THE Creativity Chronicles
What better day to launch my new blog interview series than International Women’s Day. The Sister Sessions is all about celebrating women, championing diversity and talking about our shared experiences and our distinct differences and unique essence.
I wanted to conduct a series of interviews with women that I am inspired and empowered by, celebrating sisterhood and bringing together 100 of the most inspirational women I know to share their stories and tell their truth.
I’m kickstarting the series with a woman that I adore. Mel lives in Cornwall and creates the most incredible jewellery under her brand, The Coral Grove. I found her a few years ago online and after receiving a few pieces of hers my husband and I decided she was the perfect person to create a bespoke ring following the birth of my daughter. We always called our little girl Labradorite Eyes because of the colour change in her eyes, imitating the magical shades of labradorite. Mel made us the most divine labradorite ring set in gold (because our daughter’s name means gold in Persian). It is stunning and people comment on it every day.
When our beloved dog Jasper passed away last year I could think of nobody better than Mel to create a bespoke jasper necklace containing his ashes. It’s my favourite piece of jewellery that I own. Besides being a talented jeweller, Mel is a very special soul, someone I feel deeply connected to – she is poetic yet powerful, creative and kind. It is my honour to feature her here as the very first woman in The Sister Sessions series. Make a pot of tea and enjoy the interview…
Sum yourself up in five words
Blessed, thankful, magic seeking hermit.
Your jewellery feels like it tells a story and has a sense of mythology and magic about it. Can you tell us a little more about this?
You’ve no idea how happy it makes me to hear that you think that ~ thank you. Magic is what I live for. As a little girl, my bedroom was a shrine to all things magical, celestial and ‘oldy worldly’ related. It was filled to the brim with little antique ornaments, quirky little ‘what-nots’ and enchanted art sent to me by my lovely Nana Coral, gifted to me by my family and friends or that I’d saved up my pocket money for. I’ve always been obsessed with magical films…I’d sit and watch them over and over again with my beautiful Mum..and books.. I loved reading Enid Blyton’s tales about adventure and hidden little fairy worlds. My dad is very spiritual and loved all things ‘magic’ and ‘enchanted’. He collected little witch and gnome ornaments and went on to write books inspired by them.We also went on so many woodland walks looking for fairies and pixies..discovering little potential hidey holes and portals into other worlds. I remember that part of my childhood so fondly..and that constant belief in magic hasn’t ever left me. It has been a massive influence in my life. It makes my heart happy to pour this part of my life into the things I create. I think that magic and enchantment combined with my love and obsession for all things old, the sea and the wild and whimsical, added with a pinch of fascination for the dark & mysterious have inspired the themes to my jewellery creations.
Why did you choose the name The Coral Grove?
‘The Coral Grove’ ~ name (to me) captures the little luminous orbs of gentle light and life within the dark and mysterious, indigo tides. The precious reefs and the vast, wild and untamed open sea ~ filled with nature and shimmering pearlescent light. The name came from one of my most favourite poems written by James Gates Percival in the early 1800’s. Coral is also the name of my wonderfully eccentric, beloved Nana who continues to bring magic and inspiration into my life each and every day.
I know that you relocated to live in Cornwall. What made you make that choice?
My husband and I spent so many weekends travelling down to Cornwall to go diving and exploring. It’s hard not to fall in love with the raw, untouched feel that it has. We spent all of our free time here. We were married in an old napoleonic fort on a cliff edge overlooking the Cornish sea..and a few years afterwards we decided to follow the dream and move down here.
I’ve always felt you are a bit of an introvert which I love about you, it feels like there’s so much beneath the surface. Is it difficult running a business as an introvert?
I am definitely a hermit socially. I take great pleasure in being alone, enjoying the serenity it brings. It allows me to sit with my thoughts and unravel them and it’s when I’m alone that I really seem to connect with the magic that surrounds me. I completely love spending intimate time with my nearest and dearest though of course. Being an introvert can be a challenge sometimes though, especially when it comes to facing the lovely public at craft fairs. I become a bit of a rabbit in headlights and never really know what to say
It’s silly really because people are always so kind to me and I am just so incredibly grateful..I just always feel a bit of an imposter. I don’t tend to attend many of them, but I try to push myself every now and again..if I’m feeling brave.
What is your favourite piece that you’ve ever created?
They all make me happy in some way, but I especially love my little pirate ship. It was a labour of love and took ever such a long time to create, but I got there. It’s like we went on a little journey together, which is quite relevant really. Also, some new little healing hands I’ve just finished. They’re definitely a ‘bit of me’. I will always have a special love for the Pearly pieces I make too. I love pearls.
What advice would you give to anyone who wants to start a creative business, or specifically become a Jeweller?
Be you. Bring your own designs and try not to compare yourself to anyone else. Create what makes your heart happy and the rest will follow.
Other than making jewellery, how do you spend your days?
I love to be with my husband Sam and our little pug Olive. We explore the forests and coastlines in our camper van. We go free-diving together and enjoy wrapping up warm in the van afterwards, clutching warm coffees and watching the world go by. We go night walking too. I love the night. I love to aimlessly wander..I go running and do yoga most days. I enjoy reading in serene moments sat by the fire at home, drinking coffee, poetry and painting.
What other women do you admire in life?
My beautiful Mum..for more reasons that I will ever have time to write and you will ever have time to read. My Nana Coral. She’s a singer and a poet..Her motto is ‘Life is a Song, Sing it!’…and honestly ~ all women…everyone has a story ~ I have found whoever I talk to is inspirational to me in some kind of way.
What advice would you give to your younger self right now?
That it’s ok and not a weakness to ask for help and advice. That you will not be a burden. So often I’d sit worrying in silence about things.
Also, to always follow the light…and to have faith that everything will be ok in the end.
What is your favourite book?
Oh goodness there are so many. I honestly couldn’t pick one favourite..but the first that sprung into my mind were Glennie Kindred’s ‘Earth Wisdom’and ‘The Art of Living’ by Thích Nhat Hanh. When I was younger I loved reading Aesop’s Fables and anything by Enid Blyton.
What makes you feel most powerful?
Nature makes me feel most powerful. The moon, in all of her glory. In all of her phases. Watching huge thunderstorm displays roll in and getting soaked in the downpour. Sitting on the rocky coastline and getting lost in the ginormous crashing waves. Walking the Malvern Hills where I grew up and trees. There is nothing I love more than wandering in the forest, nestling in amongst the mossy carpet beneath a big old oak and talking with the trees. Especially at night, when I feel at my most safe. Also music.
Find Mel: www.thecoralgrove.com
Follow Mel: @thecoralgrove