Monday, 3 December 2012

A Fairytale posted by Giselle

While wondering what to write about and when to find the time to write it I came across this fairytale which touched me. I think for this time of year especially at the end of it when most of us will be gathering and celebrating with those close to us we should maybe think of those less fortunate and privileged. Whether you are a believer or not I hope you enjoy the read and that it gives you food for the soul.

                            From The Happy Prince and Other Tales (1888) - Oscar Wilde

High above the city, on a tall column, stood the statue of the Happy Prince. He was gilded all over with thin leaves of fine gold, for eyes he had two bright sapphires, and a large red ruby glowed on his sword-hilt.
He was very much admired indeed. "He is as beautiful as a weathercock," remarked one of the Town Councillors who wished to gain a reputation for having artistic tastes; "only not quite so useful," he added, fearing lest people should think him unpractical, which he really was not.
"Why can't you be like the Happy Prince?" asked a sensible mother of her little boy who was crying for the moon. "The Happy Prince never dreams of crying for anything."
"I am glad there is some one in the world who is quite happy," muttered a disappointed man as he gazed at the wonderful statue.
"He looks just like an angel," said the Charity Children as they came out of the cathedral in their bright scarlet cloaks and their clean white pinafores.
"How do you know?" said the Mathematical Master, "you have never seen one."
"Ah! but we have, in our dreams," answered the children; and the Mathematical Master frowned and looked very severe, for he did not approve of children dreaming.
One night there flew over the city a little Swallow. His friends had gone away to Egypt six weeks before, but he had stayed behind, for he was in love with the most beautiful Reed. He had met her early in the spring as he was flying down the river after a big yellow moth, and had been so attracted by her slender waist that he had stopped to talk to her.
"Shall I love you?" said the Swallow, who liked to come to the point at once, and the Reed made him a low bow. So he flew round and round her, touching the water with his wings, and making silver ripples. This was his courtship, and it lasted all through the summer.
"It is a ridiculous attachment," twittered the other Swallows; "she has no money, and far too many relations"; and indeed the river was quite full of Reeds. Then, when the autumn came they all flew away.
After they had gone he felt lonely, and began to tire of his lady- love. "She has no conversation," he said, "and I am afraid that she is a coquette, for she is always flirting with the wind." And certainly, whenever the wind blew, the Reed made the most graceful curtseys. "I admit that she is domestic," he continued, "but I love travelling, and my wife, consequently, should love travelling also."
"Will you come away with me?" he said finally to her; but the Reed shook her head, she was so attached to her home.
"You have been trifling with me," he cried. "I am off to the Pyramids. Good-bye!" and he flew away.
All day long he flew, and at night-time he arrived at the city. "Where shall I put up?" he said; "I hope the town has made preparations."
Then he saw the statue on the tall column.
"I will put up there," he cried; "it is a fine position, with plenty of fresh air." So he alighted just between the feet of the Happy Prince.
"I have a golden bedroom," he said softly to himself as he looked round, and he prepared to go to sleep; but just as he was putting his head under his wing a large drop of water fell on him. "What a curious thing!" he cried; "there is not a single cloud in the sky, the stars are quite clear and bright, and yet it is raining. The climate in the north of Europe is really dreadful. The Reed used to like the rain, but that was merely her selfishness."
Then another drop fell.
"What is the use of a statue if it cannot keep the rain off?" he said; "I must look for a good chimney-pot," and he determined to fly away.
But before he had opened his wings, a third drop fell, and he looked up, and saw - Ah! what did he see?
The eyes of the Happy Prince were filled with tears, and tears were running down his golden cheeks. His face was so beautiful in the moonlight that the little Swallow was filled with pity.
"Who are you?" he said.
"I am the Happy Prince."
"Why are you weeping then?" asked the Swallow; "you have quite drenched me."
