Featured Maker: Nina Berg - ResArtDesigns
Hi I'm Nina ... I make jewellery and homewares from ecologically mindful epoxy-resin, sourced from biological renewable & re-used resources. Every item I make is unique in that there will never be an identical leaf, flower bud or composition of placement!
Tell us about your background and how you got started:
I've always loved crafting. From a young age I would make perfumes (they weren't the best - never use a washed Vegemite jar!), cardboard boxes covered with collected shells from our holidays at the beach, I learnt knitting & crocheting from mum ... and so on. As an adult to balance out a rather normal day job I would make beaded jewellery to wear and give as gifts, I dabbled in silversmithing (something I WILL get back to ONE day!) and then I moved on to the amazing world of resin :)
What do you make or create?
I make jewellery and homewares from ecologically mindful epoxy-resin, sourced from biological renewable & re-used resources: "biomass sourced as a co-product" means that the resins come from the waste that is produced during the biomass manufacturing process, and what we take away from these processes is the "bio" part of the resin. (Surfing Green Pty Ltd). So essentially each item created is turning waste product from everyday mass-produced product that would normally find its way into landfill, into something both beautiful AND eco-friendly. That's a huge win/win in my book :)
What inspired you to get started?
I was inspired by the company Dinosaur Designs way back in my twenties ... they were so bold and fresh with their colours and designs ... and to this day they push the boundaries of jewellery and art, or merge them even, to create pieces that are timeless and elegant. That's what I want to emulate. I'm only just beginning with my venture (a little later in life), but I am enjoying the creative process as much as the results. There's still not a lot of resin creatives in Australia (it's growing though ... it's such a vastly expressive medium so I'm not surprised, and there are some amazingly talented Aussies out there), and I've found my jewellery to be well received by friends and market goers. I think more people are wanting to get adventurous with their look, even in their day to day goings on. Why limit dressing up to just 'going out' on the weekend?! Life's too short I say.
How long have you been making things?
I've been enjoying the resin creative process for a couple of years now, and really I've only cracked the tip of the iceberg - there's so much more to explore and I can't wait. Previous to resin I was making beaded jewellery for a few years. While I enjoyed doing it, I still felt like it wasn't the '100% personal input' process that I craved. With resin I've found this :)
I'm based on the sensational Sunshine Coast, halfway between the beach and the range..a truly inspirational place to live. We don't holiday much, but we really don't need to ... it's just so beautiful here and we appreciate how lucky we are every day. I work from home in my 'lounge room studio' ... our open plan living area is now divided into 2/3 living and 1/3 my studio & my husband's home office. Our house is only small, but with just us and our 16yr old son we don't get in each other's space too much. I'm hoping for a cute little gypsy style studio in the yard someday ...
Is this a full time gig for you? Or a hobby?
My jewellery creating did start out as a hobby ... people would tell me how beautiful my pieces were and I was creating sales so I thought just maybe this could be something more. Eventually I did make the break from my day job (20 years in the same position was enough for me), the time felt right, and I'm extremely fortunate to have a financially supportive husband until things get moving. We do live fairly frugally, growing our own produce and having chooks helps a bit with the weekly shop ... and my passion for op-shopping keeps costs down too. We're really just happy as a family cruising around, taking the dog to the beach, visiting friends and enjoying our property. Music plays a huge part in our lives also - my husband is a guitar teacher, plays in a band (I recently joined the band also which is fun), our son thankfully has the same talent & dedication as his dad and plays guitar beautifully, and generally we just love music. Another expressive form that the world couldn't do without.
What is the best thing about having your own creative business?
I enjoy creating a piece from start to finish. The process of being inspired by nature for colour palettes; sunsets, clouds, the ocean, forests ... collecting bits and pieces to embed such as shells, coral seaweed, leaves and flowers ... and then seeing a picture in my mind, taking that inspiration from nature and trying to translate it into a piece of jewellery is a challenge and makes each piece meaningful for me, and hopefully the wearer as well.
I've been commissioned to make custom pieces also. I did a lovely pendant for a dear friend which included meaningful items to her; a lock of her young daughter's hair, tiny shells (she is an avid beach lover), and with her favourite colour as the backing. That was a really great piece for me to create. It's tricky keeping motivated when you work from home! House chores, gardening, our dog ( and Netflix ;)) are all great distractions ... so you really have to concentrate on staying focussed! I try to stick to a weekly rotation of tasks - one day I'll pour and sand the previous lot of items, the next day I'll work on my online store, the next day I'll take pictures of products, and the next day upload them and list them. It's time consuming but has to be done!
Tell us about your creative process
As mentioned above I'm mostly inspired by nature, and that's really about it! From the sky's colourings, cloud formations, leaves and flowers, and eventually foraged (already dead) insects etc. I think I enjoy trying to recreate nature's beauty in a form you can keep with you at all times. Preserving a moment maybe. It was extremely important to me to use ethical materials. I really didn't want to add to the earth's slow destruction by using harmful or unethically sourced components ... even when I was doing my beaded jewellery I would wonder about where the semiprecious stones were sourced from and how the beads were made ... so I'm trying my best to not leave any more of a footprint than I am already. Fingers crossed.
A typical day for me is get up and have breakfast, I can't function without my toast and avo when available from our tree, and of course my heart starter - locally roasted coffee. It's the best ('Guru Life' Rosemount, Qld - they do beautiful food too!) Then I'll check my calendar and see what task is up for the day. Check emails, work on website etc. And of course get distracted every half an hour by dog, garden, chooks etc ...
What are the next big plans for your brand?
At the start of the year I thought I’d try my hand at something different ... drawer knobs! Yes, a quirky idea but hey, why not?! I’m happy with how they’ve turned out, and love the magnification effect and the beautiful faceted effect of the smaller knobs. The light dances through them nicely!
I’m loving working with native flora too, the gorgeous, tiny wattle flowers look so cute in the stone earrings. Leaf skeletons are also fascinating me at the moment ... especially cactus skeleton! I have made some beautiful earrings out of them.
The latest range that I am most proud of is my ‘Scentimentals’ Essential Oil Rollerball Pendants. These are a stunning real crystal-shaped pendant with rollerball attached so you can always have your favourite oil close by for easy application any time!
I wear mine to death ... currently I have Young Living ‘Valor’ in mine, but another fantastic perk of these pendants is that the rollerball is interchangeable, so if I want a different oil I just need to swap it out! However, there are a few lovely designs to choose from ( and more on the way!) so it’s quite possible that one pendant may just not do …
I’m always coming up with new designs, so make sure you check back regularly to see what's new :)
Where can we find you?
You can find my jewellery in Makersville in the beautiful town of Montville in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. I am also a regular at the Sunshine Coast Collective Markets in Coolum on the 4th Sunday of each month.