Craft Contexts, Maker's Remarks

Pauli Ochi of Ochi Gallery & Shop

Pauli Ochi Jewelry, Arrowhead Ring

{ Pauli Ochi Jewelry; photo credit: Tessa Sheehan }

It’s that time, folks! We haven’t had a Maker’s Remarks post here on Westervin in over a year (sad face), but today is the day for a new installment (jubilent face)! As I mentioned last week, Pauli Ochi (see: Ochi Gallery, Ochi Shop, and her line of handcrafted jewelry) kindly answered a few (and them some) questions about her jewelry, her creative process, and her daily life running a gallery & shop in awe-inspiring Sun Valley, Idaho. She’s really a fascinating woman! Let’s read up:

Pauli Ochi making jewelry

What materials do you use for creating your necklaces, and why do you prefer to work with them?

I’ll use anything that catches my eye: semi-precious stones, vintage pieces that I re-work, occasionally different fabrics. Right now I’m having a throwback interest to seed beads, which I used when I was a kid. I took a long break from them because they can be so tedious, but I’m in a mood to embrace the challenge.

Where do you find inspiration for your necklace designs?

Mainly through material. I’ll spend hours in the fashion district when I go to NY, or in bead stores anywhere I travel, or perusing the internet for colors and textures that look interesting.

Pauli Ochi Jewelry: multicolor crystal rings

Do you have an intended wearer in mind when you make your necklaces?

Definitely. I design for the girl/woman who can pull off statement pieces but still look casual. She loves both jewelry and art and has an appreciation for things that are handmade and all their imperfections. It’s important for me to keep my ideal wearer in mind because it keeps me focused on the final product. Sometimes I move on to a new piece before I finish the last one!

Why do you choose to make things by hand?

I think it has a lot to do with growing up in a gallery surrounded by people who consider the art-making process and who appreciate things made by hand.

Pauli Ochi Jewelry: handmade statement necklaces

{ photo credit: Tessa Sheehan }

As a person who makes jewelry by hand and runs an art gallery, do you have an opinion on the common but complex distinction made between art and craft?

I’ll respect good art, and I’ll respect good craft. I don’t think I worry too much about the distinction. In fact I think Ochi Shop is a place that embraces both art and craft without seeking to define them.

I’m afraid I’ve never been to Idaho. Should I visit?

Yes Idaho is amazing. The town I live in, Sun Valley, is literally awe inspiring, not to sound too cheesy.

Sun Valley Idaho by Baron Von Fancy

{ Sun Vally, Idaho, Bar Von Fancy }

Tell me about the art you select for Ochi Gallery and the items you select for Ochi Shop.

My parents started Ochi Gallery almost 40 years ago. I’ve inherited working with some really accomplished artists who have had long careers, which in the art world means real perseverance. I try to hold any new artists I bring into our program, or into the shop, to the same standard; that is, they have to be both talented and truly committed to their vision.

Is there a type of work you’re most excited to promote through your gallery or shop?

I love work with a conceptual edge or a sense of humor. And of course I love work that is inspiringly beautiful, where the artist considered everything from material to process to final product. I’m always most excited to promote the work of artists who have the personality as well as the talent.

Baron Von Fancy at Ochi Gallery

{ Baron Von Fancy’s “This Must Be the Place” at Ochi Gallery }

Can you pick a favorite of the exhibitions you’ve curated?

Probably not! Some are more fun and come together more smoothly than others, but working with different artists sometimes means having completely different jobs. I’ve found myself doing the most random things in the name of art. I’ve had to figure out how to move several tons of sand into the gallery, I’ve helped select models for a performance piece, I’ve even dug in the snow for an outdoor installation. My favorite is always the one I’m working on. For instance, right now I’m obsessed with Baron Von Fancy’s “This Must Be the Place,” and Erin Rachel Hudak’s “My Nature / Your Nature.”

Erin Rachel Hudak at Ochi Gallery

{ meet me here, mountains, Erin Rachel Huduk }

What do you most look forward to when you start each day?

That’s such a good question because I always think about that quote “how you start the day is how you live your life.” I look forward to my morning runs outside and to whatever creative project I’m working on (because there’s always something!) This morning, for instance, I was looking forward to peeking at the Dropbox folder my lookbook photographer, Tessa Sheehan, sent me!

Seen any good movies lately?

I thought Starlet, starring Dree Hemmingway, was surprisingly good. We just watched Searching for Sugarman, which is a crazy story. That was a good documentary. Lately though, I’m kind of into Netflix’s original series.

Pauli Ochi Jewelry: handmade statement necklaces

{ photo credits: Tessa Sheehan }

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