"When I was alive and had a human heart," answered the statue, "I did not know what tears were, for I lived in the Palace of Sans- Souci, where sorrow is not allowed to enter. In the daytime I played with my companions in the garden, and in the evening I led the dance in the Great Hall. Round the garden ran a very lofty wall, but I never cared to ask what lay beyond it, everything about me was so beautiful. My courtiers called me the Happy Prince, and happy indeed I was, if pleasure be happiness. So I lived, and so I died. And now that I am dead they have set me up here so high that I can see all the ugliness and all the misery of my city, and though my heart is made of lead yet I cannot chose but weep."
"What! is he not solid gold?" said the Swallow to himself. He was too polite to make any personal remarks out loud.
"Far away," continued the statue in a low musical voice, "far away in a little street there is a poor house. One of the windows is open, and through it I can see a woman seated at a table. Her face is thin and worn, and she has coarse, red hands, all pricked by the needle, for she is a seamstress. She is embroidering passion- flowers on a satin gown for the loveliest of the Queen's maids-of- honour to wear at the next Court-ball. In a bed in the corner of the room her little boy is lying ill. He has a fever, and is asking for oranges. His mother has nothing to give him but river water, so he is crying. Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow, will you not bring her the ruby out of my sword-hilt? My feet are fastened to this pedestal and I cannot move."
"I am waited for in Egypt," said the Swallow. "My friends are flying up and down the Nile, and talking to the large lotus- flowers. Soon they will go to sleep in the tomb of the great King. The King is there himself in his painted coffin. He is wrapped in yellow linen, and embalmed with spices. Round his neck is a chain of pale green jade, and his hands are like withered leaves."
"Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow," said the Prince, "will you not stay with me for one night, and be my messenger? The boy is so thirsty, and the mother so sad."
"I don't think I like boys," answered the Swallow. "Last summer, when I was staying on the river, there were two rude boys, the miller's sons, who were always throwing stones at me. They never hit me, of course; we swallows fly far too well for that, and besides, I come of a family famous for its agility; but still, it was a mark of disrespect."
But the Happy Prince looked so sad that the little Swallow was sorry. "It is very cold here," he said; "but I will stay with you for one night, and be your messenger."
"Thank you, little Swallow," said the Prince.
So the Swallow picked out the great ruby from the Prince's sword, and flew away with it in his beak over the roofs of the town.
He passed by the cathedral tower, where the white marble angels were sculptured. He passed by the palace and heard the sound of dancing. A beautiful girl came out on the balcony with her lover. "How wonderful the stars are," he said to her, "and how wonderful is the power of love!"
"I hope my dress will be ready in time for the State-ball," she answered; "I have ordered passion-flowers to be embroidered on it; but the seamstresses are so lazy."
He passed over the river, and saw the lanterns hanging to the masts of the ships. He passed over the Ghetto, and saw the old Jews bargaining with each other, and weighing out money in copper scales. At last he came to the poor house and looked in. The boy was tossing feverishly on his bed, and the mother had fallen asleep, she was so tired. In he hopped, and laid the great ruby on the table beside the woman's thimble. Then he flew gently round the bed, fanning the boy's forehead with his wings. "How cool I feel," said the boy, "I must be getting better"; and he sank into a delicious slumber.
Then the Swallow flew back to the Happy Prince, and told him what he had done. "It is curious," he remarked, "but I feel quite warm now, although it is so cold."
"That is because you have done a good action," said the Prince. And the little Swallow began to think, and then he fell asleep. Thinking always made him sleepy.
When day broke he flew down to the river and had a bath. "What a remarkable phenomenon," said the Professor of Ornithology as he was passing over the bridge. "A swallow in winter!" And he wrote a long letter about it to the local newspaper. Every one quoted it, it was full of so many words that they could not understand.
"To-night I go to Egypt," said the Swallow, and he was in high spirits at the prospect. He visited all the public monuments, and sat a long time on top of the church steeple. Wherever he went the Sparrows chirruped, and said to each other, "What a distinguished stranger!" so he enjoyed himself very much.
When the moon rose he flew back to the Happy Prince. "Have you any commissions for Egypt?" he cried; "I am just starting."
"Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow," said the Prince, "will you not stay with me one night longer?"
"I am waited for in Egypt," answered the Swallow. "To-morrow my friends will fly up to the Second Cataract. The river-horse couches there among the bulrushes, and on a great granite throne sits the God Memnon. All night long he watches the stars, and when the morning star shines he utters one cry of joy, and then he is silent. At noon the yellow lions come down to the water's edge to drink. They have eyes like green beryls, and their roar is louder than the roar of the cataract.
"Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow," said the Prince, "far away across the city I see a young man in a garret. He is leaning over a desk covered with papers, and in a tumbler by his side there is a bunch of withered violets. His hair is brown and crisp, and his lips are red as a pomegranate, and he has large and dreamy eyes. He is trying to finish a play for the Director of the Theatre, but he is too cold to write any more. There is no fire in the grate, and hunger has made him faint."
"I will wait with you one night longer," said the Swallow, who really had a good heart. "Shall I take him another ruby?"
"Alas! I have no ruby now," said the Prince; "my eyes are all that I have left. They are made of rare sapphires, which were brought out of India a thousand years ago. Pluck out one of them and take it to him. He will sell it to the jeweller, and buy food and firewood, and finish his play."
"Dear Prince," said the Swallow, "I cannot do that"; and he began to weep.
"Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow," said the Prince, "do as I command you."
So the Swallow plucked out the Prince's eye, and flew away to the student's garret. It was easy enough to get in, as there was a hole in the roof. Through this he darted, and came into the room. The young man had his head buried in his hands, so he did not hear the flutter of the bird's wings, and when he looked up he found the beautiful sapphire lying on the withered violets.
"I am beginning to be appreciated," he cried; "this is from some great admirer. Now I can finish my play," and he looked quite happy.
The next day the Swallow flew down to the harbour. He sat on the mast of a large vessel and watched the sailors hauling big chests out of the hold with ropes. "Heave a-hoy!" they shouted as each chest came up. "I am going to Egypt"! cried the Swallow, but nobody minded, and when the moon rose he flew back to the Happy Prince.
"I am come to bid you good-bye," he cried.
"Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow," said the Prince, "will you not stay with me one night longer?"
"It is winter," answered the Swallow, "and the chill snow will soon be here. In Egypt the sun is warm on the green palm-trees, and the crocodiles lie in the mud and look lazily about them. My companions are building a nest in the Temple of Baalbec, and the pink and white doves are watching them, and cooing to each other. Dear Prince, I must leave you, but I will never forget you, and next spring I will bring you back two beautiful jewels in place of those you have given away. The ruby shall be redder than a red rose, and the sapphire shall be as blue as the great sea."
"In the square below," said the Happy Prince, "there stands a little match-girl. She has let her matches fall in the gutter, and they are all spoiled. Her father will beat her if she does not bring home some money, and she is crying. She has no shoes or stockings, and her little head is bare. Pluck out my other eye, and give it to her, and her father will not beat her."
"I will stay with you one night longer," said the Swallow, "but I cannot pluck out your eye. You would be quite blind then."
"Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow," said the Prince, "do as I command you."
So he plucked out the Prince's other eye, and darted down with it. He swooped past the match-girl, and slipped the jewel into the palm of her hand. "What a lovely bit of glass," cried the little girl; and she ran home, laughing.
Then the Swallow came back to the Prince. "You are blind now," he said, "so I will stay with you always."
"No, little Swallow," said the poor Prince, "you must go away to Egypt."
"I will stay with you always," said the Swallow, and he slept at the Prince's feet.
