Sally Herbert – a jeweller inspired by the textures and forms of the natural world interwoven with historical and cultural references, executed in a hand worked and traditional manner.
What do you make?
I make contemporary jewellery that is organic and sculptural in form and feel.
I work primarily in silver and bronze with highlights of gold, brass and copper. My designs focus on the finished surface of the work.
I love to use patterns and textures to change the appearance of the surface of my work. The pattern and textures are captured from a number of sources including antique lace and fabrics, volcanic rock from our Mt Eden garden, the interaction of different materials and hand applied and worked surfaces.
How did you first get into jewellery-making?
Growing up in NZ and being part of a creative family meant I was encouraged in whatever artistic pursuit took my fancy. I had attended numerous diverse classes over the years without finding a decisive direction. Then, during a session at Hungry Creek, I came to the sudden realisation that I could bring together all my many skills and creativity in one medium, jewellery.
What is your process and how has this changed over time?
I learnt very early on that my drawing skills did not match what I was seeing in my mind, so my designs rarely start life as drawings. Instead, since I have always preferred to work with my hands, I adopt a process of modelling with various mediums – paper, wax, and metal.
I have developed my processes which over time has allowed my work to move in new directions and capture a sense of fluidity and movement.
My favourite material has to be wax, from melting, engraving and carving, the soft modelling wax used to build sculptures to the soft pink wax sheets which allow me to build up a piece by layering.
I have moved over time to looking towards texture with the confidence to embrace the random and less precise nature of more organic pieces. I love working texture into the pieces, either from leaves, bark, flowers or stone from around our garden in Mt Eden.
What is it you love about working and living in New Zealand?
I love the intense colours, the vistas, the variety of landscapes, the sea, taking a walk along a beach with just the seagulls circling above. Climbing around Mt Eden and being able to see a 360-degree view of Auckland and how the weather can paint the sky, harbour and city in a wash of colours while all the time being close to nature.
I love the space living in Auckland allows, we are so privileged to be surrounded by greenery and natural beauty, while still having a thriving city that has a great mix of people and cultures.
Where do you find the most inspiration for your work?
My work is inspired by simple forms and textures. I draw from the past from classical art and jewellery and weave into it the beauty and freedom found in Nature.
Describe your workspace
I originally worked from our garage and dining room table. I think the family got tired of fighting for space as I spread out. So, after some dropping of hints and some heavy negotiating, we built a workshop which nestles amongst the fruit trees and beautiful plantings in our garden. Complete with a Crystal chandelier, a repurposed cabinet maker’s workbench and a painted jeweller’s bench this is my perfect place to work in.
Why did you approach The Poi Room to see if we could sell your jewellery in Auckland?
After a number of people encouraged me to look at the galleries as a means of exposing my work to a wider audience. I took some time to consider the type of gallery that I was happy to have represented me and would be a good fit for my work. My work is all handcrafted, I cannot produce work at a rapid rate or in large quantities. I needed a gallery who value artists and the time and effort that goes into the making of each piece they create. They also had to have a strong Jewellery component in their gallery.
I live and have my studio in Mt Eden and as a result, I have been into the Newmarket and Ponsonby Galleries of The Poi Room many times. I knew that they had a great mix of work and artists and everything is beautifully presented.
The day I finally did go into the Newmarket store, I was in Newmarket for something completely different. As I was about to walk past The Poi Room I decided instead to walk in. I was wearing pieces from my Wrapped and Leaf ranges and I decided rather than emailing them first, as I initially had planned, I would go in to introduce myself and my work in person. The reception I received from Melanie-Jane and her team was exceptionally warm and positive from the start.
Although it has been a short period of time, how do you find the relationship with The Poi Room?
Melanie-Jane and Clayton and rest of The Poi Room team have been fantastic to deal with, totally supportive and provide great feedback on my work. Being able to have a gallery that is 100% behind me and my work is a real privilege. I look forward to a long and happy working relationship!