TO celebrate the month of love, Artisan Contemporary Gallery is showcasing a jewellery exhibition with a Valentine’s theme. Some of Durban’s finest artists are involved in the art display.

Tonight chatted to two of the jewellers, Christy-Anne Bestwick and Megan McFall.

Having studied jewellery design and manufacture, Bestwick says there’s always room to learn and grow: “I really enjoyed painting and drawing when I was younger and I always find myself doodling or dabbling in something creative, but jewellery is my number one.”

She says her exhibition represents two individuals, beautiful in their own right, coming together as one to create something as unique and beautiful as a couple.

Explaining her creative process, she says: “My ideas are generally a culmination of different thoughts, images or scenes that are part of my everyday life. My eye is normally drawn to pattern and texture, hidden meaning or form, and this all gets collected and stored in my mind’s ‘scrap-box’ or pinned on to the pin board in my studio.

“When the time comes to make a piece of jewellery, I start with a visual aesthetic I’d like to incorporate into the piece or a narrative concept that will expand into a visual representation of the meaning. The design unfolds as I start making the piece with a few prototypes along the way.”

As for McFall, she’s always had an appreciation for art, through other media. “I was a major bookworm as a kid, and can still remember the artwork in some of my favourite children’s books… I’m also an avid film watcher. Fantasy and science fiction films and their incredible design and settings have always been an inspiration for me.”

She was introduced to the world of art through her mom who had encouraged her to do arts and crafts as a child – “from knitting, to embroidery, and decoupage. When I got older, I got into beadwork and making jewellery was a natural progression from there”.

McFall’s work in the jewellery exhibition focuses on couples. “I decided to create sets of “Mr” and “Mrs” rings, as matching sets. I’ve been happily married for over seven years, so I’m still a bit of a romantic and I like the idea of proclaiming your marriage to the world.”

Specialising in jewellery, the artist says there are many things that can be done in the field: “There are many types, styles and effects and I’m content to explore the boundaries – if there are any. Jewellery was my second career choice, but I came to realise in life that I wanted to create things with my own hands and be involved in the process from design inception to completion… and jewellery fulfils that.”

As for what people can expect from this exhibition, McFall says: “There are fantastic contemporary jewellers in and around Durban (thanks greatly to the DUT jewellery department) and this exhibition shows off an incredible variety of styles and work. There’s something for everyone. Artisan Gallery often sets up themed exhibitions. This pushes us all to consistently create new and intriguing items of jewellery.”