Pretty Personal

Hey 👋 HP Seller, GRYS

This blog post is one in Hello Pretty's guest blog series. Each post is written by a person who is running their online store though South Africa's favourite art, design & craft marketplace.

If you'd like to more view guest posts in this series, and other posts where we interview local businesses, click here.

Wanna write a guest post on Hello Pretty? Email us at info@hellopretty.co.za to find out more.
The story of Grys…

So let me start off by saying we are no writers, neither are we business tycoons that are trying to give business advice to anyone, these are just our thoughts that we want to put into words and maybe inspire one person out there reading this.

Grys.; for those of you who don’t know, is a home décor brand and interior design company that myself and Wayne Hayward started in August 2018. The idea came to us when we wanted to transform a normal wooden dining room table into one with a concrete top. After weeks of research and countless industry experts telling us it’s not advisable to pour cement onto wood and expect it to stick, we bought a bag of cement and off we went. Without any ‘real’ knowledge of cement or the cement: sand:water ratio, we poured a 50kg bag of cement and started mixing it with water (can I also just add that we had no form of mixer, except our hands and arms as it would turn out later). Long story short, after hours of mixing, we had a mixture of concrete and we poured it onto the tabletop. At this point, we also had no idea that we weren’t suppose to let the cement cure in direct sunlight or that we were suppose to keep the cement moist with water. Either way, a couple of hours later, the cement seemed hard and we carried the table inside the house. Very impressed with the outcome, we waiting another couple of days before we started to use our one of a kind table.

https://hellopretty.co.za/grys

At the time of this craft project, I was still employed. I was as happy as one could be in a job and industry that isn’t your real passion, yet my 7 years of studying had steered me into this position. Please don’t get me wrong, although I had days (most of them) where I just wanted to pack my back and never go back to the office, I was always grateful for a job, career and income which meant I could pay my bills at the end of the month. However, without going into too much detail as it’s not the point of the story, my security of paying bills came to an end in May 2018.

So back  to Grys...
One night, Wayne and I sat on the couch and we chatted about travelling abroad and how we could afford this, without going into debt. I suggested, why not start a business/hobby on the side and every cent we make from it, we save up for our next trip. So the thinking started and with our beautiful concrete dining room table staring at us, doing something with concrete, was the obvious choice. We started throwing ideas around and decided on making concrete serving platter/cheese boards. You might think to yourself how is this possible, how will this practically work and what will it look like. Well, the proof is in the pudding as they say. Again, after weeks of research, creating molds, testing different cement types, trying out different ratios, we got the winning formula. We actually had a product that looked beautiful, did not crack and did not break when slightly touched. So the sales and marketing began for our products and brand.

Throughout the process of manufacturing, selling and marketing our products, I decided that this is what I wanted to do full time. Believe me, this decision wasn’t a financial one. Yes, we sold the odd product here and there, but nothing close enough to sustain me financially every month. Luckily for me, Wayne was and still is employed full time as an Accountant.

So we started off by going to gift markets over weekends, thinking we would be rich by the end of it. How wrong we were. Our first market turned out ok, with friends and family members supporting us. The second market we sold one product and the third (which would also be our last) we sold zero. Very upset, we phoned our moms and asked them why everyone was lying to us, by telling us our products are beautiful, yet the sales leading up to that point proved the opposite. As mentioned, we stopped with the markets and decided to try different selling techniques

https://hellopretty.co.za/grys

Not to keep you reading for hours, we can now proudly say that we didn’t give up and with a lot of trial and error we are now selling our products on Hello Pretty, Takealot and our own online shop. With negotiations with a couple of other leading online shops and retailers.

The moral of the story is a cliché, if you have a passion for something, try and fail, try again and possibly fail again, however need stop trying. If one technique, regardless of manufacturing, marketing or sales doesn’t work, move on to the next one until you find THE ONE. And even then you will have days where you want to stay in bed (and that’s ok, I’ve done it once or twice), but tomorrow wake up, dress up and continue to work towards your end goal. We all have different end goals for starting a business, whichever it is just continue.

We started off with a crazy home DIY idea; today we have 15 products and working on expanding to different products and mediums.

