Meet Jessica, Silversmith and Original Wilding!
Wild and Fine designs should speak to you by themselves, evoking personal memories and asking you to fall in love with them for your own individual reasons. However, it would be rash to fall in love with anything without knowing a little bit about how it came into being, so Jessica (the jeweller and silversmith behind the brand) temporarily put aside her aversion to talking about herself to answer a few questions about her inspiration and her favourite things…
HOW DID YOU BECOME A SILVERSMITH?
Having studied abroad and moved around a lot as a child, I initially pursued a career in modern languages, but at the end of a four year degree I found I lacked passion and direction, and longed to for a creative outlet.I happened upon a jewellery school in the Cotswolds, where I took my first steps as a silversmith. An apprenticeship and a few steep learning curves later, I started my jewellery brand JHW Silver. A passion for scuba diving and travel led to my signature Marine Capsule Collection, which in turn led to the evolution of the Wild & Fine brand.
WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO CREATE WILD & FINE? HOW WAS THE IDEA BORN?
Inspired by the natural world, Wild & Fine was created from a desire to develop a jewellery brand that encompassed a love of quality, handmade jewellery with accessibility and affordability. I want people to love these designs and wear them everyday. I do not want them to be so prohibitively expensive that they are kept hidden in a drawer because people are too afraid of losing them.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE ITEM IN THE SHOP?
My first love will always be the Seahorses, specifically the Maya Seahorse, which was the first design in the Marine Collection.Just for fun, I made one with aquamarine eyes to wear on a diving holiday to Mexico, but after lovely compliments from fellow divers and even a few orders, I decided to make more and develop the range when I got home.
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO START THE DAY?
Enjoying a good strong coffee in bed with a whippet under each arm and sunshine and birdsong through the window.
WHO OR WHAT KEEPS YOU COMPANY IN THE WORKSHOP?
I usually work alone, as human company is too distracting, but my three whippets can often be found snuggling down next to the radiator in the workshop in the winter, or outside the workshop with their noses pressed up against the window in the summer, begging me for the biscuits they can see on the bench (I always have emergency biscuit rations nearby, just in case).
WHAT QUOTE INSPIRES YOU WHEN YOU’RE HAVING A BAD DAY?
It may seem like a cliche but it will always be “Illegitimi non carborundum”. Don’t let the bastards grind you down. My granny had a ferocious character and used to say it whenever anyone made us feel blue. She took no nonsense from anyone and would always bounce back from any malaise with double the gusto she started with. It remains a lifelong mantra, and a good one at that.
AT THE END OF A LONG DAY, WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE DRINK TO RELAX WITH?
I am a sucker for bubbles; Champagne, Prosecco, or a good English sparkling wine. Marvellous perfectly chilled and served on it’s own, or complemented with a dash of lemon, sugar and gin to make a French 75. I am also very fond of an Aperol Spritz.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE FOOD?
I don’t think I could pick just one, it rather depends on where I am... In Italy I always go for Spaghetti Vongole, in Thailand it has to be Masaman curry.Honestly, there is almost nothing I don’t eat (within reason). Having been on a strict diet for ten years, I now relish being free to try different foods all over the world, and rarely find anything I really don’t like.
WHAT IS YOUR ODDEST TALENT?
I am hyper flexible and can get both my feet behind my head (a useful skill to have when flying long distances in economy).
WHAT ACCOMPLISHMENTS IN YOUR LIFE SO FAR DO YOU THINK WOULD MAKE YOUR EULOGY?
I have run seven marathons, completed my PADI Rescue diver, walked the highest peaks in England, Wales and Scotland, and started my own business.
WHAT SMALL THINGS BRIGHTEN UP YOUR DAY WHEN THEY HAPPEN?
One of the things that makes me happiest is getting to my workshop, coffee in hand (at the perfect temperature, so it’s not too hot and not too cold) and receiving unexpected feedback from happy customers
WHAT DO YOU THINK EVERYONE SHOULD DO AT LEAST ONCE IN THEIR LIFE?
I think it’s difficult to generalise for everyone, but find an activity that makes you feel free and re-connects you with the natural world. It brings a unique kind of peace, even if it is only temporary! For me there are two things that do this: off land it is scuba diving. It’s like flying underwater. On land, it is running through the woods at dusk.
WHEN DO YOU FEEL TRULY ALIVE?
Going through a marathon finish line is a feeling you never forget. After months of training in all weather, sacrificing your Sundays and your toenails, pushing through your own distance and endurance boundaries, and then to cross that finish line, knackered but full of adrenaline. Nothing quite compares to that feeling
IF YOU ARE IN THE DENTIST’S CHAIR, WHERE IS THE HAPPY PLACE YOUR MIND ESCAPES TO?
I am reclining on the deck of a boat (handy that this is a similar pose to the dentist’s chair, as it makes it an easy starting point for the imagination). I have just surfaced from a tropical water dive where the sea was full of turtles and a full spectrum of colourful fish. I have salt in my hair and the sun on my face and I am looking forward to a sunset gin and tonic with my toes in the sand, surrounded my favourite people.