Welcome to the Sunbird Creations webpage where we showcase our crafted items, handmade with love and care. Ten years ago, after a career in finance over many years, Helen changed direction and followed a long held interest in jewellery, studying Jewellery Manufacture and Design part time at the Ruth Prowse School of Art in Cape Town, South Africa. This brought together her interests in art, design, jewellery and chemistry - an alchemy of interests developed over the years which crystallized in learning the skills of working with metals, gemstones and hand tools. Suddenly her husband Phil had competition when visiting a hardware store as Helen is always on the lookout for the right hammer or useful tool to make use of in her manufacturing.
Developing the skills needed to work with metals, like most things in life, takes practice and coming to this quite late in life, developing the dexterity for jewellery making has been a challenge, albeit a rewarding one.
In designing items of jewellery or gift-wares, Helen takes inspiration from beautiful things around her, whether it is in a natural form found in nature, a famous artwork or design, or the beautiful patterns found around us in buildings and wrought iron work from a bygone era, finding the themes of balance and flow most attractive. Many of her pieces combine an element of organic, flowing design that can occur naturally in the process of manufacture, with elements of precision and order - a combination of both order and chaos. This might be seen in some of her pieces such as a silver box, which needs precision, with a reticulated surface on the box lid, which is an organic process resulting in an abstract design.
Helen has taken full advantage of the offer of free courses with the Gemology Institute of America (GIA) which have generously been made available during the Covid 19 pandemic, and is refreshing her knowledge of jewellery design and manufacture and coloured stone gemology during this difficult period we are all currently dealing with.
Phil spent many years as a Mining Surveyor in Namibia, designing mining layouts for underground tunneling. As Phil's career was in mining, he naturally has a good deal of knowledge about rocks and minerals, their formation and the landscape they are found in.
Having found a new direction since his retirement, Phil enjoys working with high quality stained glass. Designing the layout to create an image and cutting the glass to shape requires patience and skill that Phil has developed over many years in other fields and can now use in this creative way. Phil designs and makes makes large stained glass windows as well as smaller decorative items. His designs are clear and uncluttered, and are based on the natural world of animals and insects.
Phil is also the chief cook and bottle washer of the business as he is able to turn his hand to any kind of DIY, so has become the "Builder of Workshops Extraordinaire!" Since we have moved between South Africa, Denmark and England, there have been several workshops which Phil has skillfully rebuilt every time.