It’s a Jungle Out There

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the direction my jewelry work might go, looking at many pieces and collections by other designers, and trying to figure out what my “style” might me as a designer. I dislike the concept that a designer needs to adhere to a style in order to be recognised or stand out, but I guess that’s the way the world works. There is a growing trend in the market of dainty, minimalist jewelry. There are tons of really great designs out there. Some are really easy to make though – I know because I’ve tried making some of them. That’s how you learn right. If I start selling my own jewelry on a bigger scale, that’s probably the way to go – with my own twist of course.

There is however the artist/designer side of me, who wants to see what is possible with this medium, who likes to be challenged. Applying techniques and skills available to me, to create a piece that it truly original and unique – without being overly gaudy. The market for these pieces is obviously a lot smaller. These are supposed to be pieces that you attach sentimental meaning or value to. I want to explore that side of this trade as well.

To me design – in any field – is figuring out how to create something with the resources, skills and techniques available. It’s a process of solving a problem; having and idea of what you want to achieve and then figuring out the best way to apply techniques, materials and skills at your disposal to replicate the image in your mind. I want to explore that side of this art/trade as well.

The following piece falls into the second category of my designs; the once off originals. I mentioned in the previous post that I want to make series depicting endangered animals or habitats.

tropic 1

This piece was inspired in part by a piece of art by Arymiss which I recently acquired,  in part by the Monstera plant making quite the comeback – I am not immune to trends – and, as my mother pointed out, because it’s reminiscent of our lush, tropical garden in Mpumalanga, where I was born.

tropic 2

A Little Mermaid

This piece was started a few months ago. I wanted to make it in a box shape similar to the stag I made, but gave up on that idea. I’m interested in layering cut-outs to create scenes. Telling stories in silver (and other metals). I think I’m going to explore that a bit more in the future. I’m also figuring out that I’m more interested in jewelry art, as opposed to everyday, functional pieces – though I like making those too.

Here’s the little mermaid, finally done.


If you turn it around, she kind of disappears behind the seaweed – like mermaids obviously would do in real life.


Sea Biscuit

Inspired by a pendant the metal class instructor wears from time to time, I asked if she could show me how to make one. It’s basically two cupped circles soldered on the edge. While hers has a floral motif on it, I chose a sand dollar.

In 2012, when our architecture masters class went on a research trip to Mozambique, I found a sand dollar on the beach in Maputo – they are quite easy to find there. I liked Mozambique so much, I wanted to go work there after graduation. The sand dollar skeletons in Mozambique look a little different to the design on my pendant – the Florida “key-hole” dollar fit the circular design better.

sea biscuit, silver, 2015

As far as detail, I tried to give it a little dented texture – much like the sea dollar segments. I was told not to polish it too much with the machine, but to polish it by hand with sandpaper instead – I think that added to the washed-up texture and feel.

sea biscuit, silver, 2015

I did a variation on a sea-star at the back – in keeping with the theme. I left the centre intact to retain structural integrity.

sea biscuit, silver, 2015

My Vanity Ring

After making the trinity ring, I thought it would be nice to make my own seal ring. I couldn’t decide on an image or icon so I settled for my name.

seal ring 1

seal ring 2

I tried it with candle wax and realised that the writing should have been mirrored – but it’s going to function as a ring more than a seal anyway, so might as well have the wring be legible on the ring. The image of the wax result has been mirrored in Photoshop.

seal ring 3


Feel Good Inc.

Over the past few weeks in jewelry class, my confidence and skill has improved to the point where I am comfortable enough to attempt more complex designs like this one.

Feel Good Inc.

This one is relatively personal: my birthstone is amethyst, half of my father’s family is from the Netherlands – thus the windmill mixed with the lighthouse, and I’ve always wanted to live on an island far, far away from people.  But mostly it was inspired by the floating/flying island in the Gorillaz Feel Good Inc. music video. This one was fun to make.

Feel Good Inc., Amethyst and Silver, 2014

Inspired by the Gorillaz – Feel Good Inc. music video. (Amethyst and Silver)

Feel Good Inc. (back), Amethyst and Silver, 2014