Move to Greece story: from customer service manager to jewelry designer

Move to Greece story: from customer service manager to jewelry designer

In "Moving to Greece story" we want to tell you about the people we meet in our own Greek life who not only dared to make decisions to move but also drastically changed their own way of life.

Move to Greece: Dare to follow your dreams

There are various reasons why you decide to move to Greece, but most of us face falling for the beautiful nature, sunny days and the dream of a freer life. Some plan the move in stages and years and some choose quick decisions.

I met jewelry designer Jackie Luton for the first time in the local market in Stoupa in November 2018. Jackie had worked as head of customer service for a tool company in England until 2002. The same year she moved to Greece and a few years later she began to make jewelry and paint.

She has set up her own studio in her home near Kalamata where she manufactures jewelry from copper tube pipes which she then treats with a special enamel paint. She sells them in the summer around local markets and on Etsy. Each earring and necklace is unique and made with love for the beautiful nature. I fell in love with the intense colors where blue and emerald are combined: like small pieces and the sea and the sky.

Jackie: from customer service manager in England to jewelry designer in Greece

move to greece storyEK: Kalimera Jackie. You have been working with handcrafted copper jewelry for many years. Tell us about your use of copper in your jewelry.

JL: Kalimera Elwira. I have always been creative and love making things and I am always on the lookout for things to upcycle. I started using copper as an old plumbing pipe, which I could have made into something. I found that I really enjoyed making something beautiful out of virtually nothing.

I have painted for many years using a variety of different media have now started to incorporate into many of my handcrafted copper earrings and copper pendants using special enamel paints that give a hard glassy finish on the copper with fabulous iridescent colors.

I also love the natural colors of the copper itself and enjoy experimenting with different methods of getting texture onto the copper (and have many of my kitchen implements!), Also like to incorporate sea glass and various semi-precious stones.

EK: What is so special with cooper?

JL: Did you know that the average home contains 400 pounds of copper that is used for electrical wiring, pipes and appliances - I could make a lot of pairs of earrings from all of that! Copper is a very eco-friendly metal - it is 100% recyclable and nearly 80% of the copper that has been produced is still used today and it can continue to be recycled without any changes to its properties. In fact, it retains 95% or its original value.

I have come to love the versatility of using copper and find the hammering process quite therapeutic. Several people have since donated old copper pipes to me so I have lots of raw material available.

EC: How about copper and Greece?

JL: In Greece, copper was known by the name chalkos (χαλκός). It was an important resource for the Romans, Greeks and other ancient people. In Roman times, it was known as Aes Cyprium, being the generic Latin term for copper alloys and Cyprium from Cyprus, where much of the copper was mined. The phrase was simplified to cuprum, hence the English copper. Jewelery made from copper featured in early civilizations and the earliest known piece of copper jewelery dates to the eighth millennium BC. Copper was associated with goods and goddesses and became so valuable that it was used as money - first as natural lumps and then as coins.

EK: I know it's a very general question but why did you decide to move to Greece?

JL: Both my husband and I are sunbirds and have always dreamed of living somewhere sunny. Whilst on holiday in the mani we stumbled across an old house that was for sale and the owner showed us around. This got us thinking about moving seriously and we started doing some work out if we could manage financially without working. Within 12 months we had sold our house in UK and bought a house in the mountains near Kalamata.

move to greece story

EK: What was most difficult when you decided to stay in Greece permanently?

JL: I really thought I would be a fluent Greek speaker within a few years but I am still struggling with the language. Every so often I start to try again to learn more but I find it very difficult. The Greek bureaucracy also takes a bit of getting used to, you need to be prepared for everything to take a long time and have lots of paperwork stamped and signed many times over.

EK: A lot of people are very creative. Do you think the beauty around us helps us develop our creativity?

JL: You are right, there are so many talented and creative people in the area. I think it is because the pace of life is slower and people have more time to do things they enjoy. I certainly get a lot of my inspiration from living here in Greece. For example I have my sunset collection which is inspired by the many fabulous sunsets over the Messinian bay that I am lucky enough to see from my home.

Thank you Jackie for your time.

move to greece story

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