Pretty Personal with Riz & Resh of the Dollie House

 Pretty Personal with Riz & Resh of the Dollie House

Photographic duo Riz & Resh are long time friends and favourites of ours - they recently made us look fancy in our own little photo shoot, and we've had the likes of A Ring To It and Bow Peep turn to them for product photography. Bottom line is, they have mad skillz.

And to our delight, they've joined us as Hello Pretty sellers! They're selling product photography packages that are pretty darn great, and we felt that they deserved to be on the other side of the lense for a change.

 Pretty Personal with Riz & Resh of the Dollie House

  1. Hello! Tell us a little about yourself.

    The Dollie House is the home to Riz and Resh Dollie.  We're both simple beings who find great pleasure in food and greenery (not the bushy kind you're thinking of).

    Resh is a quiet individual with a vision of living clean and building a sustainable existence for his family.  He is the eldest of five brothers and is an avid yogi with an honours in Anthropology.  He is also the prettier member of The Dollie House. 

    Riz has a great passion for people and Instagramming meals.  Riz has worked in every sphere of media and has been messing around with cameras for over ten years. Riz's students gave her a pet name; B.B.D. (we will leave this open to your interpretation).

    We both travel as often as possible and feel as that it's an essential part of the growth of a person.

  2. How/why did the Dollie House?

    The Dollie House was the love child born from our shared passion for visual pleasure.  We both hail from art backgrounds and chose to focus on the anthropology of people and their memories.  We're both fascinated by human behaviour and observation, and photography was a good way for us to express what we saw and experienced through sharing brief passionate moments of peoples' lives.

  3. What do you love?

    We both thrive in any natural environment and have a keen affinity to aesthetics of the visual kind.  We love pretty things, appreciating good food and reading as often as possible  

    Riz loves talking and Resh enjoys silent conversations.  Resh loves cooking and Riz loves eating. We love constant change, hence the choice to grow The Dollie House.

  4. Can you tell us about the wonderful things the Dollie House makes/does?

    We offer a range of lifestyle photography packages and visual styling for shoots and interiors.  Riz focuses on events, family, portrait, maternity and wedding photography.  Resh thrives in making things pleasurable for the eye and desirable for the soul; he spends his time styling shoots and visually merchandising store windows.

  5. Tell us something unusual about you/your trade/etc that people generally don't know.

    We shoot weddings most weekends and because we're so passionate about our jobs, we often become family confidants for the day.  After a few hours with a client's family, we often feel like we're a part of the family.  People always feel the need to share their family histories with you.

    We both love visual storytelling, and voluntary information usually helps strengthen the visual depth of the photographs.

 Pretty Personal with Riz & Resh of the Dollie House

These beautiful shots by Ronél Kruger Photography.

Pretty Personal with Cecile from Ménagerie

Pretty Personal with Cecile of the Menagerie

 

1. Hello! Tell us a little about yourself.
I come from a graphic design / film industry creative background. A while after my daughter was born I realised I just couldn't keep up the hectic hours that the film industry demands, and there is something about having kids that makes you want to do something that feels more authentic and worthy. I have a lifelong interest in handmade stuff, and since the craft movement has had such a revival I started a small but very beautiful handmade goods market (once per month) in Stellenbosch called The Treasury Market (it ran for 2 years but I now only do pop-up markets). I met so many wonderful people through the market, and was itching to do something myself and so Ménagerie was born. 

 

2. How / why Menagerie?
Ménagerie is an English word that was used to describe any collection of exotic animals that pre-dated the existence of zoos. It is now also used to describe an odd or eclectic assortment of things, which I thought was quite apt for my animal cushions. I like the name because it is derived from the French word 'ménage' meaning household, and mine is very important to me. Not to be confused with 'ménage à trois' though ;)

 

3. What do you love?
My kids, aged 5 and 2, inspire me every day. They are so unselfconsciously creative, and prove that it is still possible to do original things, something one often forgets in our pinterest/internet dominated world. I also just love living in Cape Town, visiting our many excellent markets (like the Milnerton market for finding aged treasures) and making use of our easy access to nature. I have a love/hate relationship with the interweb, I love keeping up to date with shifting trends but I feel one has to cut yourself off too so you are not too influenced by it. I am also very inspired by some local makers who have managed to build up some beautiful brands!

