Todays rather large post, brings a huge smile to my face, I recently stumbled across the amazing jewellery designer Sabine Roemer , whilst on my travells to feature ethically produced jewellery here. Sabine has made piece's for the actor Morgan Freeman and been involved in many project's globally which are ethically based and push the boundries of both beautiful design and using design to help raise awareness of the needs of others. I asked her if she would interested in being interviewed here and featuring some of her breathtaking design's on My Passport to Style and was delighted when she agreed.
Sabine first became interested in Jewellery design at the age of fifteen and her interview is truly inspiring. Featured today also, are three exciting ethical partnership project's that she was involved in, so you can get a sense of the breadth of Sabines diverse creativity and talent. Enjoy and do please visit her website to find out more!
Hi Sabine, thank-you for agreeing to be interviewed here on My Passport to Style, it is really exciting to be able to share your talent with My Passport to Style reader's and with all those who appreciate quality crafstmanship and design in jewellery making!
1. Q- Sharon- You were just fifteen when you began to sculpt using metal and precious gem stones, what influenced you to take this direction at such a young age?
I always have been creative and was drawing, painting, crafting and making things since I was little. I always wanted to be a fashion and costume designer but never really liked the craftsmanship of stitching and sewing. But when I was 15 years old we had to take a week work experience from school, where my mum took me to this well known old school goldsmith and jewellery Designer Dietmar Kohn in my hometown. After finishing my first day on the bench and finishing my first piece of jewellery, without never touching these tools before, I knew straight away that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, ... I found my passion and vocation.
2.Q- Sharon-You draw inspiration for your pieces from nature and your travels, how do you begin the process of designing a piece of jewellery?
I find inspiration everywhere and I always carry a small sketch book with me, where I sketch my ideas. But as important the drawing and sketching on the paper is, as important is the process for me to be at the bench with my tools and develop it further till I created a new jewellery piece.
3.Q- Sharon-Why do you think jewellery is important to women?
I think jewellery accompanies the personality of a woman and shows their taste and style. It carries memories and that is what I want to create, a story typified in a beautiful jewellery piece which will be told and past on for generations.
4. Q- Sharon-Do you have a favourite piece of Jewellery that you wear a lot?
I have a couple of favourite pieces, but I guess it always comes down to the emotional connection. For example my first ring I ever made when I was 15years old, the small gold watch my grandmother gave to me just before she passed away, and my lizard ring, inspired by my lizard who lived with me in Greece in my sunny room and ate all my mosquitoes.
5.Q- Sharon -What do you do to relax?
I paint, run, do yoga/pilates and listen to music or read a book.
6.Q- Could you share a great piece of advice you were given that helped you to develop?
Work hard for what you believe in, be honest and true to yourself even if it is hard at some times and stick to it. Believe in yourself!
7.Q-Where do you enjoy eating out?
I guess it’s more about the company than the place, as I love to cook and have friend's over. But I love the Asian and Japanese cuisine.
8.Q- Sharon -Who would you like to design for ?
I have to say I feel very lucky, that I’m in the situation, that I can express myself under my own name. But I always like collaborations with projects or brands and there are a lot I admire. I’m a big fan of my fellow countryman Karl Lagerfeld , Tom Ford is a genius and in the Jewellery world I have to say I admire Van Cleef&Arpel, Cartier and Harry Winston.
9.Q- Sharon -Sabine you have a stong work ethic and a great talent, what has been a high point of your career.
I really have to say I feel like I’m only just starting. I’m 3 years on my own now and already so many amazing things happened I never even dreamed of. From working with amazing people and helping charities through my work, launching my first collection in Harrods, having pieces on the red carpet at the Oscars, to work with the Bushman Woman in the Kalahari Desert . They were all high points in my career but to meet and work with Nelson Mandela, also on a personal and human side...changed me and the perspective of life.
10.Q- Sharon - You recently collaborated with the bushmen and women of southern Africa who have turned to making jewellery themselves as a means of sustaining their people. Through this process you helped raise awareness of some of the difficulties facing Kalahari communities as well as drawing attention to their skills in Jewellery making and design. What prompted you to collaborate with this particular minority group in this way?
As my background is the craftsmanship and I have learned about how we lost so many skills during the last centuries it is a close subject to my heart, that we keep these traditions and skill's alive. And if you look further it is not only about the craft itself in so many countries. It is about their identity, culture, about telling stories, keeping the stories alive, bringing people together and having a meaning in life, an income, an education and so much more. So I feel very blessed to go and work with the bushman and experience their way of life and tradition's.
