Gem Division

20 October 2014
Written by Sacha Kenny | Images by Sacha Kenny
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Sacha Kenny chats to jewellery maker Helen Punton whose work focuses on form and texture - using recycled materials to create one-off pieces of wearable art 


Off a busy suburban road, tucked down a little side street and a sand-dunes climb away from Paraparaumu Beach is the studio of contemporary jeweller Helen Punton (Gem Division).

Helen’s work, which featured as part of the 2014 Wellington Fashion Week (WFW) Jewellery Show, is both bold and delicate. WFW described the Gem Division collection as “One-off …unexpected shapes and complex designs highlighted the immense creativity of designer Helen Punton. Intricate and striking Punton’s designs are a work of art.”

The light filled studio, which will officially open it’s doors to the public as part of the Kapiti Arts Trail (15 - 16 November), is a welcoming space furnished to showcase a selection of Gem Division pieces while incorporating a dedicated work area for Helen and sleeping space for dog Roxy, Helen's constant companion.

Helen, a teacher by trade, packed up her school bag in 2011 taking a year off full-time work to complete a Diploma of Visual Arts in Contemporary Jewellery design at Whitireia.

“I started making jewellery as part of a weekend class at Kapiti College and I really loved it - so much so that I thought, that’s it I’m going to take a year off my job and train.”

Handcrafted from conception to completion, Helen describes her work as an intuitive, organic process of allowing the jewellery to form and develop as each piece progresses.

“I really like doing everything myself. So I’ll make a mold and scrape the wax to create the texture and contrast in the piece and see how the cast comes out. Making a piece with my hands, using wax and adding texture and playing with different things is really what I love to do.

“I suppose in a way my process is quite intuitive – I don’t really follow or look at a particular style, my style is just very much about what I like.”

Jewellery for those wanting something different - Helen's work focuses on form and texture using antique metals, gem stones and recycled materials to create one-off pieces of wearable art.

Be sure to check out Helen’s studio as part of the 2014 Kapiti Arts Trail, 15 - 16 November 2014.


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