Walking softly across the floor, a young brunette leads us into her den. Here, the effervescence of the day suddenly seem to be interrupted. In her working area, criterium pencils, a palette, white pencils and a pile of drawing paper outperform the computer. “People often jokingly say that I spend my time colouring in and sticking coloured shapes. My work is far more complex, but I like that shortcut. It reflects a sort of candor which I need to maintain a casualness that I find is essential in life.” explained Audrey who has been an illustrator for Maison Messika for 4 years.
What brought you to Maison Messika ?
When I graduated from the Ecole Boulle with my Degree in Fine Arts specialising in jewelry, I failed to find a position in a design studio so I started freelancing. That is how I met Valérie Messika and Didier Cherqui, Artistic Director of the Maison. They trusted me, believed in my abilities and later created this position. A real challenge for me was designing working methods and making sure they are implemented correctly. Today, I get the impression that I have grown at the same time as the Maison has developed.
Is there something different here ?
Despite having very little experience at other jeweler’s, I would say that here it is the human relationship that matters most. Messika is a big family that also includes employees.
Tell us about your typical day
No day is ever the same. Some days I never leave my office or I work in Didier’s or Valérie Messika’s office. However, they are very often spent coping with the exchanges back and forth between my office and Didier’s and debriefings with the workshop or the production teams.
How does your work fit into the creative process of the Maison Messika?
We are scribes, we transcribe the desires of Valérie Messika and Didier. With all three of us having trained as jewelers, our role as illustrators is also to advise them on the possibility of the production. When uncertainty exists, we get in touch with jewelry technicians and/or the production department. First, we produce quick idea sketches, and then we use pre-developed silhouettes to produce a colour scale drawing. We move on to the technical drawing before the final watercolour. Movement, design composition, number of stones, everything must be precise.
How many drawings do you produce for a jewel ?
The number of drawings depends on the complexity of the jewel. For necklaces, we can spend 2 days on the same drawing or work on 30 research designs for earrings. It also depends on the modifications that need to be made. Parameters like a batch of designated stones which will inspire the jewel, the technical constraints, the budget to stick to, are the criteria that will affect the completion time. As there is no typical day, there is no typical timing.
How do you organise your work area ?
The more space I have, the more I spread myself out. One thing that is indispensable is my folder of work in progress, my piles of papers to file and my illustrator tools. And a few chocolate bars, much to the delight of my colleague.
What do you enjoy the most in your job ?
Being involved in this impressive evolution of Messika and evolving with it as an illustrator. Representing a dream created by Valérie Messika and Didier visually and seeing it being accomplished in the workshop. I wear multiple hats : sketches, technical drawings, watercolours, coordination of the creation team, design protection... I don’t have time to get bored. And despite all the energy to be used, it is peace and quiet, concentration and patience that guide me in my daily life. My job is to produce dreams, without dreams there would be no poetry and without poetry, life would be flavourless. So I like to know that in my own way I give poetry to make lives less ordinary.
I love my job and I am forever questioning myself to improve my role and the methods applied, with the aim of perfecting Messika’s future jewels. From a shy and introverted young girl, an independent, ambitious and passionate young woman was revealed over time: a Messika woman.