INSIDE X BANK features one of our Dutch designers
answering five questions. This edition features Sheila Westera.
Sheila Westera’s unique wire bending technique is a signature to everything she makes.
Capturing gemstones in an unconventional manner, setting Sheila apart from her counterparts.
Her style is intricate, raw, bold, slightly rebellious and she really puts soul into her jewellery.
Sheila’s curious and artistic soul made her to invent her own technique, weaving an webbing natural stones
in precious sterling silver, gold filled, pink or yellow gold metal. She never meant to work in a traditional smithing technique,
making her work one of a kind personal jewellery stories.
Who is your favourite X BANK designer (besides yourself of course), and why?
That is a hard one to answer as I like so many of the designers at X BANK! It would probably have to be Piet Hein Eek for his ability to find a balance between modernity, tradition, waste and sustainability. It was quite revolutionary to make scrap wood Cupboards in 1990 that today are now being copied around the world. And he keeps evolving his search! I feel connected to him because when I started making jewellry I was searching for solutions in this world as well, for the waste problem and for sustainability in general. Other designers that I like at X BANK are Studio Drift for their development of the relationship between nature, technology and man, which results in amazing light art performances that are just beautiful to watch. Studio Job for their sculptural furniture and objects - all their pieces sit next to each other and are different but totally recognisable, which is also how I see my work in a way. I also like Mark Sturkenboom as he is challenging design and how we look at things.
What does it mean for you as a designer to have your products/collection at X BANK?
It’s awesome to be featured in a space as cool as X Bank next to so many amazing Dutch designers and artists. The store is unusually large for being located right in the centre of Amsterdam and it’s totally focused on Dutch artists which is also unique. At first I didn’t consider myself to be a typical Dutch designer/artist as I have been working from London for so many years but X BANK is really the perfect match for me and a great way for me to show my work to my loyal Dutch clientele.
What is in your opinion typical for Dutch art, fashion and design?
Smart and minimalistic, but I’m also very surprised at how many amazing “colourful” artists and designers are based in Amsterdam/The Netherlands right now. After not living in the Netherlands for a long time, there are so many different, beautiful, original and tasteful designs that have been added over the past 10 to 15 years by really stylish and cool people with a very personal approach.
How do you get inspired for a new piece?
Next to studying the History of Art and Architecture in Amsterdam, I also worked in the diamond and fine jewellery field in Amsterdam. I always knew that I wanted to do something with my hands but after different jobs, traveling, a lot of soul-searching and collecting many stones I realised that art and jewellery had left a deep rooted impact on me over the years. These stones became my focus and I wanted to invent something different than the traditional goldsmith approach so I started creating with my hands. It took me some years to develop my own style but now I find my inspiration from deep within and/or from a specific stone. I want to create organically sculptured, wearable art pieces that reflect who I am. Each piece finds it’s way through my soul, created with my hands, sculptured in an organic way. The outcome is glamorous with a rough edge.
X BANK is the only store in the Netherlands that sells Sheila Westera, why X BANK?
When I make jewellery I want each piece to be “one-of-a-kind.” It really takes a lot of time to make just one ring and it’s all quite personal. The demand for my work grew slowly over the past years through word of mouth so it has given me enough time to think what will be next? I was starting to look for special platforms and before I realised where to exhibit my work, a client said that she thought my work had to be in X BANK! I believe this is the right platform for me because it has a beautiful selection of design and art in a very special setting. My Dutch clients are happy to see some of my work and I am excited to attract new clients as well.