With a permanent studio at M16 Artspace, Nicola Knackstredt’s aptitude for her craft has turned a passionate hobby into a thriving career.
Now running a successful online business, Nicola first discovered her talent through a short jewelery course in Sydney, describing the moment she first crossed the mind as ‘transformative’.
Looking at her unsettling beauty as a glistening rain of metal shavings fell, she was instantly hooked, and her work as a human rights lawyer was momentarily suspended to relive this fleeting moment of euphoria.
Since honing her craft at the Australian National University (where she studied goldsmithing and silversmithing), each silhouette of Nicola’s work represents something infinitely powerful and utterly personal.
From bold earrings to intricately woven necklaces, what quickly shines through her designs is the deliberate way the innate rigidity of metal is transformed into quite the opposite.
Taking inspiration from fabric, each design is also a nod to Nicola’s childhood love for fashion.
“When I was very young, I wanted to be a fashion designer,” she says. “I made clothes for all my dolls. I grew up in the countryside, so we didn’t have much to do. It was a great opportunity to explore my creativity.
“But then I started looking at the models, and to be honest, I hated them. I hated following the instructions, and it was too restrictive because it’s so loose that it’s hard to get that structure or that shape. I guess that’s part of the reason I started using fine silver,”
But that’s when she discovered the TV series Next in fashion that his work has been reinvented – a baptism by fashion – that has inspired artistic creations in the name of love, experimentation and pure, unadulterated joy.
“I watched this program on Netflix. It kind of reinvigorated me with all those kinds of feelings I had when I was younger, doing stuff for fun and playing.
“Looking at these people who were career fashion designers and had forgotten what it was to do just for fun, I thought, ‘Oh, why don’t I just try using some metal like that,” says Nicola.
Nicola’s craft has seen her construct a myriad of beautifully connected pieces that revel in curiosities and contradictions, but what remains at the core is her own intimate relationship with her work.
“I always do it for me and my body, how I feel and what I look like wearing it. It is always an expression of myself. There are definitely things I do that I think push the boundaries of what I would normally wear,” she says.
“If I put something in an exhibition, it would be something that you wouldn’t wear walking down the street, because the stuff is a bit more experimental. But it would always be something that I think, ‘Yeah, I could definitely wear that. I feel happy to wear it”.
As she takes a moment to pause and reflect on the trajectory of her jewelry career (which she balances with her legal work), Nicola is confident that the iconic use of fabric will continue to weave vehemently into her future work.
Her signature aesthetic is all about spontaneity, fluidity and freedom – a nostalgic nod to her early designs where her little dolls felt the first touches of her fiery creativity.
And just like his work, his future projects are filled with duality.
“I don’t have a plan. And I think that makes me quite nervous because I don’t know where it’s going to take me. But on the other hand, it’s exciting, because it can go anywhere.
“I don’t think I’m done with using metal as fabric. I think there are other things I can explore with it, and I really liked that aesthetic. There may be a time when I decide to move on and start trying something else, but I’m not sure I can see myself quitting anytime soon.
Who: Nicola Knackstredt
Where: M16 Artspace
Website + Instagram: nicolaknackstredtjewellery.com