come from the very depths of their souls. They were accompanied by a flamingo dancer who almost seemed to be under their spell. I would love to experience that again.
At the moment I am loving Tortellini with homemade tomato sauce (my own secret recipe)
Music when you're working?
What do you listen to?
Jazz, such as Diana Krall, Madeleine Peyroux, Melody Gardot, Imelda May, Etta James, Nina Simone, Dinah Washington or classical music, Vivaldi or anything with fast moving strings.