Michaela Turley is the designer and maker behind small jewelry brand, Mijatu. Working out of her home studio in New York City, she originally came from the sunny shores of Australia where she was constantly surrounded, and ultimately influenced by the strength and natural beauty of the environment around her.
LJS: What’s your background? How did you get into jewelry making, and when?
MT: I actually work in advertising, which whilst useful in some ways, is not at all related to using my hands with making jewelry! After recently moving to New York from Australia two years ago, I was looking for a hobby – stumbled across a jewelry making class and have become just slightly addicted since!
LJS: Describe your process, from inspiration to final product. Do you draw a design first or do you just start creating? Is it different everytime?
Michaela TurleyT: I utilize the lost wax process in creating all of my work, which suits the fluidity of my designs. My inspiration comes from nature, and it’s ability to create beauty from the smallest of details. I first sketch out the overall look of my design, usually with a few alternatives and then try to draw out a couple of other designs in other forms (such as a necklace or earrings if I’m starting with a ring) that builds out a potential line. If I’m happy with the overall look and feel, then I will jump straight into creating. The great thing with working with wax is that it can evolve as you are creating, which often means that the end result is usually a little different to my original sketch – but that’s what I think makes the design better, it evolves to where it needs to be, rather than constricting the design to a one dimensional sketch.
LJS: Do you ever hit creative road blocks? How do you remedy that?
MT: Yes! I think that’s what makes the process, and the design better. I welcome them, because once overcome, it makes me feel like the design is even better. When I do have them, I often flick back through my sketchbook – sometimes the answer has already been discovered, it’s just in a different form, or design.
LJS: What’s your favorite piece you’ve ever made?
MT: My favorite piece to wear is my circle necklace and matching circle studs in 14K gold – I carved each circle by hand and I love how effortless and simple they are. That being said, I am very proud of my Stella ring – it has an art deco feel to it and took a very long time to carve, but it’s intricateness is something that is very eye catching on.
LJS: What class(es) have you taken at Liloveve?
MT: Bezel Setting & Prong Setting
LJS: If you could collaborate with another designer/artist, who would it be and why?
MT: I would love to do a collaboration with small, emerging nature photographers like Vivian Chen – a lot of my designs are inspired by nature and the way they are able to capture raw yet beautiful elements is very inspirational.
LJS: Where do you exhibit / sell your work?