Re//Store: Tête-à-tête with Shalke Jewellery
Shalke is a jewellery designer with a natural approach to design. Her work represents symbolism, mysticism and is very personal. She uses semi precious stones, sterling silver, Gold filled findings, leathers and other precious materials in her designs.
Meeting Shalke in real life was an absolute joy. She has this amazing warm and open personality, we happened to share our motherland and we found so many other mutual grounds in our perception of life. We met in Black Swan Yard, one of my favourite coffee spots in London Bridge on Bermondsey street and gathered around the antique rosewood table, where she showed me the process of her intricate jewellery. Travel, nature and her own cultural upbringing have become the centre of her imagination and this shines through in her collection which ranges from Lotus earrings to Chakra pendants. I love her Chakra necklaces which I spotted straight away when visiting the Manuka Life Store the first time. If you’re looking for a magical gift to someone special or yourself (no shame in that…) look no further.
How would you describe your personal style?
Hmm, this tends to relate to how I feel and which season I find myself in. During Summer I would say my style is relaxed with a Boho vibe. Come the Winter period it becomes more classic but casual with fine bits of jewellery and a splash of colour here and there.
And the style of your brand?
Jewellery that is personal, luxurious simple and for everyday wear. My recurrent inspirations are nature and symbolism.
What made you decide to design jewellery?
I have always loved crystals and their properties. Over the years traveling as a model I managed to gain quite a collection of gorgeous gems. At some point during my pregnancy of our first son I started wrapping crystals in metal to wear for myself. From then on it became a hobby and more and more friends asked me to make them something with feathers or wrap stones but to pick something that would suit them according to the properties of the stones. This is where it all started. Years later I did a short course at Camberwell college and followed up this thirst for technical knowledge to underpin my design aesthetic with many courses at Flux Studios, which were fantastic. The meaning of stones symbols and to create something meaningful and personal for someone or within a collection is what it is all about for me.
What inspires you at the start of a new collection?
Most of the times it is nature itself or an element within nature. I see so many symbolic meanings in it and want share this, so the journey of translating this into a design story begins. Other times it happens that I will be playing around with some materials and certain shapes develop naturally that I find interesting and this way the design process evolves organically.
When you design and produce your jewellery do you have a sustainable approach? And how do you put this in process? (e.g. Locally produced, honest materials etc.)
I try as much as I can at present. I make all my own pieces and where I get support on larger orders I have some wonderful people in Hatton Garden that help me out. This way I keep work here in the UK and support local businesses whilst keeping the carbon footprint low. I go to reputable people to source my precious and semi precious stones and use as much recycled silver as I can. But am also aware that there is always more that can be done and my aim is definitely to have an even more sustainable approach.
“I make all my own pieces in house and where I do get support on larger orders I have some wonderful people in Hatton Garden that help me out. This way I keep work here in the UK and support local businesses whilst keeping the carbon footprint low.”
What is the favourite element of your job? And biggest challenge?
My favourite element has to be the design process during which the initial idea and inspiration progresses into the ‘play’ stage where I start mocking up shapes, to eventually creating something with materials that manifest into a final piece. The beauty is when someone loves it and it’s perfect and personal to them, that’s when I feel really humble.
The challenge for me as a creative is to stay on top of the website and business side of things and I am sometimes not sure as to where to push it.
My label has been an organic process from the start and I often have moments of just wanting to create. In the near future I will be delegating this side so I can keep focused on the creative process.
What role does yoga play in your life?
I love Yoga, it has helped to centre me. It reminds me to breath and I feel lighter and stronger. I can definitely do with a bit more yoga in 2017.
Do you practice mindfulness and in what way?
Yes I do this through all that I have learned from practising Buddhism during courses I have done, Reiki and currently by deepening my knowledge on using shamanic tools for healing and guidance. Mindfulness to me is being present. It is to have grace and compassion for yourself and others and understanding that we are all a reflection of each other and are inter -connected. It’s about being conscious and aware of your actions and how you stand in the world.
It is a practise and I have times when I feel so in flow with it all and times when I don’t. I suppose that’s called being human right? As long as we keep trying!
What is your favourite indulgence within the world of wellness.
In Canterbury or near there is a lovely Ayurvedic Spa called Tor Spa Retreats, it has gorgeous gardens. An occasional spa date there is lush. They do lovely massages and great wholesome food.
Where do you go when you want to find inspiration in London?
I like Shoreditch, the Old Spitalfields Market used to be one of my favourite markets. I love walking around town and enjoy seeing London in its great diversity. As nature is one of my biggest inspirations I used to be drawn to London’s great parks whilst living in London and after having moved to Folkestone by the coast can now find nature at my own doorstep.
“Mindfulness to me is being present. It is to have grace and compassion for yourself and others and understanding that we are all a reflection of each other and are inter connected.”
What do you listen to at the moment?
I go back and forth to some old school tunes from Erika Badduh, Elvis Presley, Otis Reading to James Bay. It is a bit of a mix.
Could you recommend an organic / local produce cafe / restaurant in your area?
We have a little Vegetarian cafe in Folkestone called Beano’s. It does really lovely food.
Where do you go to shop for clothes / accessories / personal gems?
Actually I love shopping vintage or second hand now and where I can I get pieces from local artists or friends of mine that design.
I used to go to Mysteries in Covent Garden for all things metaphysical and of recent I have visited Buddha on a Bicycle on Endell Street in Covent Garden.
Whether you are looking for beautiful jewellery, crystals to resonate with you, books to inspire you, music or chakra meditations, candles, incense or oils to indulge your senses you will find them here.
In both of these shops they also offer readings. We have a lovely shop in Folkestone called the Cauldron on the old high street in Folkestone, Kent.
I always pay a visit to Neals Yard for the acupuncture in Covent garden. I also love a session of Metamorphic Technique. In the holistic practice of the Metamorphic Technique the practitioner uses a light touch on the feet, hands and head. Metamorphic Technique practitioners do not impose their will or seek to direct the recipient’s life force in any way. An environment can then emerge in which the power and intelligence, that are already inherent in the life of the person, will be the best guiding factor for the unique life that the person already is. It is absolutely lush.
Who would you like to see on here in the future?
I have a very gorgeous friend Axelle Bonapart who is a Metamorphic Practitioner and Tsubuki practitioner. The work she does it beautiful.
What is your favourite plant based / Vegetarian recipe? Or I have heard about your amazing tinctures…
At the moment I have really loved the process of making a dandelion root tincture and nettle seed tincture.
In October I dug a good bunch of dandelion roots out of our garden, I cleaned the roots with water and cut them finely. You can leave out the stem and leafs although this is optional.
I then added brandy as a preservative. (The higher the percentage of alcohol when you do an alcohol based tincture the longer it preserves.)
Add the brandy to a level so the dandelion root can soak and absorb in it.
I then left it for 6 weeks in a dark space and every couple of days shook the jar. The particles will settle on the bottom otherwise.
After 6 weeks I used a muslin cloth to separate the tincture from the root and squeezed out the roots and then bottled them. This way you can have as much tincture to bottle and have it ready to go!
This was such an amazing process as it came right from the garden and is now bottled up to be used for us. It also make as great gift for friends!
Thank you Shalke for sharing all this, I can’t wait to try a couple of things on your list!