‘When I saw you, I knew an adventure was going to happen’ – Winnie the Pooh
When Caitie met Soda was born in May 2014, when I (Caitie) met the love of my life, Soda, a then one-year-old Staffordshire Bullterrier in need of a new home and life. Soda came into our lives like a furry-not-so-furry whirlwind of love and chaos. Never still for more than two seconds at a time and very anxious. And from the moment I met him, I knew that everything was going to be okay.
At the time, I was myself suffering from anxiety and depression as well as an undiagnosed health condition that was majorly affecting and disrupting my everyday life. I was spending days, weeks and months confined to my bed in our apartment in East Sussex, having just left a post-graduate course to become a teacher. Looking back at those months, I don’t remember very much. I suppose that’s because our brains often block out periods of trauma to protect us. What I do remember, though, is the man that changed it all. Soda. Soda was the reason that I got out of bed in the morning – even if it was only to take him downstairs to go to the toilet and to feed him. And, he was the one who kept me company, day in and day out; even if the day entailed not moving from bed. He was and still is my very best friend and most loyal companion. I don’t know if he’ll ever know exactly what he means to me, but I’ll do my very best to show him, every single day.
So what does that all have to do with jewellery? Well, along with Soda’s appearance in my life, came the appearance of something that I hoped to use to pass my time – jewellery making. I could never, in a million years, have imagined that I’d end up making jewellery as my job. I started by attending a simple ‘Make a Silver Ring’ workshop in Brighton and from the very first time I saw solder running I knew I was hooked. And so, in our small kitchen in East Sussex, I set up my very own studio, right at our dining table and I made. I made, and I made, and I made. And to be honest, much of it was rubbish that never saw the light of day. But those magical moments of making brought me back to me and gave me a reason to get out of bed in the morning. And, you guessed it – Soda was and has been by my side through it all.
Nearly six years down the line now (oh my, I feel old!) and our family has grown with the addition of our little Madeleine Grace. Maddie is the wind beneath my wings and inspiration for all of my pieces. Together, her and Soda keep me on my toes and remind me, daily, of why I do what I do. It’s a funny kind of story, isn’t it? But one I’m immeasurably proud of and grateful for.
Over the years When Caitie met Soda has grown from a jewellery business to a place where people can come to be themselves. Over on My Journal I try to speak openly and honestly about many of the struggles that I have faced and still face. I talk about my health conditions (Common Variable Immunodeficiency and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome) and mental health struggles (Anxiety, Depression, Anorexia, OCD) in the hope that discussions about these topics will go some way in demystifying and getting rid of the stigma surrounding them. I also hope that others will find solace in the knowledge that they are not alone in their struggles. Many of the pieces of jewellery that I handcraft are inspired by my journey and the hope that I have for the future. I hope that you will feel safe in this corner of the internet and free to share your stories, too.
And of course, the jewellery remains. I am proud to specialise in handcrafted, ethical jewellery. Each and every piece is lovingly handmade by me in my small studio in leafy Farnham. Wherever possible I use recycled silver and gold in my designs and am proud to offer recycled, recyclable and reusable packaging with each and every order. Each piece of jewellery that I sell comes with it’s own unique story in the hope that it will serve as a reminder to you of how much you and your story matter. Thank you for enabling me to do what I do and for loving me as I am.
With all of my love, now and always,