Makers Corner: Mariyam Khan

We are once again delighted to bring you another talented maker, Mariyam of Oh Panda Eyes.

Read on to learn more about Mariyam who creates jewellery based on literary works.

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After a long day designing and making, what do you do to switch off and relax?

As I work a part time job and make jewellery when I get home, if I can get the chance to switch off I like to do as little as possible, I tend to live in my pyjamas and watch Korean dramas or read a book.

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Can you tell us what is it like juggling your passion whilst holding down a day job?

It’s actually a lot more difficult than people think, on your days off you’re not able to wake up late, because you still have deadlines to keep. So, the best advice I can give someone thinking of starting their own business, be organised, make lists, remember sometimes you’ll have to let people down especially in the beginning, but it’s ok because once you get over that hurdle you’ll be back out enjoying yourself and more than that you’ll be your own boss!

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What has been your biggest achievement?

My biggest achievements to date are having a piece in every continent, having a stall at London Film & Comic Con and more recently working with publishers to include a book with my pieces of jewellery! The challenge is being in charge of everything, it’s nothing like working for someone else, but that’s what makes it so rewarding.

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Markers Corner: LB BEADS

As we draw closer to our upcoming Summer Makers Market, we introduce one of our newer designer-makers, Lolonyo. Read on for more.

Who is the creator behind LB Beads?

LB Beads was founded in 2017 by me, Lolonyo Amegayibor-Bunge, and I grew up in Ghana where beads play a big role in its history, society and everyday life.

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Can you recall what, or who, inspired you to work with beads?

I have always been fascinated by beads and took part in a beading workshop nine years ago. In 2016 when I visited my parents in Ghana, I went to various bead markets and was so inspired by the diversity of beads, materials used and the conversations that evolved around the beads, this prompted me to start designing and creating jewellery.

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Can you tell us a little about the design process?

In terms of the designing process, I am inspired by the beads I have to hand, then think about the design and start stringing. Every piece of jewellery is carefully crafted and each is unique, a one off, due to the fact that most of my beads and embellishments are hand crafted by traditional methods. I use different combinations for each design and no two pieces will ever be exactly the same. 

How are your pieces sustainable and environmentally friendly?

The beads I use are made from recycled glass, plastic, shells, clay, coconut shells, bone etc. Everything in Ghana has potential, For the artisan bead makers, any broken bottle, jar, container can be ground into a powder and fired into beads. Every piece of jewellery comes in a handmade African print gift bag.

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Makers Corner: Borscha and Bristy of Thread & Rock

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Who are Thread & Rock? 

Thread & Rock is the home-grown venture of two sisters, Borscha and Bristy. We create handmade bracelets which cater to petite wrists.

What inspired you both to became makers? 

Having inherited the petite frame from our Asian parents, there are two things we’ve always struggled with: (1) reaching for things on high shelves and (2) finding bracelets that don’t slide off our hands! Whilst there are many solutions to our first problem (e.g. a stepladder); for ages the only solution to our second problem was to avoid wearing bracelets altogether! That is, however, until we stumbled upon the wonderful world of Etsy!

We have always been amazed by the craftsmanship of our fellow Etsy sellers, and their stories have encouraged us to create our own bracelets. Our pieces are inspired by all things colourful and sparkly! We put every effort into our craft, from the design process, to the making and finally to the packaging of our little bracelets!

What is it like owning your own business and juggling life?

Our little business provides both a creative and therapeutic outlet from daily life. When we’re not making bracelets, Borscha works in Mental Health research and Bristy is in her second year at university studying BA Graphic Design.

Thank you very much Borscha and Bristy. Before you wrap up, can you leave us with some inspiring words?

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it” – Maya Angelou

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Thread & Rock

Makers’ Corner: Neja of Geo Fun Designs

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Who is Geo Fun Design?

My name is Neja and I’ve recently started my own brand of polymer clay jewellery called Geo Fun Design, inspired by geometric designs that combine unique features with a dash of quirkiness and elegance.  My studio is based in London, but I am originally from Slovenia and have been living in the UK for the past 4 years.

What inspired you to become a maker and please describe the making/designing process?

I’ve enjoyed creative projects and getting my hands messy ever since I was a teenager, when I would buy clothes and jewellery in high-street shops and add my own personal stamp by adding handmade elements or entirely transforming what, in my opinion, were items that lacked that special ‘je ne sais quoi’. Designing and making jewellery using a variety of media became a more pronounced passion of mine during my 20s, but it wasn’t until very recently that I decided to take my hobby to the next level and start my own business. At the moment I only sell on Etsy, but hopefully I will make my jewellery available on other platforms in the future as well.

Colour is key in all my designs – I mix all the colours myself and, unlike many polymer clay artists, I condition the clay using my hands, twisting and shaping it in a number of different ways to achieve unique and quirky colourful patterns. I also believe that while streamlining the creative process is necessary for brand development, leaving some room for experimentation and allowing oneself to just go with the flow while on a creative streak actually yields the best (and most unexpected) results. This is why all my designs are truly one of a kind and can not be replicated.

What is it like owning your own business or like many, juggling multiple jobs?

Although extremely challenging and exhausting at times, I do feel that being able to unleash my creativity is vital for me as it enables me to balance out my day job, which can be quite intellectually challenging and tiring. This is why, after a long day’s work, I like to just get my hands on clay and let my mind unwind.

Can you impart a quote or words of wisdom to inspire?

“The creative act is a letting down of the net of human imagination into the ocean of chaos on which we are suspended, and the attempt to bring out of it ideas.” (Terence McKenna)

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