About the name: IMJ is short for Inge Marais Jewellery - thats me
My process normally begins with a curiosity in technical exploration – “what would happen if I do this”. Technically – I like things that move, that are built up in layers, that have beautiful outlines, that explore the qualities of the materials I use. I'm interested in the way something can change dramatically just with a subtle tweak – the addition of a hole for an eye or a line to suggest a leg. Very often I'm inspired to make something because of this one thought “that would be fun!”
But my work is also deeply rooted in sentiment: I make rabbits and leaves because I love this country. I make dogs because I love dogs. I make whales and seahorses because my twins point and smile at them. I make spaceships and helicopters because my one-and-only thought it might be cool. Colour and all things stylish –my mom, all plants and nature – my dad, birds – my in-laws and the list goes on. If I love you - you will inspire me. Therefore I like to describe my work as autobiographic: it is not my goal to set fashion trends, it is my goal to express my reactions to every day life, and have fun doing it. I move through the world – observe – internalize and then reflect back. Looking at my body of work I can see it is a diary – I meet the man of my dreams, I move to a different country, I come back to our beloved South Africa, I get a dog, I have twins. . .
What I do allows me to meet beautiful people who let me in on their personal stories as we create something together – helping them tell bits of their own stories
Design and making background:
I completed the BA in design and metalwork at the University of Stellenbosch and was privileged enough to indulge in an MA of visual arts also at the US
My first job was working in the jewellery quarter of London – Hatton Garden - as a mounter, sizing rings and doing a lot of traditional jewellery work. Very good experience and an opportunity to work with precious stones and metals
After that I spent many happy years on the manufacturing team of Dower and Hall also in London. Lots of great experience, honing setting skills etc.
When we moved back to SA I decided it was time to set up my own studio which is what I did in 2012 and I have been making anything that pops into my mind ever since
To my beautiful friend Lila for doing an informal shoot with me so that everyone can get a sense of what the jewellery looks like on a person. We were out and about in Cape Town where we lived at the time
To my husband and to Mel for helping me wrap my head around the the computery bits of making an online shop
To my friends Carla and Christiaan for technical tips in the photography department