11.Q-Sharon - You are have a very dynamic attitude to your work, which combines both jewellery making and sculpture and are constantly evolving, what's next?
I would love to keep doing what I’m doing and of course grow more and more into my style and evolve and experience new things. I hope to go out and visit and work more on the projects with ancient skills around the world. Also looking more into my sculpture work and maybe I even create big sculpture or a fountain one day!?
12.Q- Sharon - there are a lot of women in the UK starting fledgling jewellery design businesses out there, what advice would you give them regarding succeeding in this highly competitive industry?
Try not to follow a trend or style, try to find your identity and use jewellery making as an outlet to show your personality within your design's. I’m also a big believer in mastering your craft.
Sabine With Nelson Mandela and Bill Clinton
MANDELA DAY JOBOURG SOUTH AFRICA
“Nelson Mandela and Bill Clinton launched the exhibition “Making Peace” in Johannesburg. Later that day the two former Presidents jointly hosted a fund-raising dinner at the Saxon Hotel.
Sabine Roemer designed a jewellery piece for the occasion”.
The Nguni Head was made out of 18karat whitegold and was set with black and white diamonds and had a total 3,1carats. The piece of art had the following engraving:
MYSTICAL ATTACHMENT TO NGUNI CATTLE
“We occupied the land, the forests, the rivers; we extracted the mineral wealth beneath the soil and all the riches of this beautiful country.” – Nelson Mandela, 1962 speech from the dock
Nguni Head made from white gold and black diamonds by Sabine Roemer
“I discovered the almost mystical attachment that the Xhosa have for cattle, not only as a source of food and wealth, but as a blessing from God and a source of happiness” -Nelson Mandela pg 11, Long Walk to Freedom
Sabine working in partnership with the bush people of the Kalahari, raising awareness of the threat to the delicate balance of their society
Beautiful Kalahari woman, models one of their pieces
COLLECTION IN THE DESERT OF THE KALAHARI
No longer able to survive off the land alone the Bushmen have turned to traditional jewellery making to help ensure their survival. On this trip Sabine Roemer collaborated on a collection together sharing our skill sets and teaching each other about our different ways of working. The jewellery is created out of ostrich egg shells that they have been making for countless generations,.
Largely isolated from the outside world until the last century they created intricate pieces using wild seeds, sticks, bone, leather, tortoiseshell and most importantly of all, beads painstakingly created from ostrich egg-shell each handmade. The Bushmen are almost as old as time itself. These gentle people have existed in harmony with the animals and nature of their native Kalahari for countless generations. Their simple, honest ways are today under peril from the unyielding tide of modern progress which threatens the only life they have ever known. Often victimised by their more powerful neighbours and dispossessed of their lands the 100,000 San in southern Africa are amongst the poorest and most disenfranchised of southern Africa’s people.
They battle with extreme poverty and the ravages of AIDS on a daily basis and are largely dependent on the handouts. The talented photographer, Boo George created the most beautiful images of a young Bushman girl modeling the collection in the Desert of the Kalahari.
Sabine preparing her elephant for the elephant's on parade event in London
Headdress designed by Sabine Roemer features large oval emerald!
The World Land Trust, Gemfields and bespoke jeweller, Sabine Roemer have collaborated to create an extraordinary life size, Emerald Elephant set to be the most valuable design in this summers hotly anticipated Elephant Parade and has been aptly named, ‘Emerald Queen’. Sabine has designed and decorated this fibreglass elephant with emerald dust and a staggering 678carat oval emerald that is the outstanding centrepiece of the elephants’ jewellery headpiece.
Elephants On Parade In London
The World Land Trust / Sabine Roemer/ Gemfields , Emerald Queen is part of the Elephant Family’s, Elephant Parade, where 260 elephants will take to the streets of London from May to July 2010. Billed as the capitals largest public art exhibition, the Elephant Parade will embrace all that is excellent about London when Sotheby’s auction each of the elephants to raise crucial funds for the critically endangered Asian elephant. Proceeds raised by the Green Queen will go to the Elephant Family and World Land Trust and with Sabine Roemer’s track record this is expected to be a significant amount. Sabine Roemer designs are becoming highly sought after and her last jewelled sculpture was bought at the Mandela Day auction in New York by Morgan Freeman.
Sabines elephant on exibition in Selfridges flagship store in London