#UnwrapArt and support artists and makers

Our #UnwrapArt campaign highlights the many opportunities for the public to buy directly from artists this festive season. Writer Chris Sharratt speaks to jeweller Laura Murray about the impact that festive sales can have on the rest of the year.

For Glasgow-based artist and jewellery maker Laura Murray, Christmas is about experimenting and trying out new ideas.

“I use the Christmas markets to try out new pieces,” she says. “I can be a bit more experimental, but also keep the costs lower because I’m not paying a commission to shops or galleries.”

Murray began making and selling her handmade jewellery in 2000 and currently has a space in Wasps Studios at the Briggait. Year-round she sells her jewellery range – which features beautifully intricate silver broaches, earrings and necklaces – through shops, galleries and also online via Etsy.

The pieces she sells online are all affordably priced, with the most expensive – ‘swirl earrings with drops’ – retailing at £75. But for Christmas, Murray’s experimental approach also means being even more affordable by working with different, less costly materials.

“This year I’m launching a new printed aluminium range of jewellery at the Wasps Artists and Makers Winter Market,” she explains. “I’m also making little earrings out of recycled felt tip pens.”

Murray describes this time of year as “absolutely crucial” for sales, adding that “a huge part of your earnings are at Christmas.”

But setting up a stall at a makers’ market isn’t just about what you sell, she stresses. “You’re also getting to see your customers, and see what they pick up and like, so it’s a wee bit like market research, too. It’s very much a social event as well: you see other makers and what they’re doing, so it can be quite fun.”

The pieces Murray sells at markets range in price from £15 to £70, and keeping prices low is key because sales are often impulse buys. “In markets, people are walking round the stalls and they see things they like and want to buy, so it’s important to make the jewellery more affordable.”

Of course sometimes potential buyers want to think about their purchase a little longer. And while only a selection of Murray’s pieces are available on Etsy, she posts images of all her jewellery on Instagram and is happy for buyers to DM her through the site.

She adds: “At this current time when everyone’s trying to be greener, buying from makers is surely much better for everyone because you’re supporting them directly to be able to keep on working.”

Laura is taking part in Wasps Winter Artists and Makers Market ,The Briggait, Glasgow on 11-12 Dec





Image: Swirl brooch courtesy of Laura Murray