Focus on business
This time, we focus on two businesses, both jewellers, and both based in the Portobello Green Arcade under the Westway.
Linda Atkinson runs Isis, just on the Portobello Road entrance to the Arcade. She was one of the original tenants at the Arcade when it first opened 28 years ago. “I now get the daughters of some of my original clients coming into buy work here,” says Linda.
She started out her career as a teenager in her hometown of Stockton-on-Tees in the 1960s, making accessories such as chokers from scraps of leather and suede. After a foundation course at Chelsea School of Art and a degree at Middlesex Polytechnic, she went on to get her Masters in jewellery design at the Royal College of Art.
She’s lived in the area for nearly 40 years, so she’s seen all the changes that this neighbourhood has experienced over the years.
Linda makes and designs contemporary, original jewellery which she sells in her shop. She also stocks work by a selection of other designers and makers. “About half the work I do is one-off commissions for people and the remainder I make for sale in the shop,” says Linda. “I'm the only business around here that does repairs – bring in your broken or damaged jewellery and I’ll happily give an estimate. I redesign and remake old and antique pieces.”
Unit 3, Portobello Green Arcade
020 8968 5055
Sarah Bunting London
Sarah Bunting opened her business at the Arcade 10 years ago. Before that, she spent almost a decade renting space at Linda Atkinson’s Isis, just a few doors away in the Arcade.
She takes commissions for handmade jewellery, including bespoke wedding and engagement rings, in silver, gold and platinum. Much of her work comes from word-of-mouth recommendation. And some of the mouths are well known, since Sarah’s clients have included Jade Jagger, Tess Daley and Courtney Love.
Sarah’s shop in the Arcade also includes her jewellery workshop. “I love working here in the Arcade,” Sarah says. “There’s a real sense of community among the traders here, and I’ve known some of them for years.
“Originally I was interested in sculpture,” explains Sarah, “but I quickly realised the practical difficulties of working on a large scale in metals, so jewellery seemed an obvious choice. I went on to study jewellery at Epsom School of Art.
“I think of my work as organic, based on simple ideas and forms from the natural world,” says Sarah. “I was brought up on a farm in Norfolk, so I feel that my inspiration comes from that childhood experience.”
Sarah Bunting London
Unit 22, Portobello Green Arcade
020 8968 2253