New jewellery studio, home to five Glasgow jewellers, opens its doors in Bridgeton

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The Bench, a jewellery studio run by Glasgow couple Ellys and Mark, officially opened its doors on July 22 after several months of activity.

The space hosts five different jewellers and features hand-made benches by City of Glasgow College ex-student. Ellys and Mark met at a Starbucks shift several years ago in Glasgow. She studied Silversmithing & Jewellery at the Glasgow School of Art. Mark completed a course in Craftsmanship with Design at City of Glasgow college after his Computer Animation & Digital Art design didn’t take him where he wanted to go.

Airdrie born Ellys and Paisley born Mark have always spoken amongst them about how amazing it would be to open a shared workshop, but never thought it could actually become a reality. They started saving up for their first house, only to face disappointment because of the state the housing market has been in. It was then they decided to open The Bench.

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The couple first got the keys for the space in March, and after a month of hard work and renovations, it was ready in April. Most of the work was done by the couple themselves with the help of their friends and family.

Ellys, who had already been in communal workshops inthe past, had a clear idea of what the space was going to feel like.

Mark says: “We both wanted it to be very welcoming, peaceful and also spacious so our makers would have enough of their own personal space withing the communal workshop.”

But turning the space into what it is today wasn’t an easy task. Ellys says: “I don’t think we would have managed without help from family, we had a lot of help painting and moving everything which we really appreciated. My Granda, who is a retired joiner, helped us massively. He helped where he could: putting up shelves, helping Mark with the benches and passing on his knowledge. We really can’t thank him enough.”

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The initial idea wasn’t to make The Bench specifically a jewellery studio. “Chatting to other jewellers and hearing about how difficult it seems to find a workshop space was the main reason why The Bench became a jewellery workshop,” says Mark.

“Ellys had quite a bit of experience and has been lucky enough to have been trained by experts in the industry, so passing on those skills was something we wanted to consider when thinking what to dedicate the space to,” says Mark.

The Bench is now home to Wear With Grace Studio, Mmurrayjewellery, Freya Jeavons, Lyondaw and Ellys May Jewellery. Five very different jewellers with very different techniques who can now work makers of their own craft.

The young couple would like to expand The Bench into other sectors. It is a dream of theirs to have their own building which can provide workshop spaces for jewellers, woodworkers, ceramists and any other artists. But right now, they’re excited to have The Bench up and running and to have ‘a great group of makers’ filling their benches.

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