Interview with Anneliese Hauptstein, Designer and Director of Ice from Ash
What led to your interest in crafting zero waste jewellery?
My degree in Industrial Design exposed me to the reality of our consumer culture, the devastating condition of our environment and the unfortunate division of designing from crafting. Where once a designer was a maker and an expert in their material, the methods and forms, now the focus has shifted to the market, the machine and the bottom line. I chose instead to follow my passion for the materials themselves. I did a PhD in Materials Science and started my own studio exploring and experimenting with the most interesting materials and processes I could find. I keep it small, slow and local, working with natural materials and striving to make the best design choices I can, such as using recycled packaging and branding my own boxes.
What materials are you using?
My latest love is ceramics. I have a little kiln and I have been experimenting with melting silver wire works into ceramic pieces.
I am constantly looking into new processes and materials and weighing their pro-s and cons, whether that be the sustainability of the resource, the ethics of manufacture, or the energy in transport. I use a lot of silver, because it’s strong, durable, lovely to work with and recyclable. I use some leather, usually Kangaroo, as it is local, compostable and abundant. I have also started making pieces using mushroom and kombucha leather as a vegan alternative.
"Where once a designer was a maker and an expert in their material, the methods and forms, now the focus has shifted to the market, the machine and
the bottom line."
What does the whole process look like from the idea to actual pieces taking shape? What's the most difficult aspect of the making part?
I have a collection of little notebooks with research on subjects as varied as the Kikuchi patterns of crystals to evidence of aliens in ancient decoration. I add notes and sketches as I come across information that follows the tread. There is always a focus on the materials I could use and the techniques for making, so at some point this starts to take shape in the form of designs. I never really know how a piece will turn out when I sit down, but I do a lot of planning.
I find the most difficult part is staying true to the concept and not getting distracted by other ideas as I’m making. I work with other artisans to work out techniques and I try to make a lot of the decisions about materials, chains, clasps, shapes and construction before I sit down.
Who or what inspires you the most? Do you use any symbolism?
I am inspired by the various ways people from all over the world tell stories. The written languages themselves, of course, but also pictorial illustration, such as cave paintings, carvings, patterns and especially tattoos. I have had a fascination with tattooing for long time and love finding the hidden meanings in the assembly of images. The intersection of mythology and science also fascinates me. My newest pieces refer to the flow of matter and energy from one state to another, starting with a sound and transitioning through the 5 elements of earth, wind, fire, water and ether. To me this is the oldest story.
Why is the synergy of nature and more material human world important to you?
Something fundamental changed when humans started creating their own materials and I feel it is very important for us to take full responsibility for the consequences of those choices and educate others to do the same. We can choose to surround ourselves with objects that are functional, durable, sustainable and desirable. In that way we will look after and respect the things we purchase.
"My newest pieces refer to the flow of matter and energy from one state to another, starting with a sound and transitioning through the 5 elements of earth, wind, fire, water and ether."
What defines good quality in jewellery design?
Quality to me is about a few things. How it makes me feel, how well it works on the body and how well it is made for its purpose. To me it is about artistic expression, cultural connection and personal style.
What's the meaning of the name, 'Ice from Ash'?
It refers to a process of transformation and alchemy, transitioning from one element to another in a way that goes against what we take to be possible, as if by magic.
What are your personal tips to a more meaningful lifestyle and how to get into a habit of consuming less?
Consuming to fulfill needs is just a mindset we have been taught. To change this habit we need to find fulfillment from within instead, in our actions, relationships, environment and ideas. Consuming in itself is not evil, objects are essential, we just need to learn to be mindful when we take something and kind when we give it back.
Ice from Ash 'Wave Pendant' Necklace GIVEAWAY:
To WIN this gorgeous hand-made jewellery piece, follow @savant_magazine AND @icefromash on Instagram and comment #SavantGiveaway under the photo above.
Ice from Ash 'Wave Pendant'
Toneware with a Sea Urchin imprint, glazed with a handmade pumice and iron oxide blend and finished with a little sterling silver spot.
Sterling silver fittings and chain.
Packaged in a recycled card box.
Valued at $250AUD.