ARTIST OF THE MONTH-WOLFERT
ARTIST OF THE MONTHEvery month we introduce you to one of the Canadian artists we represent. There is no salt and pepper, we reveal the rawest story on our artists' creative journey. How they met and fell in love with jewellery? What inspired them and how? What was the making process like? What are the tips on being a successfully established jewellery artist? Visit our Facebook and Instagram pages to stay up to date on our latest collections. Go to INTERVIEW ARCHIVE to read more stories.
Artist of the Month (18): Michaela Wolfert
October 18, 2020
Canadian jewellery artist Michaela Wolfert combines a love of the natural world with a sense of adventure and originality. She began her jewellery training in her native Germany, first training as an apprentice, and later graduating from the Meisterschule fuer Goldschmiede in Munich to become a master goldsmith. Her sense of adventure led her to immigrate to Canada, where she has built a successful business as an independent jewellery designer in the town of Almonte, Ontario. She keeps active training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and also enjoys flying her sailplane. Nonetheless, she also cites nature, the forest and a sense of quietude as key inspirations for her work. We’re proud to welcome this master of her trade to share her personal story this month.
Q: What’s your origin story?
Making and creating was part of our family. My father did it with sound and words: he was always ready to sing, whistle a tune, or recite his poetry. My mother was more practical: her creative energy went towards sewing clothes.
After finishing almost nine years of training as a goldsmith in my native Germany, I worked another nine years before deciding it was time to open my own studio. I have a taste for adventure, so I immigrated to Canada and started Kehla Design.
Q: What makes jewellery different from other art forms?
I think of jewellery sometimes as a form of memory capsule. Pieces of jewellery have so many memories attached to them. They symbolize a specific moment, person or event, and wearing this piece brings those aspects back to life and immortalizes them in a way. One of my favourite stories was of a young man who wanted to have an engagement ring made. He brought me a diamond to use that his grandfather had carried into World War I to propose to his fiancée after the war would be over. The son married this young man's mother with it, and the third generation carries that tradition forward.
Q: What tips do you have for aspiring designers?
First, congratulations and welcome to a challenging and exciting path. I suggest fully embracing the challenges and difficulties by viewing them as stimulation rather than obstacles. Improve your technical skills as much as possible. Whatever you make should be well-crafted, and this will ensure its longevity. Another important area is your business skills. Learning how to run a business can mean the difference between success and failure. Last but not least, don't underprice and undervalue your work.
Q: What’s your work process like?
A lot of my work revolves around gemstones; I love colour. The stone is often the starting point, and has to appeal to me. It’s either the colour, or the level of inclusions, or a combination of stones, and then the design develops around that. I design with pen and paper, and I often use cardboard and scissors to work out construction details. Sometimes the idea is fully formed and I know exactly what to make. Other times it’s more nebulous, and only a persistent research process will reveal what I want to make. I may have stones with seven or eight very different designs for them, and none seem quite right, so I keep trying. Close isn't good enough for me.
Michaela Wolfert hand-fabricating a custom-made platinum and diamond ring in progress.
I’m in my studio five or six days a week, and I love it. Besides the creative and technical challenges, there is the business side. It’s a never-ending balancing act between making new pieces, seeing my ideas executed in 3D, remodelling client’s pieces and taking care of their requests, and finding enough downtime so the ideas don’t run dry. Did I mention it’s exciting and rewarding?
I love beauty. I feel blessed to be granted the chance to make something beautiful that is strong and can last a long time.
Thank you to Michaela Wolfert, our artist of the month, for her grace, generosity, and for sharing her story. The eclecticism and sense of joy in her work are an inspiration. Visit our gallery to explore her collection.