Fulfilling a lifelong goal for anyone is an extraordinary achievement. Jewellery artist Dawn Easby Thwaits has achieved hers by launching The Windblown Collection, which comprises fourteen handcrafted pieces that draw inspiration from life on the river.
Running a company from a boat is not a rarity to us; after all, some of our readers probably spend at least half the year living their lives traversing the planet’s seas on extravagant floating palaces. However, it is rare to hear of someone who chooses to conduct business whilst residing on England’s waterways, which is why we were intrigued by Dawn Easby Thwait’s story.
Dawn is doing something that many in this fast-paced world aspire to; disconnecting from the hustle and bustle, and getting closer to nature by living on a houseboat on the River Stort, what many Brits would consider “Living the dream”.
Running a jewellery business from a boat must be difficult, but this isn’t holding Dawn back, as she has just announced the launch of her first precious metals collection. It’s called the ‘Windblown Collection’ and comprises fourteen pieces, handcrafted in eco silver, delicate silver chain, sterling silver tube, with the occasional sprinkle of blue-green beads.
Dawn (above) recently completed a Diploma in Silversmithing with the Jewellers Academy, graduating with distinction. Before this, she created pieces in copper with found leaves, stones, glass and stones using an electroforming technique.
She says, “Ever since I was a child, I have picked up stones and shells, thinking I would turn them into jewellery one day. The process started in earnest during lockdown when I started selling my ‘found’ pieces online. The Diploma course introduced me to complex soldering, silver clay, wax carving and adding gold accents with techniques like keum boo.
The most exciting part is that I can now turn the ideas into wearable pieces of unique, handcrafted jewellery.”
Dawn explained that The Windblown Collection was inspired by the end of Storm Eunice in February. She said, “After the Storm blew over and the rain finally stopped, the sun came out. Everything was glistening with fallen raindrops, looking so vibrant and alive. I was thinking too about how noisy a storm is, the stillness and peace of the sounds afterwards, and about wind charms.
All of a sudden, the whole collection materialised in my imagination. I grabbed a piece of paper and sketched the images before they disappeared. It’s those sketches that the Windblown Collection is based on.”
It has been a life-changing six months for the jewellery artist. She left her full-time job in charity communications in March, focusing on silversmithing and developing her career in jewellery design and making. And she is happy to admit that it hasn’t been a walk in the park.
“It’s been quite scary to leave solid work to pursue a dream,” she says.
“The first couple of months, I had some savings, but now I’ve started to feel like a proper struggling artist! The hardest part of all has been the mental challenge of staying positive and believing in myself as an entrepreneur who can make things happen. Morning runs along the River Stort, meditation and support from my amazing husband, family, friends and customers have helped me to stay (mostly) on track. That, and knowing that once the collection was real, I could share it with the world!
Some of the pieces are timeless classics. Others are more quirky or unusual, but I think, in general, The Windblown Collection will appeal to people who enjoy the freedom of getting out into nature and exploring the world; who love the feel of the wind in their hair and who take notice of what’s underneath their feet. The pieces are airy, full of movement, light, reflections, delicate beauty and subtle strength. A bit like the people who I imagine will wear them.
My hope is that you might find a piece that speaks to you and which anchors you to your inner beauty. Like a bright blue kingfisher on a rainy day, I’d like wearing my jewellery to be a pleasure that lights up your day… maybe someone else’s too!”
The Windblown Collection is available to buy now. Please note because each piece is made to order with bespoke options, there is a four-week lead time between order and delivery.
Bespoke options include a choice of satin or a high-polish finish, bespoke chain lengths, and exact ring sizes. Dawn handmade every part of the jewellery, including the individual ear wires and butterfly backs, to exceptionally high standards, using ethically sourced precious metals and her sustainable, environmentally conscious approach.
If you’d like to join the Found by Dawn inner circle and read more information on The Windblown Jewellery Collection, the silver jewellery process, and access exclusive offers, visit foundbydawn.co.uk.
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