A Gander into Jewellery Making, Topographical Maps and Lemon Peels with Octi
by Nova / Marianna Mukhametzyanova·
Jewellery - a magical world within design, and more specifically product design, that we’ve delved into for this Greater People interview. Our protagonist is the very talented and creative Octi, the name and face behind her namesake jewellery label, OCTI. If you like shiny things that come in geometric shapes and/or if you want to learn more about the jewellery design process, then tuck in.
Octi is a London-based jewellery designer who gets most of her inspiration for her work from real-life textures and patterns - oftentimes found in nature - to then mirror them in her jewellery pieces. Her brand’s story more or less starts from a fun anecdote involving a lemon peel and Octi’s kitchen. You'll read about that later.
Fast forward from the lemon peel and Octi’s designs are stocked in an impressive array of retailers around the world. Although designs vary from collection to collection, a red thread runs throughout all her work. She’s always playing around with how nature’s recurring patterns can be worn on the body, whether in earring, bangle or necklace form. Each piece shows her admiration for the natural world and how great her attention to detail is.
Read the interview below to learn about how Octi moved away from advertising to turn her passion project into a full-time gig, the lemon peel story, her design background, her process from start to finish, using Instagram as a business tool and much more. You'll be ordering your own Cooksongold catalogue when you're done. I did after I spoke with her.
Hello! Can you tell me your name and what you do? Tell me about yourself.
I'm Octi and I make jewellery. My brand is also called Octi which kind of happened because there wasn't really a day when I said, I'm starting a brand. I just had an Instagram page and one thing led to the next. The brand's been going for over a year and before that I was working in advertising.
Okay, cool. And how did you get into jewellery making?
So I did a short course in the evenings while I was still working. Actually, the processes that I learned there are not the ones that I use now, but I guess it was a sign that I was interested in it. Now I use the process of lost-wax casting whereas that was more like working directly in the metal.
I use some of these skills now, but taught myself everything else I know during lockdown and then it kind of went from there. I did Fine Art sculpture at uni and then also switched to Design course, so i think in the end it all makes sense.
Cool. And then at what point when you were doing this course where like let me leave my job and actually do this full time and make this into something that's my career?
I can't remember the exact timeframe but I did that course and then I didn't do anything about jewellery for ages. I just kept working in advertising. And then it was during lockdown when I started and then I chose to sustain the two things in conjunction with each other. And then it just kind of got to a point where I could just about fathom risking quitting my job, which was January last year. And then just kind of took a risk with it.
At what point did you know you really wanted to pursue this? When did that enjoyment kick in?
I think I wanted to pursue it from the beginning. I wasn't really enjoying what I was doing for work and I wanted to do something more creative. I think in the back of my head I always would have dreamt to do it full time if, I just didn't really think it would happen, so I'm super grateful that it did.
And so how did you get into advertising? What was your first stint and how did that journey progress?
I did an internship at BBH. I got lucky with that. There was a little group of us that got selected for an internship programme and that was in production. When I went into advertising, I actually always wanted to do art direction but then fell into production.
And did you ask about moving over to design or art direction? I appreciate art direction roles are quite hard to find.
No, I was actually really enjoying it. When I started, the team I was working with was really good, like the person that I was assisting for example, we got on really well.
It wasn’t until lockdown when I enjoyed it less because it was more about the fundamentals of being on your own and doing the tasks, timing plans and budgets etc. I wasn’t really enjoying that and I don't really think that's actually what I'm very good at. I realised that it wasn’t the right role for me.
Cool. So then when you were like, I'm gonna go into jewellery making full-time, how did you know what kind of jewellery you will get to make and the kind of style that you are going to have?
I just had this idea one day. I was really into lemons at the time and I had this idea to make a lemon peel into a ring. That was my first ring that I ever got cast. I had done some silicone moulding at uni and at this point I hadn't done it for ages. My mate is an artist and she has a studio where she makes silicone moulds all the time. So I went to her studio for a day and used her silicone and moulded some lemon peels. That was my first and then that led to loads of other ideas: what other fruits or vegetables can I cast? That was the starting point.
