We chat to iconic and quirky London jewellery designers, Tatty Devine!
Cut Out + Keep have always been fans of Tatty Devine for their unique and quirky designs. Ranging from acrylic dinosaur bone necklaces and lollipop headbands to moustache rings and their iconic name necklaces, we were thrilled when we were given a chance to pick the brains of the London-based jewellery designers and find out how they turned their creations in to a iconic brand.
How did Tatty Devine get started?
We both studied painting at the Chelsea school of Art and Design and instantly had some sort of connection. Ever since we were little we had made things and were both lucky enough to have an amazing family members who are very inspirational.
What was your first studio like?
Our first studio was part of Rosie's bedroom, we covered the floor in old bits of wood we found on the street and built the shelves from old crates and bricks to store all of the things we had found to make jewellery from.
We picked up skills as we went along; we were making leather cuffs at first and soon worked out for ourselves the best way of doing things. We had lots of craft and ‘how to’ books which we collected from jumbles and bootfairs and when they failed we asked Harriet's Dad!
What a typical day like in the studio?
We start the day at 9.30 and the studio becomes alive with activity. We run many aspects of Tatty Devine from the studio so whilst jewellery is being made, mail orders are being packed, wholesale orders are being confirmed and packed, the website is being updated and a lot of tweeting goes on. We all have lunch together and someone cooks soup in winter or salad in the summer. There's often a lot of cake action too! We have a laser cutter on site, which runs all day, and then there are up to 10 people making, polishing, gluing on crystals, attaching chains quality controlling etc! We usually have all packed up for the day by 7
Where do you look for inspiration when designing new pieces?
We look to each other and the conversation between us brings about all the things we’re interested in and excited by, however random. We try to give all our ideas creative room and then some of the burst out of being ideas and become real things.
What's the design process for putting together a new piece?
We are always thinking and searching out ideas. Everything we see could become a reference point from the neon on a tourist shop in Paris to the walled garden in a National Trust property. We take lots of pictures and source old books. We come together and talk about what and why we want to make something new, the mood it should have and when would you wear it. Often this is dictated by the iconography we choose. Sometime the ideal shape is fully formed in Harriet's mind just from talking about what we want to make and other times we go out looking for certain images and then distill what we find into the essence. Harriet then makes sketches and draws the design on the computer, after which we cut a sample try it on. We spend a lot of time adjusting the size, trying out other colours and to see if anything should be changed with the artwork - and most importantly if we like it! It’s really important to us that the final product is as perfect as it can be.
"Making new designs is exciting and there are so many things we can't wait to make into jewellery. Every season is a new mix of what we love and what surrounds us"
How do keep new collections so unique and fresh for each season?
Luckily this doesn't seem to be a problem, in fact quite the opposite. Often we come up with twice as many designs and have to edit them down to just our favourites. We are still trying to edit more!! Making new designs is exciting and there are so many things we can't wait to make into jewellery. Every season is a new mix of what we love and what surrounds us.
Which are your favourites pieces of all time?
That’s a tricky one! If we have to whittle it down the Dinosaur Necklace as it’s instantly recognisable as Tatty Devine. We were particular fond of the Goggles hair band in our AW10 collection and this season we particularly like the Melon necklaces.
Were there any crafting disasters in the early days?
Yes there are always something’s that start on paper but never make it to be jewellery. Often things that have a very different sensibility to the perspex just won't work. As far as craft disasters we learnt as we went along, there we a few holes in clothes and glue not drying that were all part of the journey.
You've done some great collaborations like the one with Peaches. What's it like working with your favorite celebrities?
We have never been celebrity driven so tend to collaborate with people have inspired Tatty Devine along the way like Peaches, Belle and Sebastien and Rob Ryan.
If you could design a piece of jewellery for anyone, who would it be?
We have been making lots of crowns for the Jubliee lately so we would love to make one for the Queen herself!
Tell us a bit about your new book, How To Make Jewellery?
How to make Jewellery is lots of tips and tricks that we have learnt over the past 12 years of making. There is practical information on Glueing, Drilling, Findings, and a whole heap of inspiration and tips for finding exciting things and turning them into to your next cute necklace or quirk brooch.
Do you have any words of wisdom for someone wanting to start making their own jewellery?
Get the right tools for the job - for any small project, you will need 2 pairs of pliers to be able to open and close jump rings properly - very important if you don't want to loose your special charm off you freshly made necklace! Re-use and up-cycle - break apart old jewellery to get the beads and findings you need.
What's next for Tatty Devine?
To keep growing, keep making jewellery fresh and exciting and to work with lots more exciting people.