All the next day he sat on the Prince's shoulder, and told him stories of what he had seen in strange lands. He told him of the red ibises, who stand in long rows on the banks of the Nile, and catch gold-fish in their beaks; of the Sphinx, who is as old as the world itself, and lives in the desert, and knows everything; of the merchants, who walk slowly by the side of their camels, and carry amber beads in their hands; of the King of the Mountains of the Moon, who is as black as ebony, and worships a large crystal; of the great green snake that sleeps in a palm-tree, and has twenty priests to feed it with honey-cakes; and of the pygmies who sail over a big lake on large flat leaves, and are always at war with the butterflies.
"Dear little Swallow," said the Prince, "you tell me of marvellous things, but more marvellous than anything is the suffering of men and of women. There is no Mystery so great as Misery. Fly over my city, little Swallow, and tell me what you see there."
So the Swallow flew over the great city, and saw the rich making merry in their beautiful houses, while the beggars were sitting at the gates. He flew into dark lanes, and saw the white faces of starving children looking out listlessly at the black streets. Under the archway of a bridge two little boys were lying in one another's arms to try and keep themselves warm. "How hungry we are!" they said. "You must not lie here," shouted the Watchman, and they wandered out into the rain.
Then he flew back and told the Prince what he had seen.
"I am covered with fine gold," said the Prince, "you must take it off, leaf by leaf, and give it to my poor; the living always think that gold can make them happy."
Leaf after leaf of the fine gold the Swallow picked off, till the Happy Prince looked quite dull and grey. Leaf after leaf of the fine gold he brought to the poor, and the children's faces grew rosier, and they laughed and played games in the street. "We have bread now!" they cried.
Then the snow came, and after the snow came the frost. The streets looked as if they were made of silver, they were so bright and glistening; long icicles like crystal daggers hung down from the eaves of the houses, everybody went about in furs, and the little boys wore scarlet caps and skated on the ice.
The poor little Swallow grew colder and colder, but he would not leave the Prince, he loved him too well. He picked up crumbs outside the baker's door when the baker was not looking and tried to keep himself warm by flapping his wings.
But at last he knew that he was going to die. He had just strength to fly up to the Prince's shoulder once more. "Good-bye, dear Prince!" he murmured, "will you let me kiss your hand?"
"I am glad that you are going to Egypt at last, little Swallow," said the Prince, "you have stayed too long here; but you must kiss me on the lips, for I love you."
"It is not to Egypt that I am going," said the Swallow. "I am going to the House of Death. Death is the brother of Sleep, is he not?"
And he kissed the Happy Prince on the lips, and fell down dead at his feet.
At that moment a curious crack sounded inside the statue, as if something had broken. The fact is that the leaden heart had snapped right in two. It certainly was a dreadfully hard frost.
Early the next morning the Mayor was walking in the square below in company with the Town Councillors. As they passed the column he looked up at the statue: "Dear me! how shabby the Happy Prince looks!" he said.
"How shabby indeed!" cried the Town Councillors, who always agreed with the Mayor; and they went up to look at it.
"The ruby has fallen out of his sword, his eyes are gone, and he is golden no longer," said the Mayor in fact, "he is litttle beter than a beggar!"
"Little better than a beggar," said the Town Councillors.
"And here is actually a dead bird at his feet!" continued the Mayor. "We must really issue a proclamation that birds are not to be allowed to die here." And the Town Clerk made a note of the suggestion.
So they pulled down the statue of the Happy Prince. "As he is no longer beautiful he is no longer useful," said the Art Professor at the University.
Then they melted the statue in a furnace, and the Mayor held a meeting of the Corporation to decide what was to be done with the metal. "We must have another statue, of course," he said, "and it shall be a statue of myself."
"Of myself," said each of the Town Councillors, and they quarrelled. When I last heard of them they were quarrelling still.
"What a strange thing!" said the overseer of the workmen at the foundry. "This broken lead heart will not melt in the furnace. We must throw it away." So they threw it on a dust-heap where the dead Swallow was also lying.
"Bring me the two most precious things in the city," said God to one of His Angels; and the Angel brought Him the leaden heart and the dead bird.
"You have rightly chosen," said God, "for in my garden of Paradise this little bird shall sing for evermore, and in my city of gold the Happy Prince shall praise me."


