Last year we were lucky enough to spend some time in the exciting studio of Inge Marais where she expertly demonstrated how she makes her "I Love You Like..." Heart Pendants right from a blob of silver all the way to a carefully hand-coloured piece of beauty hanging on a chain.
A little more about Inge and her passion for what she does:
I studied for my BA in Jewellery Design and Metal Technique at the University of Stellenbosch. It’s an all encompassing jewellery course where we learn how to make jewellery from scratch: from granules of metal to a finished piece, with some gemology, drawing, printmaking and photography thrown in for good measure. After completing my BA, armed with all the skills I’d need, I decided to do my MA in visual arts, specialising in jewellery design. This was 4 years of jewellery-making bliss where I could experiment and play to my heart’s content, culminating in my MA exhibition entitled ‘Transformation’ at the BLANK projects gallery in Cape Town. I then worked as a manufacturing jeweler and goldsmith in London, mostly for one British designer, while doing my own bits on the side. This was a wonderful experience but now I’m back in SA and making my own jewellery full time.
The content of my new work grapples with what it means to be back living in South Africa - it is starting out with having quite a bit of focus on nature and what I take from being outdoors - the freedom, the space. Where I see this going is me re- exploring my culture, mixing in the Afrikaans. I also draw inspiration from my loyal partner in crime who would sometimes just come to me out of the blue and say – hey you should make a sputnik.
I work with sterling and fine silver, some copper and brass. I oxidise and leave some pieces un–pickled so that the traces of the heating process remains. I’ve used enamel paint in the past – that might make a comeback.
My jewellery can be fun, humorous, ironic and clever but always beautiful and delicate. It is personal, whimsical and honest, sentimental and romantic. I use image and text in some ranges but in other ranges I use repetition and pattern to create objects that are tactile. Movement and where the piece sits on the body is very important to me.
It's been so wonderful to get to know Inge, her dedication to her art-form and her love of the extraordinary found in everyday moments. Her ranges have grown to really reflect the light-hearted, spirited artist that she is, and we can't wait to see what is in store for Inge Marais Jewellery in the year ahead.