From PR to Jewellery design and with love for the sea, Setenay makes amazing jewellrey influenced by her Scandinavian and Turkish heritage.
June 2, 2019
Hi Setenay! Tell us a bit about yourself
I’m almost 35 years old, my parents are from Turkey, but I was born and raised in Sweden and since the age of 15 I’ve been back and forth between both countries. I feel I’m more Swedish, then I am Turkish, but I actually have a hard time to answer that question when people ask. So really I see myself as a no-mans-land kind of child, never at home wherever I am.
I grew up in Sweden, but during a summer holiday spent in Turkey when I was 15, I decided to graduate high school in Istanbul. A decision I regretted for the first three months, but it ended up being one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. After my graduation in Istanbul I moved back to Stockholm and went to college and received a degree in business administration and marketing.
I worked with PR in Stockholm for four years and then I wanted to move back to Istanbul to see what it was like to live there as an adult. I ended up staying for three years before I came back to Stockholm again. The last year has been split between Turkey where I produce the jewellrey and Sweden where the company is based.
So you spent ten years in the PR- business. How did Atelier Orman start?
It all started about six years ago after taking a one-year jewellery course in Istanbul. I learned the basics of making jewellery by carving in wax, an ancient technique. In the beginning it was a hobby - I wanted to have something to do on weekends while I was in Istanbul rediscovering the city. I made jewellery mostly for myself but about two years ago I quit my job in Stockholm because I was working almost 24/7, it wore my out and I lost the passion for it.
After I quit I didn’t really know what to do, but my family and my boyfriend encouraged me to explore the possibility of a business in making jewellery. So that’s what I have been doing for the last year and a half. The brand name Orman is my surname.
What made you fall in love with jewellery making?
I think it is the sculpting process that really excites me the most, I don’t sketch that much, either I take notes – whether it’s a new name for a piece or a collection concept based on something I’ve seen or thought of. Then I work in wax to see how my idea takes shape in reality. It definitely helps me to come up with ideas for a whole collection. I think of names first and that’s the marketer in me – always thinking in terms of concepts.
How does the technique of wax carving work?
Most of the people I work with are actually surprised that I carve my models in wax, because it’s seen as “outdated”, given that 3D-printing technology is very accessible today and more time effective. Wax carving is one of the original techniques that has been around for a long time and starting up I wanted to learn the original craft and have come to love it. To melt wax and build sculptures or carve in solid wax to sculpt, is 3D work from the start which is a lot of fun, because you get to see the “real thing” whilst you’re working. You can try it on, feel the fit and most of all - see if it comes out the way you imagined it. Once the wax model is done, it goes to casting.
Your first collection is called All wet, does the sea have a special meaning to you?
I like the smell, the sound and the color of the sea. It’s very soothing and I love water sports and spending time by the sea. I think I’ve always been fond of water since I was a child - I guess that’s why I chose water as an inspiration, subconsciously. When it comes to the name.
Has the fact that you have lived in two different countries and cultures defined you as a creative?
I’ve always worn jewellery that catches the eye and I would say that that’s something that comes from Istanbul and the Middle East. To dare to have something that stands out. But still I think I have the Swedish and Scandinavian essence in the way I express myself outside of the jewellery, in terms of branding and how I package it. I want it to be very clean and elegant.
I see myself as a calm, serene person with maybe some surprising or eclectic characteristics and would like to think that my creations reflect that.
What is your aspiration with the brand?
I’ve always liked jewellery- ever since I was a child I’ve gone through my mothers, aunts and grandmothers jewellery boxes looking for shiny things. I have a fondness for big, outstanding jewellery which is maybe kind of odd, because I’m a minimalistic person. I want the jewellery I make to be seen as everyday wear that can complete any look. I would like my jewellery to carry on for generations and in the process of creating it, I aspire to make timeless jewellery that carries sentimental value for the owner.
"I feel I’m more Swedish, then I am Turkish, but I actually have a hard time to answer that question when people ask."
Has anyone particular inspired you to take this path?
I think that people in general who dare to go their own way and speak their minds inspire me. But I believe in setting your own goals and strive to become your own idol or role model.
Any tips for other people who dream of working with their hobby?
Definitely to dare, believe in and trust your instincts and your gut. I really believe in gut feelings. Dare to follow your own truth and don’t necessarily listen to all the clutter and sounds around you. People will always have their own opinions, which can make you both confused and stressed. Try to stay focused, it’s not easy but once you’ve cleansed your mind, all of the other sounds and voices fade out.
It’s an interesting road, it’s not easy but it’s really worth it – definitely worth it.
Your new collection First Frost is out, tell us about it!
First Frost it a collaboration with the Turkish fashion designer Mehtap Elaidi. She has been a significant designer for 20 years and I’m very honored to work with her. The new collection is inspired by the first frost that presents itself come fall, and the microscopic details that can be found in snow crystals. First Frost is available for pre-orders now, and in stores in September.