In one line give a description of what you do, your project (what are you busy with?)I am starting out my own business as a jewellery designer in South Africa.

How was your passion born? Ever since I can remember I collected small objects I found fascinating. Those objects tend to end up in all sorts of art projects. By the age of 19, I had more than 200 pairs of self-made earrings ranging from buttons to paper shapes. I enjoyed being creative and portraying things in different perspectives.

Bonsai inspired neclace

What makes South Africa unique? What opportunities in your program, in South Africa in particular, do you envision for yourself and other students like yourself? Show me another country that has so many different landscapes all in one. In one day you can go from the beach, a forest, through the Karoo and into the Bushveld. The same goes with all the different cultures in South Africa, there is always more than enough inspiration here. Therefore every artist can express this diversity in their own way. I tend to focus more on nature for my inspiration, anyone can relate to it.

Pendant and earrings set

Being an Artist, we can assume you find it important to some extent, how high a priority is it to foster an illustration spirit in your personal life and in their economy? Substantiate. As a jewellery designer, I have the opportunity to bring joy to others, I help people express their love and appreciation for each other; whether it is a gift between friends, mother and child or lovers. One thing that binds us all, no matter our roots, is love. Everyone longs for love. The materials I work with tell a story and most of the time it makes a statement. It reminds the viewer of certain thoughts and expresses conceptual meanings.

Silkworm cocoon brooch

What do you think has to take place to transform South Africa into the “Best innovation capital in the world?” We need to continue working
together, the more we learn to work together, the more we will achieve.

What makes the work you do worthwhile? What sphere of your industry gives you a reason to stay in the industry? The freedom of being creative and allowing your inspiration to really come to life in a jewellery piece is always rewarding.

Casted silkworm cocoon necklace

What about the ‘hot topic’ of transformation? Do you think this is realistic, with the aim of building a more inclusive and best place for all? We want things to be better, but we don’t like change. We fear the unknown so we prefer our comfort zone. How do you want to improve but you don’t want to work for it? Or allow change and growth? In order to achieve better things, we need to transform, even if the process is messy and uncomfortable.

Although challenges often feel like the straw that will break the camel’s back, what are your biggest challenges since the establishment of your talent and are there any lessons you have been able to draw from them? I suffered from depression and anxiety until age 24. No matter what curveball live throws at you. Just keep going, in a year’s time from now, life could be totally different, so appreciate your family and hold onto your support system.

Brooch

How has working with Stellenbosch University impacted your life and added onto your skills? I will be forever grateful for graduating in 2018 with a BA Visual Arts, Jewellery Design degree at the University of Stellenbosch. I learned so many life lessons and practical skills.

What does women empowerment mean to you? I despise any battle between the sexes. To me, everyone is the result of what they choose to be.

BMW or Mercedes? Why? BMW, I appreciate the design work more.

Naleen is mainly based in Stellenbosch but will expand all over South Africa. We are looking forward to following her journey and seeing more of her in the future.

Jewellery Designer: Naleen Venter
E-mail Address: naleenjewellery@gmail.com
Social Media: @naleen_jewellery