24.4.17

Celtic Treasure: Theresa May's Welsh Wardrobe

24.4.17


Much has been made of Theresa May's recent walking holiday to North Wales. It was here that the Prime Minister made up her mind to call a snap General Election, the sights and sounds of this rugged Welsh countryside perhaps helping to focus her mind.

Theresa May was snapped leaving church in Dolgellau on Palm Sunday, the day before having visited Celf Aran Arts, a local arts and crafts centre, packed to the brim with items from small businesses and local entrepreneurs. News reports revealed that the Prime Minister purchased a set of Welsh slate coasters (maybe for her private Number 10 office?) and two rings from Celtic Treasure.

With a range of celtic inspired jewellery designed by Anna Hicks, Mrs May purchased two striking rings at Celf Aran Arts. One was a heavy wire work ring, highly influenced by Iron Age and Celtic designs. The other was a modern piece, its oversized swirl design particularly striking.

Political Style caught up with Anna to find out more about what inspires her designs and the reaction she has had since the Prime Minister debuted her pieces.

How long have you been making jewellery?

I started making jewellery on leaving school at 16. I worked with a self-taught jeweller in Dolgellau on one of the old work schemes for £20 ish a week back in the late 70's. I took over the shop in the early 80's and ran it for 8 years before taking a break to have my sons. I've been making jewellery on and off for 38 years and still look forward to work each day. My jewellery is predominantly gold and silver with, occasionally, some stone setting. I specialise in fine piercing work which particularly suits the Celtic patterns.

Theresa May's swirl ring


Which rings did the Prime Minister purchase and why do you think she picked them?

Theresa May chose one heavy wire work ring, influenced by Celtic and Iron Age designs, and she wore this when she was photographed leaving the church in Dolgellau.

The other design was a modern swirl pattern ring which she wore when she announced the election on Tuesday.

I take a keen interest in Mrs May's jewellery and if I had been asked to choose a couple of my designs for her it would have been the two she chose.

Theresa May's celtic ring


What inspires you in your designs?

I started with Celtic patterns as my first boss taught me this style of work but I also enjoy making more modern, bold designs too. Anything can inspire a piece, from a shape to sometimes just sitting at the bench and playing with some wire and seeing what happens!


What do you think of the PM's style?

Mrs May seems very definite in what she likes and I like the fact that she chooses to wear pieces she likes again and again.

Why do you think the PM and her husband like to visit North Wales?

For anybody that likes walking, and peace and quiet, Snowdonia must be hard to beat. Fabulous scenery and the rugged mountains. I am lucky to have lived here all my life and feel vulnerable when I'm in flat country, without the mountains around me!

 What has been the reaction to the PM wearing your designs?

The interest has been wonderful. I still can't quite believe what's happened. The interest generated in the shop where she bought the rings from has been so good for all of us makers. There are 16 of us in total at Celf Aran Arts, making a range of different products, from artwork to ceramics. At the shop we have had newspaper interviews, TV coverage and our Facebook reach has increased by 38,000%!

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