MONTREAL, Canada — Charlotte Hosten never thought her passion for making jewellery would become a long term career. In fact, she stumbled upon it by accident at the age of fifteen when one of her classmates brought a homemade bracelet to school one day. Immediately, she went home to ask her mother for money to purchase beads to make her own jewellery. However, it was not until Charlotte was twenty-three when inspiration would strike. She saw a photo of a big statement necklace and decided that she would start making more intricate jewellery. Since then, she has developed her own trademark style for her creations. In her own words:
“When I had to put a clasp to the necklace, all the clasps I had were too small for my big necklace, so that was when I got the idea to use fabrics. I made a ribbon out of silk…and it became my trademark.”
Charlotte Hosten Interview
Where did you learn your craftsmanship? Was it something you learned through experimentation or were there specific people you learned from as you progressed?
I would say that most of it is experimentation, but I also worked a few months for a jewellery designer when I was younger, which opened me to different kinds of techniques and materials because she had a huge variety of materials.
Which piece is your favourite within your current collection? What was your inspiration behind it?
My favourite piece, which you could see in the necklace section of my website, is the Mer du Nord necklace. In French, it means ‘northern sea’, which is the name of the sea in the north of Belgium and that is my country. I chose this name because it was coloured and it is sentimental to me. Most of the creations come from my desire to make jewellery and then I start looking at my fabrics and beads. Eventually, I put the two together like a canvas, just visualising the two things together. I will either use the technique that I have been using to make a certain kind of necklace or I will use a new technique to try out. It is very intimate. I am looking for that feeling where I have it right. I am just doing it and when I feel it is right, I continue. However, if I do not feel it is right, I change few things…I tried to make things you have never seen before. I really try to make it my own…and seek that challenge.
I noticed that you like to layer a lot of your bracelets with beads and metal of all kinds. In fact, you even include feathers and fabrics into your work. What led to this decision when you were creating them?
I do that because I like to design massive jewellery. It is more fun! The thing I love the most in life is mixing colours. I can get quite intense with mixing colours and textures. I am either mixing it or contemplating it. I do it because it is what I love.
Are there specific types of people you envision wearing your pieces? Your jewellery varies so much that there seems to be something for everyone.
Not really because jewellery was something that I was making by myself at home for so long. It was not a brand and I was not making a living out of it for almost ten years. I was only doing it for fun and I was not really thinking of clients – something that I do more these days because now I do have clients. I have been able to see the type of people that buy my jewellery, how old they are and what style they have, but this does not define my creations as I do not create with a person in mind. I make what I like and hopefully, people will like it too – which they often do.
I never draw. I am inspired by the materials and beads themselves.
You closed your boutique and you sell your jewellery on Etsy instead. What led you to take this decision?
I have been making a living from my creations for more than four years , but I was always looking for a good balance between selling, managing and creating the jewellery. I think the shop gave me a lot of administrative work. Also, I had more pressure because you have to pay the bills. This changes the direction of your work as you are not so much focused on creating any more. So, I thought to myself, what if I went back to basics, did it at home and sold it online? In the end, it is about making jewellery, you know?
What are some of your future projects? What are you currently working on that is not in the public domain yet?
I am currently healing my arm so that I can work again. I hope to get back to work soon. I make my best jewellery when I do not have to think much about it. However, this month, I will be launching a new website where people will have the opportunity to browse and buy my creations without having to go to Etsy as in this new platform, they will be able to see more of my portfolio and my shop. The new website will be more convenient and more inspiring!