STEPPING INTO MYANMAR
Continuing the journey from Remembering the Adventure ~ Part I : South America……
After going to uni to study graphic design, and a couple of years of working as a photographers agent in London I started to get itchy feet. I decided to do a few jewellery design courses at Central St Martins, not really thinking anything more of it other than something fun to do in the evening. I had once made a silver ring when I was 15 and knew I enjoyed the hands on approach to creating something.
As the daily commute started to grind on me and I found myself spending more and more of my evenings making jewellery, I started to think more seriously about where I wanted to go in life and what I really wanted my life to be. I knew I was driven but so much better at working on my time rather than being restricted to office hours.
I was inspired by my friends who had been setting up companies. My friend down in Deal William Thompson (Author of The Book of Tides) started having a pop up gallery in the front room of their house on the coast. He asked if I wanted to put some jewellery in there. I did. (Thank you Thomo and Naomi!)
I began to make my thoughts a reality and decided to quit my job and take an 8 month adventure. I looked into a ton of Jewellery courses worldwide. I knew this was a good opportunity to go abroad for a little while and after recently visiting friends in San Fransisco and LA (Silas and his brother Tyler who I travelled with in South America : Part I of the story) I was really keen to get out there.
I ended up booking a course in Florence Italy, it was a more free and contemporary approach to jewellery design and although I longed to be in California… Florence didn’t seem so bad either.
First though I decided to do a little trip, Myanmar was first on the list followed by visiting a friend in Bejing and then the boys in California.
Before I set off on this adventure 5 of my friends (who I had travelled with in the past) gave me an engraved St Christopher saying ‘Safe Travels’. I wore this around my neck for the whole trip. This was a golden light moment and made me look at my jewellery in a different way, it was the beginning of something exciting. Whenever I looked down at it I remembered their smiling faces. (Thank you Gibbi, Bengi, Beck, Hugh and Kris)
Stepping into Myanmar was like stepping into a whole different world from London, so many smiles, so much generosity from the people.
Myanmar is a country that has been through such dark times however the people had only smiles to give.
One day we hiked into the mountains and met some monks at a temple. One of the monks gave me a bracelet with a coin on. I wore this and whenever I looked at it, it reminded me of the temple, the monk the smell that day, the heat. It was starting to clear in my mind what was important with pieces of jewellery. It was the the memories they held.
Myanmar also has many gemstones mines, and therefore has a large jewellery industry. Seeing the production of this jewellery again imbedded in me how important it is to know how your product is made, where it was made and in what conditions.
There were so many memories in Myanmar which where so special and I wanted to wear something everyday that reminded me of them and to smile and take it easy when I was back in my busy London life.
There was two particular moments - long walks along a river bed with a grandmother who we stayed with, and being invited to tea with some local ladies in a remote village we hiked to. It was these moments which I wanted a piece of jewellery would capture and keep for me.
On these travels it was becoming clearer and clearer that I wanted to start ZM Jewellery and what I wanted it to be about and stand for. I wanted each piece of Jewellery to remind its owner of a time which made you smile and to inspire you to get out there and find more adventures and memories.
I now had an idea and clear vision for my brand. The next part was to head to Florence and increase my skills and explore the creating process.