Meersbrook couple’s quirky design wins national accolade

Jim and Laura Stringer with their winning designs
Jim and Laura Stringer with their winning designs
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Bare tree branches in a suburb of Sheffield have inspired a Meersbrook couple to a national accolade.

Jim and Laura Stringer have picked up first prize for their Silver Birches Night Lights 
at The Worshipful Company of Pewterers Open Live Competition.

The winning creation by Jim and Laura Stringer

The winning creation by Jim and Laura Stringer

The couple worked together on the pewter tea light holders, which secured them the title for the second year in a row.

Artist Laura, aged 48, took inspiration from around their home in Meersbrook, basing her design on silver birches in a forest with light shining between the trunks.

Her metalworker husband Jim, aged 49, took over once the couple discovered the design had been shortlisted in the competition.

With 25 years in the metal industry, Jim set about making layers into the pages of a book so the finished pieces looked like an enchanted forest of silver birches inside a hardback book. Laura put her artistic skills to good use by developing the artwork to be stamped into the layers of the night light.

Jim Stringer at work

Jim Stringer at work

Jim said: “When the lights are lit, they flicker and light bounces around and off the branches, giving the impression of a bonfire deep in a forest.

“The judges were very impressed with the overall appearance of the set of three lights.”

It is the second time Jim has secured top spot in the competition, having won first prize last year for a nautical-themed range called Hook, Link and Sinker.

He set up his own workshop business after securing the accolade.

Laura Stringer packing in their workshop

Laura Stringer packing in their workshop

Jim said: “The prize money went a long way towards helping secure a workshop in Meersbrook.

“Our aim was to develop, make and sell our designs and having a workshop was the first step towards that.

“Because a lot of our designs are humorous and witty, we decided to call ourselves Quirky Metals.”

The couple are developing their range of products and selling them at artisan markets, makers’ fairs and craft markets. They will have stalls at Welbeck on November 27 to 29 and at Kelham Island’s Victorian Christmas Market.