Kim and Chris of Born to be BoHo craft the bohemian spirit into every piece of their jewellery ranges, from their handmade and unique works of jewellery art, to their fun and frivolous assembled designs. This spirit is also reflected in their way of life…
We also incorporate designing and selling Moroccan furniture and crafts that keep the Born to be BoHo theme.
How did you get into your craft?
Kim: I have always loved making things with my hands, both my parents were artistic and practical which inspired me from the beginning. My collection of stones and beads grew throughout my life along with my passion for tinkering, leading me on a natural path that has become Born to be BoHo.
Chris: I have a background in jewellery, woodworking/cabinet making and pottery, hands on craft processes have always inspired me. These passions have led me to owning and also working for businesses manufacturing juggling, fire spinning, object manipulation and circus props. All with a high element of research and development thrown in.
Having a typical Kiwi tinkering in the shed, give it a go mentality has also influenced the way in which our business evolves.
Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
My partner and I have many years’ experience between us making jewellery. I was trained in the UK by a prestigious jewellery company where I completed a Silversmithing/Jewellery apprenticeship. I worked for that company for fourteen years before emigrating to New Zealand. I fell in love with the land here deciding to stay and meeting my wonderful partner Chris. I was inspired by the diversity of his skills and attitude towards life.
Chris and I have both been in our respective positions for many years, our history in these jewellery related fields give us over fifty years’ combined experience. This combined knowledge and training has resulted in exposure to many different techniques, challenges and skills.
We are delighted to be able to pool our collective knowledge as it flows into the Born to be BoHo adventure.
Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
I love working with crystals and natural materials. I find it exciting when I discover something to upcycle, breathing new life into a creation. I have lots of experience working with gold and silver together but more recently have been inspired by the combination of copper and silver.
The process of working the metal is fascinating and magical to me. I start with a dull piece of metal and watch it transform in to something wonderful. I shape the metal with fine saw blades and files, heating it with flames, polish with sandpaper and high-speed polishing wheels. During the process I get to watch the colours of the metal change, feel the metal soften becoming mailable, then harden again as it is reformed. The best most rewarding moment is when the final piece is polished and you have revealed something beautiful and glistening. It’s like finding treasure or your very own alchemy!
Tell us about some of the techniques involved in producing one of your pieces
We have been thoroughly enjoying mixing silver and copper in simple elegant boho designs as seen in our Soul range. Our earrings with this stunning blend have been particularly popular. To make the earrings I carefully cut the silver and copper sheets into the shapes required for the designs, then solder them together, file and sand until the join is seamless. Next, adding the texture and any shaping required to finish the piece. The magic moment is always the polishing when the creation is brought to life.
What inspires you?
Born to be BoHo designs are inspired by the bohemian spirit. For us BoHo encapsulates a feel rather than an individual style. It embraces walking on the beach and making something out of what you find there, as well as more elegant handmade designs as seen in our Soul and Heart ranges. For this reason, we have three main categories, each has a very different unique and exciting feel.
The Heart Range: This is all lovingly hand crafted using the finest materials such as gold, Sterling silver and high grade crystals. Each of these unique creations in this range have been designed as a one off piece from the heart and makes a beautiful addition to any collection.
The Soul Range: This consists of elegant handmade pieces using quality materials including solid Sterling silver, gold and copper lovingly crafted in to a range of stylish and affordable bohemian inspired jewellery.
The Spirit Range: This range is comprised of BoHo ideas and motifs, assembled in a way that encapsulates the spirit of BoHo design. This is the perfect range for that fun and frivolous look, and our most affordable range. This range includes real crystals so there are lots of bargains to be had here while still keeping the quality and style.
Is there a philosophy behind your work?
We aim to create a range of products that speak to the Heart, Soul and every wandering Spirit. We want our unique BoHo designs to be memorable and accessible to all.
What does BoHo mean to us…? To be a dreamer, a doer, a thinker, an artist and one who sees possibilities and beauty everywhere. Someone who gathers inspiration from travels and life experiences. To make the mundane spectacular, the frivolous powerful and the everyday unique. To be a free spirit and to explore life.
