Maike Valcarcel 


I must have been a bird in a former life, because I love to fly. And I don't mean the kind that earns you air miles, but anything that requires as little gear as possible. I picture myself as an eagle soaring across Africa. Even before I ever set foot on the African continent I knew that this is where my imaginary wings would eventually take me. While my parents tried to install in me a love for all-things-Hellenic, my heart belonged to Africa. The first taste of this beautiful continent was a family holiday in Morocco - a long drive from our hometown in Germany. There was an abundance of artistic material available in our house and the creation of beautiful or useful things was considered as important as food and drink. It was easy for me to develop my own creative aspirations with the support and advice of my parents, both teachers of Fine Art. They were also very good at letting go, which they did when I decided to spend a gap year in Lagos/Nigeria. Lagos confirmed for me that I belonged in Africa. On return to Germany I completed a three and a half year apprenticeship in the goldsmith trade and was finally about to follow my heart and move to Africa for good. First stop: Johannesburg. Living and working in this vibrant city inspired me from the start. After a few years of working for a jewellery manufacturer, followed by the arrival of my three children, I felt it was time to start working on my own. I was extremely motivated by winning the AngloGold, Riches of Africa Jewellery Design Competition (now AuDITIONS) in 2001 which really opened doors for my solo career. Add a Trans-African-Trip from the Cape to my hometown in Germany, and the subsequent relocation to Cape Town and this is where you will find me until the African-travel-bug bites again. Well, I guess you know by now where I draw my inspiration from, but not all of it is African. I like to experiment with textures and materials, and I have a passion for interesting and little-known techniques like the ancient Korean keum-boo-technique which I use in a slightly modified way in order to fuse patterns in pure gold onto silver.

Maike Valcarcel