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Thumbs up for creative collaboration

Jeweller and Creative Edinburgh member Maïté Buns reflects on her experience at The Curiosity Shop and gives collaboration the thumbs up.

Jeweller and Creative Edinburgh member Maïté Buns reflects on her experience at The Curiosity Shop and gives collaboration the thumbs up.

I was once told that there were two kinds of people in the world, those who make things happen and those who wait for things to happen. I was a credulous twenty-something at the time and I embraced the adage as a clear-cut way of rating myself on the ‘being-enough-o-meter’. Studying interior design didn’t feel right for me, but at least I wasn’t being passive, right?

Fast-forward a decade and I have become a jewellery designer, but certainly not through forcing myself to ‘make it happen’. Somewhere along the way I realised that the things I was good at were things that I enjoyed doing (and vice-versa). I made the decadent business decision to focus my energy on happiness and trust the process. And it worked. So how about this version of the judgmental adage for a change?

| ‘In life, one may choose to make some things happen, wait for other things to happen, and/or make meaningful connections and pull their socks up when an opportunity arises’.

Ok, so it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but my point is that we all have limited time on earth and one person’s Achilles heel is someone else’s strong suit. So I say, out with the super-heroing, in with the collaborating!

I personally have no better proof of this than my involvement in the latest instalment of The Curiosity Shop at Coburg Art Studios earlier this month. Put quite simply, making jewellery is my thing, promoting it not so much, so a gentle nudge from Creative Edinburgh in the shape of an invitation to exhibit was just the ticket. I had the goods and a vision, they had the know-how and who-with, and together with the other participants we threw a (quote from guest) ‘great creative showcase’. Win-win! From a personal perspective, the main benefits of exhibiting that night were three-fold. Designing the displays gave my creativity a new platform, receiving first hand feedback gave me a boost of confidence and preparing for the presentation gave me a valuable check-point opportunity to gage where I was at. Reflecting on my creative process and fine-tuning my brand’s identity is something that I had been needing to do to feel at ease when networking and my homework is done!

These aside, it is the sheer power of collaboration that far exceeded my expectations in terms of what could be achieved in such a short period of time. It directly impacted on my practice in two different ways. The first one regarded the daunting subject of pricing my jewellery, thus my creativity, on which I made great progress by carrying out a survey on the night. The idea was simple: I had not priced a single item, instead I invited the guests to estimate the value themselves. The results allowed me to gain a better understanding of people’s perception and expectations, and quite frankly, to stop underselling myself.

The second is the exciting promise of something new for Cities of Gold as I have started creating jewellery using people’s own much loved but unworn pieces. Talking specifically about the use of vintage pieces in my creations sparked interest amongst the guests and I was asked to modernise someone’s grandmother’s jewellery and give another’s favourite stone a new lease on life. Again, WE make it happen. Last but not least, scientific research suggests that the happiness I felt when taking part in The Curiosity Shop enhanced my creativity, so thank you all for giving me a bit more of what I need. The chocolate medals of achievement are on me!

Find out more about Maïté and Cities of Gold here here. Follow her on Facebook / citiesofgoldjewellery , Instagram / @citiesofgoldjewellery and Pinterest / maitebuns

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