Yes, we’re back with some pandemic-related content. I’ve been writing a short series on how creatives have pivoted through the chaos of COVID-19 to start their own new projects. From Gary Hartley’s Scaffold Culture, an online magazine + queer archive to Len’z Bootiek’ beading practice. Content creator, Inga Sibiya started her own skincare brand after the food industry was put on major lockdown earlier this year.
If you have been keeping up with global news – the UK went into its second lockdown of the year. I thought it would be great to chat to my friend, author, writer and now jewellery maker, Bethany Rutter.
Bethany is known for colourful combos and started off blogging, sharing her outfits and style online. This year, due to the ongoing pandemic – she tried her hand at making polymer clay jewellery. And it’s been booming ever since.
You started off blogging, sharing your style online along with raising awareness around fatphobia. You’ve a thriving social media presence and have now started making earrings. What prompted the shift towards working with clay?
Lockdown was (unsurprisingly!) a sort of weird experience – I had all this time on my hands, and then it became increasingly apparent that I was going to be made redundant from my full time job, so I just thought… I need something that will keep me busy and that will interest me. I love polymer clay earrings so thought I would try making those, and then when I would post them on my social media people would ask when I was going to set up a shop, so I figured it could also be a good way to mitigate likelihood of me losing my job. I’ve been super lucky and my earrings always sell well whenever I do a shop update! (Next shop update is this Friday – 27 November 2020)
Your style is pretty bright and bold – and the same can be said for your clay work. Can you mention some of your fave jewellery brands and current inspirations?
I’m obsessed with Sophia Tassew’s new earring brand Khula. Hers are made from polymer clay too, and it’s testament to just how flexible it is as a material that her designs look SO radically different to mine. She has such a creative vision and obviously works incredibly hard. I get my inspirations from lots of places, from book covers to art work to interior design! I also get a lot of my colour combination inspiration from nail art – I got some floral nail art done and then those colours have become combinations that I want to use in my work.
You’ve also just celebrated the launch of your second book, Melt My Heart, following your debut novel No Big Deal. How has that experience been the second time around and do you have any other literary plans?
2019 was a really good year for me. I had my first novel out and then a week later I turned 30 and I got to do it all in a really fun way. Obviously, 2020 has been less fun! I think I would have found it really hard to publish my debut novel this summer, and I really feel for any debut author who had to publish into lockdown. It was fine for me, because I’m a jaded old lady at this point, and I still had a lovely day signing books at a local bookshop and eating ice cream, but it was so fun to go on my book tour last summer, have a party to celebrate the launch. I’ve signed a deal for more books but… I can’t tell you about them yet!
How can people purchase your earrings?
My website is on Folksy and I do shop updates every two weeks on a Friday! I post internationally and haven’t had any orders from SA yet!
And finally, what’s one lesson you’ve learnt from this year and time period?
I would never have quit my job to become self-employed but (and I don’t want to speak too soon!) so far it’s going pretty well and I’m absolutely loving the flexibility! Ask me again in January though.
Want some more of Bethany’s content? Follow her on Instagram, check out her podcast and keep up to date with her on Twitter.