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Chiara Bet jeweller

Designer Jeweller Chiara Bet started her business on the Starter Studio Programme in October 2011.  Originally from Italy with a BA (Hons.) degree in jewellery from University of Leicester she has now been at Yorkshire Artspace for a year and we asked her to give us an update on her progress:

How did you experience the first year of the Starter Studio Programme What was difficult? What was fantastic?

Looking back at my first year on the Starter Studio Programme, I can tell it was quite tough but at the same time was what I needed to learn about the difficulties of starting my own business. I wasn’t of course expecting my first year as self-employed jeweller and designer to be a walk in the park, but I had no real idea of all the practical issues and different obstacles that this choice would place in front of me until I actually found myself in the position. The good thing of the Starter Programme was not being excessively cocooned in this first stage of my career, meaning that I had every chance to make mistakes and learn from them, all the while knowing that in case of need support was there to be found. And I know I can still count on this support throughout my second year at Persistence Works.

How do you think you have benefited from the support you have been given by Yorkshire Artspace?

As stated above, any time I wished to discuss some issues I was worried about, or found myself in a moment of uncertainty, or I simply needed to let it out (and being Italian I can at times be a bit of a steam pot..!!), doors were always open for me to drop by and find help. More specifically, Jennie Gill my mentor was helpful in double-checking my prices and processes.  She always insisted that I have a go at things first, rather than telling me what to do – allowing me to develop my path at my own pace, finding a balance between personal life, business and part time job. Cameron Maxfield (Max, our technical design expert)  jumps at any opportunity to be helpful when his expertise is needed, and Mir Jansen, the programme manager, was there through my rollercoaster moods, as support not only on the business but also on the personal side of things.  

What are your aims for your final year? What do you hope to have achieved?

By the end of my final year on the Starter Programme, I would like to have produced quite a few of the several collections I developed in my thoughts and illustrations over the past years; it is a both a very proud and very weird moment when, what was initially just an idea in my head or drawing on my sketchbook, physically appears during the making process.  I hope over the year ahead to make the most of every opportunity to promote my work adn will be showing and hopefully selling some of my new rings and earrings at the forthcoming Open Studios event on 16th and 17th November.  I am slowly gathering a small family of aficionados including galleries and private clients who seem to be amused by what I do, and I want to expand this.  The distinct narrative feel which defines my jewellery, captured within its sculptural nature, would allow me to handle work on commission in an even more personal way.  I love the idea of becoming part of someone else’s life through the timeless guise of a jewel.