Thursday, 15 November 2012

Hidden Details

by Frieda Lühl
A few weeks back I stumbled across this exhibition on the internet 'Behind the Brooch' curated by Lorena Angulo. It shows a collection of brooches from all over the world where the backside is as interesting as the front. Have a look at the post I put on my page.
I thought it a brilliant concept and became more aware of how the pieces we make and see look from its more hidden sides. Details only the wearer of a piece will know.
I personally love it when someone picks up my pieces and experiences a moment of surprise or joy by discovering something unexpected, a hidden little detail, a beautiful backside of a piece of jewellery.
Here are a few pieces of our Fine Ounce Goldsmiths that bear these hidden little secrets.

'rutilared quartz & silver leaf neckpiece' - Adi Cloete

'volcano neckpiece' - Adeline Joubert

'underneath lurks quirkiness' - Gela Tölken

'night of the silver bird and red flowers' - Adi Cloete

'coral tree and druses' - Frieda Lühl

'omba and rusted stones' - Frieda Lühl

'night flower' - Adi Cloete

'scuba 1' - Adeline Joubert 

'jade and spears' - Frieda Lühl

'mount everest rock pendant' - Adi Cloete

'desert rocks and leaves' - Frieda Lühl

'silver print and garnets' - Frieda Lühl

'dragons live forever' - Gela Tölken

'tourmaline slice pendant' - Adi Cloete 

'misty morning' - Adeline Joubert 

'copper and diamonds' - Frieda Lühl

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Fine Ounce Exhibition Opening

30 Roodebloem Road was a’ hustle and a’ bustle with activity on Wednesday with the opening of the Fine Ounce Exhibition. Many guests came rolling and tumbling, blown in by the Cape Town South Easter, grateful for some shelter and revived by a glass of Jane and Jubi's elixir, a sensational punch (a jug of ‘virgin’ for the upright and a more intoxicating version for those of less than moral standing).

Equally sensational was the treasure chest of jewellery on display. As a fairly recent addition to Fine Ounce and not too familiar with the work of these gifted girrrrls, I was transported to a place of great Beauty surrounded by such exquisitely crafted adornments, each subtly reflecting the person who made it.
A treasure chest.....

Multi-dimensional in their abilities, from setting up display tables, lighting and all that practical sort of stuff, to fine tuned organizing and marketing without even a bead of perspiration forming with the effort- not just the jewellery made of metal here! As a more one or two-dimensional person myself challenged by the world of marketing and technology I can only feel gratitude for some who can fill in the gaps. Retaining creative integrity in an environment of mass manufacture and marketing madness is a tightrope walk to all sensitive of beauty and craftsmanship. Some achieve this balancing act with a certain amount of  grace and others, well... it's highwire or haywire.

By Meagan Meredith

Maike- wiring up
Frieda up high

Jane and 'los lappies'

Firepetals- 'birds of a feather'

Girl@WORK/ Giselle

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

An investigation of roundness: the underlying concept of my Breath of Fire work

Since the Fine Ounce Goldsmith Collective will launch its 2012/13 exhibition series (entitled Breath of Fire) with the first show at Merchants on Long on the 8th of November, I would like to share some of the thinking behind my body of work for the exhibition series.

The underlying concept of my current work can be described as an ‘investigation of roundness’.

On a conceptual level, the idea of a circle is most intriguing. A circle (which is mathematically defined as a “simple closed curve” ( divides a two-dimensional plane into an interior and an exterior, the latter arguably being defined by the positive space inside, and the former by the negative space around it. Depending on what each space is “filled with” or utilized for, an interesting play of tensions develops: The circle can either be interpreted as a hole (defined by what is not there, i.e. the removal, circumscription or non-existence of material), or as a disk, sphere or convex/concave lens (defined by what is there, i.e. the presence of material), or a ring (where the actual dividing line between negative and positive space harbours the matter or substance). Either possibility of interpreting a circle results in a rich array of further contemplations for me:

Holes might become entry and exit points to something, perhaps allowing travel through time and space by means of a wormhole, or simply acting as a tunnel or funnel – guiding matter (or the absence thereof) between two end points. Since holes are defined by what is not there, they present an insubstantial presence of some sort, and therefore a wonderfully intriguing contradiction. Holes also act as interfaces, mediators and connectors, for they inevitably provide access to, reveal and incorporate what lies beneath, beyond or behind them.

