Visiting The Makers studio at Toi Poneke is always like calling into a vintage candy store. Jewellery and fine adornment sit like little treats in glass cabinets and wooden drawers. The distinct shades of metals and gemstomes are an ornate rainbow tempting you to part with your pocket money.
As we headed into the workshop on opening night, we were greeted by Sophie herself. She pressed glasses of organic sparkling wine into our hands chatting away, and welcoming us with genuine warmth. It’s an intimate affair with friends squeezed on the foyer couches, their conversations easily opening up for us as new arrivals. Being the bubbly hostess she is, Sophie takes us to show off her collection, which spans the entranceway wall. The Makers usually consist of four key crafters, but after successful pop-up season over Christmas, they have started a new programme hosting guest jewellers for two-months each. I love how this is not about ego or tokenism, but genuine support and they put Sophie front and forward in the store space.
Immediately I fall for her work. Her pieces are flowing, rounded and fluid. They have a rhythm to the eye, and feel sating to wear (yes trying on is encouraged!). Yet at the same time they also reflect the harsher forces of nature. Bark, mountainscapes, leaves and lily petals all play part in imbuing her work with textures that are multiplied throughout the natural world. What strikes me is that there is so much breadth in her skill. Some of her rings and earring are verging on heftiness, while she also has fine filigree like work on display. Floral buds, blossom stems, and the most delightful gemstone settings of fine garnets and sapphires feature too.
What makes this collection extra special is Sophie’s ceramic and resin work. The biggest drawcard for me are her jewellery holders. These little treasure boxes and ring dishes feel like exotic curios bought up from the deep by skilled pearl divers. Their fluted form and pastel hues perfect for nestling and showing off your treasures. I would happily allocate my pocket money budget and have them as object d’arte on my dressing table.
This collaboration is running until the end of October. It might also be your last chance to get up close to Sophie’s work for a while as she has just moved to Christchurch.
– Hilaire Carmody
Hilaire is art crazy, theatre crazy, dance crazy, music crazy, comedy crazy, people crazy and most importantly Wellington crazy. You can follow her @hilairec.