Tart Boutique enjoys a good treasure hunt. We love beautiful objects that are unique and inspiring and so were thrilled to discover Sunshine Coast silversmith and designer, Nicole Thomas. An Emily Carr graduate and entrepreneur, Nicole is largely self-taught when it comes to making jewelry. Heavily inspired by the shapes and motifs of Art Nouveau from the turn of the last century, she infuses butterflies and pearls into much of her work.
Butterflies are a large part of the imagery we use at Tart Boutique. They carry the motif of love, ecstasy and desire. What makes Nicole’s pieces so unique is that she uses real butterfly wings – a fact that can often startle people. However, these colourful wings are ethically farmed in South America. Butterflies live short lives and the wings are harvested after they have naturally died. The farms are a part of a co-operative that follows strict guidelines and supports the local communities and workers – in much the same way we get fair-trade coffee. When asked about her draw to the Butterflies, she replied it was their unique development and evolution along with the organic shapes of their wings that appealed. Butterflies represent freedom, beauty and the ability to transform oneself.
In keeping with an ethical theme, the silver from Nicole’s pieces is imported from the worlds largest silver recycling plant in Japan. Here, silver is reclaimed from everything – computers, machinery etc.. During the reclaiming process, the silver looses the chemical Fermide, making the actual content of silver much higher.
Pearls form another part of Nicole’s story. Not only do they represent a classic style, but they highlight an appreciation for quality. Pearls are sensual, seductive and feminine – which is something else Tart Boutique can appreciate!