August 26th, 2017

DBN - Durban Bench Narratives

This Group exhibition showcases some of Durban’s contemporary jewellers, all of whom studied at the Durban University of Technology or former Technikon Natal and still call Durban their home. Each has a distinctive style with different narratives that underpin their work.

Glenn Adendorff
Songezo Baleni
Chantel Benson
Christy-Anne Scholtz
Chris de Beer
Marlene de Beer
Nomfundo Dlamini
Michelle Erlank
Nick Rose
Nicky Savage
Samantha Vincent

Glenn Adendorff
My work is based on and inspired by the use of found objects from popular culture sourced within public space. A major aspect of the work consists of the appropriation of found objects. The work is assembled in an improvised type of bricolage. Bricolage defined is the process whereby work is created using any means possible. The work engages within a public space attempting to establish a dialogue between object, the body and environment.

Songezo Baleni
My traditional craft background, specifically weaving with grass, forms the basis of my fine woven jewellery. Inspiration can be found anywhere and everywhere – in buildings, in stones, in contrasts, in the clothes I wear. Each hand-made piece I create is a unique variation adapted from a traditional woven pattern incorporating fine jewellery skills. I have used something from my culture that will stand as a proudly South African brand.

Chantel Benson
Growing up along the Durban coastline has played a major role in my jewellery design aesthetic. My organic ranges focus on the ocean and the connection I share with it. I find beauty in natural elements and the abundance and diversity of life in the ocean, from a tiny barnacle that clings to a rock against a raging sea to the vast majestic beauty and fragility of a coral reef. I experiment with organic matter that I collect along the coasts of my home country, transforming these finds into metal jewellery that holds personal narratives relating to my life. My collections are a reminder that everything is interconnected; humans and nature are part of the same unit.

Christy-Anne Scholtz
I am intrigued by the way an item of jewellery can so easily become valuable or invaluable to someone because of the sentimentality that they attached to it. As a maker of jewellery, this is often a part of the jewel’s cycle that I have no control over.

As a result, my work is an exploration around the idea of making a jewel that could easily become memento jewellery. I have chosen to use forms that imply they could hold, contain or hide something, thus aligning them to known objects such us memory boxes, treasure chests or safe-places. I wonder if this trigger of association might lead to the jewellery becoming vessels of memory or sentimentality, or if it really is something special between the jewel and its wearer, apart from the maker.

Chris de Beer
I’m a bricoleur with an agenda. In my quest for authenticity I draw on the influences that surround me, using found materials and low-tech processes to produce jewellery and artefacts. I am aware of the tension between the patriarchy and Mother Nature within me, and the artefacts I produce allow me to examine this relationship.  My life is my studio.  ​

Marlene de Beer
My current work draws on a recent body of artefacts produced for a PhD in Visual Arts at Stellenbosch University. It explores female subjectivity and maternal abjection in contribution to the conceptualisation of a feminine Imaginary in a masculine dominated culture. I use a combination of materials such as porcelain, semi-precious stones, precious metal and found materials to produce objects and jewellery.

Nomfundo Dlamini
Drawing inspiration from traditional Zulu beadwork, I combine jewellery techniques in silver with glass beads to create contemporary jewellery ranges. My work predominantly involves the use of basic geometric shapes as a frame to develop beaded pattern. Presently I’m experimenting with these basic shapes becoming more three-dimensional and using delicate beads as a pop of colour.

Michelle Erlank
I am a studio-jeweller who spends most of my time making unique pieces for individual clients. When time permits I explore my views on the big contradictions happening in the world around me. One of the ways I do this is by using plastic army-men, a toy that most know well from childhood, having fun dis-arming them creating contrast and exploring life’s paradoxes. I do this within the space of Art and Narrative Jewellery, playing with different metaphors and subject matter.

Nick Rose
As a jeweller and luthier my design aesthetic is often based on function, the material I use and create dictating the path of my design. At present I am exploring the traditional art of Mokume’ Gane’, a mixed metal lamination with distinctive layered patterns, in a modern context. Making sculptural constructed pieces, by altering the shape and form of the billet of fused metals, to enhance the organically occurring patterns.

Nicky Savage
A recurring fascination with the twin elements of shape and texture informs the crafting of my jewellery. The pieces I create range from understated yet sophisticated adornment for everyday wear to bolder statement pieces. Whichever they are, it is my hope that people will wear them for years – that they will be, as I like to think about them, an investment in the contemporary.

Samantha Vincent
I use recognizable figurative imagery to create contemporary art jewellery and objects that are personally meaningful; often exploring childhood and present memories and sentiments within my surrounding. The materials and techniques I use are chosen to develop my conceptual processes and working methods. My aims is to develop my use of figurative imagery in jewellery while still maintaining authenticity and meaning.