My name is Shalini. I am a self taught metalsmith and I make Copper things.
Originally from New Delhi, India I now live in Stamford in Lincolnshire, UK with my husband Dave and 2 rescue dogs Taj & Manali.
When I am not beating copper I volunteer for a couple of dog rescues. I am also part of a small art group ESC Artists based in Lincolnshire. We organise artist led markets and exhibitions showcasing the work of local artists and makers. I have also recently become a director of a new local project Stamford Diversity Group, a community interest company to make Stamford & surrounding areas an even more inclusive & welcoming place.
It is so satisfying to see flat copper sheet transform into tactile art.
I started working with wire and semi precious gemstones in 2008, making jewellery & accessories to sell at local craft shows and via my website.
As I progressed on my creative journey I learnt to appreciate sheet metal, especially copper. So it is only natural that my work is now taking a new path – metalsmithing. Since Summer 2014 I have been working mainly with sheet copper crafting a decorative and functional range of copper jewellery, sculptures and home-ware.
While I do refer to metalworking and lapidary tutorials from time to time to learn certain techniques, I adapt these to my individual designs and style.
I like collaborating with other artists and craftspeople, especially those who work in a medium different to mine. Felt Art and Wood being the main two.
With my husband Dave’s support (he keeps all the machines & tools I use in working order) I run a creative coppersmithing & crafting business from my home in Stamford, Lincolnshire. I make art jewellery, sculptures, home ware and wall art with copper, both sheet and wire.
How it all started?
I bought a necklace in Peterborough and then said that it was often difficult to get something unique at a reasonable price. I am from India where individually crafted jewellery is available to buy to suit any budget and I was quite used to indulging in my love for bling!
My husband Dave said, “You could do that! Why don’t you make your own?
FAMOUS LAST WORDS INDEED!
Dave bought me a set of pliers, lots of wire and some video courses and a book about wire-wrapping for my birthday in 2007. And that is how it started.
I launched Jewellery by Shalini as a small side business on 1st November 2008.
The Rose Quartz & Sterling silver pendant was my first piece of wire-wrapped jewellery.
Timing of this was a bit mad! At that time I had a successful “Day Job” in a totally different field. I was a worldwide motor home rental agent running my independent little business in partnership with my husband. Unfortunately after the financial crash the bottom fell out of the travel and leisure industry in 2008 – 2009. After trying to keep things going for a while, and not getting very far with it once a couple of suppliers went under, jewellery making became my full time job.
Where am I now?
Once I discovered sheet copper (and it was love at first sight!) I just kept playing with it. I invested in some online metalworking tutorials (via DVD Downloads) with several US based metal jewellery tutors.
Initially I was only making jewellery. But then I slowly got the confidence to try bigger things and started making small sculptures. I also started doing some one to one and school workshop, which are currently on hold.
You can see a decorative and functional range of copper creations in my on-line shop, at my stockists and at shows & exhibitions I attend.
Nowadays I spend a lot of time playing with hammers…
The Heritage Crafts Association is the advocacy body for traditional heritage crafts.
Working in partnership with Government and key agencies, it provides a focus for craftspeople, groups, societies and guilds, as well as individuals who care about the loss of traditional crafts skills, and works towards a healthy and sustainable framework for the future.
There are always bits to play with on my workbench… Heaven!
More about my style
I am self taught and most of my work involves a lot of experimenting and making up as I go along. A little bit like my choice of music, what I create depends a lot on my mood. It could be a simple copper piece or something with bright colours, it could be a simple necklace or it could be cuffs made out of old copper pipes.
I like forging copper using various hammers to shape, raise and texture metal. I make bowls, trays and sculptures using these techniques.
I am also learning more about enamelling using a kiln. I am mostly making jewellery but also working on wall art, decorative items and gift-ware like key rings and bag charms.
I am happy to accept commissions and work with my customers to create things they want. It could be wedding decoration, jewellery and favours or just little gifts for any occasion.
About Dave Austin
In his spare time Dave cuts and polishes some of the semi precious gemstones used in my jewellery designs. I offer rough rocks for collectors and lapidaries in our Rough Rock Shop.
Dave also likes to recycle and upcycle pallet wood, some of his pallet wood pieces can be ordered via my online shop. Commissions welcome too.
2020 brought its own challenges not of our making because of the Covid-19 Pandemic. My husband & I used the lockdown period to expand his little pallet wood upcycling hobby further to create functional wooden pieces using Shou Sugi Ban, an ancient Japanese method of preserving wood. We now offer this work for sale via our dedicated palletwood websitehttps://palletwoodstuff.co.uk/
Dave also enjoys making wire trees, with bare iron wire. These go outdoors in the garden to be coloured by nature and end up a lovely rust colour. Dave accepts commissions for his wire trees. Our wire sculpture trees can also be hired for special events in the local area. Please get in touch if you would like to hire the tree for a special event or art exhibition.
I have been involved in organizing several craft markets and exhibitions in my hometown Stamford and surrounding areas since 2009. I am one of the founders of ESC Artists with another Lincolnshire based artisan Felter Eve Marshall.
We organise Artists Pop-Up Markets and an annual gallery exhibition at Stamford Arts Centre, showcasing the work of local artists and artisans.
The lock-downs of 2020 saw us take these pop-up shops online too.