This week we shine the spotlight on the maker behind P O L L E N jewellery, which has been on sale in the run up to Christmas here and is proving enormously popular. Take a look at what crafter Verity says about inspiration, determination and balancing work and creativity.
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Verity Keniger. I’m a designer currently focusing on my jewellery line called Pollen. Pollen is a continuing exploration in tactile jewellery born from my inherent attraction to colour, shape and texture.
How did you get into crafting?
Whilst I grew up I developed an interest in design and led me to feel like I have an innate sense of colour and composition, and as a consequence I’ve studied photography, design and illustration over the years. I am also a keen printmaker though this is not something I am focusing on right now, although you can however find a few of my prints at Emporia.
Who and what inspires you to create?
I’ve found that being happy in life has allowed me the freedom to work creatively. My design ideas are fuelled by nature, travel, swimming, food, my partner, my dog … all the things that make me content. I used to struggle working creatively and would get really unhappy and stressed, and eventually I had to put it all to one side. With jewellery design I have found a way to channel my inner aesthete and enjoy myself too! I am directly inspired by shape and colour which is as simplistic as it sounds I suppose but it materialises in my designs in a very meticulous, considered way.
Which crafters/artists/designers do you most admire?
I am lucky to have a lot of friends who are creative and they inspire me immensely – knowing the person and the
dedication needed to be creative can be just as inspiring as the work itself. I am influenced by traditional art and craft – I like that there has always been a need for creativity in human society. I also admire mid-century modern designers like Charles and Ray Eames, Olle Eksell and Enzo Mari attracted to their simple, bold shapes, colours and patterns.
What five things would you say were essential when you set up your craft business?
Support – I couldn’t have come as far as I have with Pollen if it weren’t for the unfaltering support of my mother and my partner. I can’t thank them enough for keeping faith in me and not pressuring me to get a job that actually pays
Time/financial stability – Over the years I have tried to combine my creative pursuits with working other jobs to pay
the rent and had varying success. I am in a unique position right now to focus all of my energy on Pollen. I wouldn’t
say this applies to everyone and is rarely possible but I’m certain it’s what every designer would like when they are
starting a new business.
Social media – If you want to create a successful business then developing online presence is a must. It takes time you
probably would rather be spending creating, but what’s the point of making if no one see it! Instagram is proving most rewarding for me as it’s so visual and instant. It’s also very buoying to be given positive, objective feedback when I’m sitting at home alone in my bedroom.
Determination – My determination comes from a part of me inside that feels what I’m doing is right. I’ve always felt
disheartened and truly unhappy having to work in ‘normal’ jobs I’ve had little passion for. I still occasionally doubt what I’m doing but I try to work through these times because I enjoy my life and believe with hard work and time it WILL go somewhere.
Networking – Again, as I mostly work alone it’s good to be able to connect with people who are in a similar boat. It’s mostly online, but combined with day to day interaction and inspiration, I feel this will open a lot of doors including new stockists, online sales, craft events. But I think it’s also important to connect with and meet people locally, in the real world!
Name three of your most popular designs.
I would say my pastel-coloured Sorbet necklace, my mixed size Ball necklace in pink/mustard/umber/livid and the 4
Ball necklace in grey/turquoise/mustard/rust. The simple Moon necklaces are also proving to be a hit. My loom
bracelets tend to do better online and the bangles I’ve made for a long time are always popular. I find people respond differently through different outlets though and people have such varied taste so I never can tell!
If you weren’t a jewellery designer, what would you be doing with your time?
I would love to be studying nutrition. It’s the other main interest in life and I am always wanting to learn more about
healing through food.
What’s new with your craft for 2016? Tell us about some of the exciting things we can expect to see from you in the shop or at Emporia this year.
With Pollen I am continually exploring and working on ideas as I go. I am going to Morocco soon which I’m certain will provide a lot of inspiration to work with. I plan to make a dedicated website for Pollen next year and also hope to be making prints again.
The gorgeous P O L L E N ball necklaces and bead bracelets are selling like hot cakes currently at Emporia, so if you fancy getting one for yourself or a friend, you need to get your skates on! And Verity has informed us that the last day for you to put in a request for a custom order of colours is Tuesday 15th December – you can pop into the shop to place an order with us any time before then.