About The Selkie's Haunt
When Martha launched her first jewellery business, the pieces encompassed the use of both copper and sterling silver and stones graded B to C. However, over time, the business and designs evolved and it became clear that the copper and sterling designs were strong enough to stand apart. Bronze pieces were added to sell alongside the copper. Hence, the creation of The Selkie's Haunt, a sister company to the well-established and respected Ailleas Designs by Martha Mawson. But while the stones and metals used may be of lesser value, Martha's commitment to using the very best materials, creating unique designs, and providing excellent service is no different to that with which she oversees Ailleas Designs.
Over the years, Martha has worked hard to evolve not only her designs, but her skills. She has been blessed to have spent time under the direction of two brilliant jewellers/metalsmiths who kindly shared their wisdom, knowledge, and experience with Martha. She is always looking to add to her skills and her offerings. Like any artist, she is incompable of "standing still."
The copper and bronze designs of The Selkie's Haunt are bold and colourful statement pieces. Martha utilises wire and sheet in different ways, using metalworking techniques that provide a varity of effects. In addition to using both copper and bronze, Martha uses stones from a trusted source and is slowly introducing the use of more highly graded stones and cut gemstones to her work. The copper and bronze she uses is untreated and will take on a warm patina over time. Some designs may be oxidised as part of the design, although patination will continue and become even softer as time goes on.
Martha chose The Selkie's Haunt to reflect the inspiration that drives her in designing and creating her copper and bronze jewellery - the view outside her window where she can watch the changing light play across the land and water. Loch Ewe, on the northwest coast of Scotland, is a sea loch steeped in legend and the selkies are a big part of that legendry.
Selkies are magical beings that live in the sea as seals, but can transform themselves to become beautiful young women on land by shedding and hiding their seal skins. If a man is lucky enough to find the selkie and hide her skin away from her, she is obliged to marry him. She is a loving and loyal wife and excellent mother, but the sea always calls her and should she find her skin, she will return to the sea, torn always between the two realms of her existence. The selkie legend carries truth for many who inhabit the area around Loch Ewe and one of the local families boasts a selkie as one of their ancient matriarchs.
From the moment Martha decided upon the name The Selkie's Haunt, she scoured galleries, shops, and the internet for the perfect image of a selkie. She has always loved the time-honoured classic illustrations to childrens' books - artists like Arthur Rackham and E.H. Shepard. In the early summer of 2016, Martha came across the work of Canadian illustrator and artist, Kate O'Keefe. She was blown away by Kate's work and immediately contacted Kate to see if she would be willing to do a commission of the selkie and jewels for Martha. Thankfully, Kate was more than agreeable and created the stunning image you see at the top of this page and, in closer detail, here on this page. Martha has christened the selkie "Moira", as the name means Star of the Sea. Kate concurred that it was a good name, and so Moira, the selkie of the selkie's haunt was born. As you can see, Kate used the jewellery of The Selkie's Haunt in styling the jewellery Moira has discovered in the illustration.
Ethos, Ethics, and Business Practices
Martha designs and exhibits pieces made with only the very best materials sourced from a select handful of top UK-based suppliers, a specialist US-based supplier, and one specialist supplier based in India. All of these suppliers have achieved the highest reputations for integrity and quality. Martha works closely with all her suppliers and has established working relationships founded on mutual respect and trust.
As a member of the National Association of Jewellers, Martha has signed her name and attached her reputation to a code of ethics and conduct. Amongst the requirements she has promised to uphold are to maintain the highest level of personal integrity, honesty and business ethics; to provide a standard of product and service of the highest possible quality commensurate with price; to provide knowledgeable and competent expertise and clearly indicate the true quality of products offered for sale; to adhere to sound business practices and thus ensure continuing service to customers and suppliers alike; and, to refrain from all forms of design copyright and trademark infringement.
Martha is registered with the Edinburgh Assay Office and her maker's mark will appear with the assay office's marks on any pieces of jewellery that require a hallmark. At this time, Martha does not use any precious metals with her Selkie's Haunt jewellery, but this may change over time.
The Selkie's Haunt is committed to provide unique and individually designed pieces of jewellery art. As with her fine jewellery brand, Martha never repeats a design. All are designs are her own; Martha does not copy others and will energetically pursue anyone who copies her designs. Should you come across a copy elswhere, it would be very much appreciated of you could alert Martha as soon as possible so that she may take immediate action.
Martha enthusiastically accepts commissions. After an initial chat about what you are looking for, Martha does require a 50 percent deposit, but the balance is not required until you have been provided with detailed photographs of your piece and you are completely happy with the result. The commission isn't complete until you say so.
If there is a time constraint on your commission, it is suggested that a lead time of 2 months is allowed from first discussion to final product. This may change if hard-to-source stones are requested or the commission requires multiple pieces.
Close up of a dragon's vein necklace made on commission. Photograph by Fionda Williams Brock.