Here at Boticca HQ you can always tell when Algis from Jolita adds new pieces to his highly successful collection, as the team gaze and gasp at the images on their screens. One of Boticca’s most inventive and certainly unique designers, Algis follows his heart and creative eye when it comes to design. Based just around the corner from our offices, we caught up with this popular designer to find out why his career is literally the stuff of dreams.
Hello, can you just tell us a bit more about yourself?
I was born in Lithuania, my dad was Lithuanian and my mother is Russian. I moved to London about fourteen years ago and have been living here ever since.
You have said that you were inspired to become a jewelry designer by a dream. Can you tell us more about this?
A few years ago I had a recurring dream for over a week- it was a static image of a bracelet. I don’t remember dreaming of anything else – just this particular piece of jewelry. After a week I asked my friend – who had some experience in jewelry making – to take me to a bead shop. From that moment I was hooked…
Did you need training in jewelry making and design or are you self-taught?
I am mainly self-taught, however I attended a few classes – I did a short course in bio-resin jewelry in Cockpit Art Studios in London. I also attended two courses in silversmithing, as I wanted to learn how to work with metals – especially silver. I was also really scared of a blowtorch. Everything else I have taught myself by reading and lots of experimenting.
How did you hone your unique style?
I do not draw, so I rely a great deal on experimenting. When I start working on a piece I don’t really know how it will end up looking. It usually takes me more than a day to complete a piece of jewelry. Sometimes it could be as long as a couple of months from the conception of an idea until I have a finished piece of jewelry. I feel this way it works best for me.
Laughing Buddha Bangle
Collage Necklace and Cannes Necklace
Where do you get your inspirations?
Everywhere really: museums, books, cinema, and dreams. I like incorporating unusual items in my jewelry, so I am always on the look out for something a bit strange or things that others tend to overlook.
Where did the name Jolita come from?
It is actually my sister’s name, which is an old Lithuanian name.
How would you describe your designs?
Eclectic, colorful and bold.
If your designs were a celebrity who would they be?
Without a doubt Iris Apfel. Her sense of color and eye for the unusual are outstanding!
Iris Apfel portrait by Bruce Weber
One of your collections is called metamorphosis – such an interesting title, why did you choose this?
Metamorphosis means to change into something else, to assume a new, different form.
I suppose I chose it as it describes an entire collection succinctly – I take old, unwanted, clashing things and turn them into something new…
Your slogan is Urbi Et Orbi – what does this mean and what influence does it have on the jewelry?
Urbi et Orbi literally means to the city and to the world. When a young man came to Rome for the first time, he was greeted by a Roman with a saying “Urbi et Orbi” which meant welcome to Rome and to the World as in those days Rome was one of the greatest cities in the world.
So for me London was my “Rome” – I came to London, which opened the gates to world.
You say your pieces that you use are sourced globally. Where do you find the majority of your things?
I do quite a bit of shopping on-line – I buy products from India, Bali, Peru etc. I also visit various antiques and flee markets around London. I also have friends who buy things for me when they see something unusual if they are travelling overseas.
Your sister is also involved in the business – what part does she play?
Jolita helps me with marketing, promotion etc. She is more organized than me, so we are utilizing that! She is also constantly nicking my jewelry…
To you fashion is?
Everything and nothing
What do you do when you are not designing?
Thinking what I am going to make next. I also run jewelry making classes.
What other designers on Boticca do you admire?
I like Arnoldo][Battois, Selda Okutan and Helen Ruth.
Boticca are great at nurturing and helping new designers like myself. Also, with the help of Boticca I am, able to reach a global audience that I wouldn’t have been able to achieve otherwise.