Originally from Argentina, Erika now resides in Norwich where she runs her jewellery brand La Plata Studio. Her jewellery designs are distinctly modern and architectural, successfully celebrating simplicity. Erika joined the thrive collective this Summer, and I'm so excited to continue to support and watch her brand develop.
Erika and some of her jewellery collection
Tell us a little bit about growing up in Argentina, and when you made the move to live in the UK.
I grew up in a suburb of Buenos Aires. It is an area that is full of life, with lots of bars and restaurants. I used to play in the street with other children from my area. By my twenties the area changed a lot, and as I am close with my brother we both decided to go to Spain. I lived in Andalucía for five years before coming to England to study English. I fell in love with London and so I decided to stay.
What led you to discover the craft of silversmithing?
Argentina means "LAND OF SILVER". Silver is very common and accessible in my country. I always loved silver jewellery. When I was around twenty four years old I had one to one lessons with a silversmith which I really enjoyed. However I never thought of myself as an artist or craft maker. It was not until four years ago when I started to explore my artistic side and I returned to silversmithing at Wensum Lodge.
What do you enjoy most about the process of making jewellery?
I enjoy the whole process. I like to form the metal and to give it texture and to discover and explore new or traditional techniques. At the end of last year I made some Fold Forming which I really enjoyed so I would love to make some more jewellery with this technique.
How does your culture and heritage inspire your creative work? Where do you seek inspiration for new designs?
My culture and heritage definitely inspires me. All Native American (North and South) craft is so beautiful. I read your interview with Heather Williams and as her I follow Kim Thompson as well and she inspired me so much last year with her tutorials. Because of her I am making a hollow collection. However I am still discovering my own style and always learning.
Do you think people are becoming more interested in buying handmade and supporting independent makers now?
Yes, I think people are interested in handmade and I am happy about that. Back in Argentina it is all about independent shops and every high-street in every city is different and that is the beauty I think. Going to a craft market or a new town or city and find "treasures" things that are unique, made with love from a small business or individual. That is what I miss from Argentina...the big markets with hundreds of stalls, street theatre, jugglers, singers in the park and a longer summer.
What small businesses or brands are you loving at the moment?
That is difficult to answer. I cant draw so I love the work of illustrators and printers. To name some Jess Chan, Tipperlyhill Original Art, Olivia Jeffries, HKD ceramics. I love lots of jewellery artists, but one that I admire and what she makes is mind-blowing for me, is Nicole Ringgold.
I like to listen the radio, at the moment is BBC radio 2 or Absolute radio or a Florence + the Machine CD.
//Images courtesy of Erika Del Zotto @la_plata_studio and product photography by Megan Clark//