Natalia Peri — Exclusive Interview

New to the Tessuti family we welcome Natalia Peri... Using sustainable handcrafted materials and methods, silversmith Natalia Peri, makes delicate work that captures a study of light and object.

 Pools of Light Earrings from Glass Collection 2018/Collection No.1 - An observation of light in the medium of glass. Handmade in New Zealand by Natalia Peri, each piece has been exclusively silver smithed and crafted from recycled sterling silver and handmade glass beads individually formed using lamp working, creating classic elegant shapes that move softly.

We would love to know your story. What is your background and when did jewellery and making start to steal your attention?

I grew up in Papamoa in the 90's. Back then Papamoa was a small tight knit community where people lived more of a bohemian lifestyle near the beach.
My friends Dad Peter Cramond was and still is the local Sculptor. He had an amazing art studio that we would often sneak into to get a glimpse of his human figure stone sculptures. I remember being in awe of how he created smooth concave bodies of stone with only chisels and mallets.

As a child I was constantly surrounded by artists. My next door neighbour kindly gave me lessons in arranging dried flowers and wire wrapping crystals. All of those childhood memories and experiences have stayed with me and still greatly inspire me today.

I began making jewellery in 2009 and also selling them at The Little Big Markets in Mount Maunganui. In 2012 I became frustrated with importing jewellery supplies and never been able to find exactly what I wanted. I started to question the origins of my supplies and how unethical they were which resulted in me being in a creative rut and feeling uninspired, so with a lot of uncertainty I turned my hand to carving rings out of wax and having them cast in Auckland.
I will never forget that initial feeling of authenticity that comes with creating a piece from scratch and being able to produce jewellery in New Zealand just felt right.

When did you start your jewellery line and what was your motivation behind doing so?

I started Natalia Peri late 2015 and after a lot of playing around and teaching myself how to work with sterling silver I felt that I could finally put my name to my jewellery. I also felt that I had something to say or add within the new wave of Modernist Jewellery.

Can you tell us a little about how your range comes together, about your process as a maker & the people you collaborate with?

I usually start with researching and gathering knowledge which results in a feeling or instinct to base my collection off. Being dyslexic I have never been able to design through drawing so most design starts with visualizing the jewellery being worn and then working backwards on how I would construct the piece in reality. Carving designs out of wax is different and probably my favorite way to bring life into a piece, it is more of a subconscious primitive process and more from the heart.

Currently I'm working with Lesley McIver, a local Glass Artist from the South Island. It has been great being able to source handmade glass beads locally and have direct connections with other makers reinforces my New Zealand made foundations as a transparent ethical brand.
Can you tell us a little bit about your newest collection?

Glass Collection 2018 is the first collection from my Glass series.
My main inspiration for this collection was taken from the iconic 1920's Pools Of Light Jewellery that was first made from clear quartz crystal spheres.
I love how light moves through translucent glass or is obscured by the frosted textures that Lesley has added to the surface of glass. Still keeping to my modernist style of jewellery I have added accents reminiscing antique silhouettes from the Art Nouveau and Art Deco movements.

Where do you work from? Can you describe this space?

My work area takes up a part of our lounge and living room and I have converted our front entrance (mudroom) which is the size of an office into my jewellers studio to make use of the dead space but also because I can shut the door and work in quiet.
Tell us about the sorts of textures and colours you like to let into your studio or home?

I often describe my home as a farmhouse slash daycare center as my partner and I have 5 children.
We like to be surrounded by natural textures like wood, cane baskets and collections of pottery, this ties in with our holistic lifestyle.
My creative space is similar, often cluttered with collected stones and dried seed pods or found objects.

What was the most recent thing you saw/read/heard that inspired you?

Lately I have been watching netflix series like Damnation and Godless set in 1800's or early 1900's and taking notes on the beautiful costumes and cinematography. 

In your downtime, or on the weekends, how do you like to relax?

Sundays have become my reset day where I like to be mindful and switch off from jewellery by baking and gardening or going on little bush walks across the road from where we live. 

What are your plans for 2018?

My intent for 2018 is to be more in tune with wellness and nutrition and after having my 5th baby this time last year getting a solid nights sleep is definitely on the cards!
Photographs  —  Ellen J Hemmings 
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