Whevever possible, I only use materials that are sourced from UK suppliers and preferably from a small business - I believe that it is important to support our network of small businesses.
I also want to use the finest and most luxurious materials available and I use a lot of the finest European crystals and glass pearls - I use a UK company (Bluestreak Crystals) to buy bulk factory packs of pearls and crystals to save on packaging and transporation.
I also use Czech Preciosa glass pearls and crystals. Preciosa is a small family owned company that has been making crystal and glass for many generations. They take their environmental responsibilities seriously and they have a comprehenisve green policy. Preciosa have a beautiful range of fire pressed glass beads and their glass pearls come in a lovely selection of colours.
I use Miyuki delica seed beads which are made from glass and produced by a small family owned Japanese business. I also use Toho glass seed beads to a lesser extent - all of which are sourced from UK suppliers.
All precious metals that I use are made from recycled materials - all sterling silver and gold is recycled and is purchased from two UK bullion dealers in Hatton Garden in London and Birmingham. I use brass wire and sheet for a lot of my designs - brass is nearly always recycled as it is not economically viable to produce new. I currently source my brass sheet from the offcuts from other makers or from a company in the North of England who make brass counter tops and who sell me their smaller offcuts of sheet. I don't like to use plated metals as I'm not convinced that there is an environmentally kind way to plate bass metals, however, I do use a silver plated copper wire for some of my silver designs which is made in the UK. I don't use any gold plated wire and instead use natural brass wire. I buy wire in bulk (I use a lot of it) as this saves on packaging and transportation costs.
I do use cut brass leaves and flowers which I have cut for me by a lovely woman in the US so these are the only items I currently buy from overseas - a lot of my designs are now made using leaves and flowers that I hand pierce from metal sheet and I will eventually move to cutting all of my own leaves and flowers from sheet metals. I also use quite a bit of raw copper to make my headbands and this is recycled from my partner who is an electrician! I strip waste cable and re-purpose the copper wire - it makes the best headbands!
I do use freshwater pearls and natural gemstones in some of my designs and these are sourced from a company in Birmingham and a Cornish company who guarantee that their stones are fair trade.
I try to source vintage materials such as mother of pearl beads and jewellery so that I can re-use the materials in my designs - I love scouring vintage and antiques shops and markets to see what treasures I can find.
I do use silk ribbons which I purchase from small creative businesses that hand dye small batches of ribbon using natural plant based dyes. Wherever available, I will use peace silk or bamboo silk and eventually, I will only use ethical silk.