Sheffield Jewellery Designer Uses Traditional Knots Mastered By Yorkshire Fishermen
Living North speaks to Sheffield-based jeweller Beth Pegler, an acclaimed designer of jewellery made with the traditional art of knot-making – breathing new purpose into a technique mastered by Yorkshire fishermen
‘I always make things that I want to wear, so that’s my starting point. I don’t like overly fussy jewellery – I’m drawn to repetition and bold designs,’ says Beth. ‘When I started the business, I only had baby nap times and evenings to work, so I chose something that I could do on the sofa whilst watching TV. Something that was relaxing but also creatively fulfilling,’ she continues. ‘When I started my business I was on maternity leave with my fourth child. I never went back to primary teaching as I was desperate to work for myself and have a job that would fit in with my young family.’
Beth’s work is showcased by models of varying ages, ethnicities and builds. Believing her work should be inclusive and championed by any one who might find joy in it, Beth aims to empower women.
‘I love working with other women. I’ve been working with the photographer Danni Maibaum since 2017 when I launched my website, and I’ve also worked with some amazing hair and makeup artists,’ says Beth. ‘The women that I’ve used for my shoots are mainly friends (or friends-of-friends) and I think it’s important to represent a broad range of women in terms of ethnicity, age, etcetera. But there is always more I can do to be inclusive and I would love to work with a plus size model next – if I think someone’s look will work well with a concept that I have then I’ll ask them, and I’ve always been delighted with the results.’
Beth’s rope jewellery is inspired by the people and natural beauty of Yorkshire. ‘I love taking something old and bringing it up to date, reinventing it for today. Although I’m inspired by all the people in Sheffield that are doing great things with their independent businesses, I would say that my rope work has been inspired much more by the coast than the city,’ she explains. ‘As a family we love to visit the North Yorkshire coast. Places like Staithes and Robin Hood’s Bay. It’s things like fisherman’s knots, the washed-out and sun-bleached ropes, and beaches in winter that I personally feel directly inspired by.
‘And it’s the lovely people of this city that helped my business grow,’ she continues. ‘By wearing my necklaces in the early days of my business it helped them get seen and helped the orders come in. Sheffield is still where I make most of my sales.’
Easy to pick up but hard to master, the process of making rope accessories is intuitive and rewarding, so much so that Beth produced her own rope making kits – Domestika.
‘It’s things like fisherman’s knots, the washed-out and sun-bleached ropes, and beaches in winter that I personally feel directly inspired by'
‘I take the age-old art of knot-forming to create modern wearable jewellery that’s impactful. I love that I can make jewellery with just a piece of rope and my hands. I started experimenting with rope as a wearable item as it was affordable, and available in so many different forms, sizes and colours,’ she explains. ‘It’s reminiscent of the jewellery that I used to make as a child and teenager, like friendship bracelets and finger knitting. It was only when the business became established that I was able to invest back into it and my own professional development, enrolling on a metalwork jewellery course and starting to learn that side of jewellery making as well.’
Excited for the future, Beth is eagerly awaiting a slew of events — including the Endless Love Creative Market in Sheffield, a collaboration launch with ceramicist Anna Klime, and teaching some in-person courses across Sheffield.
‘I instantly felt at home in Sheffield and I think that’s down to the people and the community feel of the place. It’s a city but the old cliché is true: it feels much more like a collection of interconnected villages,’ she says. ‘There is a brilliant arts community here, lots of creative people making things in their studios all around the city. Doing what I do here, every day is different, creatively-fulfilling and on my terms, which is what I love.’