Christine Hafermalz-Wheeler of The Artist Goldsmith



Christine Hafermalz-Wheeler started an apprenticeship with a goldsmith when she was 14 years old. she chose the profession after her father advised that plumbing was too unpleasant in winter. She loved, and still does, the smells and sounds of metal work, the positivity of moving metal where she wants it. Working together with a natural material to achieve a goal is most satisfying for Christine.

Having the imagination and desire to still be creating one-off works after 43 years of self-employment is Christine's highlight. While she may create groups around a central theme, each piece is a beginning and an end in itself, it stands on its own and is complete.

Personality describes Christine's aesthetic. Each piece is an individual, as is the wearer, and should reflect and enhance the personality of its owner. When trying on The Artist Goldsmith's work, there are generally three pieces from the collection that suit a customer unreservedly; their effect is to underline individuality.

Materials are Christine's primary inspiration. 18ct gold and sterling silver are wonderful to work with, allowing so many effects to be created by using different processes: forging a strong, classical band for a bangle; folding sheet in the Shibori technique to imitate geological landscapes; texturing surfaces through reticulation heating. Each technique brings a special effect to a piece, allowing Christine to surround her favored gemstones with a suitable environment. Her life experiences of nature, history, art are frequently reflected in The Artist Goldsmith.  A trip on the Whanganui river; the paintings of Gustav Klimt, Franz Marc or Pan Yuliang; tales of migration in terms of Polynesian Navigation have all inspired collections.

Christine loves the way jewellery allows people to express their inner self, to make a statement of personal understanding. Honesty is paramount to her work and the client who is honest with herself, not trying to portray an imposed image, is her satisfaction. As such, trends are irrelevant to Christine; she has, however, been making Double Rings for over 40 years and consider her versions to be streets ahead of the current 'trend' options. The Artist Goldsmith Double Rings sit comfortably and they look fantastic.

Christine finds it really distressing when a customer comes into her shop with  a piece sold by a fashion designer that has broken too soon because it was badly made. She believes clothing designers should be advised to make clothes and leave jewellery to jewellers.

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