In a dream world, all jewelry boxes would come fully equipt with Kirsten Manzi jewellery. Her love for geometric shapes and architecture matched with simplistic aesthetic creates timeless pieces that will take you from day to night, for a lifetime! With a new collection 'Balance' just around the corner - September 16th to be exact - we wanted to talk to the designer about a typical day in her life. Whether it’s making jewellery in her adorable live-work studio in Dundee or scooting around Scotland for latest inspiration, here's exactly what she gets up to.
Tell us a little bit about what you do?
I’m a jewellery designer and maker running Kirsten Manzi Jewellery Design from my wee home studio in Dundee. I make minimalist silver jewellery inspired by bold geometric shapes and architectural structures. At the moment I am working on my new collection Balance which I’ll be launching on September 16th.
How did you get into this business?
I was always doing “arty-farty” things as a kid, my parents always had a little easel and pottery wheel set up for me and my Grandad was always telling me I’d grow up to be an artist, so I think I always knew I wanted to do something creative.
I studied General Foundation Art and Design at Duncan of Jordanstone and after a two-week intro to the jewellery course, I was hooked. I then spent the next 3 years completing the Jewellery and Metal Design course. After I graduated I luckily landed a job in the jewellery industry in a local repair workshop where I built up my confidence and skills then in November 2015 I decided to set up Kirsten Manzi jewellery Design.
If you weren't doing this, what do you think you'd be doing?
I was accepted to do English and Art at Uni so maybe I would have ended up writing, or teaching. I also studied printmaking as part of a semester abroad at SUNY New Paltz and absolutely loved it so maybe I’d be a print maker or textile designer.
Do you have a life motto/mantra?
Take us through a typical day..
Every day is pretty different at Kirsten Manzi Jewellery Design.
I try to get organised the night before, so I’ll usually have a plan of action for what I need to do I like to get any admin out of the way in the morning and TRY not to spend any longer than an hour on this. I check my emails and social media and reply to any messages before anything else. Then I head to the workshop (which is really just the spare room in my flat) and get to work on the fun stuff: orders, commissions, stock for current or new stockists and designing new things! I design pieces every day and spend a lot of time sketching and playing with materials to perfect new pieces. If it’s nice day I like to get outside for lunch so that I’m not stuck in the flat all day. I usually do a post office run in the afternoon or go for a stroll around Magdalen Green. Then head back to finish up in the workshop and make a plan for the next day.
At the moment I am working on my new collection so my days currently go between being in front of my laptop emailing, organising and planning and late nights in the workshop finalising designs and making all the new pieces.
What time do you get up at?
I have recently become full-time self-employed and I’m not gonna lie, I find it so difficult to get up early when I don’t have to leave the house to go to work. I’m usually woken up by my two cats Maya & Millie, but luckily my boyfriend gets up to feed them. He usually gets up between 8-8:30, so if I’m feeling energetic I will get up with him but I usually stay in bed a bit longer.
How do you keep yourself organised?
LISTS. I use Google Keep on my phone and usually write a To Do list the night before or in the morning. I also have a pen & paper diary and this year I've been using The Makers Yearbook which has been amazing!
How do you keep going through a humpday?
I take a moment to focus on what has been going well for me that week. I’m part of a FB group which celebrates Wednesday Wins which is a nice way to get a little boost half way through the week.
What time do you finish work?
I aim to finish at around 5 or 6 but find it hard to switch off so still tend to do a lot of work related things on my laptop until about 7 or even 8 some evenings.
How do you wind down?
Spending time with friends and family, getting into a good tv series, book or podcast or going for a swim/yoga class.
What's your favourite thing about what you do?
The freedom. I get to be creative every day and over the past few months I’ve been able to work with other jewellers and collaborate with local creatives which has been fantastic.
Any advice for someone who would like to follow in your footsteps?
Just go for it! If it’s something you really want to do then do it.
Don’t expect to get to where you want to be overnight though, it takes a lot of hard work and perseverance, I definitely am not there yet. You’re probably gonna hit a few bumps along the way but don’t be too hard on yourself when you do, it’s all a learning process. Oh, and stop comparing yourself to everyone else!