Pretty Personal with Cecile of the Menagerie

4. Can you tell us about the wonderful things Menagerie makes?
Menagerie makes a range of cushions that are silkscreened by hand on natural cotton. For the animal cushions I start with a photo that has some charm (for which I buy an extended license so I can use it for items for resale) and then I do some extensive photoshopping on it to enhance the charm and change it into a modern looking bitmap image. I am now starting to bring out some more colourful items and am especially excited about a screen printed doll I am designing. 

 

5. Tell us something unusual about you / your trade / etc that people generally don't know.
Once my daughter, aged 4, snuck upstairs into my studio, where she is not really allowed in office hours, and this conversation happened:
 
  She: "Mommy, what are you doooiiing?"
  Me: "I am sewing."
  She: "Whyyy?"
  Me (a bit irritated since I was trying to finish something): "So I can make money so we can buy things."
  She (looking at me dumbfounded): "But mommy, you aren't making money, you're making cushions!" 
 
Lol, until I figure out how to just make the money, I will just have to keep making cushions!

 

Pretty Personal with Cecile of the Menagerie

Pretty Personal with Lauren Frates

Pretty Personal with Lauren Frates

We've all played a childhood game of "I Spy" on long car trips, but usually our discoveries tended more towards the mundane - cars, trees, and the like. Lovely Lauren from iSpy has a knack for finding the hidden beauty in everything around her, and uses it to create beautiful homeware with bright, bold prints. Here's her story.

Pretty Personal with Lauren Frates

  1. Hello Lauren! Tell us a little about yourself.

    Ok, so I'm a graphic designer by day, and textile designer at night and on weekends. I spent 10 years living and working in Pretoria and Jo'burg as a graphic designer before we moved to Knysna in 2010. Taking a break to have babies and adjust to small town life resulted in an unintentional shift towards experimenting with textile design, just for kicks. At this stage in my life, I seem to be wearing many hats – wife, mom of two preschoolers, domestic manager, graphic designer, textile designer and a member of a really collective called Hands Design Collective – a good story for another day!

  2. I'm tired just thinking about how busy you are! At what point did you realise that iSpy had gone from being an outlet to a brand with a life of its own?

    Has iSpy become a brand of it's own? Awesome if it has! Living in teeny Knysna, it feels like I'm Facebooking, emailing and posting into oblivion ;-)

  3. Haha! It absolutely has, and we're so glad. Your designs definitely aren't "teeny" though - lots of bright colours and bold prints. Where do you draw inspiration from?
    Living in Africa, you'd think my inspirations would be more Afrocentric. And once upon a time they probably were. But I now find myself gravitating towards the simplicity and boldness of Scandinavian design. I love the way their designs, from furniture to product design to textiles, are so simple and clever, but haven't lost that human touch. Personality is also such a strong component in their work, as is color – they are so good at mixing up scrumptious, unexpected color palettes. Scandi design makes me smile. It has a strong emotional pull for me.

     

  4. I love that you've taken the very simple aesthetics of Scandi design but managed to make them pop. What are some more interesting facts about your designs?

    It's really important to me to have iSpy products be as handmade as possible. A lot of my formal graphic design training centered around hand rendered design and illustration, so it's always been close to my heart. I believe this adds something special and gives my products a little bit of soul. I also want to support fellow Knysnarians wherever possible. All my designs are meticulously screenprinted by hand by a small family-run studio called The Natural Hand and my products are sewn by a jolly group of township ladies called Women of Vision. The leather components of my totes are sewn by the local shoe repair guy who operates just around the corner from our shop, so my bags take their place in the queue of shoes waiting for repairs.

  5. That sounds like an amazing little community you've built up. Ok, last question. It obviously has to be "I Spy, with my little eye, something beginning with..."

    ...world domination, one town at a time ;-)

We can't say we'd mind! Living in a world full of colour and pretty prints sounds awesome, to be honest. You can see more of Lauren's work in the iSpy Hello Pretty store, and get in touch on Facebook.

Pretty Personal with Jessica Binns

Pretty Personal with Jessica Binns

Charming Jessica from Hector & Bailey is much like the designs she produces - whimsical, gorgeous, and with a really interesting story behind her! We decided to find out what that story is.

Pretty Personal with Jessica Binns

  1. Hello Jess! Tell us a little about yourself.

     

    Hello there. I moved to Durban from the UK two and a half years ago. It was a spontaneous decision which is totally unlike me, but love was involved, so I'll say no more... I started Hector & Bailey, my interiors company, back in London and it only seemed right to bring it to South Africa to give the company a chance here. Nothing ventured, nothing gained as they say.