When you just mentioned your friend and the silicone moulds. What does that entail? I can't imagine it in my head.
You basically mix up the silicone. There are two parts, the catalyst and the silicone itself. So for the lemon, for example, I basically bent the lemon into a rough circle shape and then super glued it to a surface. And then you build a wall around it and then you can literally just pour in the silicone and it goes all over the lemon peel. When it sets, you take away the wall, pop out of the lemon peel, and then you've got a kind of negative of it. And then from there, you can pour in wax, which is what you need to make into metal.
So you actually used a real lemon peel?
What do you do when you don't have that real object, when you don't have the fruit that you're inspired by? It’s just an idea that you have and then a design you’ve drawn?
That’s more of what I do now with the line work.
Actually don’t answer that! I have a better question for later. So university - can you tell me about that?
I went to Central Saint Martins and did Fine Art Sculpture but I just wasn't really very happy with the amount of tutorials and that they didn't give you your own space to make work. There was one room for like 45 people that was not big enough. So I moved to Goldsmiths, transferred courses and restarted and then graduated from that course.
And how transferable are the skills that you learn across those two courses to what you do now?
I think the mould making was one thing with the silicone because I did a lot. I was doing sculpture, so I guess working in 3D and thinking in that way, it was always a thing that I enjoyed doing.
And at Goldsmiths the way that they design the course is to purposely make skills super transferable. So the course is largely about creative thinking and conceptual ways of seeing things. It was about working in this way and then applying that to whichever discipline anyone chooses to go into. An example of a brief that we would get there would be to design your escape from something. It was quite abstract. The intention was that you can go out into the world and apply that to whatever you ended up doing.
That’s really fun.
Yeah it was really fun. It was a really good course. I definitely recommend it. And then combined with that I've always been really into clothes and fashion. To me jewellery is like wearable sculptures so I think that’s where everything just comes together.
Do you think it benefited you coming from a design background? Did it help that you could hand draw your own designs and then more easily articulate your ideas to someone, maybe just using the language that you had? Or you could just actually draw it out straight away and be like, this is what my idea is?
I wouldn't say I'm amazing at drawing. I kind of draw in wax. That's sort of the way that I see my process. And also, now what I'm doing is very much just me. I don't have to present anything to anyone ever really until it’s finished.
I draw for me to visualise it and to remember what I had in my head. And then I tend to work quite directly. So I'll just do loads of experiments and I think because a lot of my stuff is organic shapes, I just kinda draw in wax and it’s like trial and error.
And then in terms of organic materials, have you ever looked at a weirdly shaped fruit and thought that that would be really cool to create something from or use that texture? And then the second part of that question is, were you inspired by anything else that isn’t organic matter, wherever it's maybe someone that you had met, or a different designer whose style you really liked?
Yes for the fruits always. I'm always thinking about how a fruit or vegetable can become wearable. For example, the pickle ring that I've done is just, I mean, it's just a big pickle. And then I used an apple corer to take out the middle, and then it’s a ring. I like to see how things can change their context.
And in terms of other things, it's a lot about nature. I think one big concept for me is seeing these similarities and different scales within nature. It’s what’s explained in fractal geometry. There's a lot of depth to that in general but one thing is the idea that patterns within nature could reoccur in different scales. To me, the skin of an avocado, it's kind of like lava and the texture of the gherkin looks like a field of anthills. I like to find these comparisons. I just think that they're kind of everywhere which I find really fascinating. And I like to think about how that can then be repeated once again into a permanent object.
Very cool. You said that you like the changes of context. Do you think the wearer changes the context of the pieces that you make? And how if so?
I think jewellery can be such a personal item so I think people wear it with different intentions. It’s kind of down to somebody's style and how they styled it. I like it when people tag the brand and show how they’re wearing the pieces.
And then your jewellery classes. How did you figure out which one you wanted to do?
I just looked online. A lot of these places don't run constantly so I think it just made sense time wise and convenient wise.I literally didn't really know anything/ I just sort of picked one and showed up. And yeah, it was really sweet.