Disks, spheres or lenses on the other hand grow into the third dimension, and so have the ability to gain a life of their own. A suspended sphere, for example, can mutate into a drop until the precise moment in time when the original sphere is substituted by two smaller, separate spheres. Alternatively, spheres can harbour detail, surprises or even secrets, whilst semi-spheres become bowls or vessels, containing or spilling their contents.

Circles, however, not only have a conceptual, mathematical, geometrical or material aspect to them, but also a symbolic one. As a symbol, the circle often has significant meaning attached to it.

In Japanese, for example, the word for ‘circle’ is ‘Ensō’, which represents both a common object of Japanese calligraphy, as well as a concept strongly associated with Zen. As a Zen symbol the circle signifies absolute enlightenment, strength, elegance, the universe and the void (also called ‘Mu’ in Japanese, meaning negative ( In Zen Buddhist painting, ‘ensō’ is also understood as the moment when the mind is able to let go and simply allow the body/spirit to create. The Zen circle is usually brushed onto silk or rice paper in one flowing movement, expressing the movement of the spirit at that time. Zen Buddhists believe that “the character of the artist is fully exposed in how she or he draws an ‘ensō’. Only a person who is mentally and spiritually complete can draw a true ‘ensō’”. Some artists will practice drawing an ‘ensō’ daily, as a kind of spiritual practice (

Some Buddhist artists paint an ‘ensō’ with an opening in the circle, whilst others complete it. For the former, the opening may express various ideas; such as that the ‘ensō’ is not separate, but rather a part of something greater or that imperfection is an essential and inherent aspect of existence. The principle of controlling the balance of composition through asymmetry and irregularity (i.e. the denial of perfection) is an important aspect of the Japanese aesthetic (
Calligraphy by Kanjuro Shibata XX. Enso ca. 2000 (

The notion of “denying perfection” in association with a circle (a potentially perfect entity) represents another intriguing apparent paradox for me.

Circles, however, not only represent insight, grace and the universe such as for Zen Buddhists. As something elemental, circles also refer to strength, balance, regularity and rhythm, as well as to eternity, cyclic change, repetition and the recurrence or passing of time. Watches and clocks in the Western world are, for example, fitted with circular faces, hinting at the circular/cyclical passing of time, whilst the traditional Chinese calendar represents another example of cyclical time-passage marking.

    Two Chinese calendars with their two interacting cycles (the 12 animals of the Zodiac interacting with the 5 elements respectively) (;;

The symbolic content of a circle (i.e. its reference to enlightenment, elegance, mental/spiritual completeness, eternity, change and the passing of time), combined with the many conceptual notions named at the onset, result in the circle being a fascinating enigma for me. Many facets of both the symbolism and the conceptual content have found their way into a very experimental approach to my current work, consisting entirely of (ear)rings.

On a formal and technical level I allow myself to be guided entirely by the truly endless number of interpretations and mutations of a basic circle, by the vast possibilities presented by materials, colours and their interplay, and by the resulting changes in the pieces’ expressive qualities. In every piece I play with repetition, contrasts, opposites and tensions in some way, often utilizing an element of surprise to engage the wearer/viewer. Lastly, my use of colour and titles is determined by associations with “fire” and “dragons”, playing on the subtle link between my pre-occupation with circles and the fact that we presently find ourselves in the Year of the Dragon according to the Chinese calendar.

Investigating roundness I. Details from Breath of Fire series, 2012 by AnGela.


Investigating roundness II. Details from Breath of Fire series, 2012 by AnGela.


Investigating roundness III. Details from Breath of Fire series, 2012 by AnGela.
By Gela Tölken


Wednesday, 17 October 2012

One year old!

One Year old!!!!

Eight goldsmiths got together just over a year ago and formed “Fine Ounce Goldsmith Collective”.
Our aim is to promote the art of handmade contemporary jewellery and raise awareness for unique design in jewellery and it`s manufacturing process.
Fine Ounce was born and we launched with our first exhibition called 56 RINGS
at the Gold of Africa Barbier Mueller Museum last year in September.

