William and Clare Sturt and their small team in France create beautifully crafted pewter gifts and keepsakes. Originally from New Zealand, the influence of both their original and new homes shines through in their work. Their work is made from fine pewter, which contains no lead. The pewter is poured into their detailed and skilfully crafted moulds and then transformed into their wide range of gifts, including cufflinks, jewellery, spoons, keepsakes, boxes and tokens. We caught up with William as part of our #meetthemaker month – read on to see his interview with us ..
1. Could you tell us a little bit about you, and how you came to start your business?
I met a guy in America 30 years ago who needed a hand in his pewter workshop and I had nothing else better to do! 30 years later, I am still at it.
2. How long have you been living in France?
We have been living in France for 6 years but are originally from New Zealand. The reason we moved to France was so Clare could be closer to her elderly mother, and that seemed like a good idea.
3. How does where you work inspire you?
We live in a forest on 15 hectares of land and we are surrounded by wild animals. We have two dogs, a cat, two horses, a few chickens and I have just been informed we are getting some peacocks. Clare incubates the eggs in our spare room, so it’s not hard to get motivated.
4. Where does your inspiration come from?
I don’t know. I try to make time to get bored as this tends to kick me off. We also listen to our customers – they are a great source of new ideas and trends.
5. When you are not creating, what do you do?
I like to ride my horse, walk the dogs. We are also involved with martial arts. Oh yes, there is also gardening. But I suffer from domestic blindness so Clare gives me a list of things that need to be done around the house!
6. What’s your favourite current piece?
The scarf rings are the latest thing we have taken on. I started with one piece and by the end of the day I had made the concepts for masters – pewter moulds and casting. Then it’s on to making the masters, moulds, polishing and then getting them to you guys.
7. What is the most challenging aspect of your work?
Fridays! Also, I still find it hard to get an idea out of a client’s head so I can make it. However, we do have top end equipment that makes it easier.
8. If you had one piece of advice to give other makers, what would it be?
Make time to get bored. Some of my better ideas come from sitting in a hot tub with a glass of wine!
9. Are there any particular artists or sculptors that inspire you?
I enjoy speaking to the director of Selangor who make a terrific range of pewter. Chris in America, who taught me the craft, is very inspirational.
10. Describe your work in 3 words!
Every-day is different.
11. Without giving away any state secrets, what’s next on your design agenda?
We are just making a range of light pulls and kitchen knobs (the knobs started because I could not find knobs I like for our new kitchen). I also did not know you were not permitted to have light switches in the bathrooms in the UK. The joy of being from New Zealand.
We’re looking forward to the light pulls! To see our full collection of William Sturt’s work, click here.
… Please let us know what you think of William’s wonderful pewter by leaving a comment below. Stay tuned for future posts on more of our amazing artists!