Shakti is one of the incredible ethical wedding jewellery designers from our directory. She specialises in exquisite fair trade wedding and engagement rings with proper heart and soul. Based in her studio in Somerset, all of her jewellery is handcrafted and receives a special ‘blessing’. She is truly passionate about her craft and her route to designing jewellery is truly a fascinating one.
Intrigued now? Well we asked her some questions for you so you can find out more…
Ethical wedding jewellery rich in ritual and romance
Hi Shakti, welcome to the Meet the Maker series thank you for taking part. We’d love to know the back story behind your business, how did it start out?
Well, it all began back in India in 1994. I was living between Japan, Thailand and India and during a visit to Pune I became very sick with a high fever. I was living in the infamous ‘White House’ guest house and a concerned fellow traveller and resident, Asi, took me in and kept watch over me. He was a jeweller and sat at a small work bench, on the floor, hammering, soldering and sawing.
I became captivated by the intricacy of the work and the beauty of the high karat gold and gemstones he worked with. When I had recovered, he presented me with the most beautiful gold and turquoise ring…I was hooked! I knew with all certainty that this was what I was meant to be doing.
From there I followed a boyfriend to San Francisco and by an act of serendipity I got a job at The Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts, where I trained in the Graduate Jeweller program over the next five years. Later training with 5th Generation Armenian Master Goldsmith, Hratch Nargizian, a man of extraordinary skill and talent, who remains my mentor to this day.
Such a wonderful fascinating story! The story isn’t the only thing fascinating about your business, you describe your rings as being “rich in ritual and romance”, could you tell us more about this and what that means to you?
I sat with the Huni Quin tribe, who live in the depths of the Amazon Rainforest. They instilled in me the importance of ritual in all that you do. How all things must be created with a conscious awareness and with respect to the materials you are using, where they have come from and where they are going. To the Huni Quin all of life is prayer whether they are hunting, cooking or singing. I have described in more depth the details of how this is incorporated into my work in the question on ‘little gold prayers’.
Every ring is rich in romance from the inside out, a symbol of love a commitment. This romance is created by the ancient love songs I sing as I work, by the artisanal aspect of how they are made, the prayers bestowed upon them and ultimately to the dignity given to the miners who pull this precious metal out of the earth. Visually, this romance can be see through the delicacy of the work, the ‘secret’ hearts which are carved into the back of the engagement rings, the star settings and the milligrain edging often seen in my jewellery.
We’re back with our Meet the Maker series interviewing small business Oakwood Soaperie who create beautiful botanical wedding favours. When planning your wedding it’s easy to get caught up in check lists of what you need to buy, but we think it’s important to take a moment to get to know the people behind the businesses.
Today we are joined by Ceri from Oakwood Soaperie, a Northumberland based small business creating a beautiful range of botanical wedding favours. From luxurious soaps to bath salt shots, Ceri is dreaming up and creating some delightful sounding natural botanical wedding favours.
We wanted to find out more about what inspires her, how she got started, and the process of creating her range.
Beautiful botanical wedding favours for a natural wedding
Hi Ceri, welcome to our Meet the Maker series. Tell us how you first dreamt up Oakwood Soaperie?
I have a background in art and design and after many years of non-creative jobs, I was hankering to get back to designing and making once more. I officially began Oakwood Soaperie in October 2010 after many, many months of researching, reading and formulating recipes while experimenting with natural ingredients and making some basic products.
I was working full time and fitting in building up to launch my business in my spare time. I began at my dining room table which I soon outgrew, and now have a beautiful, rural studio within a National Trust property near my home town where I can make everything and work on my business full time.
Affordable eco wedding dress collection from Sister Organics
Today we are introducing you to our new series Meet the Maker. Our eco wedding directory is bursting full of incredible independent businesses with just as incredible people behind those businesses. The aim of this series is to not just introduce you to their products but share a little bit about the people that make them what they are and why in particular our brides-to-be will love what they do.
The first person we are excited to showcase today is Natalie, who is the brains behind the organic and eco-fabric wedding dress brand Sister Organics. We love the beautiful laid-back and classic designs she creates and we are sure you will do too.
Why brides should consider a dress from Sister Organics
Hi Natalie, it’s lovely to get to chat to you and find out what goes on behind-the-scenes. Firstly, we’d love to know what makes Sister Organics a bit special and why should brides consider a dress from you?
Sister Organics offer affordable casual/alternative eco wedding dresses for free-spirited brides, bridesmaids dresses and party dresses. All dresses are made right here in Brighton in lovely environmentally sustainable fabrics; organic cottons, beautiful cotton laces made in England, vintage fabrics and organic silks.
My dresses are feminine, soft and comfortable to wear – they are perfect for those looking for an unconventional wedding dress.
Brides who choose a Sister Organics wedding dress
What kind of bride do you think chooses a Sister Organics dress for their wedding?
I have to say that the majority of my customers are just the loveliest people. Some of my customers are vegans or really want an organic or eco-friendly wedding dress. Others can’t find what they are looking for in a conventional wedding dress shop or want a more casual, alternative dress for a relaxed or outdoor wedding.