This week’s blog is an interview with lovely Michelle Okai from Mishkai. I’ve known Michelle for several years now, as she used to live in the same town as me, and we became friends. Now she lives in Ghana and makes lovely jewellery, so I thought it would be nice to feature her on my blog!
Michelle sent me these gorgeous earrings as a present, which gave me the idea of featuring her here to say thank you! Aren’t they pretty?
Why did you move to Ghana?
Well let me give you a bit of my history, I was born on the island of Trinidad and I moved to the UK. When I was 17, I worked at Sainsbury’s and there I met a very handsome, soft spoken gentleman from Ghana who, so to speak swept me off my feet, eventually we decided to get married. He had to go back to Ghana and I decided to join him there.
Life in Ghana is obviously very different to life in the UK, there are many challenges, including energy problems, the lights can go off at any time and you have to put up with a lot of corruption etc. when doing business. Also because of fraud a lot of people don’t like buying online from West African Countries. But on the plus side the weather is great lol
Can you introduce yourself briefly? Tell us about you ? (how old are you, where do you live, do you have kids, what’s your job, your hobbies ?)
I am 32 years old and have been living in Ghana for the past 6 years, I have worked in Customer Service, Data Entry and Statistics while in the UK, after moving to Ghana I worked in Administration. I have decided though to leave the hectic environment of the secular world of work for the more controlled world of self employment making jewellery, I don’t have any children yet.
I have always enjoyed working with my hands I like sewing, making my own clothes, it has been only recently that I have started jewellery making and it seems to be intrinsic, it comes so naturally and my passion for it grows as I develop my skills.
Do you have a blog or a website, or an Etsy store?
I have an Etsy Store, https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/Michkai
I would like to have a website which showcases my work. i would probably work on having one in the future
Where else can we find you online?
I have recently opened an Instagram account and posted pictures of my work there, my user name is mich_okai
What do you make and since when ?
I have been making earrings, necklaces and bracelets. I would like to make other accessories like belts, ties and cufflinks
Who taught you?
I am more or less self taught, I am constantly doing research and also trying new ideas that come into my head. I am always thinking about how I can improve my skills.
What is your favorite colour?
I am really not sure I used to be green, then I had a thing for reds and pinks, I like wearing brown as well, but I can fall in love with a piece of fashion once it works in the color it was made in whether it is my favorite color or no
Do you have a favourite type of jewellery to make?
I like making earrings its easy and versatile and fun a lot of things can be made into earrings too
Do you listen to the radio, watch TV, or do something else while you’re making jewellery?
When the lights are on in Ghana lol I like watching tv while working, I also listen to music while working
Can you show us a photo of your jewellery making equipment and supplies?
What’s the project you’re the most proud of?
I recently made a necklace with chain and beads and I was really proud of that, cause when it was finished I was like I made that, it was really cool, felt difficult to sell that one lol cause Ioved it so much
If you could get anything (money no object) to help you make your jewellery or to make into jewellery, what would be it be?
I would like to work with real, gold or silver along with other precious stones with my current designs
If you could learn another craft, what would it be and why?
Hmm let me see, I would like to work with precious metals such as gold silver and I would also like to work with precious stones and pearls
Thanks so much, Michelle, for sharing your beautiful creations and telling us about your life in Ghana too. It’s been a pleasure, and we wish you every success with your jewellery business!
Everyone, do check out Michelle’s Etsy store https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/Michkai and see the beautiful things she creates!
If you are a crafter, or know someone you think I should feature here, let me know, I’m looking for more people who create beautiful things to feature here!