Small sculptures you can wear is how artist Briar Hardy-Hesson, of Wanaka, describes her hand-crafted jewellery.

Her mother was a ceramic artist and throughout her childhood she explored creative pursuits.

It was a natural instinct for her

Her “happy place” was when she was doing things with her hands.

Later she ended up working in the wine industry, then took on the role of manager of Wanaka’s Gallery Thirty Three.

Hand created … Wanaka artist Briar Hardy-Hesson enjoys bright colours in her jewellery PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Her experience at the gallery, seeing “art always happening in the background” gave her the encouragement to become an artist.

“I guess the artists there inspired me to believe in myself.”

Hardy-Hesson has explored a variety of artistic modalities.

As a teenager she was passionate about photography and painting, and later while attending Elam School of Fine Arts in Auckland she “had a huge focus on video”.

“I guess I have always dabbled in a lot of things.”

It was seeing a range of jewellery while working at Gallery Thirty Three that inspired her to find out more about the craft of jewellery making.

“I found it really exciting really interesting little small sculptures that you can wear.”

First she creates her pieces in wax, which are then cast into sterling silver.

She then uses crushed gemstones as the decorative element of her jewellery which are set in resin.

“So really bright, colourful, organic but wearable art jewellery.”

She uses a mortar and pestle to crush gemstones.

“I like the little fragments I get from smashed-up rock.”

She then carefully chooses each fragment with tweezers, making specific choices based on colour and shape.

Setting the gemstone fragments in resin holds them in place but also gives the pieces a “wet look”, enhancing the colour and shine of the finished jewellery.

“I really like the control of choosing the right shades.”

The final look is organic, colourful and cheerful.

“I want them to be as colourful as possible.”

Hardy-Hesson will be helping others explore how to create their own jewellery with a workshop planned for March 20.

The workshop will show how to create a wax ring which will then be sent to Auckland to be cast in sterling silver.