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Arts and Culture, People of Joburg

Concrete Bling: meet Aleks Ashton

Feb 1, 2019, Author: Danita Pilley

Aleks Ashton creates bold, award-winning artisanal jewellery for her daring and unique customers. Could you be one of them?

Owner of Night Shine Candy, Aleks Ashton was the 2017 runner up in the PPC Jewellery Category and winner in last year’s instalment. This is an artist who has a way with concrete when it comes to using the medium in technically and aesthetically innovative ways. Her work incorporates mixed materials like sterling silver, brass, concrete, raw and cut gemstones, acrylic and beads which happens when you let a child go wild in a mystery box.

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“It started when I was 7 and my art teacher let me dig into a giant tub of jewellery parts and miscellanea for a ceramic art project. It grew when I was 10 and my father bought two huge bags of, you guessed it, jewellery parts and miscellanea. What is it? An unquenchable enthusiasm for making jewellery that’s been with me for over 20 years.”

At the age of 29, Aleks broke it off with her corporate career and fell straight into the arms of her true love, jewellery design. And with a string of accolades later, it’s clear she made the right move.

Last year’s winning PPC piece: Tiara of the Heart & Head was a showcase of the lightweight quality of concrete as well as its potential to accompany traditional jewellery materials. Possibly a hard sell for the jewel purists back in the day but certainly an approach poised to trend amongst today’s consumers.

The piece utilises a glass fibre reinforced mix called Texcrete, combined with crushed Azurite, Turquoise and Lepidolite and applied onto a base of woven brass wire. The student from the Liz Loubser Jewellery School then used sterling silver for all the metal accents and finished it off with a sea-green velvet ribbon.

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Aleks remains ever grateful to her mentors through the years and continues to learn. “The Teachers at Liz Loubser Jewelry School and the designers at Tinsel Gallery are phenomenal artists and it is invigorating to experience their work on a regular basis.”

She continues to attend classes twice a week and says she would miss out on the “injection of enthusiasm” she gets from the learning environment if she only worked from home. Aleks is currently developing the digital presence of her company Night Shine Candy Jewelry and is creating collections for the launch of its online store at the end of February.

Aleks will also be participating in the Beauty Revolution Expo in Sandton on the 6th and 7th of April where she will be launching two brand new collections. I am very excited about the expo. The organizers’ message is “ Humanizing Beauty” which really resonates with me. You can find out more at www.beautyrevolution.co.za

Besides that, she says she is having a blast curating a delightfully colourful Instagram feed with photos from her works in progress, travels, accidental art and the obligatory but ever satisfying cat photos. Aleks may be contacted at [email protected] and make sure to follow her on social media: Instagram: @night_shine_candy_jewelry Facebook: @NightShineCandy

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Awards & exhibitions

2017 – Runner up in Jewellery Category, PPC Imaginarium. Piece: Cyberglyph

2018 – Winner Jewellery Category, PPC Imaginarium. Piece: Tiara of the Heart & Head.

Both pieces have been exhibited across South Africa, including at the Turbine Art Fair, Jewellex, Decorex, 100% Design and Ava Gallery.

Tinsel Gallery – Liz Loubser Jewellery School Show 2016, 2018

Coming Soon

February 2019 – Launch of Night Shine Candy online store

April 2019 – Participant in the Beauty Revolution Expo in Sandton

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