For anyone, being able to turn a degree into a hobby, and then into a business, is probably the dream. Erica Sandgren is doing just that as she starts to make a name for herself with her unique and creative line of jewellery, Jewellery by Genevieve. After finishing a Bachelor of Visual Arts majoring in jewellery and metal at UniSA she has gone on to study honours with her amazing work. She joins an exciting group of young Adelaide creative who represent the next generation of artists making a name for themselves with their talent. Her line was recently featured in Aspire magazine as the accessories for designs by the emerging designers from the Adelaide Fashion Festival, and I’d say it’s pretty clear that she is a very exciting emerging designer in her own right. Erica Sandgren is the definition of ‘do what you love’.
You study something many people just teach themselves. How has studying visual arts at UniSA helped you?
UniSA has taught me so much about approaching things conceptually and forming ideas, which you can’t really teach yourself. I learnt the process of making jewellery in class but I’ve since developed my own way of doing things.
How did you decide on jewellery as your major?
I went into the degree knowing I was creative, but I didn’t have an idea of what I would end up doing. Going through the different studios jewellery just made sense. It was that or photography, but I knew I wanted to make things with my hands.
Your pieces have a really unique style, how did it come about?
I started with metal jewellery and hated it- I didn’t have the patience for it. I’ve always loved colour so I then started using resin to make my pieces. I mix the resin with my pigments and put them in moulds I make. Once they dry I drill holes in them and piece them together. When it sets it’s often a slightly different colour so I never know exactly how it’s going to turn out.
What was your inspiration for the style?
I started looking at gems and minerals and their natural formation, and that’s where I got this kind of clustered style. I was at the national history museum in Washington DC last year and saw the collection, and I was fascinated by it and it stuck with me. I’m influenced by people, what I see, what I hear... Travelling and seeing different cultures has been a huge inspiration.
“I don’t want my jewellery to be overly made, no piece will ever be exactly the same as another”
Do you draw inspiration from any other jewellery designers?
Dinosaur designs are a big resin inspiration, and Hannah Carlisle the jewellery designer. I admire other jewellery makers like myself who are also unique artists.
Do you think there’s a big culture of young creatives in Adelaide?
I wouldn’t say big but there’s definitely a culture. There are a lot of different areas, like the people who are very much into the art gallery for example. Jewellery is interesting because the aim of the game is to sell your stuff, but a lot of jewellery makers still aspire to be artists and make their work pieces of art, not just things to sell.
Because you’re a jewellery maker how do you feel about chain store jewellery?
I still appreciate chain store jewellery for what it is, as a person I like accessorising and it’s easy to accessorize. I’m getting more and more away from it personally and start to shop for one off individual pieces and support artists like me.
Where can RADL readers buy your work?
Urban Cow Studio on Frome St, and Sarah Rothe design in Regent Arcade
People can also email or directly message me on my Facebook page to request a commissioned piece, I’m more than happy to make specific designs.
To see more of her amazing jewellery and request a custom piece, check out Erica’s Facebook and Instagram.