Henschke, the woman behind Henschke Jewellery, who uses ancient techniques to create astonishing jewellery. She combines solid craftsmanship with passion to producing quality work. In light of their most recent feature as part of our Global Young Talent in the December issue of Harper’s Bazaar UK, we had the pleasure of speaking to the outstanding artist about keeping traditions alive, her source of inspirations and her future plans.
What had made you become a jewellery designer?
I always loved shiny small things. My mother, a fashion designer used to bring home buttons when I was a child. I did not play with dolls, I played with buttons. I initially trained as a Gestalt Psychotherapist and worked ten years as a social worker. A series of unrelated incidents led me to the Academy for Glass and Jewellery in Kaufbeuren, Germany in 2002. Despite being 32, I was honoured The Academy for Glass and Jewellery in Kaubeuren, Germany offered me an apprenticeship in the exclusive jeweller’s class, the only mature-aged student to be accepted into this highly competitive course. Clearly, I was doing what I loved and as a result I won several awards.
"My mother, a fashion designer used to bring home buttons when I was a child. I did not play with dolls, I played with buttons."
Your collection is very unique, why did you choose glass as your main material?
Bead making is an intuitive process and I lose myself within my own space. A bower bird by nature, I love creating this kind of jewellery as I’m drawn to and collect shiny, pretty things. To produce something completely unexpected and be mesmerized by it, and most importantly, create something that brings joy, is intensely satisfying. I have a playful approach to this old trade and love the temperamental alchemy of glass.
What is your source of inspiration for your collection?
I constantly absorb colour, shape and texture, whatever I do and wherever I go. An inevitable inspiration comes from the diversity of Australia’s flora and fauna. These impressions somehow work their way into my jewellery. Australia’s unique wildflowers are a plentiful source of inspiration. I love reducing their natural appearance to simple forms. Same for the abundance of underwater life in the Indian Ocean. One snorkel trip provides me with more than enough new ideas. What makes my creative heart sing most is when I let my subconscious take lead and the outcome is an absolute surprise.
"An inevitable inspiration comes from the diversity of Australia’s flora and fauna. These impressions somehow work their way into my jewellery."
You use ancient techniques to create your unique pieces, could you please tell us what techniques you use and why you choose them?
At the Academy for Glass and Jewellery, where the focus is on the preservation of ancient skills, I learnt the centuries old trade of a goldsmith, how to forge my own tools, the craft of chisel scripting and the art of Bohemian glass bead winding. It was this craft, which instantly hooked me and became my obsession. I use an at least 80 years old Lampfire, to melt glass. I treasure this torch that were unchanged for generations of bead and button makers from Bohemia (today the Czech Republic). I guess I like the idea of being the bearer of a dying craft, of transporting ancient skills into our times.
What are your plans for the future?
I feel I find more and more courage to create jewellery without compromising myself. The results are bold pieces the person who chose it never gets tiered wearing. On the future of my brand I will continue to do something that I have always done - evolve, play, stay quirky and fun while staying true to the integrity and tradition of this ancient art form.
"I feel I find more and more courage to create jewellery without compromising myself."
Discover Henschke Jewellery's full collection
Words by Reka Dala