Durban's coolest jewellers show off their contemporary gems in Joburg

31 August 2017 - 14:59 By Siphiliselwe Makhanya
A taste of the innovative pieces you'll see at the Durban Beach Narratives exhibit.
A taste of the innovative pieces you'll see at the Durban Beach Narratives exhibit.
Image: Supplied

Durban Bench Narratives, a group exhibition of contemporary jewellery design work, opened at the Tinsel Gallery in Johannesburg last Saturday.

Among the Durban designers on show, Glenn Adendorff uses found objects from popular culture in his work. Songezo Baleni's woven works draw from traditional grass-weaving techniques. Chantel Benson uses the organic gifts of the sea to create symbols of its beauty and fragility.

Christy-Anne Scholtz is intrigued by the ways in which memory imbues ornamental tokens with meaning. Chris de Beer's work explores the personally political, while Marlene de Beer combines semi-precious stones, porcelain and found matter to explore female subjectivity.

In Nomfundo Dlamini's work you'll recognise an interpretation of Zulu traditional beadwork techniques, re-imagining  its simple geometric shapes in three-dimensional forms. Michelle Erlank playfully reworks personal artefacts to mine life's paradoxes.

Nick Rose experiments with the Japanese metalworking technique mokume-gane to laminate a mix of metals, creating layered patterns.

Nicky Savage's creations match the wearer's tastes - whether understated, bold, or somewhere in-between. And the figurative imagery of sentiment, memory and childhood inspire Samantha Vincent.

"I think any kind of design is empty without a narrative element to give it substance, and jewellery lends itself particularly well to stories because it's so personal and gets worn on the body," says gallerist and designer Geraldine Fenn.

"The stories add a warmth to the pieces that you just don't get with mass-produced, anonymous jewellery."

• The exhibition runs until September 8 at the Tinsel Gallery, 11 Cecilia Avenue, Risidale, Johannesburg.

• This article was originally published in The Times.