Petra Bettjeman x VIVA Giveaway!
To enter the draw to win this delicate piece, all you have to do is visit the competitions page at viva.co.nz/competitions, and enter the keywords "Petra Bettjeman". One lucky reader will be able to pick up their Day of the Dead-inspired piece from Tessuti.
Best of luck!
To celebrate our giveaway we thought it would be nice to hear from the designer herself. Like most people associated with Tessuti, the Tessuti team have known Petra for a long time - since she was at kindergarten! Ali's daughter Harriet went to school with Petra's brother Dion, and of course Petra's lovely mum and dad own Bettjemans Hair Salon. Creative talented family indeed!
We caught up with Petra and chatted about her bespoke jewellery, her signature plum cake, her love of the bright green gemstone Chrysoprase, the sanctuary of Piha and more... Enjoy!
- When did you start making jewellery and what was the motivation for doing so?
I started making jewellery five years ago. I made little bracelets to sell over the Christmas period through my parents salon, Bettjemans Hair Salon. After returning from a year of traveling I thought this was a great way to generate some spending money over summer. Over the years I have developed this bracelet range by designing and making my own charms. They still stand pride of place in my parents salon.
- Tell us about your current collections that are in store at Tessuti. What were some of the inspirations for these pieces?
This year's main summer range is my Calavera collection. As a kid, aged 8-years-old, my parents sold their business and packed us up to move over to Italy. We back-packed all the way there and all the way back over two and a half years. I will always be so thankful for what my parents did for us as a lot of my pieces are now inspired by the different cultures that I have experienced, or that are on my 'bucket list' to do so. The Calavera collection is inspired by the festival 'Day of the Dead' or 'Día de Muertos'. I have always had a love for this festival and the traditional sugar-skulls so I designed my own version.
- What kind of girl/woman is the 'Petra Bettjeman' jewellery wearer?
I would like to think that my range has something for every girl/woman.
- You also make bespoke jewellery. What has been your personal favourite piece/project that you have worked on?
Every commission piece has been a one off. Each engagement ring, wedding band or necklace is unique to my client and I love helping each of my client's dreams come to life. I recently made my own engagement ring which would definitely be up there on the list of favourites, but I don't think I could actually pick one.
- Tell us a bit about your workshop space.
I have a fantastic space which my wonderful fiancé put together for me. I try to surround myself with beautiful things and inspiration. I have a lot of gemstones, paper, ribbon, fabric, pictures, candles and drawings around me that I draw inspiration from.
- Any favorite materials/stones you like to work with?
I love mixing silver and gold into one piece. I love the contrast it gives. One of my favourite stones is Chrysoprase. I love it's bright green colour. Sadly, this stone is now being crushed up for the nickel that gives it it's colour. Because of this, it is becoming harder to find.
- Any artists/designers who work you admire? Where do you draw your inspiration for ideas from?
I have a lot of books full of beautiful works that the older jewellery houses have created. I love looking through them and seeing how they made things and the different techniques they used. Van Cleef and Arpels, which is one of the oldest Art Deco jewellery houses - their original pieces date back to the 1920's, and also Baulgari, I love their use of different cuts of stones and colour combinations.
My three years of training was done through Peter Minturn Goldsmith school which teaches the traditional jewellery making techniques from the old English apprenticeships. I was lucky enough to be taught a lot of my skills from Peter Minturn himself. My favourite modern jewellery designer would have to be Victoire de Castellane who is a true artist. She is the jewellery designer for Dior and designs all of their one-off creations.
- What are your plans for this summer? Any holiday traditions/favourite places to visit?
Piha is my sanctuary. I have been going there since I was a baby. My beautiful god-parents have had a family batch out there passed on for generations, and my amazing parents rent a place out there each year too. When I drive over that ridge and see the wild beach, my whole body relaxes. When ever I have been overseas and returned home, it is the first thing I do - I go out to Piha. So, that is where I will be this summer!
- What is your most indulgent way to spend a day off?
I love spending time with my fiancé and my Mum and Dad. I am extremely close with my family and strongly belive in the saying 'family comes first'. I also love going to the French markets and relaxing.
- Favourite place to eat out in Auckland?
I have a short list of faves: Nishiki Japanese in Ponsonby, Jalapeños Mexican in the CBD, Ebisu Japanese in the CBD and That's Amore pizza in the CBD.
- Favourite dish to cook friends?
I love cooking and I also LOVE baking. I think my most popular baking dish is my Easy Plum Cake.
- Favourite drink to enjoy in the summer evenings?
Pimms cup, by far!
- One thing on your Christmas wish list?
A new pair of Toms shoes. I love this company and what they do. For every pair of these incredibly comfortable canvas shoes you buy, a pair is given to a child who dosen't have shoes. It's such a simple idea but so effective. They also do a range of awesome sunnies too, and for every pair bought Toms gives a child in need reading glasses or much-needed eye surgery.
See all of Petra Bettjeman's range available at Tessuti here.