15 September 2011

A Conversation with Helen of Jewels

Helen of Jewels has made costume jewellery for the last 4 years and delights in designing and making creations that show the world what a brighter place it can be.  Helen is not all about jewellery as is evident by her on-line shop which is currently sporting christmas tree decorations and gift tags along with her jewellery pieces.  Here, Helen shares an insight into her creative world...

Who is Jewels? 
Helen Bakker

I’ve had a passion for craft and textures from an early age, influenced by my parents.

My mother made everything from soap and cottage cheese, ginger beer and tatted lace edgings. My father, an old school European trained bespoke tailor.

I grew up with vege gardens, sewn toys and clothes. Walking the beaches for shells and catching my own snapper on dad’s bamboo surf casting road. Those where the days when supermarkets just were becoming popular and a fabric shop was as common as the local bakery. I didn’t have a commercial pair of jeans until I was at least 12!

I started using a sewing machine on my fathers knee before the age of 5, and was given a second hand sewing machine around 10 ( if think.)

My mother taught me knitting and how to make “real mess”.

So I’m grateful for my heritage and a similar life as a growing child.

What’s your “handmade groove ?”
Anything and everything I can get my hands on. I’m a bit of a sponge. I love texture. Handmade groove? One off, quality jewellery pieces –especially love to design for clients. Aspiring creative sewer!

What’s on your bedside table right now? (hey, no tidying up or censoring)
Empty tea cup, 9 craft books, 2 novels, Mp3 player, 2 necklaces…

Who are your creative role models? What music, books, images, poetry spark your creative fire?
Creative Models? Talented people I meet every day . Everyone is talented, it just takes another to recognize it! People who are real and inspired in lots of different ways. People who laugh at their mistakes and realize that’s just part of life and learn from it. Crafters I read about in this new era of social networking and internet. I have soaked up techniques and crafting by reading a lot over the years and then practicing it…

I enjoy being a creative model for others through volunteering my skills and encouraging others to look at things in different ways.

I do love music and at the studio I rely on my other studio mates ipods for background music. We zone out together!

What could you talk late into the night about with like minded people?
I’m not like that… rather have a good old dessert which we all share and go “googie over” and enjoy time with them and learn more about them as people and crafters.

If you could go to three free workshops/creative events this year which ones would they be? What are they about?
One I have already done in March 2011. Workshop with Lorraine Dowdle – SRA. NZ glass bead maker and wire artist.

A workshop on promoting your craft to others and potential customers.
Lots of craft shows and displays with another crafter friend – why? To have fun and soak it all up and meet other crafters…Would love to go a beading workshop or two in Australia or the US.

Would love to know about more events in NZ.

How do you balance your creative life with your family, life commitments?
Probably not as well as I should!

I work by appointment at my studio and fit designing and classes around what we do. I make sure I get 2 clear days, unless family illness keeps me home. My husband works from home so we take turns with organizing family commitments and being there for our 3 children. Planning ahead helps, texting and a crockpot!

Kitchen table or studio?
I keep the jewellery side at the studio. The house gets too chaotic otherwise. The sewing side is often on the dinning table because it’s 2m long! I do have a conservatory at home that’s handy for sewing in the sun and looks out over the garden. The cats usually come in and have a nap and keep me company.

Do you have a wish list? Can you tell us what’s on it?
My studio is shared space and is a basic– but lovely. At the moment a floor rug and woolly ugg boots are much needed .It’s a bit nippy in there. Must do that very soon.

Creatively – some jewellery components I’m trying to source. Brass metal flowers that you can roll the petals and shape and layer for a design I want to do.

A house cleaner would be nice and a garage to put the car into on a wet day. Our garage is full of other stuff!

You can find Jewels products.. here
Follow on Facebook.. here


  1. Hi Helen, love your dragonfly jewelery, and I wouldn't mind a Housekeeper either.
    cheers Marie

  2. I've enjoyed reading your interview Helen. Best of luck to you. :)

  3. So nice learning where your creativity came from :) Thanks for sharing :)


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