Selda Okutan: the devil is in the detail

On rare occasions, I come across jewellery so well-made and well-designed that the experience of looking at it equates to that of watching a particularly touching movie or going through an art exhibition I connect with.  This is usually because the jewellery is really a piece of art and one recent discovery is jeweller Selda Okutan.  Her pieces are beautifully handcrafted with strong visual narratives.  She describes her pieces as “sculptural jewel with tiny figures”.  Indeed they are.  We speak to her about her craft and her inspirations.


Istanbul ring

Tell us more about yourself and how you started your own jewellery label.

After five years of study in Jewellery Technologies and Design, I graduated from Mersin University in 2005.  I worked as a designer for a few reputable companies in the jewellery field until May 2008.  I decided then to establish Selda Okutan Jewellery Design Studio in a small atelier in Istanbul.  After a couple of years, I took one step further and I opened Selda Okutan Jewellery Design Studio & Gallery in Tophane Istanbul.  Apart from myself, I represent five other designer’s work in my gallery.

Being a jewellery designer wasn’t my first goal.  Since a very young age, I dreamt of becoming a sculptor. But then, I met with jewellery and I found myself making jewellery statues (sculptural jewellery).  Actually, I feel like there are so many intersection between making sculptures and what I am doing.  The most distinctive characteristic is the size.  It gives me an advantage to finalize my designs easily.  Also it gives me the opportunity to express so many things in a tiny space.  Most importantly, my designs can be worn and people can show them off.  I feel that the human body is really a ‘mobile art gallery with its own taste’ so whatever you wear becomes a breath-taking art show.

My viewpoint of jewellery is not just about wearable aesthetics and beauty but also about sculptural art objects.  Hence, I am very selective with my designs; the technique and materials that I use are very important for me to express the emotions.  I built my own tools to improve my skill and capability.  Perfection in details is my goal.  In order to fulfil this aim, I research new techniques, equipment and materials.  I like to see people being surprised and the best way to do so is in the details.  I like the expression the devil is in the detail.

Prisoners of Love ring

Of Mice and Men ring

What inspires you as a jewelry designer?

Postures and emotions of the human body is my main inspiration.  Because of that I really like to observe and study.  Sometimes, the story of my designs are comes from my own experience or from a book.  But mostly I am inspired by the story of others.  Apart from those, the things that I really enjoy are pictures or knowledge of other art disciplinary.  I like statues and other 3D art applications.  I am a fan of industrial designs; especially furniture, home decoration and hi-tech architectures.  I believe in the importance of being inspired by different disciplinary.


Do you have any favourite designers? Who are they?

Without a doubt, Blind Spot Jewellery is my favourite.  I find his work amazing; full of intelligence and patience.  I believe flame must have been created for him.

Circle of Life ring

Selection Wedding ring

Tell us more about the human figures in your designs.  What is the inspiration behind the figures?

Emotions, thoughts, postures, dreams and expressions form my inspirations.  I live in a huge city, Istanbul.  This city feeds me; it is such a crowded city that wherever turn my head, there is different story to create a jewel.


Who do you envision wearing your designs and why?

People who like being different, who like to discover and be educated.


We read that you are currently working on ceramic figures for your new designs.  Can you share with us more information about this new collection?  When can we expect to see the new designs?

Ceramic and porcelain are very special material.  The material itself is very fragile.  Hence the tools that I use are designed by myself, according to my needs.  Working with porcelain is like digging a hole with a needle.  In order to work precisely, you have to be very patient and careful.

I have been working on this collection for a long time and the new designs that you will see in the very near future are unusual compared to my other collections.  You will even see some colourful designs.  They are mostly rings and I am still doing some experiments.  But you will see them very soon!

And we can’t wait!  Meanwhile, you should start collecting her pieces!

X Sybil

(Images from Boticca)

About fashionartisan
Bringing out the art in fashion

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