     

  2. And the UK's loss is SA's gain! How did Hector & Bailey come into being?

     

    Hector & Bailey was the outcome of a very sad situation. In 2009, amidst the depths of recession, the architectural company I worked for went under. I decided to take my chances as a freelance interior designer and go it alone. I had 10 years experience under my belt, so I thought it was worth pursuing. I'm very glad I did, I've been out of my comfort zone ever since, but that's what keeps me on my toes. So in conclusion, Hector & Bailey is my silver lining.

     

  3. That must have taken guts. What inspires the H&B ethos and aesthetic?

     

    I love to seek out unwanted items and nurture them into the best they can be. Everything - like everyone - has the true potential to be utterly wondrous, and I adore being part of that process. My influences tend to lean towards colour, however I'm currently embracing my neutral side. You can't fail to be inspired by the flora and fauna that reside in this country. I am also crazy mad for cats and the odd G&T too!

     

  4. We could be sisters! Cats and G&Ts are basically fuel for Team HP. Tell us a bit more about the wonderful things you make and remake?

     

    The upcycling and product ranges from Hector & Bailey began when I moved here. I had spent far too long in front of a computer and wanted to be more hands on, plus I needed a reason to work outside and soak up the beautiful African sun!  So I set to work transforming furniture from our garage. This grew to upcycled cushions and lights and then on to product design of cushions, perspex planters and coasters. I like to keep busy. :) Aside from the retail side, my day job is interior design & decor. My work has taken me to places as far as Mozambique - I love the diversity this industry has.

     

  5. I believe your mom is also very talented. Did that play a part in your story, do you think?

     

    My mum is an extremely creative lady and has been a firm role model in my life. I think my emotional responses to beautiful, well made, ethical items is a trait I picked up from her. There has to be meaning behind things, whether it's the process of how it was made to the history tied up in that one item. Emotion plays a huge role in design, I wouldn't have that any other way.

     

Absolutely right - and gorgeous design is one of our favourite things (along with cats and G&Ts of course). You can see Jessica's latest treasures in the Hector & Bailey Hello Pretty store, and stay in touch on Facebook and Twitter.

Pretty Personal with Rhett Baker

Pretty Personal with Rhett Baker

Living in sunny SA, we all know the importance of a good pair of shades (even in winter!). So you can imagine what a design crush we have on Kraft Eyewear - handmade with reclaimed wood and a lot of love. The crafty Rhett Baker is the man behind Kraft, so we had a few questions for him.

Pretty Personal with Rhett Baker

  1. Hello Rhett! Tell us a little about yourself.

    Kraft is me and my wife Kerry. I have a background in graphic design and finishing carpentry.  At the beginning of 2013 I was in a job in sales, least suited to me, driving round endlessly looking for clientele which were driving me insane. I had been in the building/carpentry trade for the last 8 years, and was yearning to do something with my hands again. One day I went for a hair cut at Durban's finest barber (Ed. note: Hi Nev!) where the coffee shop owner from next door came in. I noticed he was wearing a pair of glasses made from bamboo, and that really got me thinking - I could make those out of wood! I immediately went home to Google if anyone had thought of that. To my surprise wooden sunglasses had been a trend in the US and Europe for quite a few years. I set out to make my first pair, and the rest is history.

  2. That's a great set of coincidences - Kraft got started because you were getting a haircut in the right place at the right time! Why the name "Kraft"?

    The name Kraft speaks for itself. Each pair of sunglasses we put out has been individually handmade with care, using old techniques inspired by the craftsmen of the past. We aren't reinventing the wheel, just trying to put out a truly handcrafted product.

  3. What inspires your designs?

    We are inspired by our surroundings, all the thought and love that goes into the creation around us, as well as the amazing bespoke manmade creations we find. Anything bespoke and natural.

  4. We're living in a great time for design. Can you tell us a little more about your amazing sunnies?

    Our products are made from quality natural products. Wood is salvaged from unused offcuts from local furniture manufactures and repurposed, rather than buying new products. Recycling in this way reduces the wastage of our earth's resources.
    Every part of the making process is done by hand using small hand-oriented machinery as opposed to the large scale CNC milling or laser cutting done by most companies. 
    Every pair is hand cut on a scroll saw, something that takes a lot of patience and coordination, but makes the outcome is a truly hand crafted product. The cutting process also ensures that each piece is unique and easily customisable.
    We use the highest quality hinges available as well as quality polarized lenses - all come standard with your pair of Krafts.

