Jewellers to open doors to show gems

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The creative community of Wanaka will be celebrated this weekend at the inaugural Toi Wanaka event.

A schedule of activities including demonstrations, workshops, exhibitions, performance and discussions will shine a light on the talents of many local artists and designers.

Facilitator Nicky King said the idea was formed out of talks with the creative sector during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Groups, businesses and individuals involved in the creative sector had collaborated to create the event designed to drive visitors to see all Wanaka had to offer.

The combined effort included contributions from LINK Upper Clutha, Ignite Wanaka, Wanaka Arts and the Three Lakes Cultural Trust.

‘‘We came up with this concept about how we could drive visitation and awareness,’’ Miss King said.

More than 30 events and activities were planned, from cake decorating to fashion, jewellery and design.

Two talented artists opening their showrooms and sharing their creative journey were jewellers Alice Herald, of Wanaka and Amy Bixby, of Albert town.

From her homebased workshop and gallery, Ms Bixby created jewellery that showcased the traditional essence of hand-crafted metalsmithing techniques.

Jewellery had the ability to become something very personal.

‘‘I think because it is worn on your body, so it is directly on your skin and holds that meaning.’’

Jewellery often had some history for people — ‘‘you might have a photograph of your grandmother who wore this piece’’.

‘‘I actually do quite a lot of custom work where I might rework pieces of jewellery that were heirloom pieces.’’

Ms Bixby worked with stirling silver as well as yellow and rose gold, and gemstones.

‘‘I love the way those metals work, they are very malleable but they can be very longlasting and hard-wearing.’’

Timeless style . . . Amy Bixby, of Albert Town, creates memorable pieces.
PHOTO: SIMON HENDERSON

For Alice Herald, her focus was on the design process.

Although she was an experienced jeweller, she chose to focus on design, creating intricate pieces that were crafted by a top jeweller in Australia.

Her background included working for about three years with goldsmiths for the royal family.

‘‘It was there really that I knew that I wanted to be working in the fine end of the industry.’’

From her studio and showroom in Wanaka, she worked mainly in platinum and 18-carat gold with diamond and precious gemstones.

‘‘I’m a storyteller, and that is what I love doing for my clients,’’ she said.

Her last collection was called Once Upon a Time and was based on fairy tales.

‘‘So we had Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella and Red Riding Hood.’’

Ms Herald began by interpreting themes from the fairy tales into a series of intricate drawings showing the piece from all angles.

This was then turned into a 3D computer rendering, allowing for very precise and detailed arrangements of precious metals and gemstones.

‘‘Your jewellery box is basically the story of your life, it encapsulates all these different chapters and jewels quite often major events in your life.’’

– Toi is on this weekend; for a schedule of events visit www.lakewanaka.co.nz/revealingwanaka/events/toi.