Creator of Barnfather Designs, Louise Barnfather started making jewellery at 6 years old - an early start but a passionate one. She creates collections that reflect her love of fluid forms and natural textures and are made from sterling silver, white and yellow gold. Her innovative designs have a contemporary edge and her jewellery is hallmarked at the Birmingham Assay Office, certifying its quality. Louise uses a variety of techniques to make her pieces, including Computer Aided Design and Waxwork, including Lost Wax Casting.
JewelStreet is lucky to showcase one of Louise’s most popular collections, The Molten Collection, including lightweight, lava and honeycomb molten designs. Made from silver or 9kt gold, all the molten pieces have an irregular texture that captures the essence of molten metal as it starts to solidify. Louise has won numerous awards, like the Highly Commended Award in the Kayman Diamond Awards and three awards from the Tahitian Pearl Trophy 2007-2008.
How did your brand begin?
I had designed a couple of pieces, including my wedding rings which were made by someone else, when I decided to enter a competition run by the National Association of Jewellers. I received a Highly Commended Award for my Arabesque diamond pendant and there was no going back!
When did you first fall in love with jewellery and knew you wanted to become a designer?
I guess my career began very early on when, at the age of 6, I began making pendants using semi-precious polished stones. Throughout my life I have always been interested in jewellery and have collected interesting and unusual pieces.
Where do you get inspiration for your designs?
I love texture, especially fluid forms and naturally created textures. Many of my collections reflect this. I think they help bring out the natural beauty of the metal.
How is your jewellery made?
All my jewellery is handmade by myself. I use a number of different techniques depending on the result I am looking for, including waxwork, CAD and lost wax casting. All my pieces are hallmarked at the Birmingham Assay Office.
Tell us about some of your most inspiring clients or bespoke commissions.
Making bespoke pieces for clients is very special. The reaction when they open the box and see the finished piece for the first time is priceless! I have lost count of the tears I have been responsible for - in a good way of course! And the thank you messages are testament to their satisfaction.
If you could only wear one piece from your collection, what would it be and why?
If I could only wear one piece from my collections it would have to be my gold molten bangle. It has become my signature piece and I always have it on my wrist. After ten years, I’d be at a loss without it!
If you hadn't become a designer, what would you be doing?
I’m not sure what I’d be doing if I hadn’t become a jewellery designer. Perhaps a nuclear physicist or an astronomer as I studied Physics at university!
What's the best piece of advice you've been given? (And have you actually used it?)
My Yorkshire Grandmother frequently quoted the old saying: “There’s nowt so queer as folk!” It reminds me that everyone is different - an important fact when designing bespoke pieces! Keeping an open mind and being empathetic to your client is key.