Although I do use some of the skills I learned there like soldering, and little things like that, which I probably don’t even realise I think that it wasn't at all about working in wax or anything that I do now.
But how did you move into working with wax?
I had another friend that made jewellery actually and she was doing it so she told me where to get waxes cast. I had this idea to make this lemon ring and then realised that's how I’d do it, soo then I became aware of the process.
And I just remember going to pick up the first rings that I had cast. It's kind of like magic. You take them somewhere and it's wax, and then you get them back as an entirely different thing. It's kind of like an addictive thing with me anyway.
Sounds like alchemy, like wizardry.
I mean, it’s crazy especially because it's like, you know, a precious metal. That little thing that I had is now quite valuable as well. So yeah, it's a super fun process.
So when you started making your pieces did you do it at home? Or did you use your friend's studio?
I did it from home. The wax needs to be melted to pour into the silicone mould. It’s kind of like a kitchen hob situation… waxy kitchen for quite a while. Yeah, just did it from home and then took it to a casting place to get it cast.
So how did organic natural materials and shapes and fruits and the repetition of certain patterns translate into a style that you've now developed for yourself? I've looked through your Instagram and your work is still connected to the lemon ring but is also quite different in terms of shape and thickness and I guess statement as well. So yeah, what was that process like?
The way it came from the fruit to the next thing was… well, long story. Because I was pouring the wax into these moulds in my kitchen, and the wax would overflow and drip everywhere all over the countertop. And so then I started finding these really interesting shapes in this wax that had dripped onto the counter. I felt weird throwing them away because I really liked them. So then that's how the whole thing with the puddly, watery shape started because I was saving these shapes. I think the first one I did was puddle earring and it didn't have any lines on it. And then from there I got the idea to draw the lines into it. And then I realised that I could then bend these shapes round and make them into rings or earrings or bangles and the whole thing became very fruitful.
That caught on as something that I could make a lot of pieces from by thinking about these shapes in different ways. It flowed from there really.
Are you quite an outdoorsy person? Have you always been into what's out there in the world?
I'm really a city person but also appreciate nature a lot. The patterns and texture side of it is kind of what gets me for this.
I want to touch on topography. Your work mirrors topographical lines and textures quite clearly.
I was just really interested in the patterns and lines you get on maps. And then I realised that those patterns also occur in wood, grain, and water, and all of these things that are tied in with my interests and the fractal geometry thing I spoke about earlier. It’s about how these patterns have been seen in all these places but then also largely represented on these maps, which represent the earth as on a larger scale.
Obviously, when you look at a map, it's got these topographical lines and that’s like a massive area. In my brain, then within that, then there's wood and water. And within that, there are smaller things and these patterns and irregular shapes are just occurring in all of it.
I think that's why a lot of my pieces are called islands and globes because I think to me, it's all encompassing of these patterns that occur everywhere. I think I did call them topology pieces but then I realised that there was more to it than that.
And also, as a personal interest I'm more interested in the kind of way that they repeat and where they occur in actual things like water and wood. I didn't want it to become too technical or map-focused, do you know what I mean?
That's cool. And you mentioned you're into fashion and clothing. How would you explain your style and when did you start caring about that kind of thing?
I think if you asked my mum I never didn't care about it. I think I was always really obsessed with clothes. All I ever wanted to do was style my Barbies. I've just always loved putting outfits together. Clothes as objects, clothes as art, I just really appreciate that.
I think in terms of my style, it sort of depends what day you see me on. Depending on how I’m feeling I'll just dress differently and I think I have a tendency to spend a lot of money that I don't have on clothes.
Some days I won’t even see anyone because I work alone in my studio. Even if it’s just a super casual, comfy outfit, I’ve probably still thought about it.
Yeah, for sure. Would you say your personal style has had an impact on your jewellery?
Yeah, I think people have said that to me. In terms of the jewellery that I've always liked, it’s always been chunkier. And my mum always had really cool jewellery and I always used to borrow it.
I remember always loving the big hoop earrings and the big rings, and I think my stuff is mostly chunky now. I don't make much dainty stuff.
So what materials do you use? What do you work with?
