Birthday surprise for award winning jewellery maker

A local jewellery maker has won first prize in a Cornish themed landscape art competition hosted by the Royal Cornwall Museum.

Mature student Rachel Bishop has always been inspired by the Cornish landscape seen from her home in Camelford and aims to reflect this in her jewellery work.

Rachel, who is studying on the FdA Silversmithing and Jewellery university course at Truro and Penwith College, submitted her competition entry with just one day to spare, with the encouragement of her classmates.

Little did she know that she was going to win first prize, and to receive the good news on her birthday too.

Rachel said: “I was stunned. Really, really happy but stunned. I didn’t expect to win, especially when it was a last minute decision to enter.”

Giving herself the brief of creating a piece of jewellery for someone who used to live in Cornwall to remind them of home, Rachel constructed an interchangeable pendant with separate layers for a 3D effect.

Rachel said: “You can’t live in Cornwall and not be inspired by your surroundings. I wanted my project to create a snapshot of Cornwall, so I built a frame pendant where you could insert different scene options such as Rough Tor, Gull Rock and ‘the nearly home trees’.”

As the overall winner, Rachel was presented with a cash prize of £50, which she plans to use to replenish her materials account to buy silver for further projects. The Royal Cornwall Museum will also be exhibiting the pendant as part of the temporary Cornwall themed exhibition over the next few months.

FdA Silversmithing and Jewellery Programme Leader, Rebecca Walklett was pleased with all of the successes that Rachel has seen so far on the course.

Rebecca said: “Rachel worked very hard on designing and making the Landscape Pendant. Winning an award really validates all the hard work and I'm absolutely delighted for her; and on her birthday too!”

Rachel’s jewellery-making journey began when she gave birth to her second child and needed something creative to focus on, following a stint of post-natal depression. From stringing beads to making and selling her own glass beads, Rachel now runs a very successful Etsy store, which can be found by searching for ‘Puffafish Jewellery’.

With 14 years of jewellery making experience under her belt, Rachel now aims to complete her degree at the Gold-rated Truro College before making a career for herself and her family within the industry.

Rachel said; “Coming to Truro College was the best thing that I’ve done for myself in a long time. For a College of this size, it’s amazing that you don’t feel like you’re just a number, the tutors really care about your success.”

To find out more about silversmithing and jewellery degree courses at Truro and Penwith College, visit the University courses page for details.