Jewelry Designer, Christine Cook designer behind the jewelry line, Tangelo Tree lives and works on the North Island of New Zealand. She creates elegant and colorful pieces made mainly from rope, fiber and metal which to me, rich with their striking gold, black and jewel tone colors conjure thoughts of ancient Egyptian pharaohs. Read on for a peek into her strikingly colorful world.
What is your favorite part about what you do?
Without a doubt the start of a new collection is my favourite part. It’s an exciting time, starting out with a blank canvas, not knowing what may eventuate. My development process involves much sketching, exploring method and idea, followed by playing with materials, then back to the sketching, and so on, until one good piece emerges that I am happy with. That prototype will usually inform and influence the whole collection and so I just take it from there. The whole process is very organic, I get lots of ideas whilst playing with materials. The other favourite part of what I do is of course making sales... there is huge satisfaction knowing that someone appreciates my design philosophies and has chosen to buy an ethically handmade object over a mass-produced item. I’m incredibly grateful for those who back me.
I love contemporary design but am also drawn to the timeless, so I’m motivated to create beautiful pieces that people will love and wear for a lifetime, not just a season.
What are your favorite materials to work with and why?
I use a variety but currently my favourites are rope, fibre and metal. I like exploring the quality and potential of these unconventional jewellery materials, mixing hard and soft elements, and contrasting textures to create interesting play between the materials. I’m slowly introducing some other new materials also not commonly used in jewellery making, such as fabric tapes, shoe laces and ribbons.
Do you have a design philosophy or a set of values that applies to your work?
I like to think of my work as a response to the massive influence of mass-production/chain store culture. I love contemporary design but am also drawn to the timeless, so I’m motivated to create beautiful pieces that people will love and wear for a lifetime, not just a season. I’m passionate about handmade, and create each piece myself from concept through to completion, and love the idea that consumers can become totally aware of the full creative process, thereby forming a connection between artist and wearer. My design principles are based on clean lines, simple geometric pattern and repetition. Colour is extremely important and often becomes the focal point of my work.
My fascination for textiles, love of handcrafted objects and strong desire to create, led me to combine all disciplines and embark on jewellery design
Are you working on new stuff? Tell me about it.
Yes, there is a new collection in the pipeline, but it is currently on hold as I work toward an exhibition with two other New Zealand jewellery makers, in June this year. We are all doing vastly different things, but the common thread is that we are all combining traditional and non-traditional materials and techniques in quite innovative ways. Exhibitions provide a great opportunity to showcase new work but also to challenge ourselves and push the boundaries of our art practise.
Are you self-taught or did you study?
I am both. As children we were forever trying new crafts at home - sewing, knitting, crochet, macramé to name a few, and these traditional handed-down crafts have stayed with me. As an adult I studied Textiles and Fashion where I learnt a diverse array of skills and gained an amazing grounding in textiles. Following that I completed a Bachelors Degree in visual arts, focusing on graphic design and printmaking (another passion I am slowly reigniting). My fascination for textiles, love of handcrafted objects and strong desire to create, led me to combine all disciplines and embark on jewellery design, to which I am self-taught.
What does the future hold for you? Whats your next project?
Next project is my exhibition in June, which is currently taking up most of my time. I don’t know what the future holds for me, but I hope to continue what I am doing, to grow my brand, keep on learning, develop new skills, hone my aesthetic and definitely keep making!