Jesse Watson is a jewellery designer and owner of Noctis Custom Jewelry. Born in Colorado Springs, and now living in Austin, Texas, USA, Jesse’s day career is in engineering. However, his passion in life is making jewellery and he happily spends his evenings in his studio. Few jewellery designers can say that it was true love that brought jewellery into their life, but Jesse can. His partner did jewellery part-time and as one of their early dating activities, they both shared a ring making class together. He hasn’t looked back since, both in jewellery and love.
Although Jesse is a self-confessed nerd during the day, like a marvel superhero, he transforms into an extremely talented artist in the evening.
His ability as a silversmith, is ever growing. But you can see that he is already very talented and on an incredible journey. Developing high quality traditional skills and using them in the most beautiful and contemporary way.
Jesse’s love of jewellery making is very evident. Particularly in the way he uses different techniques such as stone setting, hydraulic metal stamping, filigree, silver clay moulding and metal work. All used in combination with various influences and inspiration such as nature, geometric shapes, movement, and love.
Jesse was kind enough to do a Q&A with me. He chatted about his work, jewellery and design, and much more.
Tell us about yourself, and your love affair with Jewellery.
I am a native of Colorado currently living in central Texas (Austin). I have always had a strong slant towards the more creative aspects of life which is ironic seeing as my career is in engineering. Throughout my life I have always needed some sort of creative outlet. I have expressed that in many different mediums – drawing (graphite and charcoal), painting (oil and acrylic), sculpture (clay, wood, metal), etc.
That was until I met my love and life-mate who did jewellery part-time in addition to having a day job. She is also a very artistic person, and when I asked her out it was to take a ring making class with me. We went on several dates before the actual ring making class, but it was because of her that I was introduced to metal-smithing. It has really taken off from that time, and with her encouragement it has become a true passion of mine. While I still have to have a day job, at night you will find me happily creating shiny things up in my studio.
When did you first realise you wanted to make Jewellery as a career?
Unfortunately, at this point in my life, I am still required to have a day job in the engineering field and cannot make jewellery making my full time pursuit. However, I am in my studio whenever I have the opportunity and am hopeful that at some point in my life I can make my passion my full time gig. The best thing about doing something that you love is that it never feels like work. Sure, there are times when I am struggling with a difficult problem or doing a custom piece that doesn’t excite me, but in the end I am still doing what I love.
As a designer, where do you draw your inspiration from?
Inspiration is a very interesting and shifting thing in my eyes. What I get inspiration from can change from day to day. Sometimes it will be something I have seen made which gives me an “ah ha” moment of a direction to go. Other times it can be learning a new technique from a class or fellow jeweller. Or it can be something as simple as a leaf on the ground or image in a book (unrelated to jewellery). I guess what I am saying is that inspiration can come from anywhere. It will just click when you see it.
How would you describe your designs?
My work really spans a large variety of things, however, there are certain themes that seem to be pervasive in many of the pieces. That theme is the combination of geometric forms with free-flowing elements. There is something about the combination of curves and angles that speaks to me. I also do a lot of work that tends to have fine detail integrated into it.
What is your favourite piece you’ve ever created?
I would find it very difficult to choose a favourite piece. I have many pieces that I love for many different reasons. A lot of the pieces that I would call my favourites aren’t the ones that turned out the best or that are the prettiest. They are the ones where I had to really think through them to figure out how to make what was in my mind into reality. Or, pieces where I came up with something novel or very creative that I have never seen done before. It is ironic that my favourite pieces are not usually the ones that customers or friends love the most.
What are you currently working on?
Well, as a creative person I find that I always have to have at least 2 or 3 projects in flight at the same time. It helps to keep me motivated and prevent boredom and frustration. So I am currently working on a series of men’s wedding bands in a variety of metals as well as a custom pendant for a young lady who is about to graduate high school and head off to college.
What advice would you give to someone interested in becoming a jewellery designer?
The best advice that I could give to a new/young/novice jeweller would be to get a mentor. I have the luxury of having a fantastic local school that teaches courses throughout the year in a wide range of topics. Through these classes I have met many master jewellers and have become friends with them. This is invaluable for learning techniques and tips for solving problems that you will encounter.
The creativity side of things you have to do yourself, but these types of mentors will increase your craft enormously and help guide you in the right direction through their years of experience.
You can find Jesse’s talent and creativity at: