Q&A with Denman tutor Jude Karnon!

Q&A with Denman tutor Jude Karnon!

Jude Karnon started making jewellery as a hobby over ten years ago. When redundancy from a website and communications role loomed, Jude decided to turn her hobby into her business and Jude Karnon Jewellery launched in November 2015. Jude works in both silver and gold and makes all pieces using traditional techniques and hand tools. Her passion is designing alongside her clients to create jewellery that encapsulates their personality, style and individualism. Jude joined as a Denman tutor in 2019.

How did you get into silver jewellery?

My love of silver jewellery motivated me into wanting to make my own. I enrolled on an evening course in 2008 and never looked back! I spent every Monday for six years honing my skills with an experienced tutor and during that time I registered for my own hallmark and started selling jewellery in my parents shop in Cornwall. The feeling of enormous pride is unsurpassable when someone buys your handmade jewellery.

How did you get into teaching?

When I set up my jewellery business, I thought it a great idea to utilise my newly built studio and teach others the basics of jewellery making. Since I started teaching three years ago, I have had over 130 students through my doors who have all produced amazing pieces of jewellery. I also set up my own term time evening class which sees 12 enthusiastic students of varying abilities working on a variety of projects. I absolutely love teaching and hope I encourage and inspire anyone who wants to give jewellery making a go.

What makes your course with gemstones so special?

Gemstone jewellery is beautiful and eye catching. We choose a gemstone depending on size and shape, if it’s our birth stone, healing properties and even just because it is our favourite colour. A gemstone can bring a very personal quality to a piece of jewellery. Setting a stone as part of a piece of jewellery is incredibly rewarding because you will make everything from scratch. You will definitely receive many positive comments about the jewellery with which you can proudly say “I made it”!

If someone has never done anything like this before, what can they expect from your course?

A very patient tutor to start with! Setting a stone can be quite challenging so we will take things slowly. The first step in making jewellery is the design element so you spend time thinking about whether you would like to make a subtle or statement ring or pendant. You will learn silversmithing techniques, such as piercing, shaping, soldering, filing and polishing and will do these by using traditional hand tools. Interesting facts will be imparted during the course so you can learn more about gemmology and the unique properties of your gemstones.

What advice do you have for someone considering doing silver jewellery for the first time?

Be patient and don’t give up! Getting used to the tools and techniques can take some time but with practice will bring confidence. Keep a sketch book close for your design ideas that will normally pop into your head at very unusual times!  Be inspired but not influenced by other designer’s work…discovering your own style is far more fulfilling.

Do you have a favourite piece of jewellery you’ve made? If so, what is it?

The last piece I make is always my favourite! I am very proud of my Tectonic Collection, inspired by geology and the engineering involved in making each piece of the collection most definitely affords the title of ‘wearable art’. I also love my bluebell collection that celebrates the bluebell season and is inspired by local ancient woodlands which come alive with carpets of these beautiful flowers each Spring time.

If you’re interested in joining Jude on a course at Denman, click here!

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