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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Martha Tilston, A Musical Goddess

She grew up surrounded by folk legends, art, and theatre from England and Ireland. It all mixed up to create Martha: An earthy lady who sings like a heavenly bird and paints like a dream. She's touring in May, so do read on.

Written by Helen Martin


Illustration by Emma Block

From student life to Vogue fame in one action packed year, here Daisy Knights’ creations have already been snapped up by our most loved style icons and proved that ethically responsible jewellery can still be achingly cool.  

Splitting her time between the simple life in the countryside and the rush of her production process, Daisy tells us a little bit more about the passion and inspiration behind her jewellery collections and what the future holds for this wonderfully British label. 

Your collection has taken off at incredible speed, how does that feel?
It’s great, I’m so happy that people want to buy and wear my designs! I saw my bracelets in Vogue this month and had a moment of “wow, this time last year, I was at university and now my jewellery is in Vogue!” 


Illustration by Holly Trill

Two of your pieces, the Oxidised Feather ring and the 22 Karat Skull ring have recently been worn by Daisy Lowe and Alexa Chung, two of the UK’s biggest style icons. Did they approach you personally or was it just a wonderful surprise?
Well, we share the same publicist who made them aware of my pieces and happily, they seemed to love them! 

Which inspirations lie behind your jewellery designs?
Every collection is named after a friend and I use them as a muse for that collection. I aim to embody that person in the collection, My new one is Talullah, after my friend Tallulah Harlech. 

You pride yourself on having an ethically responsible ethos throughout your collection, is this something you have always had a strong belief in?
My workshop is in Britain and even my pouches are made here. I really try to be responsible but it’s not possible yet to get everything transparent sourced, which is what I hope for one day! There are so many grey areas within the industry in regards to where things come from. Keeping things in Britain means I know every person working for me, I know exactly how things are made and every person in my workshop is a highly skilled craftsman/woman. It means that my prices are higher than if I used a factory in India or China but I think the kind of people who buy my jewellery respect that it is very high quality and British made. 

Illustration by Matilde Sazio

Each one of your pieces is hand made from recycled materials, which is becoming increasingly popular in a society where everything seems so disposable. Is this something you aim to maintain and something you think your buyers appreciate above anything else?
I don’t want the main aspect of my jewellery to be that it is recycled. For my brand, it’s about the design and the recycled silver is just a plus! Not every piece is recycled silver but the majority is. For example, the chain is not recycled because it’s not possible to obtain. I would love my jewellery to be made from ethically mined silver rather than recycled but right now, not enough is produced and I’m not even sure it is possible yet, so right now recycled is better than nothing. I do hope, however, for it to be ethically mined silver one day in the future. My fine jewellery and bespoke engagement rings are ethically mined gold and diamonds. 

You personally make one of your designs, the Studded Wrap Around ring, at your home workshop away from production, is there any particular reason as to why you chose this one to work on alone?
I don’t ever want to be separated from the making process and this is a very popular piece so it’s nice to feel involved. I also make the Michelle stacking rings and a few others. It keeps my skills up for when I make engagement rings and bespoke pieces! I hate being away from the bench and I’m constantly making new samples for collections or adding pieces to existing ones. 


Illustration by Cat Palairet

Are there any designers out there that you would compare yourself and your work to?
At this early stage in my career, (I only graduated from Central Saint Martins last year) I’m not sure I could compare myself to anyone yet! However, my favourite designer is Matthew Williamson and I like to think my jewellery matches his clothing quite well! 

 Which of your pieces are you the most fond of?
My favourite piece has to be the new skull ring that I’ve done in an exclusive collection for Urban Outfitters… it’s not out yet though so you will have to wait and see! 

What do you get up to in the spare time that you have away from designing?
I live in the Cotswolds and I love going for country walks with my boyfriend and our dog, Ace Ventura Pet Detective (Ace for short). There’s a great pub in my village called the Falcon Inn which serves amazing locally sourced food and I love sitting by the fire there. I also love to sail and surf and when my boyfriend is back from work (he’s a pilot in the RAF) we go on surf trips together. I also love going to the British Museum and the V&A. 

