A box of colourful, shining buttons instantly takes jewellery-maker, Michelle Seviour of Indigo Berry, on a trip back in time.
It transports her to a childhood spent raiding her grandmother’s button box, admiring the sheen, the shape and the stories, and being inspired at an early age to explore texture and colour.
“My grandmother let me play with them,” Michelle explains. “I loved to lay them out, exploring which shapes and colours worked well together, feeling the textures and enjoying the story behind each one.” This was just one of the early influences that led to Michelle’s interest in art and she went on to study Art History at Leeds University. But, it wasn’t until the early 1990’s that Michelle’s art took a different form.
“I didn’t have pierced ears, so I had to make my own earrings,” Michelle reveals. “I made items that I wanted to wear, heavily influenced by my favourite colour: purple! I love adapting familiar items into my jewellery. So, as well as buttons, anything from belt buckles to keyhole fittings have been upcycled!”
Michelle later moved to Skye, which opened up a whole new range of inspiration. She enthuses: “I am constantly influenced by natural forms. My work-room looks over the loch, so I can watch the weather and light change. I also find my materials inspiring. I love using gemstones and glass beads in my designs.” But it is the button box that frequently plays a starring role in Michelle’s work! “I will often include the buttons in my designs,” she explains. “I love to add that vintage twist to my contemporary work. People have even given me buttons belonging to their own grandmothers, which is lovely!”
What started off as a creative hobby grew into Indigo Berry - a name that nods to Michelle’s favourite colour and the potential for growth represented by a berry. Specialising in original and one-off pieces, Michelle transforms her materials into intriguing and unique pieces. “I also love to work on commissions,” Michelle says. “I mostly create necklaces, earrings, rings and bracelets, but I also love working with fabric and crafting other things such as lavender bags.” Craft and jewellery meet in her popular Tattie Bogal character brooches, inspired by a local scarecrow festival. Each one is a unique character, finished with a button and named after a place in the Minginish area of Skye.
What does the future hold for Indigo Berry? Michelle is always looking for new ways to express her creativity. “I have so many ideas,” she laughs. “I have an idea to create jewellery involving fossils. I have some ammonites which I plan to wire-wrap and make into pendants.
“This year, I am branching further afield with a stall at the annual Bourneville Festival in Birmingham on the 25th of June, so that will be very exciting!”
Nearer home, Michelle is a regular at craft fairs in Skye and Lochalsh, including the popular Made in Minginish Community Hall ‘Craft and Tea’ events, which take place every Wednesday during summer (late April to mid-September.)