Maria Manola Q&A

Maria Manola Jewellery Maria Manola Jewellery Maria Manola Jewellery

What/who inspires you and your work?

I come from an exceptionally long country, where nature is very diverse. The Andes Mountain range and the sea cross the entire length of Chile, there is the desert in the north and lakes and rivers in the south.
When I was a child, my family and I always went on vacation to the south, to a place where there is a volcano, a lake and many rivers; volcanic rocks are everywhere. I always collected small and special pebbles that I found in all these places.
My inspiration comes from these geological landscapes, where you can feel the power of nature in this small object created by the pressure of the earth, shaped by the strength of wind and water and coloured by local minerals. It is really crazy to think that gemstones, their beautiful designs, and infinite colours come from nature.
I believe that my jewellery represents that: a collection of memories and shapes that will bring you closer to nature and will add a little sparkle to your everyday life.

How long have you been making jewellery?

I started making jewellery 7 years ago. In 2016 I took jewellery classes as a hobby when I was working at my full-time job and I didn’t know if I would like it or not.
In the end, I loved it.
I studied in Walka Escuela for a year and the experience of making wearable, timeless tiny pieces with my hands that could mean so much to someone else felt like magic.
I always liked playing with beads and making art projects as a child, I studied Design and took all the fashion courses in university and could never find rings that fit my thin fingers, so I guess one thing led to another…

How did you hear of tomfoolery jewellery gallery?

I heard of Tomfoolery Gallery through Instagram, when I was living in Chile. I was delighted to find a Gallery that worked with so many international, talented jewellers and all with their personal styles.

Has working in the gallery helped your practice, and if so, how?

Working in Tomfoolery Gallery has helped me to understand British customers and their tastes. I’m still learning about price ranges, sizes, materials, and colours that people prefer.

You are originally from Chile – how long have you lived in London, and how has living here impacted your work over being at home.

I have been living in London for over a year now. Living in the UK has had a significant impact in my work, because the jewellery industry is much more developed here compared to Chile. I have discovered varied materials and tools that are not common or do not exist in my country yet. 9ct gold was one of them, a more affordable option compared to 18ct and that will keep its golden colour over time, unlike gold-plated jewellery.
Also, the cultural scene here is huge and there’s inspiration everywhere, you can see new art exhibitions, design and architecture in every corner of the city.

Can you tell me a little about your practice/ materials etc.

When I first started making jewellery, I was interested in more organic shapes that I felt I could not achieve with traditional techniques. So gradually, I started experimenting with the lost wax technique. I found it easier to make those intricate shapes by sculpting and carving the wax, as it’s a more malleable and softer material. Perhaps being able to see a sort of finished piece from the beginning helps my impatience.
I also love working with natural gemstones and get inspired by their bright colours or their beautiful inclusions in which you can see a whole universe.