All the metals I work with are recycled - mostly solid sterling silver. I don’t do any plating because it just always wears off and I want things to last forever. I do also offer gold but it's a market that I'm trying to build into a little bit more going forward. I sell like the odd gold piece. But yeah, mostly silver.
And I do make gold samples sometimes but it's really expensive. So I just kind of make as many as I can afford each season and then offer gold on the line sheet.
Do you make them before the purchase or is it made to order?
Yeah, so I make everything to order and generally orders take around 3-6 weeks to produce. I think this way of doing things works well for jewellery and it also means there is no waste or over stock.
Can you talk me through your process in terms of how you turn an initial idea into a product at the end? Do you ever transfer things to CAD programmes, 3D programmes? I think people would appreciate that information because I think sometimes jewellery making - or anything design-related - can be quite obscured with exclusivity. And there's not really specific information around and courses are expensive. So how does that process look for you?
Right now I’m at the beginning stages of designing my new collection. It’s a lot of drawing. A lot of research. Researching anything from other jewellery or just general concepts. In my sketchbooks I’ll have reference pictures and start drawing from there, then moving onto testing and drawing with the wax, experimenting basically.
Last season I did a clip which needed to be 3D modelled so it could function properly. There have been elements of 3D that are creeping in now, especially when I get ideas like that, ideas that need more engineering. I wanted to try and stop using pre-made parts and for that I clasp to be something that I had designed as well. When I think about how I can move forward and push things further in this way, that’s where I think 3D could really help.
Once I’ve experimented with the wax, I pick out the best bits and cast a few things, and then sample from there. My metal casters are super local, so I work really closely with them to work to the best end result.
What was your biggest fear when you started out your own line?
Not being able to sustain myself financially. I think that was the biggest fear. I mean even now I have thoughts, I'm like, ‘well now I'm doing this and I just gave everything up. What if I was to stop doing this and get a job?’. It would be weird. It's a weird place to be in because it's not like a career ladder, it's just like the abyss. I think there's always going to be that fear.
I mean it's like what any creative person desires - or thinks they desire - which is to have this freedom. Freedom of their day. But I know the flip side of it, which is everything you just mentioned, stability and sometimes you can be like, like what am I doing?
That's what I was going to say. It's not just drawing and designing. It's so much admin. Especially now I've started doing more wholesale. That takes up a lot of time. And it's not just the making, it's the logistical side of managing all of that as well. And also one thing that I struggle with is that it can be a bit lonely. That's one thing I loved about working in advertising. I loved going into the office and seeing everyone. I guess it depends if you get on well with your colleagues, but we used to get on well and I used to love going in there and working as a team.
Yeah. It's nice to be around people, I think especially when you can springboard off of others
Learning from people as well, that’s something I really enjoy, soaking up what you want - or don’t want - from others around you and the environments you’re in. Big learning.
Yeah so much interesting work can just come from a casual conversation. I think it is a massively important thing and the only hope that I have is just that I'll grow and there'll be more of a team around me. Fingers crossed.
So, what does a typical day look like for you as a jewellery designer?
I like to exercise in the morning, so I do that, get it out of the way, get to my studio, and then just treat it like a normal discipline. I guess that depends on what time of the year it is. So, the beginning of this year was very much taken up by getting out Spring-Summer 23 wholesale orders. Now it's moved to the stage where I'm designing a new collection and then I'll be making it. Regardless, each day I'll try and mix up a little bit.
Do you find your days go by quickly or slowly?
That varies, I think like any job, right? Some days it's going so slowly and then other days you're like, what? Like where did it go? So I think it just depends on what I'm doing and probably just my mindset on that day as well.
And so the season that you're working on now, is your style going to change from what it is at the moment, from what people can see on Instagram or is it the same vibe?
No, the way I see it happening so far - and is probably going to continue to happen - is I have a core collection, things I'll just carry through and always offer. And then each season there'll be new stuff, some of which I might hold onto and add to the core collections, and then the core collection will also grow.
