Studio Visit | Michelle Oh
Studio Visit | Michelle Oh
In the first in our new series exploring the spaces we work in, we take a trip to East London to catch up with jewellery designer Michelle Oh and find out more about her latest collection inspirations and the studio she works in. Michelle Oh's latest collection can be seen online by clicking HERE
Your favourite piece from Michelle Oh AW16 collection?
The SHIP SHAPE ring
Your inspiration for the collection?
I have an ongoing fascination for things that don't match as well as things that aren't perfect. It was from this idea that the MISCHMASCH Collection was born, I wanted to see if I could create something unexpectedly beautiful from mismatched elements.
At what point did you realise you wanted to be a designer?
I think it was probably only in the second year of university whilst training for my BA in jewellery design that I properly realised I wanted to be a designer. I was having a bad year.. I wasn't confident about my own work, I was sure I was never going to succeed and I almost let myself drop out! But then I made my very first jewellery sale, and the customer emailed afterward to say how much she loves her ring. It was only a small thing, but I really remember feeling so fulfilled and so happy that a stranger out there is actually wearing something I had made. That was when I decided that this is what I want to keep doing.. So I didn't drop out, and now I'm here!
How would you describe your subject matter or the content of your work?
The more irregular something is, the more interesting they are to me. A lot of my best work actually result from accidents or mistakes! Often I would design something, set out to make it, and then during the process something would happen that wasn't quite part of the plan yet somehow I would prefer that outcome rather than the originally planned one. Maybe something would move slightly to the side and change the overall shape of the design completely.. or maybe two things don't align yet the resulting shape turns out to be far more interesting in the end.. It's these little mishaps I enjoy developing into the refined final product. I think most designers hate when things don't happen according to plan when they start making, but I'm the total opposite because I think it keeps my work interesting, I like welcoming the unexpected.
What mediums do you work with?
I work mostly in gold with natural diamonds and coloured gemstones.
Describe your signature style?
Delicate, whimsical, and fun. I would say that my style is an eclectic mix of texture and colour with an organic slant.
Your studio'ÂÂs in Hackney. How does London and the city influence your work?
London is the perfect place for nurturing my love for juxtapositions and opposites. I love the fast pace of this city but there are also surprisingly lots of tranquil pockets of greenery to escape to.
What do you love most about your studio/ workspace?
I love that it's only 15 minutes away from home so I can walk or cycle through the park and the canals to get to work everyday. I love that we have a rooftop garden, especially in the Summer months, but most of all I just love having my own space where I can come in and make whatever I want!
Do you have a daily routine? Favourite time of day? Night owl or early riser?
I'm definitely a night owl, I often stay in the studio until really late because I seem to feel more inspired in the evenings when it's quiet.
Favourite local shop & cafe for cake?
I love La Bouche cafe on Broadway Market because 1. their coffee is great 2. the croque monsieur is sinfully delicious 3. it's right next to the post office so I always have an excuse to pop in after shipping out orders
What are you presently inspired by are there particular things you are reading, listening to or looking at to fuel your work?
I'm currently reading about early prehistoric examples of art and tool making, and I think it is definitely going to be an influence maybe in a future collection.
Is there something you are currently working on, or are excited about starting that you can tell us about?
I've been collecting interesting specimens of salt and pepper diamonds for an alternative bridal collection and I'm really excited to get it all done! There's a romantic in me that believes there is somebody for everybody, that somehow one person's flaws could be immensely attractive to another. I want to express that in my collection by using included diamonds that industry standards would categorise as 'flawed' but in turn are completely one of a kind and really special pieces because the resulting ring won't look like every other girl's ring. I love the speckled effect these diamonds have.
How would you describe your personal style?
Down to earth.
The one thing you'd most like to change?
My tendency to worry and overthink.
Cut flowers or pot plants?
Potted plants you can grow and cut your own flowers from.
The Galapagos Islands
Buying gemstones is my biggest extravagance. I often come back from a buying trip loaded with stones I hadn't planned on getting, and it could sometimes take months or years before they get used! I just can't resist the magpie in me, I love buying stones.
Work hard and be nice to people.