Titanium is a material more often associated with jet engines and spacecraft than jewellery but it is its industrial resilience that appeals to jeweller Sarah Rothe. Etched titanium is her signature material, having first worked with it following a residency in China in 2008. The process to create a range that might include brooches, rings and pendants is slow and methodical and over the last ten years Rothe has built a following around the launch of new pieces.
Rothe says of her process, “I create the design on the computer and send them off to be etched in the US. I envisage big pieces, really intricate but bold, seeing them as statement pieces that could be worn on the catwalk. The etching comes back in sheets and I weld and cold join to bring the pieces together.”
As a contemporary jeweller, Rothe embodies a true entrepreneurial spirit and is continually on the move. When she is not producing her jewellery, she is either managing her retail outlet Sarah Rothe Jewellery in Regent Arcade, showcasing her work at markets and events like WOMADelaide, or working at the JamFactory in her new role as Creative Director of the Jewellery and Metal Studio. Starting this role in February 2018, Rothe is charged with securing new commissions and collaborations and mentoring the first and second year JamFactory Associates in the metal and jewellery studio.
Having already achieved so much since graduating from Adelaide College of the Arts in 2006, some career highlights include a brooch gifted to Hilary Clinton from the Premier’s Department, and her work ‘Anisoptera Collar’ purchased in 2014 by Truus and Joost Daalder which is now in the collection of the Art Gallery of South Australia.
With so much happening in her life, what is she currently working on? “It’s a new contemporary jewellery collection of etched titanium inspired by Blue Tiger butterflies from the Daintree Rainforest. My mum found several that had died and I am working with the whole butterfly shape as well as repeated elements, making new big creatures out of butterfly wings.” This new butterfly collection will bring together her love of colour and form, moulded from the same energy and inspiration that makes Sarah Rothe as dynamic and resilient as the titanium she brings to life.
First appeared in The Adelaide Review, Issue 458.