OUR ULTIMATE COVID BOOKING GUARANTEE. FIND OUT MORE
In September 2012, after a trip around India, trained South African artist Katherine-Mary Pichulik decided to start up her own eponymous jewelry brand. As she has always been fascinated by patterns and shapes, the inspiration behind Katherine-Mary’s jewelry brand was a unique and interesting one; she set about designing elaborate neckpieces intended to display the empowerment and bravery of the women wearing them. Here, Culture Trip chats with Katherine-Mary to find out about the women who inspired this brand, and the success of her artistic career.
You create jewelry for brave women; what lies behind this motivation? What relationship do you want women to have with your jewelry?
Jewelry comes from a history of marking initiation, celebrating power and embodying ceremony. I want to use PICHULIK as a platform to reintroduce the sacred nature of jewelry and ornamentation, and use these as talking points to create dialogue around key feminine issues of empowerment, self-worth and self-love.
What is the importance of Italian culture to you? How have these influences been expressed in your A/W15Pietra Terra collection, and the new S/S16 Lena Collection?
Italy has always captured my imagination – from watching Italian films, to studying Art History there, and my first overseas trip being to Italy. This summer, I spent a two-month residency in Tuscany. It marked a very important hallmark in the PICHULIK brand, as it was my first time away from my team. The A/W15 Pietra Terra Collection embodied me dreaming of Italy, and the S/S16 Lena Collection documents my experience there.
Tell us a little about your team that handcrafts your jewelry. Why did you choose these women to represent your brand?
We have a multi-faceted team, but the uniting feature is that every member is a brave, generous-hearted woman (plus two men) with a lot of humor and sass – not unlike the women who wear our PICHULIK pieces!
Do you have a favorite piece from your oeuvre? If so, why?
I don’t think I do. The pieces represent different moments in time. I revisit older pieces from time to time and am overwhelmed by the initial intention of the design and the nostalgia it evokes. Out of the S/S16 Lena collection, I cannot stop wearing the 2 Moons Earrings.
You were accepted for an art residency in Florence this year – has this been a highlight of your career?
Yes, it has been. I got to eat over 120 meals with the same group of international creatives in an abundant Tuscan estate. Everyday I worked in a converted stable as a studio. I got to reconnect with the creative process and bathe in the stillness and abundance of the Italian countryside.
What can we expect to see from you in the near future? Are you working on any particular projects at the moment?
Yes, there are some very interesting things in the works for S/S16 Lena, and next year promises some international expansion.
What is the best piece of creative advice you have ever received, and who was it from?
My musician friend Derek Gripper has a way of seeing creativity not as an attempt to impose things, but rather a way to remove the blocks that inhibit our natural brilliance and potential innate genius. This translates into also allowing your creative process to follow its own unique rhythms and schedules; not everyone can be at their most creatively productive within a nine to five restraint. I think it’s good to figure out your innate rhythm and show up to your work when you do. The rest will naturally flow through you. See yourself as a channel, and clear all the things within you that block a clear flow.
If you could have one artwork or design in your home, what would it be and why?
I would go local and say the Dokter and Misses Sweat Lamp. I like the textures and the asymmetry, and something about their design reminds me of the Memphis-Milano style, but in an African contemporary way. They confidently use color, and their compositions have a certain humor to them.
What are you reading or watching at the moment?
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Do you consider a country’s art scene or galleries when you select your travel destinations” If you could take an artistic tour across one country in the world, where would you go?
Absolutely! I am interested in Modern art and contemporary museums and often in anthropological museums, especially if there are sufficient artifacts of craft. São Paulo excites me as the thriving Brazilian art scene intrigues me.
Henry Miller wrote 11 work schedule commandments in his book, Henry Miller on Writing. Number 7 is ‘Keep human! See people, go places, drink if you feel like it’. Do you have a particular morning routine or way of working which helps you to create?
Yes, I have a preparation for the day. I wake to hot water and lemon, I shower, and then I meditate and do my medicine cards. I usually have only one coffee a day, and even that has a ritual to it. There are a myriad of coffee shops I frequent, where I plan my day as I observe the hustle and bustle of the awakening city. After work I usually do exercise: either yoga, running or dance.
What is the best gallery or museum for art lovers in South Africa?