Meet the Maker – oohaah jewellery
Beata from oohaah jewellery creates contemporary minimalist pieces in silver, often introducing small blocks of bright colours in wool or enamel as a foil to the dark, textured metal. She aims for her work to be simple and uncomplicated, made using the finest materials and an eye for detail – the opposite of throwaway fashion. Here Beata talks to fellow Folksy maker Annie from Poppy Darling about the joy of discovering her passion and how travelling the world in a campervan is one of the best ways to release your creativity.
Treat yourself to 15% off oohaah jewellery while Beata is our featured maker – use the discount code ‘HAPPY15’ before 6th July 2021 – https://folksy.com/shops/oohaahjewellery
I create simple, modern jewellery from silver. I feel it’s important to make jewellery not only interesting and unique, but also comfortable and ideal to wear every day.Beata, oohaah jewellery
Hi Beata, could you introduce yourself and tell us a little about what you do.
Hello everyone! I’m Beata and firstly I’d like to say I’m really exciting to be a featured maker. That means a lot to me. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to tell you about myself and my work. Originally I’m from Poland but I’ve been living in Leeds for seven years with my other half Robert and our cat, Zorka (the most important person in my studio).
I’ve always been a creative person. I’ve tried different ways to express myself during my life. I’ve tried painting, photography and landscape design. It was when I did a silversmith jewellery course a couple of years ago that I finally I discovered my true passion. Now I’m the owner of oohaah jewellery.
I create simple, modern jewellery from silver. I love silver a lot. I feel it’s important to make jewellery not only interesting and unique, but also comfortable and ideal to wear every day. That’s also what I look for in jewellery for myself.
‘Oohaah’ describes a range of emotions like surprise, delight and pleasure. I hope my customers feel that way when they receive a piece of my jewellery.Beata, oohaah jewellery
The name Oohaah Jewellery really sticks in my mind. What’s the story behind your business name?
It wasn’t easy at all to come up with a good name for my business. It took me almost two years to create a satisfying name, with family and friends engaged in the process too. There were many different ideas, some good, some bad. It was a real group brainstorming!
The final name was created during a trip to the USA. My partner and I had planned to go hiking in the Grand Canyon – an absolutely amazing place. Unfortunately, the weather was awful that day – snowing and very foggy – and we couldn’t see any of these beautiful views. After a few hours’ walk we saw a sign for ”ooh aah point” but, of course, we couldn’t see anything around, so we started laughing. I thought that was the perfect name for my business. It describes a range of emotions like surprise, delight and pleasure. I hope my customers feel that way when they receive a piece of my jewellery. I must add that we did go back to Grand Canyon and the views were truly breathtaking.
The items I make are simple, sometimes even rough – silver with a matt finish or oxidised black. I try to break that roughness by introducing light, bright colours, which create a beautiful contrast to dark or textured silver.Beata, oohaah jewellery
How would you describe your work and style?
I appreciate minimalism, in art as well as in architecture and interiors. My motto is: less is more. I also love Brutalism in architecture. The items I make are simple, sometimes even rough. Silver with a matt finish or oxidised black. I try to break that roughness by introducing light, bright colours, which create a beautiful contrast to dark or textured silver. I use jewellery enamel and felt wool to get that effect.
I like to think oohaah jewellery is simple and uncomplicated. It’s created by paying attention to detail and using the finest materials. It’s the opposite of throwaway fashion. I hope every piece will give confidence and meaning when worn.
Do you have any favourite designers who influence your minimalist style? What else influences your work?
Oh yes I have plenty! Instagram is full of very talented people and it’s a perfect place for finding inspiration. If I had to choose one favourite, it would be Yayoi Kusama, for sure. She’s Japanese contemporary artist sometimes called “the princess of polka dots”. She makes all kinds of art – sculptures, paintings, installations, clothes and even performances – all covered in dots. I was lucky enough to see her amazing work at the Tate Modern in London few years ago. It was a very emotional experience.
The second one would be British-Iraqi architect, artist and designer Zaha Hadid. She became famous for her intensely futuristic architecture, characterised by curving facades, sharp angles and rough and heavy materials such as concrete and steel. Over the last two decades, her work has been honoured by a long list of awards. Her architectural designs are revolutionary and totally unique. To me, Zaha Hadid represents what might be possible when you have a vision and take every opportunity to realise it. She was an amazing designer and woman.
