OKRA is jewelry that was shaped and nurtured by its process.
And every process begins and ends at the OKRA atelier.
The studio is a sacred space for me where my imagination runs wild, and ideas eventually come to life. A sacred space in which I can retreat, rest, reflect and realign my feelings, and energies to reconnect with the creative soul of OKRA.
The idea for building a creative sanctuary out of a physical space has taken some years to bring to life. It was a process of discovering the essence of OKRA, the purposes behind my designs, and aligning it with my intentions for it.
I wanted to create a space where I can feel safe and liberated, to fill it up with meaningful objects that inspire, visuals that calm my mind, textures that nourish my soul.
Before they pass away by Jimmy Nelson is one such object. It was a gift from my boyfriend. It’s one of those books you flip through time and again and manage to find something new each time.
It shows images of tribes in their everyday lives. On some days I find myself deeply grounded and touched by the simplicity of the lives they live, and on some other occasions, my eyes are drawn to different elements in the pictures and I am immediately inspired to create.
Nature has a profound influence on all of our designs. It’s the reason why our studio is filled with plants.
They are the closest thing to nature that you can bring indoors. Just being in their presence envelops me with so much positive energy.
I rarely sketch because the end result never turns out the way I had imagined it. As I start laying out different elements on the floor and mix and match it with beads and metals to work with, they will slowly come together to form the final piece.
I find that process magical. Sometimes I will need music to guide me through the process and other times I need complete silence to enter into a meditative state where I feel connected to my true higher self. I try to follow the energy of creativity and see where it leads me.
I draw inspiration from my immediate surroundings and my mind leads me to an otherworldly state which is why it is imperative I am in my creative sanctuary enveloped by all the things that form the creative soul of OKRA.
And that really is my favorite part - the creative process itself. The process is an expression of my intentions, to which I devote all of my heart and soul, so that the result will always be something I can deeply cherish.
The process ends when I am able to perceive the happiness on people’s faces when they wear the pieces. And that’s when I am complete.
Photo credits: Karen Pang