Name: Theresa Burger
Website Link: www.theresaburger.com
Where are you located? Currently located in Cape Town, South Africa but am relocating to Dublin, Ireland in September of this year to begin a MA degree in Design.
Tell us a bit about yourself: I am a 25 year old South African, who grew up in Cape Town. I love life and I am fortunate enough to be able to travel regularly and delight in absorbing foreign cultures and sights. Exposure to such places and people helps with design inspiration and self awareness. The process of designing and making my own jewelry enriches my life greatly and I relish the creative process of exploring these creative energies.
When and why did you begin creating your jewelry art? I began my studies in jewelry design in 2005, I enrolled in a design and manufacture degree course at Cape Peninsular University of Technology. I actually decided on studying jewelry through a recommendation from my godmother. Knowing that I was creative and wanted to explore something in a more practical line, she suggested that particular course having visiting a previous exhibition and being amazed by the standard of the students work. Once I began I was hooked, learning the skill of silver smithing is not easy and it is not something that one can just accomplish in a short space of time. Its a skill that demands practice and patience – things I had to learn and am still learning. Ultimately I was looking for the right medium for my self expression and jewelry is such a perfect vehicle for this process.
What do you make? I manufacture most types of jewelry, from rings, neck pieces, earrings and brooches. I would describe my jewelry as being contemporary individualistic items that reflect my creative drive. I enjoy the designing process and my items always begin with pencil and paper, once it gets taken to the bench and one begins fabrication, its a wonderfully rewarding artistic practice. The most important aspects to my designing is that the object is wearable and aesthetically pleasing. The meshing of these 2 elements in a design are essential to all the jewelry I design and manufacture. As far as style goes, I think that is something that needs to consistently develop and grow, I go through stages where my designs are very organic and narrative in nature and then stages where they are abstract and the designs are less literal.
What materials and methods do you use? For the last 5 years I have predominately been working in silver, I also have gold and some platinum smithing experience. My 2008-2009 graduate collection consists mainly of silver, semi-precious stones and resin. The collection revolved around my family tree and each item was inspired and designed around various family members, the tree going back 3 generations. For this particular collecting I used more traditional metal fabrication techniques, allot of hollow construction and piercing. My resin work is a big favorite of mine, I love experimenting with various ideas, I produced a collection of rings where I made the ‘stones’ from the resin in different geometric shapes, using clear resin set holding suspended gold or silver leaf. Currently for 2010 I have been working on a collection I like to call ‘AfricaRich’ – it’s almost like homage to my mother continent before I move. This body of work is more commercial, designs have been simplified for faster production. I have incorporated silver, different woods, bone, animal horn, recycled glass beads and epoxy resin to create vibrant and fun items.
Where do your design inspirations come from? There are many things that inspire me, I believe that it is imperative as a creative person, one must know what inspires you. I agree whole-heartedly with Emma (From Emma Anne Jewelry) that anything and everything has the potential to inspire us. I am very inspired by the beauty of nature but also by previous art and craft movements, a favorite being the Art Deco period. I find what other contemporary jewelers produce very inspirational, especially jewelers who work with using non-precious materials. A lot of my work also centers around autobiographical themes, deriving sources from my own personal experiences. With my current collection it is Africa that is my source of inspiration, the colors, textures and vibrancy serve as fantastic sources.What is your best working environment/where is your studio? I have set up my studio at home, in a garage type of a space. Which is not always ideal but as long as I am able to work I really don’t mind. In the future I do hope to acquire a larger studio space to be able to set up another bench. As long as it is quiet and I am able to work in peace, I am happy where ever I may work.
Who are you a fan of? I adore Mah Rana for her message and the way she sets out to highlight the important role of jewelry within our lives, her work is fascinating. The Australian Julia DeVille, the Dutch jeweller Jacomijn Van Der Donk, who changes the ordinary into the truly extraordinary and Cristian Dorigatti for his bold sense of aesthetic and exciting design.
Price range: $50 – $350
Tell us a little about one of your favorite creations: This is a silver ring and pendant from my graduate 2009 collection. I chose these pieces because I loved manufacturing them, they were fun experimental items which presented many new challenges for me as both a designer and a maker. They have come to represent a turning point for me as a designer, they signify the confidence and knowledge I gained in the final year of my degree. They contain clear resin and gold leaf and are prime examples of the fantastic aesthetic resin has to offer!