I think one thing is also that with this linework, it doesn't always have to be drawn in this way. For example, the last season I did it, it was quite a lot about water. I was looking a lot at Japanese water illustrations and illustrating the line work like waves or tides. It had the same look in terms of these true organic shapes but drawn to fit a different theme. And I think that will be something that I can carry on through each collection depending on the topic. There'll be lots of new stuff, but I think it will still look like the brand.
Yeah. Oh, you mentioned Paris Fashion Week, how does that come about? Do you show your pieces at Fashion Week often?
I've been doing it with Slam Jam for the last two seasons. I went there for the week and chatted with all the buyers - it's a good place to be in for getting more wholesale orders.
Yeah. Do you enjoy that stuff, that aspect of things being more involved in?
Yeah, I love it. I like talking to people there and I think the atmosphere is really fun. I guess once you've spent a lot of time making something, it's nice to be able to have a space in which to show it as well.
And how do you first introduce your jewellery to the people around you? Do you show them sketches that you have, or references? Or is it when you have the final piece? Or do you show your friends or do you show your family? Or is it like an Instagram thing where you put out a poll and people vote? How do you gauge interest?
It used to be like that when I first started. I wasn't working seasonally and so was just making one thing, making another thing. I think back then it was kind of like you just wait until something bites. Now I'm constantly showing my friends and family and asking what they think of each one as they come along before putting it out as an entire collection. It's nice to share that and get opinions on my work.
Now you have a pretty strong following on Instagram. How did that grow it? Was that a mix of getting featured on different platforms or was that mostly from the people that you knew? Was it just organic from the get-go and you started with two followers and it just grew?
I always had Instagram as an individual and then I just started posting on that page and it's the same page I have now.
It seems to start snowballing once you get a few followers and people start sharing it. It felt like in lockdown because people were going out less, people were really on sharing stuff around and being on their phones.. I think I was quite lucky with the timing there. Also the ROA collaboration was probably quite good exposure as that gained some traction. I think it was various little things here and there. It takes a while and as I said, there're a lot of times where you're just like, oh, nobody cares.
And have you made any friends from social media and people being interested in your work? Have you made real-life connections through the online space?
Yeah, there are a few people that I'm talking to at the moment on a collaboration basis. I've met three people through that which is nice and then I think, hopefully, once you've worked together you'll be friends as well.
Sure. I think that's what's so great I find about social media is that you can just meet new people so easily.
There are a lot of great things about Instagram like that. For example being able to connect with people on the other side of the world, super quickly.
Has IG ever made you feel like you're not at the right place right now in your life or you're not as good as someone else's? It’s done that to me before.
Oh, I mean every day. I think you look at other people's work and you just think wow, mine doesn't even compare. I think it's a normal thing and I guess in some ways maybe it's motivating to constantly feel like you could do better. I guess that can be transferred into a positive.
On IG, everything is romanticised. None of the mundane moments are there. Because you live your own mundane moments day-to-day, and don’t see anyone else’s mundane moments, your life doesn’t seem to match up to others’ and you forget all the amazing things you’ve achieved.
You're right. I think it's all about perspective. I find it very hard to be happy with where I'm at and not worry about it. Sometimes it takes other people to bring you out of that. But it's about remembering to have perspective, remembering where you were at one point and where you are now and not worry too much about it. It’s not something that I find very easy.
It's easier said than done for sure. How long would you say it took you to feel super comfortable with the process that you have making jewellery and where you were like, all right, this brand has kicked off and I know what I'm doing now and there's a bit of a game plan here?
Oh, I don't think I do feel comfortable. I think that I've always felt a bit uncomfortable, which is fine, but no, I don't think I'm comfortable with anything. I’m comfortable doing the things I’ve done a million times like drawing these lines and these rings and it becomes more meditative because I've done it so many times. In terms of running a business, there are always going to be things that I'm uncomfortable with. I'm always trying to think of new ways to work, ways to better the work and improve the process. I think it's nice to be making yourself uncomfortable at least sometimes.
And how percentage-wise, how much of your time goes to creating, and how much of it goes into the business aspect of things?
I don't know. It all just keeps changing. 50/50 maybe?
And is the ambition to outsource some of that work or percentage to someone else?
