Oresome Gallery and Jewellery Workshop is in a prime location, just at the top of Humber Street in Hull’s Fruit Market area. We were intrigued so met up with joint owners Nicola Chapman and Victoria Prince to tell us more…
How did Oresome come about?
Victoria: We’ve both got a lot of experience in jewellery making, we both have degrees in jewellery making and silver smithing and we used to lecture in it too, we met while teaching at Hull College. When this opportunity came up we thought it’d be too good to miss.
We just decided to go for our dreams, grab the bull by the horns and have a go at Oresome.
Nicola: I’ve always worked for myself part-time and taught part-time. I used to work in industry as well, so I’ve seen all aspects of the trade. Then in 2011, an initiative was set up by Hull City Council and Hull Forward to develop businesses and to help them to set up in the warehouses on Humber Street. It was the perfect opportunity and it has blossomed since we found out we were to become City of Culture.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Victoria: For me, it’s when you have a commission with somebody and you get to work really closely with them. You go through a process of discussing what fine details they want for their piece and how they want it to look, then you do your initial sketches and they select which design they want. Then the most rewarding bit is the reveal, which is also the most nerve-wracking bit too! You put your heart and soul into it, it’s like bonding with a friend, you spend so much time on it and polish it and finish it off. And by the time you get to give it away it’s almost like you’re giving a piece of yourself away, but it’s really nice, and sometimes quite emotional. Especially if it’s a piece that’s been remodelled so it has sentimental value.
What’s the most unusual piece of jewellery you’ve been commissioned to make?
Nicola: We might be giving people’s secrets away here!
We sometimes get asked to do mourning jewellery, like the old Victorian jewellery where you’d have a locket and a lock of some body’s hair.
Victoria: I’ve done an ashes ring in resin before. You cast it in resin and capsulate it that way. It looked really nice. We did once have to repair one of Christopher Biggin’s clip-on earrings when he was in the panto. His assistant said they were his favourite pair and asked us to repair them for that evening!
You run ‘create your own’ taster sessions, can you tell us a little more about these?
Victoria: We do three regular sessions every month where you can make a silver pendant, earrings or a ring. We take you through some basic techniques and processes and how to put a pattern into your piece and depending on what course it is there’s some bending and forming in there as well. Then you design around those techniques and go home with a finished piece.
In 2017, we’re running specialist one-off courses that will fit into the seasons for City of Culture. The first will include making a bangle (Made in Hull, Saturday 25 March, 1-4pm). We’ve also got a pin badge (Roots and Routes, Saturday 24 June, 1-4pm), a charm (Freedom, Saturday 30 September, 1-4pm) and cufflinks (Tell the World, Saturday 25 November 1-4pm). We’ve got a hint of the season in each session, for example some textures in the piece for Roots and Routes, could represent a journey perhaps with some wire weaved through, or something that means something to you and your family history.
What do you think of Hull becoming City of Culture in 2017?
Victoria: It can only be a good thing. Ever since it was announced, we noticed an increase in visitors, not only from all over the country, but from all over the world. I was amazed, we had a couple come from Australia not long after the announcement, just to have a look. It’s amazing what a difference having the title City of Culture makes.
Nicola: I think Hull’s had low self-esteem for such a long time, but it’s such a fantastic place. Now, hopefully people will get to realise that and see Hull for what it is. The city’s been through a lot, and the people have always sprung back, there’s a lot of grit and determination here. It’s so friendly here too.
Are your pieces inspired by Hull?
Nicola: We’re inspired by everything around us. People don’t always see jewellery as an art from, but we trained as artists, just like anybody else. We look at the yachts in the marina, or the skyline or a piece of architecture and it inspires us, we’re inspired by things in Hull all the time.
Other than the four taster sessions next year, have you got any other big plans for 2017?
Victoria: The big reveal! We’re having an exhibition during Made in Hull. We are both from Hull and we design and make in Hull. So we’re making some ranges and one-off pieces to exhibit within the season.
We’re also planning a different exhibition during Tell the World. We feel more like artists than jewellers – we create small pieces of sculpture, so we’re going to have an exhibition called Size Matters looking at scales of pieces.
Find out more about Oresome’s specialist one-off courses in 2017. Each jewellery course will take you through basic techniques so you can create your own piece of wearable culture.