Meeting the Designer: Cassie Bassett, owner of FOU Jewellery

March 9, 2016

FOU Jewellery is back in our window with new designs especially for Spring.

Wilkinson Goldsmiths is stocked up with some classic FOU pieces and FOU’s latest range the Floreo Collection; drawn from inspiration found in the flora around us in the natural world (I own a pair of the Pollen Stud Earrings and wear them daily – love them). Designer Cassie took some time away from the bench to answer a few of our burning questions about the brand, how she makes each piece and if she has had any jewellery disasters... Q. What was the first piece of jewellery you made? A. The first piece of jewellery I ever made would have been a tiny copper ring. I had just returned home having spent five months in New York working for a fantastic jeweller designer. I immediately joined a local jewellery making class in my home town of Oakham, Rutland. The ring looked pretty terrible but I'd really enjoyed making it, and I was quite proud of it. I still have it in my toolbox in my workshop! Q. Where do you get your ideas from? A. I draw inspiration from anything within the natural world, focussing on unique forms and patterns, including those of beetles, flowers, and skeletons. My designs have an organic and tactile aesthetic to them, with some featuring a Gothic edge. I also love to create items using 3D printing as it's such an exciting and innovative technology that fascinates me, and enables me to create items that would be far too difficult to make by hand. Q. Your favourite piece, and why? A. My favourite pieces has to be the 'Lucanus Cervus Pendant', which I cast from a real stag beetle. The pendant is quite large and makes a real statement, and the form of the beetle is so stunning with its huge, fierce-looking mandibles and curved body, which the light reflects off beautifully. Q. How did you learn what you do? A. I trained at The School of Jewellery in Birmingham, where I gained an HND in Jewellery and Silversmithing, and a BA in Jewellery Design for Industry. Before that I spent a few months in Brooklyn, New York where I worked alongside a wonderful jewellery designer which ignited my passion for the craft. I briefly worked for a Goldsmiths in Bristol where I was taught to do repairs such as ring resizing and soldering broken chains. As I develop new items and collections I find myself learning new techniques as I go along which makes the job even more interesting. Q. Have you ever had a disaster at the bench? A. I've never had a major disaster whereby I've totally damaged a piece, however I do have my bad days when I break about 10 piercing saw blades in a row! Soldering can be tricky sometimes, when I'm making my pendant and necklace chains, as the tiny links can often heat up too much and melt. I actually had a mishap with a stag beetle earring which I was polishing that got caught on my polishing motor and flew off somewhere in my workshop. I found it a few weeks later in a lamp shade when I was cleaning! Q. Any advice for other designers? A. I would highly recommend The Jewellery School in Birmingham for any budding jewellery designers, however I'd also suggest finding an apprenticeship with an existing jeweller if possible, as the experience you will gain learning from a professional within the industry is far more beneficial than anything you could learn at university in my opinion. Q. What next? A. I have so many new designs which I'm hoping to make in the next few months including lots of new beetles and skulls and a collection inspired by reptile skins. I'm also developing my men's collection and learning a new technique called acid etching which will create beautiful patterns onto silver pendants and rings. We look forward to hearing my from Cassie and seeing the outcome of the acid etching technique in the coming months. Thank you for contributing to our blog Cassie! Should you like to see FOU Jewellery in the cabinet, visit Wilkinson Goldsmiths at 4 Allandale Road, but if you can’t wait, visit the FOU jewellery website, or find them on Facebook or Twitter. A gallery of some of Cassie's work can be seen below, which include pendants in-the-making from the FOU Insectum, Calvariam and Floreo collections. [gallery columns="2" link="file" ids="232,233,234,235"]