Stellenbosch University


Creative Jewellery and Metal Design Division
The Creative Jewellery and Metal Design Division of Stellenbosch University was founded in 1968 and is the oldest tertiary facility dedicated specifically to enable critical thinking and skills development around the discipline of jewellery design and manufacture in South Africa. Students are exposed to an environment that allows for the exchange of ideas and cross-fertilization between different art forms, disciplines, departments, and faculties on campus. We continuously encourage our students to think critically about their discipline, which allows for the development of unique and innovative design ideas while also placing a high emphasis on the development of technical skills.

Our Approach
Our course is focused on teaching students to create jewellery based on sourcing, understanding, and organizing various types of conceptual and visual information within specific contexts and concepts. We guide our students toward developing a holistic understanding of the critical discourse, role, and possibilities of jewellery.

We believe that jewellery is a multifaceted communication and representation tool which can provoke, critique, record, and amuse. Our students are encouraged to utilize a broad range of approaches, concepts, and media, through which each of the many aspects of jewellery’s messages and meanings can be explored, understood, and applied.

Undergraduate Studies
The Department of Visual Arts at Stellenbosch University offers a four‐year BA degree in creative jewellery and metal design.

“Creative jewellery and metal design” broadly refer to two interlinked aspects of jewellery: the visual/conceptual design component on the one hand, and the technical execution/representation thereof on the other. Our programme thus offers a comprehensive education designed for students who want broad exposure to studio practice while simultaneously investigating the historical and sociocultural movements that give meaning, shape, and power to jewellery today.

The main subjects are jewellery design, production techniques, and metal techniques, with additional subjects being drawing, computer-aided design (CAD), photography, visual studies, and gemmology. The wide array of practical subjects results in our students mastering both age-old manual and state-of-the-art digital techniques of jewellery design and production within a critical, contemporary academic/theoretical context.

Throughout the course, our students are supervised by dedicated lecturers who bring decades of teaching and professional experience to the programme, while visiting designers and critics introduce students to varied and global perspectives, providing students with the opportunity to truly become critical and reflective about their own work and process.

While technological developments are constantly changing and advancing design and production methods, the underlying pursuit remains unchanged for our students: to create work with content and meaning.

Postgraduate Studies
The Department of Visual Arts at Stellenbosch University offers a master’s in visual arts and a master’s in visual studies. These programmes offer an opportunity for specialized postgraduate research in studio production and theory within the broader areas of visual communication design, illustration, jewellery design, and fine art.

The programme promotes the development of the student’s particular interests, skills, and ideas, and students are expected to conduct independent practical and theoretical research at an advanced and in-depth (postgraduate) standard which reflects a critical awareness of a contemporary South African context.

The MA in Visual Arts programme encourages research that is practice-based in its methodology—that is, research wherein the relationship between practice and theory is dialogical and interrelated, not only in the research process but also in the final presentation of the research project.

Staff in the Jewellery Division
Carine Terreblanche, senior lecturer
Carine Terreblanche completed her BA (FA), BA (Hons), and an MA (FA) at Stellenbosch University. She was an exchange student at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, in Amsterdam, during 1994. Terreblanche lectured at Stellenbosch University from 1994–2001. In 2001, she left academia to work as a freelance goldsmith in Cape Town. In 2007, she returned to Stellenbosch University as head of the Creative Jewellery and Metal Design Division.

In her research, she explores the boundaries between jewellery and sculpture, questioning the body-object relationship. In her current work, she is taking this exploration of scale further by crafting the same pieces in different sizes with different materials, questioning the role size plays in creating meaning and assigning value. She also looks at the dialogue between more abstract forms and possible figurative interpretations in a portrait series comprising several brooches. Jessica Hughes interviewed her on these pieces for AJF. (Read it here.)

Joani Groenewald, lecturer
Joani is a lecturer in the Visual Arts Department, as well as a jewellery designer, goldsmith, and artist. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in visual art (Creative Jewellery and Metal Design) from Stellenbosch University in 2009. After a two-year professional internship, she qualified as a goldsmith in 2011. In March 2015, she successfully completed her master’s degree in visual arts at Stellenbosch University, achieving a distinction. She has participated in numerous national and international contemporary jewellery exhibitions during her time as student and lecturer. Currently she is enrolled for a PhD in jewellery and object design at PXL-MAD Hasselt and Stellenbosch University.

Joani views contemporary jewellery as a medium through which one can critically reflect upon one’s social and political environment. Her research interests are memory studies and translation, specifically in relation to a South African context. She continues to make art that feeds to and from these research interests. In 2018, Joani won the South African Contemporary Jewellery Awards, and in 2019 she was awarded second place in the jewellery category of the PPC Imaginarium Awards.

Mariambibi Kahn, lecturer

Mariambibi Khan has been a lecturer in Creative Jewellery and Metal Design since February 2018. She completed her Ba Hons in jewellery design and manufacture (cum laude) at the University of Johannesburg (2015). In 2016 she had the opportunity to attend the Jewelry Art Institute, in New York, where she acquired knowledge and skills in granulation and setting.

Khan’s research interests lie in the diaspora of culture and Islamic identity as well as feminism, while incorporating the use of jewellery techniques such as bobbin lace, crochet, and metal work as a medium which she intends to take further in her master’s degree. She also received a prize as the runner-up in the South African Contemporary Jewellery Awards 2018 for her piece called Interlacing Identities, about which an article was published in Creative Feel Magazine as well as Metalsmith.

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RECENT GRADUATES: If you recently received a degree–BA, BFA, MA, or MFA–from this university, everything you need to know to upload your graduate portfolio can be found at this link.

Graduate Portfolios

Lani van Niekerk, BA, 2016

Ann ten Cate, BA, 2016

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