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My name is Hanna. I was born in Germany but was brought up in Israel where my artistic inclinations were shaped and influenced. I have always been "artistic" and short of oil painting or drawing, I have tried it all - potting, knitting, sawing, crocheting, beading, macrame, patchwork and a few more I can't recall... My family had moved to South Africa 23 years ago and although raising 4 kids is never easy, I always found time to do some "fun" work, to satisfy the artistic streak in me.
In 2000 I decided to look more seriously into another aspect of my personality and talent. I've been dreaming of becoming a writer but never had the time or peace of mind to take that on. But one day it just grabbed me. I found in a local paper a short ad inviting writers to participate in the national Sci-Fi Short Story contest. I wrote a story and entered it. My story won 4th place overall. Shortly after that I started my first novel and wrote a lot of stories and poems. I began to see myself as a writer and was in peace with myself. The crafts took second place then, but they were not neglected.
Amid writing poems and novels I used to relax doing graphic work on the computer. I love creating landscapes and other images using special programmes which fire my imagination. Some of the landscapes are so real, it's hard to believe they are not actual photographs. You will find here in this article pictures of my works - graphic jewelry and even one poem.
An unfortunate tragedy in my family brought to a halt my writing (writer's block as they call it...) I was plunged into an aimless existence where I wasn't sure anymore who I was and what purpose there was to my life. Nothing remained of the active creative woman I used to be. I shudder to think where that path could have taken me if not for a turn or twist in events, which I'm reluctant to call a "miracle". A devoted friend of mine who pained to see me wasted, was taking jewelry lessons at the time. In an attempt to draw me out, she made me come along to a lesson. She knew I needed a fresh interest in my life. She was right.
I liked what I saw. The sight of people toiling over their artistic creations rekindled my dormant talents and next morning I went out to buy some tools and raw materials. I never looked back since that day and I've found my place again among the living. I only hope that soon my writing will resume too. I was no stranger to the jewelry world as my husband used to be a jewelry dealer and I used to look at all the jewelry magazines and at his goods as well. My love lies with metal work, forging, soldering and melting. I adore precious stones (not so much the faceted ones...) and I can spend hours working and designing. As I'm only a beginner, I follow tutorials in order to learn new techniques. But I do my own stuff as well, to suit my taste and vision.
The world around us is full of art - shapes colors and moods. I keep my eyes open and I take ideas from nature, other works and mostly from my brain. I usually make a rough drawing of what I have in mind and I proceed from there. I often start an idea with a certain cabochon and end up using another... Some pieces take a short while to complete and others can be shelved for a while when I'm stuck or if they didn't come out the way I wanted. I like working with scrap pieces of silver and gold. I can play around with the pieces until some shape emerges to be born as a beautiful piece of jewelry.
I'm not a religious person and I don't believe in miracles. But I do know that sometimes things have a way of sorting themselves out and a path is laid which has a bearing into the future, as I have found out almost a year after I've started doing jewelry.
I was "cleaning" old files on my computer one day and went through the graphics files. It really never occurred to me that 3 years before I stumbled upon jewelry making, I was creating jewelry on my computer. As a matter of fact, I was quite involved in the jewelry world since my husband was a jewelry dealer, but except for looking at his goods or getting some as gifts, I was not involved.
I have created three years earlier amazing graphics of imaginary jewels - in bright sparkling colors - fit for kings and queens! I've put together a few images I created using computer programmes like Tierazone, Chaoscope, Apophysis and others. I looked at those images with incredulity, with an eye of a silversmith - and I could see metal works in gold and silver, embossing, beading, fimo (polimar), casting and wire work.
When I come to think about it now, that was probably the reason why I took so quickly to this new form of art. It must have been hidden dormant in my sub-conscience... I can find in my present work a lot of similarities to the images I created on the computer... The metal work... It makes me wonder...
In the photos of my silver works, I used as backgrounds some of my own graphic creations - landscapes or graphic objects. I think the combination of real world jewelry and imaginary works of fiction do well together. This is my story. As a writer, I do have extensive imagination, and I'm trying now to bring my imagination to life via my silver works. I hope you like what you see. Comments will be most welcome!
|Hanna Ben-Nathan, Johannesburg, Republic of South Africa|
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