  5. And is there a story behind the style names?

    As a Durbanite, born and bred, I really love this underrated city. There is so much talent coming out of this place. All our models are named after old street names  and landmarks, as a homage to this wonderful and colourful city . With my product I hope to lend to the pool of talent coming out of this awesome place.

His future's so bright, he has to wear shades - a pair of Krafts, naturally. You can get your very own pair here, and stay in touch with Kraft's news on Facebook.

Pretty Personal with Claire du Plooy

Pretty Personal with Claire du Plooy

Willow trees are known for their beautiful lines and elegant appearance - so it's no surprise that Willow Tree Bags have those same qualities. They're handmade in Cape Town by the lovely Claire (who's pretty darned elegant herself). Team HP is obsessed with her range, so we decided to take a peek behind the scenes. 

Pretty Personal with Claire du Plooy

  1. Hello Claire! Tell us a little about yourself.

    As long as I can remember, I have enjoyed dressing up and co-ordinating outfits. So it was a given that the Fashion Industry was my calling. I have worked in the rag trade for over  15 years, in manufacturing and retail. I have had wonderful opportunities to travel and live abroad. Although always involved in the creative process, I yearned to see my designs and ideas transformed into beautiful end products, from start to finish. And so Willow Tree was born.

  2. Why did you choose the name Willow Tree?

    Growing up, we had a willow tree at the bottom of our garden. I would gaze out my bedroom window or lie under the enchanted tree’s softly swaying branches and imagine what the  future held. I suppose you could say that I pinned all my hopes and dreams on the branches of a willow tree.

  3. I had a jasmine creeper outside my window as a child and to this day it still stirs up memories. What are some other things you find inspiring?

    I love the smell of cut grass; the sound of falling rain; exploring new places; old things that  have a story to tell; my son’s little arms that wrap tightly around my neck; my husband’s unconditional love and support. I am constantly inspired by nature’s textures and surfaces. I am fascinated by the diverse use  of prints and patterns that vary across cultures, in South Africa and around the world. I have a love for textiles and can’t resist mixing patterns; plush surfaces and textured raffia with leather to create something unique.

  4. Tell us more about the lovely pieces from Willow Tree.

    Willow Tree is designed, sourced and crafted in Cape Town. I am passionate about keeping things local. We have so many talented people in our country and it is vital to grow and nurture the industry. Our aim is to create stylish, functional accessories that will last throughout the years.

  5. Favourite "Willow," and why?

    Willow Pattern (Ed. note: like the crockery). I am a hopeless romantic and love the fable of the forbidden lovers. May love always prevail.

We couldn't agree more! Head over to Willow Tree's Hello Pretty store to find gorgeous bags you'll fall in love with. You can also stay connected on Facebook.

Pretty Personal with Alonya van Rooyen

From the Western Province of the RSA, to the West Coast of the USA - Cape to Cali was Alonya’s story, which she turned into a creative outlet. Marrying vibrant SA prints with beachy California stripes, Cape to Cali makes pretty products out of the best of both worlds.

  1. Hello Alonya! Tell us a little about yourself.

    From a young age I was always interested in art and design - I took art classes from a very young age, then in high school took textiles as a 7th subject at Frank Joubert in Newlands (which is where my love for textiles began), and ended up studying textile design & technology at Cape Tech ( now CPUT).  After my studies, I worked in the fashion industry for ten years in various positions - first for a footwear and accessory importer, then started my eight year career at Levi Strauss. I started at their HQ in Cape Town, then in 2007 I was lucky enough to travel with the company - first a 3 year stint in Brussels, and then as the global accessories designer for Levi Strauss in San Francisco, up until August 2013.

  2. Whoa, that’s quite a journey. And how did Cape to Cali come about?

    It was always a dream of mine, but I was too busy working in my “real” job, which was very demanding time- and travel-wise, which left little time and energy for anything else - and then, I had two HUGE life changing moments. First, I lost my little sister to brain cancer; and second, I became a mom - two very different experiences, both of which make you realize what’s important in life. So, from a desire to be home with my baby girl (and being a creative, I needed an outlet), I decided to take the plunge and see if i could do it! The response has been amazing! I’m so overexcited! And think the best is yet to come!

