Big Christmas Window Reveal

Would you like to find out how I created my Christmas shop window? Read on as I take you behind the scenes...

Catherine Hills Christmas window sketchbook

The challenge

My Tunbridge Wells jewellery Shop and Atelier is based in The Pantiles - the picturesque, historic heart of Tunbridge Wells. This year, for the first time, The Pantiles shop owners were challenged to get creative with their window displays for an event organised by The Zero Waste Company and sponsored by Maddisons Residential. Visitors to this year’s Pantiles Christmas Shopping evening on the 13th November were invited to take part in an online poll to vote for their favourite window. It’s been a tough few years for independent shops and makers so I loved the idea that the competition would bring some attention and buzz to the wonderful creative shops in The Pantiles.

The Design

Catherine Hills Jewellery - Christmas window sketch

Dreamed up by my friend, and local creative Josephine Compton and inspired by Russian folk tales illustrated by Ivan Bilibin at the turn of the 20th century. My window featured a magical scene of a deer in an enchanted forest inspired by my new Antler jewellery collection. Along the bottom is an advent countdown that will reveal a surprise each day created by Kent artist Elizabeth Harbour.

Catherine Hills sketching window template

Josephine and I sketched the design and then made a full-scale template which we placed on the window to form a guide. We hand-painted the design using a mixture of acrylic and glass paints.

A Big Reveal

Catherine Hills Christams window revealed by town crier

Each window was revealed in turn by the Tunbridge Wells’ town criers and the public were asked to vote for their favourite. The evening was a big success with lots of families and locals all enjoying the fun. I was so proud and excited to learn the following week that my window had topped the polls.

It took Josephine and I hours to design and paint the window so it meant so much to win. For me The Pantiles, and especially the Lower Walk, has always been the creative centre of Tunbridge Wells. It’s such a privilege to be surrounded by so many independent, creative businesses. The window competition has made Christmas in The Pantiles even more special and it's been great to see such a buzz in the area with more people choosing to shop small and local this year.

Elizabeth Harbour

Elizabeth Harbour christmas decoration airedale dog on wheels

My friend Elizabeth Harbour is an artist and illustrator based in Kent. Her work is inspired by the trees and birds of rural Kent. I love Elizabeth’s hand-painted decorations and have chosen one to be revealed each day of advent. It’s no surprise that one of my favourites is Elizabeth’s Airedale Dog on wheels!

Antler Hoop Earring & Pendant Necklace

Catherine Hills Jewellery Antler Hoop Earrings and Pendant

Earlier this year I was lucky enough to escape to Wales with a dear friend. We grew up together and always loved rock-pooling and treasure hunting for unusual nature and flea market finds. During our time in Wales, I loved collecting seaweed on the beach and looking closely at the colours, textures and shapes - it inspired me to start sketching and the finished designs for my Antler Hoop Earrings  - reminds of the wonderful structure of deer antlers. As the collection had just launched it seemed fitting that a deer, with magnificent antlers should be the star of the show.