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In 2014 my partner Alan and I decided we’d change our life by renting out our house in East Grinstead and buying a widebeam 60x10ft canal boat. Narrowboats are usually around 6ft10″ wide and we thought a bit more space would suit us better. Most of our friends thought we were mad but we did it! We brought the cat with us too, she’s adapted well and loves checking out each new mooring. I had lived on boats as a child and have done a lot of sailing, so I guess it’s in my blood.
I love designing and making this jewellery in my workshop on our boat, instead of my shed when I was living in the house.
My business was started in 2006 and I thought it could be a way of supplementing our income from the boat. I am now a Roving Trader on the UK canals and waterways. This means I have a licence to trade, which is issued by The Canal & River Trust who own most of the waterways.
We travel around the country on the canals and rivers, setting up the boat shop in busy spots. We also go to organised floating markets which is a great way of meeting people and giving a unique opportunity to see and buy my jewellery.
As a qualified gemmologist (in 1993) my passion for gemstones inspired me to make my own range of bead jewellery. I love the variety of colours and shapes. The beads are sourced from suppliers in London, where I know the quality will be good, (drill holes can be sharp or crooked) and they are always well polished. I don’t use any glass or imitation beads and the spacer beads are either silver or gold filled, unless otherwise stated. My inspiration comes from the colours in the gemstones themselves and from the colour combinations in fashion.
I have worked in jewellery retail for many years. My dream had always been to build a business using and making my own designs. I started by selling a range of my designs in the lovely silver jewellery shop where I worked at the time, very successfully, until the shop folded some 6 years later. Since then my jewellery has been selling in some lovely galleries around West Sussex, as well as from the boat.
I am also a professional stringer to the trade, so the standard of finish is high. Every piece carries a 6 month stringing guarantee.
Please enjoy looking at my past and current work on the site.
Rona Hawes FGA.RJDip