Meet the Maker – Denise from Oruki Design
Denise (or Dee) Brett from Oruki Design makes pretty things from wire. She uses different techniques – weaving, wrapping, shaping and hammering – to make jewellery, decorations and garden art from her home studio (which doubles as her dining table) in Manchester. Here Dee talks to fellow Folksy maker Dania from Whylder Mills about how she started weaving with wire, her creative process and the joy of working for yourself…⠀
To celebrate being our featured maker, Dee is offering 15% off all her pieces with the code HAPPY15 – until Sunday 25th April 2021. Shop Oruki Design on Folksy – https://folksy.com/shops/OrukiDesign
As to what I do, I always struggle to put a name to it as I don’t just make one thing. Put very simply, I make pretty things from wire.Denise Brett, Oruki Design
Hi Dee! Please introduce yourself and what you do.
Hi Dania, nice to meet you. I’m Dee (or Denise – I don’t mind which!) and my little business is Oruki Design. I’m really excited to be a featured maker… I still can’t quite believe it! So, I’m originally from down south, but now living in Manchester with my other half Andrew, our two cats and a corn snake. As to what I do, I always struggle to put a name to it as I don’t just make one thing. Put very simply, I make pretty things from wire. I use different techniques – weaving, wrapping, shaping and hammering to make jewellery, decorations and garden art all from my ‘workshop’ (our dining room!).
How long did it take you to master your wire weaving technique?
I discovered wire weaving about three years ago. I’d been using wire in different craft projects and wanted to see what else I could make. I was hooked straight away. There’s something about it that just clicked – I’d always enjoyed cross stitch and for me it’s a bit like sewing with metal.
I started out making cuffs, which I found was a great way to learn as you have a very long section of weaving to really get into, to practise the different patterns and make them really neat. I decided to add earrings and pendants to my collection, but I wanted to create lighter designs – as much as I love wire weaving, it felt a bit too chunky for what I wanted to make. So I invested in a hammer and mini block, which let me start creating designs that have hammered sections for strength, with just a little weaving.
I’ve avoided following tutorials to learn – I’d rather figure it out on my own.Denise Brett, Oruki Design
I wouldn’t say I’m a master – I have so much to learn about wire weaving – but I like to think I have mastered the bits I do know. I’m quite stubborn and wanted to design stuff myself, so I’ve avoided following tutorials to learn – I’d rather figure it out on my own. I’m slowly adding more elements as I learn new techniques, but I’m really happy with how my style is developing.
What are your favourite materials to work with? What’s your favourite gemstone and why?
Well, that would be wire! Most of my work is in copper but I’ve started adding a few silver pieces too – just the bits that are light enough so don’t need hallmarking. I do love silver but I still find it a bit nerve wracking to work with because I worry about wasting any. I use plated and coloured wire too in my Christmas decorations, and niobium for all my earring hooks. I really do have a lot of wire!
I’d struggle to pick just one gemstone. I’m a bit of a magpie and not only with gemstones – I adore glass too. I’m drawn to anything green and I also love the iridescence of stones like tiger’s eye and labradorite or dichroic glass. They’re a little bit magical and I do spend probably far too long looking at them before I start working!
Most of my work is in copper but I’ve started adding a few silver pieces too – just the bits that are light enough so don’t need hallmarking.Denise Brett, Oruki Design
If money and time were no object, what designs would you love to create?
Oh what a fab question! I’d definitely like to work with silver more and I’d love to do some proper silversmith training – the thought of using a torch unsupervised is a little daunting! Then I could register for hallmarking and start making slightly bigger pieces – at the moment I’m limited to earrings and lighter pendants. I’d also love to learn how to make glass one day. Glass is such a gorgeous material and I think it would be amazing to make my own pieces to wire wrap.
What is your favourite piece you’ve ever made?
Ooh, that’s a tricky one. My most recent design is usually my favourite. At the moment I’m quite obsessed with my wind spinners – I’ve always loved watching them and love that I can make my own now. Of all my jewellery I’m particularly fond of my arrowhead earrings. I’ve had so many lovely comments about them and they are very much to my own personal taste. I love them.
Of all my jewellery, I’m particularly fond of my arrowhead earrings. I’ve had so many lovely comments about them and they are very much to my own personal taste.Denise Brett, Oruki Design
Who are your favourite creatives, within and outside of your discipline?
When I started out I invested in a book by Sarah Thompson. Her designs are gorgeous and the way she adds layers and movement to her designs without making them look heavy is so clever. Outside of wire work, I don’t think I could narrow down a favourite, especially since being part of Folksy – I have found so many talented (and lovely!) folks that do so many amazing different things. I don’t think I could pick a favourite. There are too many to mention and I’d hate to leave anyone out!
What are your goals for the future?
I’d love to start going to markets and craft fairs again. I managed to do a local one back in December 2019 and really enjoyed it. It would be fab to find some local shops to stock my designs now the world is starting to open up again. Other than that, to just keep enjoying what I do and keep improving, whether that’s my wire skills or the other businessy stuff – SEO, social media and the like. I feel like I’m constantly chipping away at it!
I’d always enjoyed cross stitch and, for me, wire weaving is a bit like sewing with metal.Denise Brett, Oruki Design
What is your creative process? How do you go about designing and making?
It really depends what I’m making. I’ve found that the control freak / perfectionist in me likes to work from a pattern – it means less waste of wire as I can cut just the right amount and I know exactly the places to bend or shape. It’s also handy as I can prepare the heavier hammered wires and then I have something to work on in the evening on the sofa.
If I’m starting on a new design or it’s a one-of-a-kind stone to be wrapped, I usually do a lot of thinking first! I’m not much of an artist, so I’ll usually draw around the stone in my notebook, then sketch out some rough shapes to see what might work. I’ll follow that with some more thinking – trying to work through every stage and which wire will go where (occasionally tracing it in the air in front of me and really confusing my OH!). Then, if necessary, I’ll figure out elements by playing with scrap wire, so that when I start I have a clear picture of what I need to do.
I’m drawn to anything green and I also love the iridescence of stones like tiger’s eye and labradorite or dichroic glass.Denise Brett, Oruki Design
What is the best thing about Oruki Design?
Ooh, there are a few for me but getting lovely feedback from customers is definitely one of them. It’s such a satisfying feeling to know that something I’ve designed and made is so loved by its new owner – and that they took the time to let me know. Really, every single sale feels like that – it still amazes me that people are paying me money to make things! It doesn’t seem real sometimes.
I also love the freedom of working for myself. Yes, there can be a lot of pressure and different hats to wear, but the sense of achievement really does make it all worthwhile.
Treat yourself to 15% off Oruki Design with the code HAPPY15 before the end of Sunday 25th April 2021.
Shop Oruki Design on Folksy – https://folksy.com/shops/OrukiDesign
Meet the interviewer
The maker asking the questions this week is Dania from Whylder Mills. Dania makes jewellery and accessories from resin, which she combined with metals, woods and other natural or found materials to make colourful, bold, fun one-of-a-kind pieces.
Shop Whylder Mills on Folksy – https://folksy.com/shops/WhylderMills
Read our interview with Dania from Whylder Mills here – Whylder Mills – Meet the Maker