When it comes to jewellery, you can usually find a lot of predictable stuff in shops. Generic, cliched, pretty, but not with much thought behind it.
Which brings me to this feature in the O9 Inspiration series.
I came across Charlotte Filshie’s website one day, where she sells these really cute and amazing accessories- with different themes like dinosaurs and geometric shapes. Plenty of colour, too. And what’s really distinctive about her creations are- (more distinctive than a Brontosaurus brooch) she makes all of them with materials like vinyl, wall coverings, cork and more; which definitely fall in the unconventional category. I love that she basically changes the purpose of each material, and crafts with an alternative approach! Originality is key, always. I’m loving the cheerful vibes and creative thought behind Charlotte’s work.
Read on to hear what Charlotte has to say.
Please tell me a little bit about yourself.
Hi! My name is Charlotte; I am from Australia and have lived in London for 2 years. I studied an Advanced Diploma of Engineering Technology (Jewellery) in Melbourne, and since then, I have made all kinds of jewellery from all kinds of materials. When I was studying I did a subject called Hunter Gatherer where we had to use alternative materials to create jewellery. I loved the subject and began using old interior design samples to make my jewellery, I found the materials to often have very tactile qualities. I now use vinyl wall-covering and vinyl floor tiles to make my jewellery. I have recently started expanding my designs into coasters, tote bags, gift tags, postcards and bunting.
I love your colourful and dinosaur themed jewellery! Do you plan themes or is the process more spontaneous?
It’s pretty spontaneous. I usually get an idea and just start designing and drawing in Illustrator, and then it all goes from there. I use Illustrator so I can resize and re-colour everything easily.
My new postcards and gift tags actually came from a joke between a friend and I. She ordered some coasters on my Etsy store and made some pretty funny requests for the dinosaurs, toilet trained, proficient in martial arts, cookie making and fetching slippers. She also requested a book about their family history. Naturally, I decided to make little books for each dinosaur and draw them doing all the things she requested. I ended up using some of the drawings and drew some new ones that now feature on the postcards and gift tags.
What was the hardest (and easiest) part while starting your business?
I started my business a long time ago in Australia, but it was always a part-time thing. In the beginning the hardest thing was finding the time as I was juggling full-time work. Now I am in London, the hardest part has been finding stockists and getting my name out. Being in a completely new place is tricky, but, the longer I am in London, the easier it’s getting.
What makes you the happiest in your creative process?
I love when I finish a design. Seeing the final product is always so gratifying. It’s so great to see the hard work and hours that go into making all the decisions that go into each piece.
Could you give us a glimpse in a typical day at work?
I usually get up and go for a 3 mile walk, then get home and begin my work day.
I always make sure I get any orders packed first, this gives me time to make anything that I don’t have stock of. I also make extra stock for shops and markets if I have some coming up.
My afternoons are spent doing new designs, uploading new product to online stores, answering emails and doing research. I also go to the Post Office in the afternoon. At 6 I watch the news and sit on my laptop looking things up, checking social media, and watching TV.
What qualities are needed to keep up and also enjoy running a creative business?
You need to love what you do. If you don’t love it, it will be boring and become like a chore.
You need to be adventurous. Trying new things can be scary, but you need to keep trying new things so it’s still fun and exciting (not only for you, but for your customers as well!).
Where do you see yourself in a few years?
I imagine I will still be in London, making jewellery, accessories and homewares, but I will be much, much more successful! Haha! I would also love to have a store of my own, but that’s a long way off!
What motivates/inspires you the most?
Seeing how people react to my work is such a great motivator. I get to meet people at markets and hearing their feedback is so great. It can be a bit crazy when someone says they recognize my work from a store or I see someone wearing one of my pieces on the street. The feeling is so great to see people who love something you love.
Can you list five things at the top of your head that interest you nowadays when it comes to design?
Geometric shapes & patterns
Bright vibrant colours
What tools do you work with to create/ design your products?
To make my jewellery I use scissors and scalpels to cut all the wall covering and vinyl. I don’t use any laser cutters, it’s all hand cut. I file the edges of each piece with a Dremel so they are nice and smooth. I have also attached a tiny drill bit to the handle of a scalpel so I can drill holes in some of the tiny pieces, using an electric drill was dangerous so I had to improvise.
Just for fun: What are your favourite flower, animal and book/movie?
My favorite flower is a snapdragon, animal is giraffe and movie is Dirty Dancing….I think. Ugh there are just too many!
What do you do in your free time?
I love to go to markets, have brunch, explore, travel, and generally just relax.
Could you share three tips for people starting a creative business like yours?
Be original, don’t give up and have fun!
Thank you, Charlotte, for a little glimpse into your creative process! Wishing you the very best ahead!
Find Charlotte and shop her colourful creations here: