During MSL’s jewellery week, we wanted to pay tribute to a lady who has put her passion to practice and taken advantageous leaps in her career to share her joy for jewellery. Meet Catrin Lewis, the proud owner of Hannu Dinka. We met up with Catrin to find out where her inspiration lies and the story behind her jewellery collection.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a 25 year old girl who recently moved to London after studying at the University of Birmingham where I studied Textile Design and Retail Management. In my studies, I relished taking a look at the industry from an opposing angle and felt so much more comfortable sitting outside of the generic box. This carries through even now to the way I am; I like to surprise, I like to experiment and I love to get people talking.
Tell us about your career path.
Following University I worked at a gorgeous independent retailer named Zen. They are the largest crystal supplier in Birmingham and it was here that I learnt all about semi precious stones, gems and crystals. I also learnt about their significance and healing properties and I loved the way that gave each piece of jewellery so much more meaning. I left here eventually after being offered a job working for Thames Valley Police, as a Emergency Call Handler, where I worked on a 24hr shift rotation. Shift work meant I had a lot of time on my hands and it was this that allowed me to start creating Jewellery. I began making jewellery with a bauble making set my Mum had been given for Christmas, that I made instead. It was beautiful and I just wanted to make enough to cover the whole tree! I was hooked. Although I had studied Textile Design at Uni, Jewellery was much easier to work with at home. You can find really good suppliers locally and online and I started ordering all sorts of gems and jewels to work with. I loved getting the little parcels through the post and every time I got one I couldn’t wait to get creative.
Where did your love for jewelry come from?
I have always loved jewellery…for as long as I can remember. From the classic to the totally tongue in cheek, my sister describes me as a Magpie because I am always drawn to anything sparkly or pretty. Jewellery is the embellishment that every outfit needs. Its what brings character, style and charm and the right piece can bring smiles to everyone’s day. People will always comment on it, I love it. The best thing about wearing statement jewellery is it will always brighten everyone’s day, and nothings nicer than when your outfit makes others smile.
What do you enjoy the most about making jewelry?
Definitely seeing other people wearing it. I love doing commissions as it enables the customer to have that perfect unique piece that is all the more special as it has been created just for them. I find it quite therapeutic and relaxing. I have also been lucky enough to create jewellery for Weddings, I felt really lucky to be asked to create collections for these special days, and working with Brides is so fun as everything is so exciting.
Where does your inspiration come from?
Predominantly from techniques I have learnt. When I have learnt a new skill the majority of my jewellery will be an exploration of that. Trying to apply that in different ways and experimenting with what works and what doesn’t. I like to look to current trends and see how that can be adapted and made into a unique treasure that keeps the style current but also individual. I feel that as much as I look for inspiration for the making, that piece should then continue to inspire those that wear it and it should be an accessory that when you wear it people will be asking you about.
Lastly, what is the meaning behind Hannu Dinka?
My favourite pieces to make are most probably the beaded beads. They are a labour of love, but I love combining all the different little gems and jewels to create them. Each one made is completely unique, they are all hand sewn and all made by me. This is where the name Hannu Dinka comes from as I wanted the technique used to be reflected in the name so Hannu Dinka which actually means ‘Hands Sew’ in Hausa which is one of Africa’a largest spoken languages. I preferred the sound of it and from that Hannu Dinka Little Treasures was born.
Catrin is currently pursuing a career in London and enchanting the fashionable streets with her jewellery collections. Be sure to check out Hannu Dinka for that statement piece of jewellery that will definitely transform your outfit into a head turner.
By Marni Banks