Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
I was making jewellery for many years as a hobby before I encountered silver clay in
2005 and was hooked. Within a year I trained up to be a Senior Art Clay Instructor,
gave up the day job and leapt into a full time career as a jewellery artisan. As well as
running my own business, I am also a Senior Editor with Metal Clay Artist Magazine.
Have any special hobbies?
Making jewellery was my hobby before I turned it into my business, and I feel it still is
both. I love photography as well.
What is your business name and website address?
I use my own name for my business. My website is www.joyfunnell.co.uk
Your shop address?
My Etsy shop is https://www.etsy.com/shop/JoyFunnellEtsy
Do you sell in any shops other than etsy?
I have a shop on my own website, but that is all. I sell at quite a few fairs as well, it is
nice to talk to people face to face about my work.
How did you find out about metal clay and then start working with it? How long?
I first encountered silver clay at the Guild of Enamellers conference in 2004, when
Glyn Mitchell came and gave us a Masterclass in it. It immediately appealed to me and
I bought some to try. I didn’t really start using it until early 2005 though.
What drives you to make jewelry?
I just love it! I am inspired by colours and textures and try to bring that into most of
my work. I have always loved jewellery anyway, and to be able to make it myself is
just magical. I still feel a tingle of delight when I make a piece that I am happy with.
Are you disciplined or do you go with the flow and work when you feel like it?
I would love to be more disciplined than I am! I get easily distracted which is a bad
Won any awards for your jewelry? for anything else?
I have won some awards which is lovely and really boosts the confidence.
Do you do any other type of art?
I used to do wood carving but when we got two kittens, about 13 years ago now,
I packed everything away. Wood chippings flying around and sharp knives did not
seem a good combination with inquisitive animals. Somehow all my tools, etc, never
came out again, and I have not done any more since then. When I started making
little creatures in bronze clay though, I immediately felt the connection to the wood
carving, and I love making miniature metal sculptures.
When did you feel you had more confidence in your abilities?
I think it took me a good 3-4 years of working full time with metal clay to really start
to feel confident in my abilities. When I achieved Craftsman status with the Guild of
Enamellers in 2009 I made all my six submission pieces in silver clay, the first time
anyone had done that. Five of the six pieces have to be marked by the three expert
assessors at 75% or higher to become a Craftsman. The fact that I managed that, and
that the three assessors who had no knowledge of silver clay were so impressed by it,
had a huge effect on my confidence.
What is your favorite tool for working with metal clay?
Probably my water brush pen, it is just so useful for cleaning up joins etc while the
clay is still wet so I don’t have to do any sanding and filing. I could not work without
baby wipes as well though!
Where do you work?
I have a little tiny workshop and a larger teaching area. At the moment I often work in
my teaching area as my workshop needs a good blitz and is far too cluttered.
What is your favorite thing to make?
I love to make one of a kind competition pieces. Because a piece is for a competition
seems to let me give myself permission to put in an unrealistic amount of work, so
they are not always commercially viable as they should be, but I love it!
Do you ever add commercial components?
Yes, occasionally. I do hang a lot of my pieces on commercial chains, even though I
enjoy chain making, because of the time and cost in making them, and I often use
commercial earwires. Recently I have tried using RingCores™ from Metal Clay Supply
for some of my rings, and that is something I am experimenting with further.
How do you work, and when? (for ex. assembly line or one at a time)
I normally have several pieces on the go at any one time and work between them.
When I am enameling I always like to try to do at least two pieces at once if I can. If
I work on only one piece, waiting for it to cool after each firing is too frustrating and
time wasting. I’m not a very patient person sometimes!
Do you have any kind of creative ritual?
No, I don’t think I do.
How do you hold onto ideas that you don't have time to pursue NOW!
I try to jot something down on paper to remind of the idea, or even make a quick note
on my phone.
Do you ever use a sketchbook?
I do sketch sometimes, but it is mainly when I am at craft fairs, when I get quiet
moments. I end up with lots of loose sheets of paper around the place. I don’t often
feel the need to have a sketch before I start working if I have a good idea in my mind.
Do you ever teach classes and where?
Yes, I teach workshops all the while. I mostly teach from my base in Hastings, UK
but I also occasionally teach in other studios in the UK. I have taught in the USA and
Switzerland and am excited that I will be going back to the USA to teach later this
Do you make a living at it?
Yes, it is my full time job, making and teaching. I am also a Senior Editor with Metal
Clay Artist Magazine and I really enjoy doing that.
Do you do custom orders?
Yes, I do some custom orders, so long as they fit my style of work, and I am
comfortable with the request. I will turn them down though, if I don’t think I will
enjoy doing it.
What are you working on currently?
A new range of enameled rings.
What's next on your agenda to make?
I have some new ideas for enamelling techniques which I plan to experiment with.
How do you make time for everything you want to do?
I’m not really sure I do. I seem to always be chasing round in circles with a long ‘to do’
Anything else you'd like to tell us about yourself?
I love doing challenges. In 2011 I did a Bird a week Challenge. In 2012 I did the Four A Month
Challenge and a Bird a Month. This year I am doing a Weekly Critter Challenge . I find it interesting
looking back and seeing how my work is changing over the course of each challenge.
I hope you enjoyed this look into the art of Joy Funnell. Be sure to check out her Etsy shop!