About Eleyne Williams

Narrative Necklaces

To hold a bead in your hand is to touch hands back through a history warm with humanity’s intimate past. Whether it is a Neolithic shell bead, a 1920s Liberty’s necklace or an African tribal bead, the magic is there and it is utterly addictive! Eleyne Williams has been under the spell of beads for most of her life!

Eleyne studied Literature at University and whilst there started experimenting with beads, teaching herself the techniques of working and designing with them. The anthropology of beads – their relationship with mankind marking and reflecting human moments from birth to burial since the very beginning and the universality of this expression fascinated her.

She started to collect interesting beads, small artefacts and found objects and became intrigued by the intimate tales individual pieces might tell and enjoyed finding ways of revealing their secrets through the medium of imagination, giving them new stories to tell.

In 1980, Eleyne set up her own workshop-studio, where she also exhibits her work under the title of ‘Narrative Necklaces’, born out of her love of literature and story-telling and her passion for beads.  She enjoys taking non-precious materials and turning them into beautiful and desirable objects.

Beads are a very valuable resource for Eleyne, but she has also used cello bridges, feathers, sugar tongs, a vintage hair comb, in fact anything which catches her eye! Using this treasure trove of found objects and a wealth of beads, she works antique materials into new designs and translate ancient ideas in modern ways, often using poetry, music, art and nature as the spring board for design.

Each necklace is a new adventure and no two pieces are ever alike. Yet, there are certain design aspects which she has developed and often uses within her work. One such is that Eleyne thinks the back of the neck is important and often neglected by designers. The Japanese consider the nape of the neck a very romantic and alluring area of a woman’s body and she will often add some little detail to enhance this. For many years Eleyne has ‘signed’ her necklaces with an EW bead and this is often the area where she will place it.

Eleyne Williams’s work has been described as ‘whimsical’ and she delights in using humour! Some of the necklaces are large or flamboyant, requiring perhaps a rather special kind of personality to wear them but all jewellery is made to enhance the spirit of beauty. She hopes that any woman who wears my jewellery has a sense of pleasure in her own being, in her own beauty and that it becomes a reflection of her own statement.

Eleyne’s workshop-studio is a cross between a Magpie’s Hoard and a Cabinet of Curiosities. Once a year it is dressed it up in its best bib and tucker for a week and turned into a Gallery to show her year’s work to a small invited guest list. Eleyne finds this to be the lovely part of working in this way, that you see the marriage between the necklace and the person who chooses it and what each does for the other! It never ceases to fascinate her!

Eleyne Williams at work

Eleyne Williams at work in her studio