Gemstone Cabochon: What's your name, and do you have a nickname or a name you prefer to be called?
TA: Tiffany Aita, most people call me Tiff :)
GC: Where can people contact you and see images of your work, and buy your work?
GC: Where is your business located?
TA: I have a cosy studio in Southampton. Tribal Turtle 74 Richmond Road, Shirley, Southampton, S015 3FR
GC: How long have you been making jewellery?
TA: Around 3 years, it feels like much longer!
GC: How did you get started?
TA: I started making jewellery back in 2011 shortly after I gave birth to my son Felix. We have a spare bedroom which I had been using as a studio for painting and drawing. When Felix had his daily naps, I found I had some spare time on my hands and had a creative urge to try something new and exciting. I had seen some beautiful Native American Indian beaded bracelets in a book I was reading, so I bought myself a mini beading loom with good intention of making bracelets, bags and headbands using tiny seed beads. However I never finished that first bracelet I had attempted to weave, it's still sitting on the loom half made! I like to look back at it every so often and remember where I started and how far I have progressed since then. Although loom beading didn't resonate with me at that time, it did spark my love of making jewellery. Since then I have tried various jewellery techniques, I particularly enjoy working with metal and gemstones. I love exploring different mediums and I am very excited about learning new skills.
GC: What is it that you like about gemstones?
TA: Gemstones are a natural wonder from deep within Mother Earth's crust, such beautiful organic treasures are truly a pleasure to work with. Gemstones often have intense natural colours and patterns which I am strongly attracted to. I like to use high quality materials in my jewellery so that my clients are getting a piece of jewellery which could be passed down in generations to come.
GC: What's your favorite gemstone and why?
TA: I find it very hard to choose just one! I love turquoise because it is so unique, it's vast array of hues and natural inclusions are very attractive to the eye and mean that no two pieces are exactly alike. I also adore Lapis lazuli, Amethyst, Amber and Labradorite.
GC: What's the most frustrating thing about the jewellery making process?
TA: I think making mistakes and learning from them is a good part of the jewellery making process but when things go wrong and you end up melting something that has taken hours to create or setting a stone only to find it won't quite fit, it can be very frustrating indeed!
GC: What is the most pleasurable thing about jewellery making process?
TA: I honestly enjoy every part of my jewellery making process. Creating my designs and watching them evolve from paper to metal, then seeing the final pieces of jewellery worn on a customer or friend is truly special.
GC: Do you have a favorite piece of equipment in your workshop?
TA: My jewellery tumbler is one of my favorite pieces of equipment because it saves me hours of sanding and polishing and I love opening it to find all my pieces sparkling and shiny ready for the finishing touches!
GC: From where do you draw inspiration?
TA: I have many different sources of inspiration; from my love of music, art and culture from ethnic tribes (particularly Native American Indian and Southeast Asian) and from the natural organic world around me. I have a passion for animals / plants and I reflect this in my jewellery.
GC: Who are your favorite type of clients?
TC: I love making custom order commissioned jewellery as I get to talk to the client and find out the story behind a particular piece which I will make. I find working in this way deeply satisfying as I get the chance to truly connect with my customers.
GC: Do you have any jewellery making or customer horror stories that you can relate to us without putting yourself out of business they are upsetting you paranoid client list.
TA: Not yet and hopefully I never will!
GC: Your final thoughts on jewellery making and your relationship with the art.
TA: I have found my lifes true calling and I am looking forward to the new year with more exciting things to come. I so enjoy running my own business and I can only encourage more people to do the same. It takes every ounce of my integrity but I am passionate about what I do and hope to be making jewellery for the rest of my life!