Meet the co-founder of Tatty Devine, Rosie Wolfenden, who created a beautiful collection of jewellery, inspired by her visit to Chawton House
In case you don’t know, Tatty Devine is the go-to brand for original, fun, acrylic statement jewellery, who have created a special Women Writer’s collection, inspired by the works at Chawton House. Founded in the heart of East London in 1999 by Harriet Vine MBE and Rosie Wolfenden MBE, after they graduated from Chelsea School of Art. All jewellery is still designed and handmade in house by a female-led team. They often collaborate with artists, designers, and their favourite cultural spaces to create special collections throughout the year. New designs, as well as iconic pieces from their archive, are highly coveted and collected by a loyal fan base from all over the world and discovered by new customers every day.
How did you get into creating such bold and beautiful jewellery?
We met at art school and were always searching in charity shops, car boot sales, and junk shops for things we could wear to express ourselves. Ever the entrepreneurs, we started making accessories in our bedrooms from leather offcuts and selling them at Portobello and Spitalfields markets in London. To this day we make things that we want to wear, that help us tell the world who we are and what we love and we find that people really identify with that.
A big part of wanting to partner up with you is because the Tatty Devine ethos so closely aligns with Chawton House. Can you talk a bit about what you stand for and your values?
Creativity and equality are at the heart of Tatty Devine: our interests, the causes we choose to champion, the people we collaborate with, and what we do as Tatty Devine.
Our jewellery carries a strong feminist message, accessorising is a very powerful, unconventional way to tell a story and we love to challenge how jewellery is perceived. Jewellery has played both traditional and subversive parts in how we accessorise, from suffrage pieces to Victorian acrostic jewellery: we love it when things aren’t quite what they seem. As our brilliant customers often tell us: “it’s so much more than jewellery”.
You’re no strangers to the cultural sector, can you tell us about some of the other arts and heritage organisations you’ve worked with?
We’re lucky to have worked with so many inspiring cultural spaces. In 2021 we designed an exclusive collection for the V&A to sell alongside their immersive and theatrical show, we’ve designed GIANT Christmas decorations for the Southbank, we had the absolute pleasure of commemorating Gillian Wearing’s statue of Millicent Fawcett in jewellery form and most recently, whipped up exclusive blue lobsters for Tate’s Surrealism Beyond Borders exhibition. We are fascinated by history and have collaborated with cultural institutions including *deep breath*: Stonehenge, the John Soane Museum, British Library, and Museum of London so Chawton House is in very good company!
We loved having you visit Chawton House, are there any moments that stand out?
Arriving on a sunny winter day with the mist rolling over the gardens was pretty magical but being in the library and seeing such a treasure trove of feminist literature was awe-inspiring, we felt so privileged to be shown around with such an insightful commentary. Thank you!
What do you hope to achieve with the creation of this collection?
Well, first and foremost, we’d love to bring people’s attention to what a wonderful place and resource Chawton House is. We left Chawton feeling so inspired, with a long reading list to boot – there are so many pioneering women you just don’t learn about at school and this is a fabulous place to start.
There are so many unique and beautiful pieces in this collection, do you have a favourite?
It has to be the Jane Austen Bookshelf Necklace! I love that the spine of each miniature book is etched and inked to replicate Jane Austen favourites from Emma to Persuasion.
You always have so many exciting projects on the go, what’s next?!
Ooh, it’s top secret! All I can say is 2022 is the year of feminist icons. Watch this space…
Be sure to purchase some of the beautiful pieces, including the stunning Bookshelf Necklace, available onsite or in our online shop.