The exhibition then moved to the studio at 30, Roodebloem rd in Woodstock,
to Stellenbosch and Kalk Bay.

Now we celebrate our first anniversary with a new exhibition:

                       “ BREATH OF FIRE”

                   Ring by Gela                    double finger ring by Maike                                  brooch by Jane

To be launched on the 8th November 2012
At : Merchants on Long     34, Long Street , Cape Town

Watch this space for more information, like us on facebook and subscribe to our blog! J

Friday, 5 October 2012

London Calling - report back on IJL 2012

By Adeline Jubi

The Petals have recently returned from a trip to London and Germany. I was lucky to be sponsored by the DTI (Department of trade and industry) to attend a 4 day International Jewellery Trade Show called  IJL (International Jewellery London) as part of  a South African Pavilion consisting of 15 jewellers.  Each of us got our own showcase on the South African stand to display our work. We received as part of the package, a Plane ticket, hotel accommodation and an Oyster Card for travelling.

I have spent quite some time in London before in the middle 90’s and the accommodation I got used to during that time was, well rather grim. In some of those hostels, you would not dare to take a shower bare feet, as there were alien plants growing in the shower and in most of the teacups as well. This time around, I had my own hotel room in Islington,” nogal”. I had a huge white bed with crisp sheets, no cat or children pushing me to the last 2mm edge of the bed, my own bathroom with hot water, no children barging in and throwing towels on the shower floor = HEAVEN. I did miss the little devils and my husband of course. The atmosphere in London was electric as the Paralympics were on and all the locals and visitors were at their best behaviour and everything was in perfect working order.

Firepetals stand on SA Pavilion; Corola in front of Earls Court Centre; SA Pavilion

The massive Earls Court hall where the IJL show was held had rows upon rows upon rows of bling, watches, stones, beads, tools, jewellers, packaging  and many ,many carats of  fabulous DIAMONDS. Needless to say, it was a jeweller’s dream. The security was extremely tight; it reminded me of something out of James Bond.

The contemporary jewellery section and the bright young things sections were highlights. Displays were innovative and interesting.
IJL Images; Purple orchids lined the hall; Diamond beads (photographs 3 and 4, by 77 Diamonds)
I had the pleasure of meeting Nick Hubbard and seeing his inspirational work on display.

Some exhibitors will do anything to get people onto their stand. Some offer chocolates and popcorn and even free ice cream and then we had the guys from Tresor Paris... They had a chocolate fountain with snacks and beautiful half naked models dressed as a mermaid and King Neptune parading around. The next day the mermaid and Neptune were replaced by equally half naked angels flapping their wings.

The Brits are definitely more Brand conscious than us, building your brand seems like the most important goal to many companies. As for the buyer’s, one would think that workmanship and skills would be more appreciated, in a First world Country, but price and design drives most orders. If it is not cheap enough, they don’t bite, no matter how many hours you spent on the manufacturing process, or how your fingers bled, you might as well just have it manufactured in China or India if it brings the price down. It also seems like the average taste in jewellery is also quite conservative and traditional.

Overall the show was an amazing experience for the many inspirational things we saw and people we met. It is almost like being in an art museum, after a while you get to a saturation point when it is difficult to take in more detail. It was also lovely to be in London again and to see Cologne in Germany and visit old and dear friends. To top it all, It did not even rain once while we were there

The amazing work of Michael Michaud were on display

Thursday, 27 September 2012

The Art Nouveau Period (1880 to 1915 :) by Giselle

René Lalique, French, 1860 - 1945
Dragonfly woman corsage ornament,
1897 - 1898
gold, enamel, chrysoprase, moonstones, and diamonds, 23 x 26.5 (9 x 10 3/8)

ELLA NAPER 1886-1972 Lily-pad Hair Combs  Green-tinted horn, with moonstone dewdrops
Length: 9 cm Width: 6.8 cm
English. Circa 1906
Art Nouveau ("New Art") was one of the first departures from classical art and design, towards a new modernism and it took placefrom the 1880s until world War I . This avant-garde movement was centred in Western Europe and occurred in France during what was known as the "La Belle Epoque" period, or "beautiful era" of the late 19th and 20th centuries. In Germany the Art Nouveau movement was known as the " Jugendstil," or :"youth style" arts and crafts movement, in Spain the movement was called Modermismo and in Austria Sezessionstil. It was a reaction against the historical and academic emphasis of the19th century although it did not survive World War I.

