Words by Travis Blake
A British artisan jewellery maker, handcrafting bespoke pieces with a unique twist!
Based and operating from the beautiful Worcestershire town of Malvern, home of lots of hand built stuff including a well-known motor car, you will find a family owned, and hand crafted jewellery business. Nothing unusual in that I hear you say, however, this particular creator is not, in both designs and materials, in any way usual. The company’s strapline is “Beautiful Products Handcrafted from Stainless Steel Bicycle Spokes” but the product range is certainly not limited by this and the range of designs and products is wide and varied considering the size of the outfit.
Respoke Designs is the brainchild of Michael Price who designs and creates these wonderful pieces of jewellery with his small team using recycled bicycles spokes, marbles, beads, rope and other recycled materials. Michael began the business in 2014 and currently sells recycled jewellery products all around the world, except Canada and the U.S.A due to prohibitive insurance costs. The unique designs have also caught the eye of some celebrity types; having sold items to the rich and famous at both cycling and music events where Respoke Designs have had a stall.
In recent years there has been a steady increase in what we would have traditionally referred to as cottage industries. The rise of the craft movement covers a wide range of skills and products from handmade food and drink, clothing, furnishings and everything in-between including transport to a certain extent. With this comes the opportunity to buy local, and also source local, a selling point of the products that are available on the craft scene which is often part of the attraction to the consumer. Having said that, the fact that our world in communication terms is shrinking allows local craft and artisanal products to reach a worldwide audience through the internet and the powerful marketplaces of Amazon and eBay and other sales opportunities out there in cyberspace.
Having started his career as a trainee mechanic Michael rose through the trade to become a senior trainer of mechanic’s, he used these skills in the voluntary sector working for a charity that specialised in the rehabilitation of young offenders and children struggling in the education system to enable them to develop both vocational and life skills. Michael has always had an interest in metal fabrication and design and as an opportunity for career change appeared Respoke Designs was created to allow this passion to be pursued in a commercial way, designing and handcrafting every piece of stainless steel jewellery himself.
The recycled stainless steel used in these creations is grade 304 from bicycle spokes and is a hypoallergenic material that does not tarnish, is polished to a bright silvery finish and is extremely durably making it an excellent material to use for this stunning jewellery.
Initially the business concentrated on its unique selling point that the jewellery that they produced was created from recycled bicycle parts, mainly wheel spokes. Respoke Designs Gifts for Cyclists covers a variety of products designs handmade from stainless steel bicycle spokes. Their cufflinks are wonderfully unique and as they say is always the height of fashion and just what’s needed to add the finishing styling touch to any outfit. The three unique, fun and funky cufflink designs are the very streamline evoking “Racer Bike” the slightly Victorian yet striking “Penny Farthing” and the art inspired “Wheeling Free” a design that developed from a request for a unique pair of cufflinks for a wedding. Cannily, and stylishly there is a range of tie cycling tie clips to go with the beautifully crafted cycling cufflinks if you are wearing your best or find yourself in a more formal setting. The story and inspiration behind these bicycle themed designs comes from childhood memories of places visited and riding bikes in and around the stunning Malvern Hills, the Forest of Dean and taking bikes on seaside holidays.
Alongside the bicycle and cycling inspired designs are other items of jewellery using Respoke Designs recycled ethos but utilising other materials and suiting a wider range of individuals than just the ever growing cycling fraternity. The “Rope Carabiner Bracelet” uses the Respoke recycled bicycle spoke to form the carabiner clasps with rope being made by and sourced from a long established British rope maker based also in Malvern. Linking the bracelet together is a washer which can be personalised which, a really great touch to be able to personalise if you are buying this as a gift. Along with the locally sourced rope the bracelet comes presented in a locally sourced box, as do all Respoke Design creations, further helping to reduce the company’s carbon footprint in line with its commitment to being an ecologically aware manufacturing business.
A personal favourite range of designs, despite being a keen cyclist and a very fortunate owner of a pair of Respoke cycle cufflinks, is the “Music Jewellery Collection”, which feature the iconic treble clef motif across a range of pieces from necklaces to earrings. The inspiration for this range of designs comes from the joy of music, attending festivals and mixing with music mad and music loving friends with a passion for the whole spectrum and multiple genres that music gives to us.
You can find Respoke Designs at many festivals throughout the year, from music to cycling centred events and allsorts in between, if you do see the Respoke Designs stall on your travels be sure to pop over and marvel at the unique pieces on offer and maybe even treat yourself or someone special in your life! Their products are also available through various Cycle shops. To find out more about this unique Made in Britain jewellery, and certainly if you are in the market for an extra special gift, you can contact Respoke Designs directly on the details below;
Tel: 07703 570850 / www.respokedesigns.co.uk