If you study the rhythm of life and nature, you will find that everything moves in cycles. Cape Town-based jewellery designer, Katherine-Mary Pichulik, decided to capture the power and meaning of this in her summer collection called ‘Harvest’. With the brand taking its inspiration from the intimate relationships women have with jewellery, the collection reflected the compulsion to feed the soul. “As women, we are strongly attuned to the meaning of cycles – a time for rest and introspection, a time for expression and doing, a time for nurturing and patience,” says Pichulik. So how did the Harvest come to be? It has something to do with Pichulik’s modus operandi to handcraft jewellery from curious and everyday materials; sourced locally.
Before she started the business, she had the opportunity to backpack in Spain and India; collecting trousseau of interesting objects on her travels. During her long commutes, she’d preoccupy herself by weaving these trinkets into jewellery design pieces. She continued this practice when she eventually returned to South Africa which culminated into a small collection of six pieces. These sparked an interest and demand that has seen Pichulik grow into the internationally recognised brand it is today. Fast forward to last summer.
While on the beach, she did the comparatively conventional act of gathering pebbles, shells and pieces of driftwood. But as the season moved into winter, she was able to appreciate the bounty as a metaphor of ‘reaping the rewards of cycles that exist both in us and in nature’. A unifying element she noticed whilst studying ancient harvest festivals in Islamic, Jewish, Christian and pagan cultures. “Although each had their own rituals and symbols, all contained elements of ceremony, music, dancing and feasting as an expression of gratitude for being allowed to enjoy the abundance brought about through one’s own efforts,” Pichulik articulates.
With the theme in mind, she decided to utilise shapes, materials and finishes that would imitate the ‘luxury and pure pleasure one finds in nature’. In her own words, here are some of the ways she was able to manifest this effect in the Harvest collection:
The patina on the brass creates a sense of natural erosion and ageing by the elements. This is juxtaposed with beadwork that either references West African harvest masks decorated with shells, bone and beads, or speaks of new life through the use of spring colours.
Similarly, harvest colours such as black, white and wheat yellow interspersed with stone and grey are contrasted with saturated coral, blue and yellow, which are associated with celebration and abundance. In addition to pebbles, Pichulik shapes gemstones such as Dalmatian and jasper into pendants called Wand Femme and Homme to celebrate the talismanic and symbolic magic of such seasonal festivals.
Abalone shell and porcelain shapes created by master ceramic artist Michelle Legg were strung on the chokers and wraps that make up the Gather range. The designs have a precious feel with porcelain balls that can house a scent and cast abalone. The combination of soft and hard elements is what Pichulik calls a blend of Claude Debussy’s Clair de Lune and The Rite of Spring by Igor Stravinsky.
What began with a simple stroll on the beach, lead to wearable pieces that show an appreciation for the necessity of cycles. And an interesting choice to have a minimally-executed aesthetic to carry the bold meanings; From the introspective journey women make to the appreciation of cultures, as well as, the ebb and flow of nature.
The Harvest collection is a reminder of why this South African brand is regularly featured in top fashion publications, including Vogue magazine; both British and Spanish editions. Not to mention, Vogue had even called it one of African’s top ten brands to watch. Add to this the fact that her range of necklaces, earrings, cuffs and rings are available in 14 countries across the world. You could say that part of her success comes from viewing jewellery as ‘a sacred conduit for healing, community and wisdom share’. A guiding ethos in her design that not only empowers the wearer to be courageous and powerful, but uplifts the team of women crafters that transforms these everyday items into pieces with meaning.
What are your thoughts on the ‘Harvest’. Share with us in the comment section below.
***Lookbook credits: Photographer: Anke Loots | Stylist: Ulrica Knutsdotter | Models: Trish M @ Pulse Models and Naciah M @ 20 Management | Hair and Make-up: Amori Burch @ Infidels***