Weaving a jewellery community from Togo to Toronto. Patrick Missodey interviewed by 18Karat Studio + Gallery

Interview  /  Artists   18KaratStudio+Gallery
Published: 15.08.2019
Patrick Missodey working in his studio. Patrick Missodey working in his studio.
18Karat Studio + Gallery
Edited by:
Lena Binnington
Edited at:
Edited on:
Patrick Missodey. Ring: Beu Diola Baobab Garnet Concave Ring, 2019. Sterling silver, 18k yellow gold, garnet.. 2.3 x 1.5 x 2.4 cm. Photo by: Anthony McLean. From series: Baobab. Patrick Missodey
Ring: Beu Diola Baobab Garnet Concave Ring, 2019
Sterling silver, 18k yellow gold, garnet.
2.3 x 1.5 x 2.4 cm
Photo by: Anthony McLean
From series: Baobab
© By the author. Read Copyright.

Proudly introducing Patrick Missodey, a Canadian born in Lomé, Togo who specializes in filigree and traditional West African metal thread weaving. Inspired by nature and geometry, Patrick’s jewellery work shows a diverse creative background culminating in a fusion of modern artistry, both elegant and refined.
Q: How did you get started in the jewellery industry?
It’s an unfortunate circumstance that changed my destiny. My father, a school teacher, was politically active and was put in jail for criticizing the regime in Togo. This deeply affected my family. I felt responsible for my mother and my family wellbeing, so I decided to quit school and learn a trade. For me, it was the fastest way to earn money instead of going to university. There was a jewelry studio in my neighborhood, so I started my apprenticeship there. When I got my certificate, I moved to Mali to work for the Madingo gold mine company as a refiner. After 5 years I decided to work for myself and I started to design and create handmade jewels. I have always asked myself why I am so passionate about making jewelry and very recently, I found out that my great-grandfather, Sika Missodey, a farmer, used to make jewelry in his spare time. Sika means gold in my native tongue. I am thrilled to discover that jewelry making is in my blood.

Q: What is your work process like? What materials and techniques do you favour?
I am a goldsmith and I do everything by myself. Once I draw the sketch, I start by melting the metal, then I use rolling mills to make the plates and wires that I need to form jewels. I do the stone setting as required and the finishing also. I specialize in wire weaving, filigree, forging techniques and handmade chains, usually using 18k gold and sterling silver.

Bracelet by Patrick Missodey. Title: Vogan Men's Bracelet. Material: sterling silver. Size: 21.6 cm long, chain in 0.4 cm diameter. Photo by Anthony McLean. From series: Vogan.

Q: What makes your collection unique in the industry?
I make customized jewelry and all my works are handmade. When I came to Canada, I had the chance to learn modern jewelry techniques in EMSOM (École des métiers du Sud Ouest de Montréal). Therefore, I use the blending of techniques I have learned in Africa and Canada to create unique jewelry pieces.

Earrings by Patrick Missodey. Title: Baobab Diamond-shaped Earrings. Material: sterling silver. Size: 1.2 x 0.3 x 3.8 cm. Photo by Anthony McLean. From series: Baobab.

Q: Where do you gather inspiration?
Nature and geometry usually inspire me in giving life to jewels that will bring a touch of elegance and refinement.

A Baobab bracelet in progress!

Q: Who are some people in the industry that you look up to, or some of your favourite designers?
Matthieu Cheminée, my mentor. He received several prizes and wrote Legacy, a book on Jewelry Techniques of West Africa. I had a privilege to be his assistant for forging class at École de Joallerie of Montréal.
Tim McCreight, he is the legend of jewelry. I was using his books when I was still in Africa and I had the opportunity to travel with him as part of the Toolbox Initiative. (The Toolbox Initiative is a volunteer effort created by jewellers Matthieu Cheminée and Tim McCreight in 2014. Travelling on a yearly basis with project leaders to Senegal, Benin, and Togo, the team aims to modernize jewellery production and techniques, and distribute new jewellery making tools in Africa where many artisanal jewellers are working in rudimentary conditions.)
Balla Seck, he is one of the most talented jewelers I met in Senegal. I learned a lot from him.

Ring by Patrick Missodey. Title: Beu Diola Baobab Spinel Ring. Material: sterling silver, 18k yellow gold, spinel (originated from Madagascar). Size: 2.2 x 0.9 x 2.8 cm, 7 ¼ (US). Photo by Anthony McLean. From series: Baobab.

Q: What are the most valuable lessons you have learned from working in the industry?
For me, patience and passion are the most valuable lessons I have learned. I like to make delicate jewels, so being patient and passionate are the key skills to have.

Q: What tips do you have for aspiring designers?
Challenge yourself and never give up. Read jewelry books and watch techniques on YouTube, and connect with talented goldsmiths!

Pendant by Patrick Missodey. Title: Baobab Tree Pendant. Material: sterling silver. Size: Pendant: 1.2 x 0.2 x 1.4, on an 45.8 cm long chain. Photo by Anthony McLean.

Q: What is your motto/credo? Do you have a single phrase that defines the way you work?
Metissage ethnique, metissage de techniques. Or, ethnic blending… and technical blending!

Patrick demonstrates how to create a rat tail chain in the book: Legacy: Jewelry Techniques of West Africa by Matthieu Cheminée.

About the Interviewee

Patrick Missodey is an artisan jeweller of Togolese origin, who specialises in artisanal manufacturing of jewellery. He first acquired professional knowledge in goldsmithing, gold refining and retailing in West Africa. He decided to move to Montréal, Canada in 2013, where he completed training at the École des Métiers du Sud-Ouest de Montréal (EMSOM), and with jeweller Yves St Pierre. Patrick is an active promoter and educator of ethnic artisanal jewellery, with work exhibited at a number of jewellery fairs, private sales and galleries in Canada. He was a visiting tutor at the Jewelry School of Montréal (EJM), and a technique demonstrator in the book Legacy: Jewellery Techniques of West Africa written by Matthieu Cheminée. He is also a volunteer of the charity project, Toolbox Initiative.