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When I was in South Africa recently, I walked into Dorpstraat Galery (which I wrote about recently) and one of the first things that caught my attention were these beautiful duck/bird earrings on display. I immediately asked Mike to introduce me to the designer of the earrings, and the next day we were having coffee at the Postcard Cafe and I was asking all about her designs.

I am so in love with these earrings, I want them in every colour! I had a look at her other designs as well and love them all - I thought I would concentrate on the birds here, but I’m excited to also discover more of her amazing work.

Here is my Q&A with Nanette:

Q: When and how did your passion for jewellery design begin?

I have always been surrounded by creative and inspiring people. I have a grandmother who has been painting, building and making things since I can remember, a mother who bakes and cooks, a father with an immense general knowledge - who reads and does research as part of life. This was my reference growing up. Jewellery as a discipline followed when I decided to do a Visual Arts degree at Stellenbosch University, where Jewellery Design is one of the specialties offered. Thinking of jewellery as small 3D sculptures was why I decided to do the course and develop the skill set. I continued my tertiary education and received my MA in Visual Arts, where after I taught full time in the Art Department at the University of Stellenbosch. In 2015 I started working full time in my studio, designing and making jewellery.

Q: Tell us more about this Walter Battiss collection.

Walter Whall Battiss (1906–1982) was a South African artist (please see more about the artist on 'About the Artist')

The Walter Battiss Collection is a collaboration between me and the Walter Battiss Company. They own the copyright to the works of Walter Battiss. For the Walter Battiss Jewellery Collection I had access to a database of Battiss’s original art works. I selected some of the silkscreens and designed the pieces with a direct reference to his artworks, trying to capture the essence of Battiss without being completely distant, thus making it my own as well. For the first collection, I chose the silkscreens because it is a technique that Battiss is well known for. Another reason for choosing the silkscreens is that in terms of design, I loved the flat panels of single colors and the concept of flat forms/planes of color building up to become a colorful complex design. I was also instinctively drawn to the simplicity of the forms that he managed to get in these silkscreens. For me Battiss’s art has a very sophisticated African aesthetic that is universally clear. It is an inspiration and privilege to work with these artworks.

Q: Where do you get your inspiration for your designs?

I get my inspiration from “things” around me- people, life, objects, patterns, nature, rituals, habits, emotions, stories, senses, fantasy, interaction, collaborations, music …
I am a firm believer of process and believe that once you start making the process influences the design process and develops the product. Thus, I believe in making and work as the facilitator for inspiration.

Q: What are your future plans in terms of your jewellery?
To carry on making and developing designs, products and ranges.


You can have a look at more of nanette’s work on her Instagram and Facebook pages: