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I have two sources of inspiration - one real, the other unreal.
My first source is simply nature around me, mostly botanical. In this range, I strive to make jewellery that is South African, but by using subject matter more subtle than something like the Big Five. There are so many species of living thing in South Africa - many that are unique to South Africa - that often get overlooked by people. My mission is to create beautiful trinkets in celebration of the less obvious things that symbolize South Africa.
The design work and development of my fantasy ranges (the Drow and Dryad) follow a similar system to concept art for movies like "Narnia" and "The Lord of the Rings" from which I draw some of my inspiration. The artists behind these movies attempt to create an environment that feels real and believable. This can be achieved by taking into consideration the characters being filmed - What do they wear? Why do they wear it? What is their role/industry in their community (or lack there of)? Is this practical? Does it need to be practical?
A few times I have been asked that if I make fantasy jewellery, why is it not..."Fantasical"? This is translated to "exaggerated", "over the top" or "way out". My answer to this is often along the lines of that my two characters - my Drow and my Dryad - are not ornaments. You can't expect a woman on her wedding day, in her wedding dress, to start her house cleaning...maybe run to the shops for groceries...cook up a meal. The dress would just get in the way, get damaged, and more than likely be a discomfort. Similarly, my drow and dryad have certain daily routines. Being unable to protect themselves on their journeys into unknown and wild places because they can't, for instance, turn their heads because of some extravagant neckpiece would not be practical. No, I firmly believe that whilst the beings of whom the jewellery was created for are from a different plane of existence, they still endure similar rules that we find here on Earth.
The latter inspiration relies heavily on the former, sometimes almost merging into pieces that could fall into either category.
Diploma in Jewellery Design and Manufacture, Durban (2007)
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