Esther Priestley

About me....

I design & make jewellery in a little workshop in Sowerby, West Yorkshire.  

My work is inspired by the patterns and beauty in the natural world and I think I am most content when I'm outside in the countryside or in the garden, surrounded by creation. I often photograph the incredible shapes and patterns found in nature.

I really enjoy being creative and hope others get pleasure from wearing the pieces I make.

Oak Leaf coated in silver

My Story ...

Making jewellery is a fairly recent adventure but I have always been interested in the world around me.

At university I studied geography alongside primary education, moving to West Yorkshire to start my teaching career & never imagined I'd do anything else.  

However in 2015, after an amazing summer exploring Queensland, life suddenly changed. . My husband died just a few weeks after we discovered he had pancreatic cancer & the future we had planned fell apart.

Determined to move forwards and to live life to the full I began to rethink what to do as I need to manage my energy levels carefully due to ME/CFS.

A leap of faith or a moment of madness, but I decided to take a career break and handed in my notice! The plan was to spend a year studying & putting my well being first. Beyond that I wasn't sure  

During that year I completed an open university module in environmental studies,, volunteered for The National Trust at Hardcastle Crags and took part in several art courses, including workshops in both traditional silversmithing & using silver clay-discovering in the process something new that I loved. ......And so Esther Priestley Silver Jewellery began.

I've still not returned to the stresses of a primary school classroom several years later!

I love working with silver clay, not just because it uses recycled silver but it has so much potential for different techniques.  I'm continually having fun learning new skills as you can hopefully see in my collections.

If  you want to be part of the journey with me, then follow me on facebook or instagram for regular updates. 

Polishing the silver

The Process ...

Looking after our environment is important to me and I use eco-friendly products including recycled silver which has been ground down into tiny particles and made into precious metal clay. After coming up wtih new designs I then begin to create each piece from silver clay.  

During this stage the pieces can be shaped, moulded & textures added. This is the fun part of the process for me

Once dry the clay is fired in a kiln and the organic binder burns away, leaving solid silver behind.   It still feels a bit like magic!

Finally, the pieces are brushed and polished to get the shiny silver finish you see.