‘The creative community is inspiring rather than competitive' - Norwich jeweller Lily Read on her work

Jeweller Lily Read in her studio.

Jeweller Lily Read in her studio. - Credit: Lily Read

Each week Kate Wolstenholme speaks to a Norwich local making an impact on the arts in our city. This week, jeweller Lily Read. 

1. How would you best describe your role within the arts community?

I am a jewellery designer-maker with an independent business selling my creations or working on bespoke commissions. 

I am also jewellery tutor at Wensum Lodge as part of their Leisure courses. 

They have a well equipped workshop where I teach how to use the specialist tools and work with metal, encouraging learners to create unique items. 

Work by jeweller Lily Read.

Work by jeweller Lily Read. - Credit: Lily Read

2. What do you love so much about the Norwich art scene?

I love how much it has developed over the years. I grew up here but since returning after living away for seven years, I’ve come back to discover lots more independent artists, shops and studios pop up around the city - each one distinct from the next. 
I love how the creative community is inspiring rather than competitive.

3. How did you get where you are in your career?

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I have always been creative, so I studied Three Dimensional Design at Manchester School of Art and Design, where I was working in a variety of materials such as wood, glass, ceramics and metal. I took to metalwork which lead me towards making jewellery. 

I then went on to refine my skills and continue my studies on a goldsmithing course in Kilkenny Ireland and have since worked for other jewellers.

Where I am at the moment still feels like the beginning. It’s a trade where you’re constantly learning - it never stops! 

I am currently working with The Prince’s trust to gain more knowledge on the business side of things, while continuing teacher training. 

It’s all very exciting as I meet other inspirational people as I go and learn from them. 

Work by jeweller Lily Read.

Work by jeweller Lily Read. - Credit: Rory James

4. What advice would you give to aspiring creatives?

Reach out to others who work in the subject area you want to be in. 

The majority of the time people are more than happy to give advise as they know that it’s tough to figure it all out on your own. 

It’s easy to lose motivation if you’re always working on your own, so by joining groups or classes or just getting yourself out there to discuss creative things with like minded people, you learn a lot from others. 

5. What does an average weekday look like for you?

No two days are the same! If I pick one day I’ll be teaching for a few hours in the morning then I go to my studio to work on some designs, business planning, emails or lesson plans then return to Wensum Lodge again to teach an evening class. 

But another day will be split differently. 

There’s a lot of problem solving in jewellery so I am constantly learning, even as I teach. 

It’s rewarding to see others as passionate about craft and the impact it makes when I share my knowledgeable skills. 

6. Where is your favourite spot in Norwich?

That’s hard to choose! There’s many places to go, as I have to choose one I’ll say Magdalen street. 

I love a good rummage in a second hand shop to find weird and wonderful things, then there are craft supplies near-by, so it almost has it all for me.

7. Can you name one East Anglian creative whose work you admire?

Anmar Mirza - he does some amazing paintings, prints and wall art. 

8. What’s the best exhibition you have been to in East Anglia recently?

Rhythm and Geometry at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts. I was very excited to see this come to Norwich as it’s a curation of Constructivist art which I based my visual research on at university. 

One sculpture in particular by Lygia Clark which I was fascinated with and inspired me to get into metal work! You will see the similarities in my ‘Score and Fold’ collection. 

For more follow...
@lily.read on Instagram or visit www.lilyreadjewellery.com