Madeli Viljoen, alumna of the Department of Fine and Applied Arts (Jewellery Design and Manufacture) at work. The gifted jewellery designer excelled at the Bijorhca International Jewellery Design Awards.
Her entry, a striking pair of earrings titled Little Bustards of France, was a finalist just behind the three winning positions. It aimed to raise awareness for endangered bird species.
As a finalist she gained VIP access to the Bijorhca Expo and the extravagant awards ceremony afterwards. The three prize winners (from France) were named on 20 January and the top ten designers' entries (including that of Madeli) were framed and displayed throughout the Expo with exposure to thousands of visitors from industry.
“It was a proud moment to represent South Africa in France,” says Madeli. “A sincere thanks to TUT and the Jewellery Programme. It is amazing to have received so much support from the South African jewellery community and from my University as well. I’m truly grateful and inspired to be a graduate South African jewellery designer and maker.”
Madeli says it was Anne Manaczynski (her former lecturer at TUT) who introduced her to the Bijorhca International Jewellery Design Awards. “She guided and mentored me as a start-up jewellery designer since my graduation in 2017.”
She adds that the Bijorhca Expo in Paris was a wonderful experience to meet many international designers and to expose her unique South African jewellery design appreciation with them.
“The competition was also very important to me as it presented me the opportunity to raise some awareness for the protection and conservation of endangered bird species. It is wonderful to be able to be doing what I love and trained for, whilst campaigning for a cause so very close to my heart,” she concludes.