IED Alumni Interview: Jessica Cooper
Read our interview with the Jewellery designer and IED Roma Alumna. Between Australia and Italy, Jessica's talent is now known internationally. Discover more!
INTRODUCE YOURSELF: your name, the IED School you attended, the year, and the Course you graduated in.
Hi I'm Jessica Cooper and I'm a IED Roma Alumna. I graduated in Jewellery Design.
YOU NOW: your job description and where you work. Can you also tell us about one of your latest projects? What was it about? Did you face any challenge with it?
I am now the director of my own company OHLIGUER. I opened my first showroom earlier this year and only this month opened our first workshop on Queen Street in the heart of Brisbane City, Queensland (Australia). With opening the showroom in terms of securing the location everything just flowed and I knew that the timing was right to take a leap of faith. I was indecisive in how to design the interior, at first, I listened to interior designs, yet no one was able to capture my vision or interpret the brand. All these experts ended up causing confusion and clouding my vision. In the end after endless mood boards, I sought inspiration in our heritage turning to the Winter palace where my grandmother was born. From that point everything fell into place. We sought a balance between heritage and modern, with iconic contemporary designs. I had to wait for several key pieces, such as the central table to be hand blown and flown to Australia from Italy. I have had great support from the community and word of mouth has snowballed form there.
CREATIVITY: IED means creativity, culture, projects and planning. Let us know how both these aspects led you to choose IED and how they helped or influenced your career.
I was at a crossroads with my career. I had completed a Bachelor of Art, pursued photography and then trained as a jeweller. While working as a jeweller I discovered IED and the jewellery design course. I knew intuitively that it was the art of design that most inspired and intrigued me about jewellery. My sister said I absolutely must apply. My masters in Roma represented a pivot point in my career. It was after that year that I formed my own company and seriously started pursuing success in the world of fine jewels.
IED LOCATIONS: all our schools are found in some of the most creative and vibrant cities around the globe. Let us know why you choose the city you went to and what role it played in your student and future life.
Roma is a fantastic city, artistic and full of life, my lecturers were wonderful and gave me so much insight. Roma was a melting pot of inspiration and the teachers at IED gave me the tools to channel my creative instincts into marketable jewels and courage to pursue my vision.
MEMORIES: let us know of a particular episode during your studies in IED, that you remember fondly and is a moving or funny experience.
I have many memories from that year that I hold closely. However, a few that come to mind are as follows. A zabaglione coffee in the morning contemplating the development of my jewellery series followed by carving intaglios and corals from centuries past in my mentor’s workshop was particularly memorable for me. Another memorable time was Aperitivo at Amanda Triossi’s apartment with the whole class. After a tough year of work, it marked the successful completion of our personal projects, an accomplishment, and a step further to realising my creative vision.
CHALLENGES OF OUR TIMES: how have the challenging times we're living affected your professional life?
When I opened my showroom, I had great I had great momentum, sales were increasing markedly every month. While we haven’t had as many lockdowns in Brisbane as in other areas of Australia such as Melbourne, the lockdown that we did have stifled momentum. It has taken us a couple of months to reach the level of sales we were at pre-lockdown. Although a little discouraging, it has taught me to find any pocket of time for creativity not just in my design but also in our marketing approach. I feel that if we can open a showroom and workshop in the middle of the pandemic, the sky is the limit.
ADVICE: your recommendations to future graduates for a bright and creative future in your field.
I hope future students know that you only get out what you put into the course, if you go in with a goal your teachers will help you accomplish these. Moreover, don’t get discouraged, not everyone will adore your work, but you just need to find those that do, they will provide an important source of creative encouragement and inspiration for your success. Finally, don’t look at what other people are doing and reflect on your own work, keep focused, don’t try to do what others are doing find your own unique style within and let this drive your work.
MORE ABOUT YOU: let us have links to web pages where students can discover more about you and your work.
My website: www.ohliguer.com
LAST BUT NOT LEAST: what was the activity that you found most valuable to your personal growth? Also, can you tell us about your thesis project?
My thesis project was the foundation of my brand today. I developed my first collection to celebrate iconic Australian jewels- it is the story of a crocodile, encrusted in yellow, white, and Australian pink argyle diamonds.