Meet The Face Behind

ORU

A BRIKA maker story

Agnieszka Zoltowski

PORTLAND, OR
"I believe the power of love is greater than the power of fear."
“There’s a real sense of satisfaction and joy in being able to make something myself. ”

“The more I learn about process, tools, design, and craft, the more empowered I feel.”


“Objects that are simple and beautiful, with elegant clean lines and a hint of playfulness or edge are what inspire me, and what I strive to create. ”


“The more I learn about process, tools, design, and craft, the more empowered I feel.”


Agnieszka Zoltowski is the maker behind ORU. She moved to Portland, OR in 2007 to develop her metal smithing skills at Oregon College of Art and Craft, and has been patiently weaving beads for two decades.


ORU is derived from the Japanese word "to weave,” and each piece of ORU's jewelry exemplifies this ancient craft. Weaving Japanese glass beads together to create a delicate beaded fabric, and integrating materials, Agnieszka combines the beaded fabric with a metal body. It is a combination of two very different techniques that creates the stunning pieces you see here. Weaving these various elements of design together is what Agnieszka believes makes her intricate work special and we couldn't agree more.

How did you start your company?

ORU has been its own company for just under two years now, but I’ve had some form of a jewelry company all my life. I was hawking hemp necklaces on the Pier Steps in Seattle when I was 12, and selling crystal jewelry to a local shop at 14. As an adult, I had owned and operated two jewelry companies (Appleseed Designs and Matchbox Studio) before starting ORU, a rebrand of Matchbox Studio. ORU evolved somewhat unexpectedly through a series of unanticipated events, and I’ve been running with it ever since!

Who do you look up to?

People who live their lives authentically and fearlessly, and who act in true service.

Walk me through your production/design process. It usually comes together slowly, but there are moments of pure flow when everything just works. I sketch and sew, set aside colors that resonate for me, and test concepts to see if my ideas line up. There’s a certain amount of precision required when fitting tiny glass beads into a metal frame, as well as when exploring the metal itself. I start to fit together the concepts, colors, and techniques with the sketches, then test them for wearability and production. Eventually each piece emerges as a final and complete idea. 


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PRODUCTS BY ORU