What does the future hold for Daisy Knights?
Well hopefully it holds a long and happy career. But for the immediate future keep your eyes peeled for my new Spring/Summer collection…

Illustration by Emma Block

From student life to Vogue fame in one action packed year, more about Daisy Knights’ creations have already been snapped up by our most loved style icons and proved that ethically responsible jewellery can still be achingly cool.  

Splitting her time between the simple life in the countryside and the rush of her production process, approved Daisy tells us a little bit more about the passion and inspiration behind her jewellery collections and what the future holds for this wonderfully British label. 

Your collection has taken off at incredible speed, visit this how does that feel?
It’s great, I’m so happy that people want to buy and wear my designs! I saw my bracelets in Vogue this month and had a moment of “wow, this time last year, I was at university and now my jewellery is in Vogue!” 


Illustration by Holly Trill

Two of your pieces, the Oxidised Feather ring and the 22 Karat Skull ring have recently been worn by Daisy Lowe and Alexa Chung, two of the UK’s biggest style icons. Did they approach you personally or was it just a wonderful surprise?
Well, we share the same publicist who made them aware of my pieces and happily, they seemed to love them! 

Which inspirations lie behind your jewellery designs?
Every collection is named after a friend and I use them as a muse for that collection. I aim to embody that person in the collection, My new one is Talullah, after my friend Tallulah Harlech. 

You pride yourself on having an ethically responsible ethos throughout your collection, is this something you have always had a strong belief in?
My workshop is in Britain and even my pouches are made here. I really try to be responsible but it’s not possible yet to get everything transparent sourced, which is what I hope for one day! There are so many grey areas within the industry in regards to where things come from. Keeping things in Britain means I know every person working for me, I know exactly how things are made and every person in my workshop is a highly skilled craftsman/woman. It means that my prices are higher than if I used a factory in India or China but I think the kind of people who buy my jewellery respect that it is very high quality and British made. 

Illustration by Matilde Sazio

Each one of your pieces is hand made from recycled materials, which is becoming increasingly popular in a society where everything seems so disposable. Is this something you aim to maintain and something you think your buyers appreciate above anything else?
I don’t want the main aspect of my jewellery to be that it is recycled. For my brand, it’s about the design and the recycled silver is just a plus! Not every piece is recycled silver but the majority is. For example, the chain is not recycled because it’s not possible to obtain. I would love my jewellery to be made from ethically mined silver rather than recycled but right now, not enough is produced and I’m not even sure it is possible yet, so right now recycled is better than nothing. I do hope, however, for it to be ethically mined silver one day in the future. My fine jewellery and bespoke engagement rings are ethically mined gold and diamonds. 

You personally make one of your designs, the Studded Wrap Around ring, at your home workshop away from production, is there any particular reason as to why you chose this one to work on alone?
I don’t ever want to be separated from the making process and this is a very popular piece so it’s nice to feel involved. I also make the Michelle stacking rings and a few others. It keeps my skills up for when I make engagement rings and bespoke pieces! I hate being away from the bench and I’m constantly making new samples for collections or adding pieces to existing ones. 


Illustration by Cat Palairet

Are there any designers out there that you would compare yourself and your work to?
At this early stage in my career, (I only graduated from Central Saint Martins last year) I’m not sure I could compare myself to anyone yet! However, my favourite designer is Matthew Williamson and I like to think my jewellery matches his clothing quite well! 

 Which of your pieces are you the most fond of?
My favourite piece has to be the new skull ring that I’ve done in an exclusive collection for Urban Outfitters… it’s not out yet though so you will have to wait and see! 

What do you get up to in the spare time that you have away from designing?
I live in the Cotswolds and I love going for country walks with my boyfriend and our dog, Ace Ventura Pet Detective (Ace for short). There’s a great pub in my village called the Falcon Inn which serves amazing locally sourced food and I love sitting by the fire there. I also love to sail and surf and when my boyfriend is back from work (he’s a pilot in the RAF) we go on surf trips together. I also love going to the British Museum and the V&A. 

