This week’s interview is with a UK-based jewellery creator called Tanith, from Tanith Rouse Jewellery, who dyes, paints and prints onto aluminium and then transforms it into modern necklaces, earrings, brooches and cuffs. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone else use this technique, and as a result, all of the items look so unique.
Now I will hand over to Tanith to find out a bit more about her life and her craft ….
Tell us a bit about yourself
My name is Tanith Rouse and I make colourful jewellery from hand dyed anodised aluminium. I live in a small city called Hereford which is close to the Welsh border. I live with my husband and two children aged 9 and 12.
How did you get started in your handmade business?
I started my business in 2012 setting up an online shop on Folksy and eventually adding another shop on Etsy. At first, sales were slow, but then I developed a wider range of work and this seemed to get me noticed on Folksy and the sales came in more steadily.
What first made you want to become an artist/craftsperson?
Art was my best subject at school and my parents were always encouraging of my creativity. They weren’t the sort of parents who worried about paint splodges on the carpets or scratches in my desk from craft knives. So I naturally progressed from school to Art College where originally, I’d wanted to study Graphic Design but when I was introduced to the Jewellery workshop I was hooked. After specialising in Jewellery Design I went on to the Birmingham School of Jewellery and gained a degree in Silversmithing and Jewellery.
Apart from crafts, what do you like to do in your spare time?
I like to listen to music; I’ve recently become a fan of Elbow and am currently making my way through their albums. I like to take my children roller skating and have been known to have a go myself. I also like walking, particularly on the nearby Welsh mountains. I also read when the children are in bed and like all genres but particularly like more imaginative books such as those by Neil Gaiman.
How long have you been creating art/crafts and how long have you been selling online?
I’ve been creating jewellery since I was a teenager. In the days when Sundays were really dull and nothing was open, I would entertain myself looking through my mum’s jewellery boxes. When I eventually bought my own jewellery, I would often take it apart and alter it to how I felt it should look. I stopped making jewellery in my 30’s due to having full time work and life generally getting in the way of creativity. In 2012 I was made redundant and saw it as an opportunity to go back to my creative roots. I felt there were lots of opportunities for selling on line and did some research into the different platforms. I liked the fact that Folksy was a UK based website with a strict hand-made only policy and tried it first. Not long after, I opened a shop on Etsy. Etsy is a much bigger market place and therefore has more competition so I have struggled to be seen on it, but am slowly improving my viewing figures.
How many different places do you sell from?
My online shops are:
and my Facebook page is:
Do you collect anything?
I go on holiday to St. Ives in Cornwall at least twice a year. There are several beaches in the town and the harbour beach has an abundance of sea glass. I can often be found with my head down scratching around in the pebbles for bits of sea worn glass. To me it’s like finding treasure. I tend to just put it in a nice bowl and admire it, maybe one day I should try and make some jewellery out of it?
What’s the most difficult part of your craft?
Anyone who follows me on Facebook or Instagram will know that I find riveting tricky. It’s not possible to solder aluminium because it has a very low melting point. If you need to attach anything to it, the best way is with a rivet which joins two pieces of metal together. I make the rivets from either aluminium wire or silver tube. The nerve wrecking part of the process is the last part when you hammer the wire or tube into a hole; that’s the point where it can all go wrong.
If you had to recommend one movie, which perhaps isn’t so well known, which one would it be?
I love Steve Martin films and my favourite one isn’t so well known. It’s called “LA Story” and is about a man who is disillusioned with his shallow LA life style. One day his car breaks down next to a digital road sign which ends up giving him advice about what he should do. There’s a great mix of humour, magic and thought provoking moments.
Do you have another job? What is it?
I work two days a week for a local charity. We are based in the city library and deal with health and wellbeing issues which cover anything from finding exercise classes to referring homeless people to housing agencies and mental health counselling.
What are three tools in your workspace that you could not live without?
My hole punch, which I made on a lathe whilst studying in Birmingham.
My piercing saw, which I have had for over 20 years.
And my MP3 player, which is full of inspirational music that helps me switch off from the world and create my jewellery.