Move to Greece stories: from manager in customer services to jewelry designer

Do you want move to Greece? Many times we are afraid to moving before retiring and I hope that our “Move to Greece” stories can help you to make a decision and follow your own dreams!

From manager in customer services to jewelry designer

I meet Jackie Luton, jewelry designer, for a small talk about jewelry design art and about moving to Greece project.

Jackie had been working as a manager in customer services for a utility company until 2002.

She moved to Greece in 2002 and started making jewelry and painting a few years later.

She has set up own studio at her home near Kalamata. She makes jewelry from copper plumbing pipes which she hand paints with special iridescent enamel paint.

She sells them in the summer around local markets and on Etsy. Every single one unique and made with love.

I love the intensity of the colours on Jackie earrings and scarf pin: the shades of blues and greens found in the sea and the skies.

I bought a pair of earrings and have them on me daily 🙂

Kalimera Jacki. You have been working with handcrafted copper jewelry for many years. Tell us a bit about why you use copper in your jewelry.

movie to greece JL: Kalimera Elwira. I have always been creative and love making things and I am always on the lookout for things to upcycle. I started out using copper as I had some old plumbing pipe available which I was sure could be made into something. I found that I really enjoyed making something beautiful out of virtually nothing.

I have painted for many years using a variety of different mediums have now started to incorporate colour into many of my hand crafted copper earrings and copper pendant designs using special enamel paints that give a hard glassy like finish on the copper with fabulous iridescent colours.

I also love the natural colours of the copper itself and enjoy experimenting with different methods of getting texture onto the copper (and have ruined many of my kitchen implements!), I also like to incorporate sea glass and various semi-precious stones.

Tell us more about why you choosed copper?

JL: Did you know that the average home contains 400 pounds of copper that is used for electrical wiring, pipes and appliances – I could certainly make a lot of pairs of earrings from all of that! Copper is a very eco-friendly metal – it is 100% recyclable and nearly 80% of the copper that has been produced is still in use today and it can continue to be recycled without any changes to its properties. In fact, it retains 95% of its original value.

I have come to love the versatility of using copper and find the hammering process quite therapeutic. Several people have since donated old copper pipes to me so I have lots of raw material available.

How about copper and Greece: can you tell us a bit about those material history?

JL: In Greece, copper was known by the name chalkos (χαλκός). It was an important resource for the Romans, Greeks and other ancient peoples. In Roman times, it was known as aes Cyprium, aes being the generic Latin term for copper alloys and Cyprium from Cyprus, where much of the copper was mined. The phrase was simplified to cuprum, hence the English copper.

Jewellery made from copper featured heavily in early civilizations and the earliest known piece of copper jewellery dates to the eighth millennium BC. Copper was associated with gods and goddesses and became so valuable that it was used as money – first as natural lumps and then as coins.

I know it’s a very general question but: why you make the decision to move to Greece?

JL: Both my husband and I are sun worshippers and have always dreamed of living somewhere sunny. Whilst on holiday in the Mani we stumbled across an old house that was for sale and the owner showed us around. This got us thinking about moving seriously and we started doing some sums to work out if we could manage financially without working. Within 6 months we had sold our house in UK and bought a house in the mountains near Kalamata.

What was most difficult when you decided to stay in Greece permanently?

JL: I really thought that I would be a fluent Greek speaker within a few years but I am still struggling with the language. Every so often I start to try again to learn more but I find it very difficult. The Greek bureaucracy also takes a bit of getting used to, you need to be prepared for everything to take a long time and have lots of paperwork stamped and signed many times over.

Many of people are very creative. Do you think that the beauty around us are helping to development our creativity?

JL:You are right, there are so many talented and creative people in the area. I think perhaps it is because the pace of life is slower and people have more time to do things they enjoy. I certainly get a lot of my inspiration from living here in Greece. For example I have my sunset collection which is inspired by the many fabulous sunsets over the Messinian bay that I am lucky enough to see from my home.

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