I think I will always have to be a part of it. I think as the team grows it would be nice to have help with that side of things. But I think I'd always have a foot in it just because it's my thing.
So how did you start distributing your jewellery? How did you know where to kick that off? Who to go to? Like what platforms to use, how to start selling it?
The first wholesale order I got was when somebody in the industry gave me the email addresses of some buyers. I sent out emails and then LNCC got back to me.
I remember shipping it and I'd have to ask so many questions about just the logistical side of it. And then the pieces got there and they said, ‘Where's this thing? And you needed to wrap everything in poly bags.’ And that sounds so simple but back then I just didn’t know.
Then SSENSE reached out to me on Instagram before I did Paris and that was a bigger order. I just had to work it out. Luckily I had LNCC prior to that so then when SSENSE came in, I had a better understanding of what I was doing. And then with Paris and Slam Jam, they help you. You have a sales agent and they take the orders and give them to you and negotiate your shipping terms and your other stuff like that.
What was it like when SSENSE reached out to you and how do you think they found out about you?
That was amazing. I was just so taken aback. I just got a random message from them one day.
Where else is your jewellery stocked at the moment?
Selfridges is another big one and then there are a few smaller stores around the world as well. For example in Tokyo, Copenhagen, USA etc.
How did the Tokyo one come about?
That was Fashion Week as well. They came to see it.
Nice. So, even before you started doing wholesale, did you set up a website from which people would buy your stuff, or was it like people would just DM you and be like, this is what I'm looking for or how do I purchase this? How did you know how to go about that thing?
So, it was just through Instagram initially. my website was long overdue, I should have made one but I didn't want to make one that I wasn't happy with. And so I just ended up not doing it. And then I'd just get overwhelmed with DMs because that's the only way that anyone would buy anything. And it wouldn't necessarily mean that everyone was buying something. It would just be like loads of questions and stuff and then they wouldn't buy and I'd just be DMing people all the time and it was a bit chaotic. And then one day this guy (now my mate) who had bought a couple things off me, popped up and asked if I needed a website. So he did it and it was amazing. And then that was when I finally launched my website.
Long overdue. So, you make some custom pieces, right?
I used to more because I think once someone's already messaged you to buy something - and this is before I had a website - then you are in a conversation already and I think maybe people felt more like they could ask. I have done some before, yes.
Occasionally someone has sent me a photo of something that looks nothing like my work and said, can you make this? And I've thought, why me first? Do you know what I mean? And I wouldn’t want to copy what someone else had done, but if it was something off the back of something I'd done or like they wanted specific gemstone colours or anything like that was fitting, then for sure I'd do it.
Oh of course, gemstones. How did you get into gemstones? How did you get into that? Like where did the inspiration come from to start putting those on the work?
I just had an idea to incorporate them into the lines once and they're pretty fun. Instantly you can add colour and then you can do quite a lot more with the designs, loads of options, colour combinations etc.
If you use really hard ones, sapphires for example, then that means that they're strong enough to withhold heat from the casting process. You can set them in the wax and then when the ring gets cast, the gems stay in place and then the metal replaces the wax and stays over them. And so that's one of the process that I use for stone setting, which is pretty fun.
So what are some key things to know in your opinion about starting a business?
I think it's the transition from full-time work to this that hit me the most. You just have to be prepared to like work evenings and weekends. Then also just taking that risk and going for it.
Hmm, what else? I guess just not being afraid to ask questions because I remember at the time that I was emailing LNCC, I got this email and they said, can you just send us all of these bullets pointed things and they were all abbreviating and like three letters each that stood for something and I didn't know what any of them were. I spent hours trying to research it and work it all out. And I nearly spent like 200 pounds on buying barcodes for my products because I just was like, is this what I have to do?
Because I didn’t want to risk spending like 200 quid and then I don't need the things I bought. I eventually was like, oh sorry, what is this? And they were like, oh, it's fine, you don't need to do that. So, I guess just not being afraid to sound a bit dumb sometimes.