What does the future hold for Daisy Knights?
Well hopefully it holds a long and happy career. But for the immediate future keep your eyes peeled for my new Spring/Summer collection…

Illustration by Emma Block

From student life to Vogue fame in one action packed year, dosage Daisy Knights’ creations have already been snapped up by our most loved style icons and proved that ethically responsible jewellery can still be achingly cool.  

Splitting her time between the simple life in the countryside and the rush of her production process, Daisy tells us a little bit more about the passion and inspiration behind her jewellery collections and what the future holds for this wonderfully British label. 

Your collection has taken off at incredible speed, how does that feel?
It’s great, I’m so happy that people want to buy and wear my designs! I saw my bracelets in Vogue this month and had a moment of “wow, this time last year, I was at university and now my jewellery is in Vogue!” 


Illustration by Holly Trill

Two of your pieces, the Oxidised Feather ring and the 22 Karat Skull ring have recently been worn by Daisy Lowe and Alexa Chung, two of the UK’s biggest style icons. Did they approach you personally or was it just a wonderful surprise?
Well, we share the same publicist who made them aware of my pieces and happily, they seemed to love them! 

Which inspirations lie behind your jewellery designs?
Every collection is named after a friend and I use them as a muse for that collection. I aim to embody that person in the collection, My new one is Talullah, after my friend Tallulah Harlech. 

You pride yourself on having an ethically responsible ethos throughout your collection, is this something you have always had a strong belief in?
My workshop is in Britain and even my pouches are made here. I really try to be responsible but it’s not possible yet to get everything transparent sourced, which is what I hope for one day! There are so many grey areas within the industry in regards to where things come from. Keeping things in Britain means I know every person working for me, I know exactly how things are made and every person in my workshop is a highly skilled craftsman/woman. It means that my prices are higher than if I used a factory in India or China but I think the kind of people who buy my jewellery respect that it is very high quality and British made. 


Illustration by Matilde Sazio

Each one of your pieces is hand made from recycled materials, which is becoming increasingly popular in a society where everything seems so disposable. Is this something you aim to maintain and something you think your buyers appreciate above anything else?
I don’t want the main aspect of my jewellery to be that it is recycled. For my brand, it’s about the design and the recycled silver is just a plus! Not every piece is recycled silver but the majority is. For example, the chain is not recycled because it’s not possible to obtain. I would love my jewellery to be made from ethically mined silver rather than recycled but right now, not enough is produced and I’m not even sure it is possible yet, so right now recycled is better than nothing. I do hope, however, for it to be ethically mined silver one day in the future. My fine jewellery and bespoke engagement rings are ethically mined gold and diamonds. 

You personally make one of your designs, the Studded Wrap Around ring, at your home workshop away from production, is there any particular reason as to why you chose this one to work on alone?
I don’t ever want to be separated from the making process and this is a very popular piece so it’s nice to feel involved. I also make the Michelle stacking rings and a few others. It keeps my skills up for when I make engagement rings and bespoke pieces! I hate being away from the bench and I’m constantly making new samples for collections or adding pieces to existing ones. 


Illustration by Cat Palairet

Are there any designers out there that you would compare yourself and your work to?
At this early stage in my career, (I only graduated from Central Saint Martins last year) I’m not sure I could compare myself to anyone yet! However, my favourite designer is Matthew Williamson and I like to think my jewellery matches his clothing quite well! 

 Which of your pieces are you the most fond of?
My favourite piece has to be the new skull ring that I’ve done in an exclusive collection for Urban Outfitters… it’s not out yet though so you will have to wait and see! 

