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Q&A: Manufactory

HL visited the Manufactory in Woodstock, a collective design space and retail store, to chat to the jewellers about their concepts and work.

Where does the name Manufactory come from?

Our name, Manufactory, was chosen in the spirit of our love for the manufacturing time we put into making our jewellery. We felt the name had a semi-industrial feel, which we all felt drawn to. We also felt the name Manufactory is a good description for a collective because it implies our collective's intent.

Who is involved and how did you all connect?

We all met while studying jewellery design at the Ruth Prowse School of Art. We spent three years working together and found we enjoyed each other's company, so when we graduated we immediately moved into our studio space at the Salt Circle Arcade. Our jewellery collective consists of four jewellery labels, namely: Cole Jewellery by Sharon Botha, Ruby-Lee Jewellery by Ruby-Lee Baillie, VRVO Adornments York VRVO, and Caracal Jewellery by Trish Davis. We have very different styles from one another, which we feel works well for our space. We believe our differences complement each other.

Do you each have a particular style?

Naturally we all have different themes behind our work. Ruby-Lee Jewellery embraces and combines two opposite aesthetics; glamour and industrial. She makes use of alternative gem stones and metals to create quirky and narrative pieces. Cole Jewellery has evolved from the intentional, as well as accidental damage to metal while simultaneously exploring the juxtaposition between silver and thread. The work created by VRVO Adornments is a representation of the world around him in the process of enlightenment. He makes use of materials such as horn, hide, teeth and brass. Caracal Jewellery pieces are created mainly in warmer metal tones such as gold and brass. Her style can be described as the marriage of classical and contemporary jewellery, with a touch of a unique exoticism.

What is the concept behind your space? 

Our space is both our studio and shop front. We like to include our customers in the manufacturing process of our jewellery to help them understand how items are made and the work that is involved in the production of our pieces. Our shop front is an ever-developing project. We aim to keep changing our displays and jewellery items to keep everything fresh and flowing. We have decided to each have our own display cabinets in order to keep the style of each jeweller within its context.

How long have you been working together?

We opened Manufactory in December 2013, but we all started studying together in 2010.

 When can people visit the Manufactory?

We are open from Monday to Friday, 9am until 5pm, and on Saturdays from 9am until 3pm. We would recommend coming by on a Saturday because there is always a festive atmosphere at the Salt Circle Arcade. We are always available for any jewellery repairs as well as commissions.

We are new in our space, so for 2014 we would like to develop and expand Manufactory as a collective.

Visit Manufactory on Facebook and find them at Shop 4, Salt Circle Arcade, Woodstock.

Interviewed by Michaela Stehr