Alice Portnoy started studying jewellery design in her 70s, after a 25-year career as a marketing manager for a large appliance company. Since then, she has had her work exhibited at the V&A and has shown at craft fairs across London. Most recently she was one of a small number of craft people chosen for the MADE London craft fair in Canary Wharf.
WHAT IS YOUR NAME?
HOW OLD ARE YOU?
WHERE DO YOU LIVE?
WHAT DO YOU DO?
I started making jewellery about 7 years ago, after taking several adult education courses. I call my business myjewellerywardrobe. I continue to take a jewellery course, one day each week, at City Lit. I sell my jewellery at Craft Fairs and take commissions.
TELL US WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE YOUR AGE?
I never find my age a disadvantage and try to keep a very positive attitude toward life. I remain active socially, enjoying the theatre, art and concerts. I like to walk, play bridge and exercise at home. I try to keep up with technology but am not addicted to my phone.
I enjoy being with young people and I think they respect my intelligence.
WHAT DO YOU HAVE NOW THAT YOU DIDN’T HAVE AT 25?
I definitely have my aches and pains but try not to dwell on them. I definitely have more money and more time to travel and enjoy life. I have more tolerance and understanding of people and are less critical. I accept that things may not always run smoothly and just try to get on with things and don’t worry that much.
WHAT ABOUT SEX?
I still enjoy sex but it is less frequent. My husband had prostate cancer so his testosterone level is low. We hope that this will improve with time.
We have a good network of friends, many of whom we play bridge with. I think I could call on them if I had any problems. My daughter lives nearby, in case of an emergency.
HOW FREE DO YOU FEEL?
I feel reasonably free. I have a husband and hence certain responsibilities. I like to be home in the evening to prepare a meal and do the shopping and household chores. He handles most of the finances and is very good at planning and organising our holidays.
WHAT ARE YOU PROUD OF?
I’m proud of what I have accomplished. I had a very successful marketing career and worked for one company for 27 years. I was very well know and respected in the industry. I am proud that I started a new career so late in life and that people want to buy my jewellery. I am very proud of my children and what they have accomplished – all high achievers, and very proud of my grandchildren, the type of people they have become.
WHAT KEEPS YOU INSPIRED?
Designing new pieces from ideas that I have- sometimes this can be inspired by a geometric shape, a place that I visit or something that I see. Inspiration comes from all sorts of sources.
WHEN ARE YOU HAPPIEST?
On holiday in some lovely place- seeing something truly beautiful, enjoying nature, a beautiful sunset, wonderful scenery, surrounded by my family.
WHAT’S YOUR PHILOSOPHY OF LIVING?
Enjoy every moment, take advantage of all opportunities, keep challenging yourself, keep active and keep learning.
Can’t avoid this so don’t worry about it. Just hope that you’re not a burden to others.
ARE YOU STILL DREAMING?
WHAT WAS A RECENT OUTRAGEOUS ACTION OF YOURS?
Applying to exhibit at Made, a craft fair in Canary Wharf, and being accepted!