Francesca Kippax, Anuka Jewellery
PUBLISHED: 17:42 17 November 2014 | UPDATED: 17:44 17 November 2014
Francesca Kippax fell in love and moved to South Vietnam, but now she is back home in Kelsall making beautiful jewellery
Last Christmas Francesca Kippax was hand crafting jewellery in a workshop, looking out at a beautiful beach in South Vietnam.
She spent two years living overseas as the result of meeting her kite-surfing boyfriend, Steve Lovell, but after following her heart she is back in her home town of Kelsall and has set up AnUka, her own jewellery brand.
‘It was the usual love story. I met a man,’ she says.
‘ We both had friends who worked on yachts and they wanted a crew to cross the Atlantic Ocean, so we ended up spending three months sailing from Palma Majorca to the Azores. It changed my life.’
The story has a happy ending. Francesca and Steve are still together - he now has a kite surfing business in Plymouth - but time apart means that Francesca can devote herself to building up a business which is dedicated to making beautiful and unique pieces, some, like her slate collection which are not only inspired by but actually incorporate elements of the local landscape.
‘I got involved in jewellery when I did a degree at the School of Jewellery in Birmingham,’ she explains.
‘I wanted to learn a craft rather than do a fine art course and so I took silversmithing and absolutely loved it. After leaving university, I was given free studio space in the Jewellery Quarter of Birmingham but then I met Steve and went off to live in South Vietnam for two years.’
One of the many positives of working overseas was creating jewellery for people from all over the world.
‘It was great to get feedback from people of different nationalities,’ she says.
‘I got to see how I could sell it in different countries.’
She describes her work as simple with straight, clear lines.
‘Less is often more with jewellery,’ explains former Tarporley High School pupil Francesca.
‘The simpler forms often make more of a statement - the larger pieces, definitely.’
Her slate pieces are often created using raw materials found in nearby North Wales and she says she likes to keep their forms as natural as she possibly can.
‘It’s not fashion-based. I like the idea that my jewellery is contemporary now and in 20/30 years from now it will have that same effect,’ she says.
‘I love to go into my workshop and create something that one day will became sentimental to someone.’
The collection includes wearable and elegant silver pieces with prices starting at an affordable £50.
‘I also do bespoke pieces for clients such as wedding rings, but that can cost a lot more,’ she says.
‘One thing I worked on recently was a bespoke neckpiece for a couple who live in Wales. The husband wanted a slate piece to commemorate their wedding anniversary. The way I work is to either meet in person or exchange ideas over the internet and then I go off and make it - and hope they love it.’
Her business has evolved over the years including its name. Before she left Kelsall to live in South Vietnam it was called Kippax Jewellery but she felt AnUka was a more globally-friendly name and it is Sanskrit for jewel.
Back in Kelsall she is catching up with family and friends at local haunts. ‘I’m pretty close to the Lord Binning’ she say. She is also looking forward to having Christmas in a cold climate.
‘ I want to get my bobble hat on and spend the day at home with my family...all the things I have missed. It will be a great change after spending Christmas on the beach these past few years.’