I am inspired by the world around me – nature, architecture, fashion. I spend any spare time I have going to art exhibitions, museums and galleries, to research and look for ideas. I’ve found a lot of inspiration during my travels too.
Sometimes when I feel like I’m not getting what I expected from a piece of jewellery I’m working on, I just allow myself to go with the flow and let the piece decide how it wants to look.Beata, oohaah jewellery
Do you have a favourite tool you can’t be without?
Because I’m mainly self-taught and I love experimenting and learning new techniques, I need more and more tools. My studio is full of various kinds of tools but, believe me, it’s never enough. However, I can’t imagine my bench without a micromotor, which is very useful at almost every stage of jewellery making. I also love my torch and soldering has always been something I enjoy doing.
How do you spend time away from your home studio?
Generally, I don’t like spending time at home, so when I don’t work I’m out. Almost every weekend I go hiking. I’m very lucky to live in Yorkshire, where there are plenty of beautiful places around. My partner and I are also big fans of board games, so one day a week we play with friends. We also watch films together every Thursday – it’s our tradition. But what I really love doing is travelling. Travelling is a very important part of my life. Usually we rent a campervan – it’s the best way to travel and explore new countries.
What are the peaks and pits of running your own business?
The biggest advantage of running my own business is that it’s flexible and I can manage my own time. It’s up to me how much I work. I can adjust the time to my needs and my family. I can also work on my ideas without consulting a boss. I can develop my work in directions of my own choosing. Moreover, I take great satisfaction in creating jewellery, especially when I get positive comments from my customers or when they come back and buy more. Then I feel my work is meaningful.
Our cat, Zorka is the most important person in my studio.Beata, oohaah jewellery
On the other hand, it’s a huge responsibility. I’m responsible for all the aspects of running the business. Apart from the creative work, I have to manage the graphic design, take the photos, monitor my online shop, run the social media, organise all the marketing, deliveries, finances and many other things. It’s a lot of work and it can be really time-consuming.
Another thing is the irregular cash infusion, which can be stressful, especially in the off-season months. Fortunately, there are more pros than cons, so I will carry on doing what I like most: creating my jewellery with passion and enjoying it when people appreciate my work.
Have you learned anything about yourself through your maker’s journey?
It’s been an amazing journey for me. Not only because I’ve obtained new skills but mostly because I’ve developed passion, joy and satisfaction. It hasn’t come without its struggles and challenges though, which I believe are necessary to succeed. I’ve learned how to be better at organising my time while maintaining my sales, as this requires a great deal of self-discipline.
I’ve also learned that you have to be open-minded and flexible during the creating process. Sometimes when I feel like I’m not getting what I expected from a piece of jewellery I’m working on, I just allow myself to go with the flow and let the piece decide how it wants to look. It might sound funny but it really is that mixture of intuition and confidence in your skills that allows you to think outside the box and overcome difficulties that might occur on the way.
What do you see for oohaah jewellery’s future?
Oohaah is a quite new brand. I started it one year ago. Although I was making jewellery before that, it was mainly for my family and friends. It took me quite a long time to be brave enough to show my products to the world. I think I was afraid that my jewellery wouldn’t be appeal to customers or be interesting enough for them to buy. It’s every artist’s worry. But, for now, it’s going very well and I hope my small creative business will continue to grow. My big dream for the future is to have a small gallery with a workshop where I can make and sell my own jewellery and drink good coffee with customers, maybe in a cosy small seaside town. I would be over the moon if I could do that.
When I take the tools into my hands all the worries and problems are gone. It’s only me, my vision and the work.Beata, oohaah jewellery
What does craft mean to you?
Craft is time only for myself. I can do whatever comes to my mind and I’m the one to decide what it’s going to look like. It’s like retreat from reality. Craft is expressing your passion and emotions. It’s also a kind of meditation and therapy. When I take the tools into my hands all the worries and problems are gone. It’s only me, my vision and the work. Craft is something I can’t imagine my life without any more.
Treat yourself to 15% off oohaah jewellery while Beata is our featured maker – use the discount code ‘HAPPY15’ before 6th July 2021.
Meet the interviewer
The maker asking the questions this week is Annie from Poppy Darling. Poppy Darling is run by Annie & Elsie, a mother-daughter duo who make lovely things in felt and crochet.
Read our Meet the Maker interview with Poppy Darling here – Meet the makers behind Poppy Darling – playful pieces, mindfully made
Shop Poppy Darling on Folksy – https://folksy.com/shops/PoppyDarling