  3. Quite a bittersweet set of experiences. That’s why you give a percentage of your profits to a cancer foundation, which is admirable. Family is obviously very important to you - what else do you love?

    I love textiles that have a story. I love beautiful materials and colors. I love travel and learning about different cultures. These things all influence me every day. I’ve been very lucky to be exposed to so many beautiful places and cultures…from Croatia to Belize, Thailand, Hong Kong, New York, Milan, Paris, London, and LA to name a few. I have seen (and gotten to shop in!) many places because of my job, so I’ve been exposed to some of the most amazing textile influences.

    I also love the idea of local crafts becoming important again, and people taking an interest in old/”forgotten skills” like shoemaking and tailoring. It’s about building new communities and making us proud again. I am especially proud of the movement happening in SA - in the USA, ” Made Here” has been happening for a while. When I went home to Cape Town in September I was sooooooo impressed with the world-class local talent we have. I am *so* excited to be part of this movement - bringing local manufacturing back to SA, and showing the world who South Africans are ! 

  4. We’re so on board with that! Which brings us to Cape to Cali, and the lovely things you make. Tell us about them?

    I make various home and fashion accessories - bags , purses , clutches , beach mats, napkins , cards…and I hope to add more items into the line as Cape to Cali grows…I have big plans .

  5. We don’t doubt that for a second! But we have to ask…the Cape, or Cali?

    I have to say I can’t choose which one - it’s very much both for me…I will always be a Capetonian, and it will always be home…but there would be no Cape to Cali without the Cali.

Hmmm…we’ll let that one slide since our militant Cape Town love has been completely won over by your fab fusion pieces! Pretties, if you race over to the Cape to Cali Hello Pretty store right now, the first four purchases today will get a little something extra thrown in with their order! You can also get in touch on Facebook and on Twitter.

Pretty Personal with Anne-Michelle Dooley

Every antique once started out as someone’s favourite new thing. Antique Fusion Jewellery makes beautiful pieces that you’ll love now, and someone will treasure years from now. We caught up with Anne-Michelle to find out her story.

  1. Hello Anne-Michelle! Tell us a little about yourself.
    I’ll skip all the boring “I was born in” and “went to school at” stuff, and tell you what matters about me. I love to create beauty in whatever I do! Deciding to become a jewellery designer was the result of a long chain of events with a single goal in mind - find something creative to do and make a living from it. Not as easy as it sounded at first, but well worth my efforts in the end!
  2. We agree! And how did Antique Fusion come to happen?
    After studying jewellery design at Ruth Prowse in Cape Town, I worked for a small jewellery business. In 2007 I decided to quit my job as a jeweller’s assistant, and go it alone. The decision came at the price of some serious hard work and many unforeseen difficulties along the way, but I like to think that’s how I knew it was right. When you know what you want, you are often tested, just to be sure. Almost 7 years later, I am proud to look back at what I have accomplished and excited to look ahead at what’s to come. Antique Fusion is in every way an extension of who I am, it has grown as I have grown, changed as I have changed, and learned as I have learned. I have kept every notebook and documented most of my designs over the years. I often sit and read through them. It’s like reading an old journal. You learn so much about why you are who you are and where you are today. It inspires me to work harder, and encourages me to trust my talent.
  3. Wow, 7 years. That must be a really interesting read. Do you tend to see patterns or repeats of things that inspire you?
    I have always enjoyed the intricate, delicate detail and exquisite craftsmanship of antiques. Fascinated from a young age by these treasures of the past, their influence exists naturally in my work.  The concept of Antique Fusion is to ‘fuse’ the old and the new, so as to create a visual synergy of the two.
    It is difficult as a creative, not to be influenced by the world around you and the things you see. I have chosen to live in a very special place, deep in the heart of the Eastern Cape, high up in the mountains of the Amathola Mountain range. Hogsback is a magical place, and the influence of the abundant nature that surrounds me here, often finds its way into my work.  
     Although now days I enjoy creating with other influences too, my true passion will always be my ‘fusion’ pieces.
  4. Tell us a little more about the pieces you make.
    Antique Fusion specialises in antique inspired contemporary pieces, and we are passionate about custom designed one-off pieces. Working mainly in silver and antique found objects, Antique Fusion pieces often explore unusual combinations of materials for visual impact. Our designs are whimsical and light hearted, but elegant and feminine. All our pieces are handmade to order.  Making each and every piece by hand means putting individual loving energy into every item. We like to think that makes the piece you order special. :) Antique Fusion is primarily an online business. We have an extensive online catalogue and easy to use ordering system, all available from our website.  
    We also have a very active Facebook page where you can enjoy monthly giveaways and specials as well as the latest products straight from the Antique Fusion studio.
  5. So what’s the “Antique Fusion” in your life? What are your favourite things old and new?
    My favourite new things would have to be my husband Brandon and our golden Labrador puppy Baxter, clean white socks, new white vest tops and sparkly crisp white linen (an unfortunate passion for someone who lives so closely with nature) and our very own new house in Hogsback, YAY! (Incidentally, if I wasn’t busy making jewellery all day, I would definitely be a housewife! Making home is my thang!)
    What are my favourite old things? Our house is filled with antiques (as you can imagine) and I adore ALL of them! But if I had to choose just a few, I would have to say my exquisite white antique dressing table,  my old Singer sewing machine and our baby blue 1979 Bay Window VW Kombi (even though she gives us a bit of trouble from time to time).