What do you get up to in the spare time that you have away from designing?
I live in the Cotswolds and I love going for country walks with my boyfriend and our dog, Ace Ventura Pet Detective (Ace for short). There’s a great pub in my village called the Falcon Inn which serves amazing locally sourced food and I love sitting by the fire there. I also love to sail and surf and when my boyfriend is back from work (he’s a pilot in the RAF) we go on surf trips together. I also love going to the British Museum and the V&A

What does the future hold for Daisy Knights?
Well hopefully it holds a long and happy career. But for the immediate future keep your eyes peeled for my new Spring/Summer collection…
 Gareth A Hopkins _ Martha Tilston _ Ameliasmagazine _480dpx

Illustration by Gareth A Hopkins

If you’re feeling a bit delicate and would quite like to be wafted by a soft feathery fan type device, no rx as you contemplate, viagra Martha Tilston is for you. With songs entitled; Wild Swimming, Rockpools, Space and Firefly, she is all about sweet country and looking out from under the covers. But with the protection of delicate notes and kindness.

I first discovered Martha Tilston a few years ago and to be honest, I didn’t really want to tell anyone about her. She is my safety blanket and makes me feel at home. Back when she and I met, I had just left University in Cornwall and was at a loss as to what the hell to do next. My boyfriend and I moved to Bristol and temped for a hideous agency. All winter we were stuck working together inputting money off coupons for Tena Lady. Fabulous for any relationship. We’d cycle there, numb ourselves for eight hours, then cycle home. I kept a notebook by my desk and had my i pod streaming Tilston. I wrote loads in those endless, dark hours.

Then our bikes got stolen, we were laid off Tena Lady, our rented flat was put up for sale and I wrote even more. Tilston is good as a background to “Why is the world doing this to me?!” She restores faith. I give you Lucy:

Literally surrounded by art, Martha Tilston must have found it hard not be inspired as she grew up. She was born in the West Country and is the daughter of English folk singer, Steve Tilston. When her parents split, she moved to somewhere just outside London with her artist mother, who remarried a theatre director. As a teenager she would play the piano every night to the family. This led to Tilston writing songs and then picking up the guitar. Throughout she also visited Bristol, where her father and stepmother, Maggie Boyle- also a folk singer – lived. There she would spend time with folk legends like John Renbourn and Bert Jansch. Imagine! How could she not be arty?

Illustration by Karina Yarv

In 2000, she formed a duo, Mouse, with guitarist Nick Marshall. Releasing two albums, they became extremely popular with the more underground loving, festival goers. However, Tilston decided to go solo in 2002, supporting Damien Rice on a tour in Ireland. Then in 2005, she released her first full length album, Blimbling on her own label Squiggly. This album holds Brighton Song, (which is where she was living at the time) a song I adore and makes me think about my years growing up in the hills next to the coastal city. Ah – nostalgia. Bimbling was funded by selling the original canvases she had painted to provide the artwork for the CD.

Martha Bimbling

Bimbling album available on Squiggly Records – Art work by Martha Tilston

Tilston was nominated for Best New Act at the BBC Folk Awards in 2007. She has since become increasingly popular and has opened the Acoustic Stage at Glastonbury. However, she still loves impromptu and small shows. Her love of music outshining any desire for glitz. Her latest album Lucy and The Wolves, (Squiggly Records through Proper) is out now. It features her glorious band; The Woods, comprising of a host of instruments, including the mandolin, cello, violin and double bass. They truly add and compliment the atmospheric, delicate sound. Favourites include the aforementioned; Wild Swimming and Rockppols. The former, a slow, purposeful song full of delicious lust and feeling. The simile of liberating and beautiful night swimming, illustrating the purity of her love. Whilst Rockpools is also dedication to love and nature, it is centered more on her comfort found in the landscapes and nuggets of beauty. Eyes clapping on a tiny piece of peace, that at that second is shining only for you to see.

Martha Lucy and the Wolves

Lucy and The Wolves available on Squiggly Records through Proper. Art work by Martha Tilston

To summarise; Tilston is thought out, dancing on the hills, living in yurts complete with outdoor fires, English folk. If you like artists like Mary Hampton, Alela Diane and gentle Bellowhead, and you don’t know about Martha Tilston already, then you really should listen. If you don’t like folk, listen anyway, as she will make you feel wrapped up and safe on a blustery January day. Like today.

Martha Tilston‘s albums are available on Squiggly Records and she is touring in May, with dates to be released – Watch out for listings on Amelia’s Magazine.

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