So a bit of a deeper question. The price of your items, the person who doesn't have much disposable income can't dish out £350 on a ring or £550 on a bracelet. So, in terms of the prices on it, do you think your work is consciously marketed towards people who might be able to afford that thing? And the second part of the question is whether the materials that are used to create the item have a massive impact on the final price? Is the gap large between the material price and retail price?
Yeah, I think it is more the cost of the materials because precious metals are expensive. Pricing is difficult because it is a shame that the higher price points will of course limit the customer base. I try and keep things as accessible as possible, but the prices are a result of cost to wholesale, and wholesale to retail margins, which are kind of standard. Making sure there is still profit from wholesale orders but also not undercutting stores with the prices on my website.
I think it's also really important for people to know that because oftentimes I think now there's like a devaluation of the way that people see things that they buy, if that makes sense. There's the culture of constantly buying things and sometimes buying cheap to buy more. I think it's good for people to know what exactly they're buying and to know the story behind it and how much work went behind it so they could justify that price for themselves.
Yeah, also because it's made locally in London - which I think does make it a higher price point - it means that I can go there every day and work closely with them and it is a bit more a bespoke thing as opposed to having it made abroad. It's nice being able to support locally and also have that intimacy with the process.
What advice would you give someone that wants to get into jewellery making or someone that more broadly wants to just teach themselves something from scratch? I know you didn't do it from scratch, but like just go ahead with something and learn a new skill and get into it.
Dedicate time towards it. It goes back to what I was saying when you asked me about tips on starting a business. You have to just write off the Saturdays for other things, or finish work during the week and then spend the evening on it. I think the first bit is the hardest because starting something new is difficult when you don't know what you're doing and then maybe it's frustrating but then to get past that to a point where you're more obsessed with it and like you feel like you have to do it and it's what you want to go and spend your spare time doing. I think just get into that space and then from there it will flow, just finding a process and the actual activity of it that you enjoy.
For example, the excitement of getting the first ring back that I cast. Once you get that feeling, you won't be able to help but do it and then you won't be able to help but produce work from it.
Great. And in terms of jewellery making, say someone doesn't have any design experience, any experience in anything like product design, what would you recommend they do? How would they start?
So, someone wants to make jewellery. I guess just think about what jewellery they'd want to make and then just research into what the techniques would be required for that. You can find a lot out on YouTube. You can ask people what equipment you should use. You can also obviously do a course, but again, it can be expensive and I think there’s a lot you can teach yourself, or even invent your own ways of doing things.
I think the nice thing is that, obviously, it's small objects, so you can do a lot from home. You don't need a huge space. It can be a bit messy but that’s part of the fun.
What plans do you have for the near future? Do you have any other design ideas going into clothing, textiles, or sculptures?
I'm looking at the golden ratio at the moment and things that fall within that in nature, which will form my SS24 collection. I also have a really exciting collaboration coming out later in the year. I love doing collaborations. I like meeting people through it and I like the way that it challenges your work and the way that two things coming together can be interesting. That's something that I want to keep doing. I also want to make more things in gold and think about other ways of stone setting.
Would you ever go into creating your clothing?
I would not say never. Who knows? I think right now I want to focus on getting this to a point where I'm really happy with it because I still feel like I've got so much more to do and learn.. I feel like in my head it's all still a bit of chaos and I've still got quite a lot to do in terms of jewellery, but I do also love clothes so who knows.
Who are some of your favourite jewellery designers, if you have any?
Castro Smith. Nada Ghazal. Seb Brown. Alice Waese and lots more.
And final question, what is the ultimate dream for the Octi brand? You said there are so many things that you're yet to do and yet to learn and yet to achieve. What's the end goal?
I think in general, refining the core collection and also for the design language to grow each season. It’s nice that you mentioned it looks like the brand has a recognizable style, I’d like to maintain that. I’d like to maintain and grow the silver offering but also tap into gold more as well. I’d also love to collaborate with more clothing brands, or even other jewellery brands. There’s also a few more stores I would love to be stocked in.
Who are they?
There are a few but off the top of my head: Dover Street Market. Browns. Matches.
Nice. All doable. All doable. You're basically there.