For gorgeous pieces that will undoubtedly be someone’s future much-loved antique, head over to the Antique Fusion Hello Pretty store. You can also get in touch on Facebook and Twitter. Plus, pop back here on Monday and we may just have a little something to give away…

Pretty Personal with Diana James

Fans of sculpture, 80s video games, and geometry, rejoice! Dor&kie Jewellery Objects has managed to take all three and combine them into a range of wood-based jewellery that’s both chic and unique. We found out the story behind the name, and more.

  1. Hello Diana! Tell us a little about yourself. 

    I’ve always had a love for art, but I felt that my natural talent wasn’t good enough to pursue a career as an artist, so I ended up studying Jewellery Design and Manufacture at CPUT, mostly due to my fascination with the detail of everyday things and the “small scale” world.

  2. And what led you to use wood as a primary medium?

    Dor&kie happened by chance - we were moving house, and ended up building a lot at our new house, so my jewelry workshop/tools were in storage for a long time.  To keep myself busy I started experimenting in the space available to me, which was a woodworking workshop, and just fell in love with wood and its potential as a sculptural material; and being a jeweler I started using it in my work.

    The name dor&kie references a lot of things: firstly a door and a key, and since I’m a total dork and a Afrikaner, I’ve decided to use only one “o” for door to reference ‘dork’, and the Afrikaans “kie” instead of the English “Co” for company.

  3. Hahahahaha! That’s certainly an original name! Your pieces are also very distinctive - tell us about them?

    My favourite pieces to make are the rings.  I try something different with every ring, and doesn’t matter how much I design and sketch before hand, the final piece is always a surprise. I’ve recently started working with Polymer clay, to add some colour to my pieces, and I’m also trying to incorporate more metal.

  4. You decided to use wood as a material after spending time in the workshop you mentioned - what influenced the decision to use geometric shapes?

    As a jeweler, inspiration can come from a broad range of things, such as nature, fashion, architecture etc. Mostly my work resembles geometric structures that reference the field of gemology and the of cutting stones.  So in a way my work references a field parallel to jewellery, but by using wood it changes the quality of the overall piece.  Gemology focuses on obtaining the most brilliance from a stone by cutting it into facets to ‘capture’ the light entering the stone, but by replicating these facets in wood the piece becomes sculptural - not adding a function to the material used, but a general sculptural look and feel.

  5. What’s your favourite thing about doing what you do?

    Pushing the boundaries of the material I’m using, and also my capabilities as a manufacturer/craftsperson.  I love exploring the relationship of jewellery and how it fits and interacts with the body.  This aspect of jewellery is another reason why I love using wood in my work.  Wood is soft on the skin compared to cold hard metal and due to its weight, I can play around with the scale of my pieces.

I have a dor&kie pendant myself, and it’s one of my favourite things. You can get your new favourite thing in the dor&kie Hello Pretty store, and get in touch on Facebook and Twitter. And, if you check back here on Monday, we might just have a little something to give away…

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