Thuthuka Jewellery

Thuthuka Jewellery Awards 2013: ‘RECONFIGURE’

It’s once again time again for the annual Thuthuka Jewellery Award & Exhibition. Works from this acclaimed design development project will be exhibited at the FADA Gallery at the University of Johannesburg, Bunting Road Campus from the ¬¬¬¬¬11 October – 19 October 2013.

Thuthuka focuses on talented aspirant young jewellery design students and provides inspiration and support for creative hands and minds.  

Thuthuka Jewellery Development Programme has been a Department of Arts and Culture sponsored project for the past six years. It is a partnership between tertiary education facilities, community jewellery schools, and independent designers aimed at identifying and developing design abilities of young talented designers wanting to enter the jewellery trade in South Africa.

“Jewellery is a plausible way of making art with economic viability. It poses creative and conceptual challenges, and has an immediate market” says Carola Ross, Founder and director of Thuthuka Jewellery Development Programme. 

The Thuthuka Jewellery Development Programme provides support for the students to assist them to make a meaningful contribution to the economy. But creativity also needs practicality and hard work to yield tangible results, and talent needs the skills and tools to develop a sustainable career and livelihood. 

“At Thuthuka we take a practical approach to jewellery skills development, combining focussed one-to-one mentoring while encouraging critical and analytical thinking, key to the development of any good design. This equips aspiring jewellers with the tools they need to be successful in the trade”. 

The Programme is rolled out via a series of intensive workshops and training sessions for the participating students, to facilitate rapid learning exchange, and empowers students wanting to design contemporary jewellery, with competitive design skills. In order to ensure a competitive edge in the students the programme also challenges them to think outside the box by transforming original jewellery design into various home-ware items that are required to have both design merit and function applications.  Every year the entrants are given a theme to create their pieces.  This year, the students have been tasked with creatively reconfiguring, in a contemporary manner, the African Bead, which has had a strong cultural connection with the continent for centuries. 

Every year the programme holds the Thuthuka Jewellery Awards for students from all participating universities and community jewellery schools.  Participants includes:  University of Johannesburg, Durban University of Technology, Central University of Technology, Stellenbosch University and Tshwane University of Technology.  The Community Jewellery Projects include:  Atteridgeville Jewellery Project, Ekurhuleni Jewellery Project, Soweto Jewellery Project, Velobala Jewellery Group, Motheo FET and Limpopo Jewellery School. 

The competition has gained a reputation amongst jewellery design students, and the public, as the benchmark for innovation and excellence in this industry.  An independent panel of judges will make the final selection of winners and runners up.   

The winning designs are awarded bursaries as well as prizes in the form of the tools essential to the jeweller’s practice. These tools are costly and will provide jewellery designers with resources when they leave the facilities in which they are training. The student also gains exposure in the exhibition and associated media campaign which will be key to building their professional profile. 

The judging this year will include the work of twelve participating groups for The ‘Best in Group’ category for which there are twenty six prizes for ‘Best Concept’ and ‘Best Technique.’

The Thuthuka Annual Awards categories include:

NEW TALENT AWARD for First Year Students, INNOVATION AWARD for Second Year Students, 
ACHIEVEMENT AWARD for Third Year Students as well as an Excellence Awards category for past participants who are now working in industry
The ‘JUDGES CHOICE PRIZE’ is an additional category where judges may elect to choose three unusual, original pieces that they feel are deserving of commendation but do not conform to the judging criteria of the other categories.

The Thuthuka Jewellery 2013 exhibition opens on 11 October 2013 and runs until Saturday 19 October 2013 at the University of Johannesburg, FADA Gallery, Bunting Road Campus, Auckland Park, Johannesburg.


Thuthuka at the 2013 International Jewellery London Exhibition

The International Jewellery London (IJL) Exhibition took place at Earls Court, London 1-4 September  2013.  IJL showcases all aspects of the jewellery industry and host the UK’s most sophisticated jewellery show. As the UK's premier jewellery trade exhibition, IJL is the perfect place to discover the latest trends, source new and exciting products, network and attend the industry's leading seminar programme.  Exhibitors and buyers come from all over the world.

Funding awarded to Carola Ross & Associates (CR&A) by the Department of Trade and Industries made it possible for Thuthuka to take some jewellery pieces to IJL.  "Carola Ross & Associates represent young up and coming jewellers and creates platforms for exposure to a local and International audience.  Some of the pieces taken to IJL were by students who have been participants in the Thuthuka Jewellery Development Programme and Thuthuka Awards", say Carola Ross, founder and director of the Thuthuka Jewellery Development Programme.  Judy Peter, Head of the Department of Jewellery Design and Manufacture at the University of Johannesburg represented Carola Ross & Associates at the IJL.

The Carola Ross & Associates' stand was part of the South African stand at the IJL. Eight other South African Jewellery design businesses were also represented.  "The 4 days in London were a success and the jewellery was very well received by visitors to the stand," said Ross.

According to recorded comments during the 4 days, visitors found the students' work "to be of a high standard and of excellent design!"

The 2014 International Jewellery London will be held in Olympia, 31 August - 02 September.