The Essex jeweller who showcases other creatives in her Thorpe-le-Soken gallery
- Credit: Ella Shepherd
Essex jewellery designer Marisa Arna has been based on Thorpe-le-Soken High Street since 1997. Starting off as a ceramicist, she sold her fine porcelain from here (as well as at high-end retailers like The Conran Shop and the V&A Museum shop). Marisa has always championed other creatives, and her shop soon transformed into a gallery showcasing glass, jewellery, textiles and art alongside her own work. Since retraining as a jeweller, her gallery and studio has been given a new lease of life. We catch up with Marisa to find out more...
Tell us about your background. How did you get into jewellery making?
I originally trained in Greece as a potter. Then in 2006, I started a short course in jewellery – it was the right time in my life, I guess. I got a taste for it and soon after I started getting further training and one-to-one tuition with jewellery professionals in both Birmingham and London. I read up on techniques and practised on my own for thousands of hours. It really became a passion and obsession for me; I have never looked back since!
What’s your jewellery style?
I’d call it contemporary, rather than trendy. I like my pieces to be timeless and easily wearable. I combine geometric patterns with a mixture of textures and precious alloy metals. Because everything is made by hand, I can make pieces with or without gemstones, but I like pieces that are light and with movement if possible. I try to challenge myself technically – there's no point in making what everyone else makes!
If you could design a piece of jewellery for a famous person, who would it be?
It has to be Annie Lennox. I have always loved her music, her voice, her iconic style – and the fact that she is a political activist and charity campaigner. She would be a dream client, and I would love to see her in my large Deco earrings in sterling silver.
Tell us about where you’re based in Essex...
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My gallery and studio is based in the village of Thorpe-le-Soken in the Tendring District of Essex. It’s five miles away from the seaside town of Frinton-on-Sea. It’s such a great place to be based in the county; it has pubs, restaurants and country walks, but it’s only an hour and 20 minutes to London. I can easily get to some wonderful nearby seaside towns, as well as being just a short drive from Manningtree, Wivenhoe and Colchester.
What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
I have made jewellery for some very special people, but unfortunately, I can’t name them! In my job, I get to meet remarkable people from all walks of life and create something truly special for them.
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