Describe your creative process:
We are often inspired by nature, walking on the beach, in the bush, or by birds and animals we see. Often the work starts with a crystal, a stone, or piece of wood, sometimes inspiration springs from a simple BoHo Motif which lends itself to a design. Our influences are as diverse as nature itself and we love to experiment with new techniques that push boundaries on the designs we create.
Describe your workspace:
I have a restless spirit which is another reason why the BoHo style inspires us so much. For that reason, we have more than one work space. We have a main workshop/studio where all the silversmithing takes place, soldering and polishing etc. But it is not unusual to find us both outside on a bench in the garden or in our yurt, filing and sanding. When we do beading, photo editing or computer work we are often found in our semi-restored character 1955 Bedford house bus studio space. The bus is perfectly situated at the bottom end of our garden away from our house for when focus, concentration, peaceful creativity and contemplation is needed.
Your favourite feedback from a customer:
Having been commissioned to make many wedding or hand fasting rings over the years we often receive photos and correspondence from the happy couples. Receiving such feedback/correspondence after the special day show casing not only their new journey in life together but also the rings that are part of that beautiful process is so heart-warming and rewarding as a jeweller.
What are you currently listening to?
We listen to a lot of different genres of music, often on Spotify. We both enjoy music that moves or inspires. It’s so important to listen to new music often, as with life music is always changing flow and creating different pathways, ideas and thought processes.
The last three songs we listened to and can’t get enough of are:
1. Rivers by The Tallest Man on Earth,
2. Hymn #101 by Jo Pug.
3. The coast in me by Long for the Coast.
Recommend an album:
There is so much great music out there it is hard to narrow it down. However, we are loving Fionn Regan, Loren Kate, Nick Drake and Rory McCloud at the moment. Our seven year old son is loving The Formidable Vegetable band and
What’s your favourite childhood book and why?
As a child I fell in love with a book called Masquerade by Kit Williams. For those of you who do not know it, it is a beautifully illustrated book that contained clues that sparked a treasure hunt spanning the length of the UK. Williams had designed and made an exquisite golden bejewelled hare broach and buried it in a field in the dead of night before the release of the book. As a child the possibility of finding this treasure was so exciting. I felt like Charlie in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I still have the book which I love to read with my son and although I never found the golden hare it inspired me to become a jeweller and that is a true treasure in itself.
Who is your hero/heroine? Why?
Heroes and heroines are the incredible people who are in our everyday lives. No one is perfect but everyone has qualities that you can aspire too. So, we surround ourselves with people who inspire us to be, kinder, stronger, generous, loving, motivated, fun, open, creative, content, connected and happy.
A favourite quote:
Whatever you dream you can do begin it, boldness has genius, power and magic in it. (Ascribed Goethe.)
Tell us about your pets:
One tricksy black cat named Itty and four cheeky chickens (Fern, Ash, Willow and Hazel).
What would your advice be for those starting out in a crafty business?
Take chances, be true to oneself in what you are wanting to create. Aim to be as original and unique as possible.
What was the last handmade item you bought and what attracted you to it?
We enjoy buying many handmade and locally sourced items often. Our last purchase would have been two wooden/copper wall hangings by local artist David Lloyd.
What’s in store for 2018?
Keeping the creative juices flowing by completing many of the new jewellery projects that we have been wanting to finish. Incorporating and expanding with many new jewellery processes and techniques into the ranges we make. Ultimately our aim is to bring pleasure to those that wear share or care about our unique designs and this wonderful craft.
Kim and Chris have kindly offered a lovely bohemian prize for one lucky Felt reader of this pair of gorgeous earrings from their Soul range (see below). These beaten rectangle-shaped earrings, worth $47.00, are handmade with a striking combination of Sterling silver and copper.
If you would like to be in to win, let us know in the comments section what you enjoyed reading about Kim and Chris’ story and their Born to Be BoHo creations. The draw closes at 5pm on Monday 16 April and is open to New Zealand residents only.