Buckle Silver Chalcedony
German, c.1900

Art Nouveau was not only a style but it was a thought of modern society and and the various production methods. It was an effort to define the significance and temperament of the work of art.
Artworks by Gustav Klimt and Aubrey Beardsley
Art Nouveau stressed hand crafting as divergent to mechanized form of production. This decorative art movement placed emphasis on the idea of functional art and encouraged making everyday items into artwork.

European Art Nouveau architecture

Art Nouveau was considered a “total style” as it influenced a broad spectrum of design: these included architecture, interior design, decorative arts, textiles, printing and illustration, lighting, painting,household silverware ,furniture, jewellery as well as a wide range of other visual arts.

The specific ornamental characteristics of Art Nouveau included organic figures, and curved , asymetrical, undulating lines, that were often taking the form of flower stalks and buds, insect wings, vine tendrils and other sinuous and delicate natural objects. Floral patterns and leaves were also widely used. Some of the floral motifs that were used were borrowed from English artist William Morris, founder of the “Art and Crafts Movement” of the late Victorian era. Other common themes included stylized, curvaceous and graceful images of women, sometimes depicted as mermaids, nymphs and fairies complete with long manes of twisting hair. . Animals and birds, bees, butterflies, dragonflies also made an appearance in the movement's imagery and often these creatures were incorporated into jewellery pieces such as necklaces and brooches. The colours used were often bright and clearly defined.
Wallpaper and sketch by William Morris

What the designers of this period had in common was an interest in finding a new artistic vocabulary that could best describe and express the modern world. They found their greatest inspiration in nature – not necessarily nature's beauty - but instead it's never changing life cycle of birth, life, decay and death.

 René Lalique, French, 1860 - 1945

Jewellery was one of the purest, and most successful expressions of Art Nouveau style, using sensuous lines and organic forms to create a vast range of exceptional beauty and inventiveness. The Art Nouveau jewellers experimented with new forms, materials and techniques focusing more on the originality and beauty of the piece not only the intrinsic value of the materials used. Jewellery made from wood, bone, and brass became popular and enamelling was was extensively used. The best examples of Art Nouveau jewellery in my opinion would be the pieces created by Rene Lalique who was recognized as one of France's foremost Art nouveau jewellery designers and went onto be the most famous in his field, his name synonymous with creativity and quality.


Tuesday, 18 September 2012

translating nature

by Adi Cloete

"Originality consists of returning to the origins." Antoni Gaudi


In today's blog I share my amazement with 
Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi (1852-1926), known for his architecture that seems as if from a fiary tale!His work include Casa Mila, Casa Batllo, Park Guell and Sagrada Familia, all in Barcelona.

Park Guell

I particularly enjoy how he's fascination with nature was a major inspiration for his designs and ideas in architecture. Vast decorative mosaics are also distinctive of his work. 

Construction of Sagrada Familia started in 1882. Gaudi became involved in the project in 1883. After his death in 1926, work continued despite facing various challenges over the extended period of construction, still in progress. It is anticipated that Sagrada Familia will be completed in 2026. 

Familia Sagrada

Going up the tower of the Sagrada Familia reveals spectacular views over the city, stone carved detail and stacked mosaic fruit towers in the heavens high above for lucky birds to see.

bird's view

And then down,down,down...
the stone spiral staircase

Botanical detail can be seen all over...
Pinnacles in the shape of flower buds,branches of a passion fruit tree, vines and columns resembling tree trunks. The structure of Familia Sagrada is created by a forest of trees, inside the temple.

Forest inside

Dome resembles the foliage of forest trees

I am fascinated with the process that combine creativity, maths and science to translate the inspiration drawn from nature into an architectural wonder. 

"That great tree is my teacher."