Q&A from Toby Cotterill

Caterpillar sitting

Toby Cotterill

What is your practice? Materials? Processes?

I design and make unique jewellery inspired by the natural world. My work evolves through sketchbook work and material manipulation. I use traditional silversmithing techniques to forge unique forms, often articulating them with handmade catches and hinges. I mainly work in silver and gold, combining these with resins, natural pigments, and ethically sourced precious stones.

What 5 words best describe your work?
Arthropods! Unique, articulated, wearable sculpture.

Do you have any design heroes?
William Morris, Rene Lalique’s jewellery, John Moore, Rie Taniguchi, Louise Hibbert, Ernst Haeckel, Adam Paxon. My single biggest inspiration is the outrageous jewellery of Peter Chang.

Where is your studio?
At home in Hebden Bridge in the South Pennines.

Toby at bench.-2

Describe in 10 words a typical day in your studio
Getting into the flow and creating objects from my soul.

Or, in practical terms:

Tea. Sketches. Silver. Jewellery. Piercing. Hammering. Soldering. Filing. Stretching. Polishing.

Are you working on anything unusual at the moment? Commissions? New work?
I exhibit regularly regularly with the Manchester Jewellers Network which often provides opportunities to create new work and develop techniques. This year we are making limited edition work to celebrate the 150th publication of Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland. As a main piece I am making a one-off articulated caterpillar with a hookah pipe/tube doubling up as a pendant chain so he can be worn around the neck. He will be sitting on a mushroom ‘stand’ which will contain hidden surprise jewellery which can be detached and worn with the caterpillar. The exhibition will open at the Manchester Craft Centre on 25th November then go on tour.

Did you exhibit or visit last years SAT?
I didn’t exhibit at last years SAT but heard good things about it.

What will you be selling at SAT15? Anything new?
I will be exhibiting my collection of Arthropods, unique, wearable creations inspired by the natural world. I’ll have some one off collectable pieces, mid range necklets, and a new range of affordable wearables.


What venue are you exhibiting at on the trail?
I’m exhibiting at Sophie Nixon’s studio with her fantastic paintings, alongside Juliette Hamilton’s Willow weaving and Nicky Martin’s Ceramics.

Tell us something we don’t know
I’m a fellrunner…I run several times a week on the beautiful South Pennine moors. My best race was up and down Ben Nevis, from sea level, in 2 hours 6 minutes, although I might have to do a return trip to get under two hours!


Thank you Toby!


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