These Hands | Ashleigh - Staff Profile
These Hands belong to our talented jeweller and production assistant, Ashleigh. Ash famously waited outside the studio for hours one afternoon for the perfect time to ask Natalie for a job. She is the creative behind our #NMJinmotion Instagram stories and is always there to make us laugh or share a story. Get to know Ashleigh below..
Who do these hands belong to?
What is your role at Natalie Marie Jewellery and how long have you been on the team?
Jeweller/Production Assistant. I’ve been working at NMJ for 1.5 years.
Describe a typical day for you?
A typical day starts with me being rudely woken up by my alarm, closely followed by my dog jumping on my bladder – a friendly reminder to get up and take her for a walk!
After getting ready for the day (beauty sleep, what’s that? Am I right ladies?) I embark on my lovely seaside drive to work. First things first – a cup of tea must be made! Then to my bench and a look through my work for the day. This consists mostly of all the lovely online orders our customers place but I sometimes have a hand in our bespoke and repair pieces too.
You may also find me pestering the other jeweler to film what they are making. I get to put together the #NMJinmotion segment on our Instagram stories. It’s a job I thoroughly enjoy as it allows me explain the process of making jewellery to an audience who may not know all the processes involved in making each piece. I always thought one day I’d move into teaching so this has been a really fun and creative start for me.
Most treasured piece of jewellery?
I have a necklace which has a silver wing pendant. Nothing fancy and definitely not my normal style but it was the first piece of jewellery I ever bought myself and the amount of sentiment it holds is priceless. A sense of freedom adventure and independence takes over every time I wear it.
What is your favourite Natalie Marie piece?
I love the Offset Trillion Ring! We’ve done some lovely bespoke versions of this ring and I always have my eye on it when it’s in the studio.
When did you first come across Natalie Marie Jewellery?
I first came across NMJ 2 years ago on Instagram and to my delight, I stumbled across the old studio on my way to the beach. I pretty quickly decided I wanted to work here and so knocked on the door (after awkwardly hovering outside for a bit too long) and told them I wanted a job!
Where would we find you on the weekend? How would you unwind?
At a café with my friends or rugged up on the couch having cuddles with my dog, multiple cups of tea and a movie on.
Coffee or tea? How do you take it?
Tea! My kindred spirit! English Breakfast with a bit of milk. I’m a traditionalist at heart.
Favourite holiday destination?
The Scottish Highlands. I’ve been fortunate enough to have been twice now. The first time I went was a very spontaneous decision and I immediately fell in love. I felt instantly as if I belonged there. It wasn’t a surprise to me when a few years later I found out my ancestors mostly came from the Highlands. I hope to live there for a little bit one day.
What advice would you give to anyone considering to be a jeweller?
Have patience. As the famous Mr Miyagi in ‘The Karate Kid’ once said – “wax on, wax off”. I can’t believe I’m quoting ‘The Karate Kid’, but if you try to rush or don’t take the time to perfect the basics it will have a negative domino effect throughout your practice.
Also, don’t take jewellery making so seriously that you lose all your childish excitement for sparkly things. When I stop to look at the pieces I’ve made each day and I remind myself they started as a bit of metal sheet or wire, I’m instantly proud of how I could turn something rudimentary into a functional and decorative object. It’s important to stop and be in awe of these exciting moments. I believe this should be as much a piece of advice for your work as it is for your life.
What inspires you?
People, their stories and their wisdom. I’m amazed by the many accomplishments of those I’m surrounded by as well as the challenges they have each faced. It inspires me to do and be better and reminds me to feel gratitude for the smallest things.
I also love researching inspirational quotes and poetry. I often find myself delving into the depths of Instagram reading quotes from people with profound insights into life. A simple poem or quote can take the dreariest of days and bring new meaning, new perspective and new excitement to it. It can allow you to reflect on your own path and reignite your passion for a fulfilled life.
If you were not working at NMJ, what would you be doing?
I would probably be a dermatoglogist or nurse. I love helping others and have a slight addiction to watching medical shows. I even worked for a year at a hospital!
What kind of challenges do you like to set yourself in life?
I crave to live a fulfilled life full of wonderful experiences and opportunities to learn. However, I’m often a bit of a nervous nelly and can psyche myself out of trying new things. The challenges I like to set myself often revolve around this – getting myself out of my comfort zone, challenging my thoughts and my routine and reminding myself I’m capable of anything! This can be anything from saying yes to experiences I’d normally think I can’t do or even simple experiences like always ordering something different from a menu.
What are you most grateful for?
Simple answer, everything! From the amazing people in my life to the life I get to live, I think it’s really important to practice gratitude in all areas of your life.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
It’s never too late and stop worrying about the idea of a timeline. You’re creating your own story so do things at the right time for you. And stop acting small!
If you were a dessert, what would you be?
A caramel sundae. It’s full of opposites that make sense. Sweet and salty. Warm and cold. Something for everyone but also its own unique blend.
Describe yourself in 5 words…
Loyal, resilient, empath, astrology fiend.
What is your least known talent?
Beer pong! People never expect it but I have a great throw. Also, I can sing the chorus of “It’s a spoonful of sugar” from Mary Poppins in German. Totally random but oddly has been quite a handy tool in my life.
What is on your wish list right now?
Definitely a certain necklace in one of our upcoming collections (Sabel) that I had the pleasure of making. I also want to explore New Zealand, Norway and Iceland so I guess a holiday!
What is your favourite gemstone?
Diamonds and sapphires. Diamonds for their incredible sparkle and timelessness. Sapphires for the beautiful colours and pops of fun they provide.