Ahead of this weekend's Jewellery Quarter festival, I was lucky enough to join a small band of local Instagramers for a special trip around this creative quarter of Birmingham. The excellent @igersbirmingham group teamed with the Jewellery Quarter BID to give us access to a few of the gems in the JQ crown (terrible pun intended) and see behind the scenes.
It. Was. Ace.
We started off by heading into the Wonderful World of Trains and Planes and explored the mini worlds that they have set up there...as well as the flight simulators upstairs. It was a lot of fun and looks like a great place to take the kids during the holidays. Here's a few snaps...
Next up, after popping into Stan's Cafe theatre group for a quick nose around, we headed to the Coffin Works. This is where they used to make all the ornate bits you see on a coffin and was fascinating. We only had time to see in the stamp room, but it was definitely somewhere I would like to go back to and explore more fully.
We then paid a visit to Britain Clockcase, who have been making amazing wooden clocks for generations. We got to see inside their workshop, meet their friendly dog Frank and hear more about the struggles of competing with the internet. I really enjoyed this stop but it also made me sad, as they really can't compete with online clock sellers...you wonder how long they can survive. There's no doubting the beauty of their craft though - if you need a new clock then buy local!
Next up was a stop at the fabulous Frilly Industries - I was particularly excited to see behind their doors as this is the business run by the partner of photographer extraordinaire and all-round brilliant bearded gent Lee Allen. It is also the home to possibly my favourite dog of the Internet, Louis the Boston Terrier. Frilly's pieces are really fun, and they have some excellent laser-cut jewellery...remember these guys later in the year when you're looking for a cool Christmas present for someone!
After Frilly, we went to see Becca Williams' workshop - Becca's jewellery is inspired by the sea and is really rather beautiful. Her workshop was a treat too, very calm with tea making facilities in easy reach and the gentle tones of Radio 4 in the background. Also, kudos to Becca for saving some soldering especially for us so we could get pictures of fire - yes to fire!
Finally, we got to peek behind the scenes at James Newman Ltd, another maker of wonderful jewellery. Here, we also got to hold a sheet of 18-carat yellow gold, which is not something you do on most Saturdays! Again, seeing James' workshop just underlined what a creative and talented area the JQ is.
Thanks so much to everyone in the JQ who let us come and look round, and of course to @igersbirmingham and the JQ BID for organising such a great meet, The Jewellery Quarter Festival runs from 17-19 July and you should definitely check it out.