The travelling lapidary workshop and pop up shop.

by Kerrie Owens in Rochester, England, United Kingdom

The travelling lapidary workshop and pop up shop.
We did it
On 17th December 2019 we successfully raised £10 with 1 supporters in 56 days

To convert a bus with safe living space with tools and workshop space, to travel the festival circuit teaching people how to carve stone.

by Kerrie Owens in Rochester, England, United Kingdom

About me 

I am Kerrie i am 32 from Kent, i am a Lapidary carving Jeweller working in the polynesian style with semi precious stone, fossil, recycled stained glass, wood and shell. I have in the last year also started learning how to metal smith and silver cast.

From this i have started my own small online business selling what I make called Totally Polychromatic, you can find me on various outlets from Etsy, Ebay, Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook.

I started learning how to carve Jade in New Zealand while on a backpacking trip after spending 7 months trying to find a teacher willing to divert from the Maori Culture and willing to teach a female student and alot of time exploring studios of other Maori carvings.

 I finally found that in Hokitika in the form of an islander carver called steve from Bonz and Stonez. This is where i made my very first peice, a goddess carrying the worl with the Koru symbol representing new life. and have not looked back, even using alot of New Zealand Pounamu in my work which is one of my most requested and sold stones. 

I have now been carving for 2 years and metal smithing for a year and have gained more job satisfaction from doing this than any other job i have ever had and found so much confidence from it that I didn't have before.

I am a person with the constant need to keep learning, to take things apart and put them back together, to challenge myself to to skills. But i am desperate to now master the lapidary skills and be th best of my skill set with in the UK.

My Plan

My plan is to convert an American school a bit like the one below (like the one pictured below)  an a traveling home and jewellery studio while having some where safe to sleep and store tools while on the road that i could call home from home but i am still able to also work by turning the kitchen space into a metal smithing  and casting station and with the right extraction system a lapidary studio for personal use or one on one teaching. 

I would like to develop a pull out table with electrics, tools and water system so during the summer it can be used at festivals such as Glastonbury with in the greenfeilds under a gazebo for a multiple persons workshop to carve their own pendant pieces. Who knows i may inspire other to take up the skill and keep it alive in the UK.

 I have found a small local business called Shred and Butta based in Cobham Kent that will be able to take on the conversion using reclaimed materials and environmentally friendly and eco sources to power the bus itself like using the power of the sun with panels across the top of the bus.

At the moment it is just me as a solo female lapidary but i would also like to eventually employ others to help in growing my venture. The market aim is not just music festivals but also farmers markets, craft markets, family events and other art events but to be able to head all around the UK for classes and workshops with adult education, colleges, schools and craft courses. As well as being able to provide workshops, being able to have a personal station means being able to create my own pieces while on the road and show and sell via a pop up shop along side the bus as well as to forefill my online custom orders. 

Where i have exhibited so far.

With the kent charity Demelza childrens hopice.

Medway open studios 2019

Rochester Dickens Festival

Kent County Show

Medway food and drinks festival

The places i would exhibit my work.

Music festivals like Glastonbury, into the wild, chilled on a feild, latitude, shambala.

Arts festivals

Trade shows

Farmers markets

Local summer festivals

Spiritual shows

County shows

My Target Market

Wiccan faith

Pagans faith

Spiritual faith

Crystal and Energy Healers

Bohemian fashion

Tribal fashion

Polynesian community and Expats

New Zealand Expats

Fossil collectors

Semi precious stone and mineral collectors

The backpacker/travelling community

The style i work in.

I currently work in basic polynesian design like Hei Toki but with the correct tools i would be able to expand on these designs. I would so like to expand into designs based on british history for example Celtic,Nordic, Roman and Viking designs. This will then allow me to potentially be the go to person for museums to recreations. My current materials used are, recycled woods, recycled glass, Greenstone Pounamu greenstone, Semi precious stone, fossils, Amber and shell while moving slowly into metals. I love the use of natural or recycled materials but i am also aware of what the impact environmentally this will cause eco wise. I list where and how i receive my materials and slowly trying to make sure that i know where all of my materials come from and how it is mined as well as it effect on the evenronment and economy around it. As well as creating my own i have also in the past bought and refurbished pieces second hand/ pre loved, cleaned them up and given them new cords before finding them new homes.

Why my skill set? 

I have spent alot of time looking for other lapidary carvers in the UK to either learn from them or network with them. I have found that a hard thing to do, i am in contact with a handful that work beyond cabochen pieces but there are not many of us, find that worrying as a skill that is historically significants in Britain as far back as the early Celtic and pagan era. If i can maybe inspire more people to take up the skill, that may create for competition for myself but it will hugely help with the more access to tools which currently do not exist in the UK and have to be imported. 

It is also my intention to be able to eventually be able to start to provide employment with in my community teaching what i do to others. This would hopefully provide new skill sets to my area, confidence in themselves and the arts for the people i end up teaching, employment for those who other wise struggle in main stream employment due to mental health problems. The arts provide a great out let for those who have suffered with mental health issues and have issues with anxiety in the corporate world of employment. Lapidary can help in aspect of developing skills to eventually lead to stone masonary for statue work or architectural buildings.

My plans for the next year

To reapply for the Queen Elizabeth scholarship trust, this scholarship will send me back to New Zealand to teach under a female carving tutor at the Tai Poutini Polytechnic. This school is one of two schools in New Zealand which teaches Hard stone and jade carving with legitimate qualification. This is one of two schools with in New Zealand, the other being in Rotorua and the only one able to take on female and over seas applicants. 

This will also open doors to connect and network with New Zealand best carvers and jade factories, this will also allow me to make connections with the Maori tribe that owns the land that their greenstone is collected and regulated.

I will be looking at all my outlets to see where i can get help and support to grow and research my craf find a way to put myself through as much training and courses as i am able to try my self the best i can with in my industry.

My current Outlets 

Etsy -

Facebook -

Instagram -

Pinterest -

If i do not make my  target?

Then the money i raise i plan to put into the tools i need to expand On my skill set. The tools for my work need to be imported from other countries like the USA. These tools can make my work area safer through air extractors, make my work quicker so able to produce more pieces in a day like the right diamond band saws and bench grinders and with some of the right band saws also means better detailing for my pieces which means being able to make better quality jewellery. This in itself means just as much to the advancement of my career as the bus itself. These tools can also be built into the bus at a later date when that target is met.


This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£20 or more

0 of 20 claimed

£20 Reward

A european bead made from semi precious stone as an adjustable bracelet or adjustable pendant. Subject to which stone i have available in my studio as i use as much of event piece of stone from every slab i can use, i waste as little as possible

£50 or more

0 of 20 claimed

£50 Reward

Your own small Toki pendant made from a material of choice from the choices given.

£100 or more

0 of 20 claimed

£100 Reward

A personal one on one workshop to create your own peice from a material of choice, as long as the target is met and the bus becomes creation. If my bus target is not met and the money put toward tools instead i will make you your own personalised pounamu piece instead.

£300 or more

0 of 10 claimed

£300 Reward

Large Pounamu Toki pendant depending on access to the New Zealand jade due to customs laws.

£500 or more

0 of 10 claimed

£500 reward

A pounamu greenstone toki pendant and a one of one workshop for you and a partner to create another from a material of choice. Workshops subject to if i can make my targets to make the bus a reality. If my bus target is not met and the money put toward tools instead i will make you two of your own personalised pounamu piece instead.

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