Our Artist of the Month, Nic Bladen, was not born an artist and stumbled upon this line of work while making porcelain and gold crowns as he studies in the field of Dental Technology. This discipline involves amazing precision and attention to minute detail.
Bladen developed an interest in casting and sculpture and when he met Otto du Plessis, Bronze Age Foundry, in 2000 he was convinced that sculpting would be his new destiny. He began an apprenticeship in 2001 learning more about the lost art of wax casting which involves creating moulds from the organic material and casting them in bronze or silver creating beautiful jewellery pieces containing immense detail.
The Cape Town Floral Kingdom is the smallest, yet richest floral kingdom in the world and Bladen lives in the heart of it in Simonstown. He gathers plants and floral specimens in nature such as Protea, Erica, Amaryllis, Lillies and thanks to the concessions of landowners plants like the rare Blue Disa has been sculpted by Nic as well.
Every piece of jewellery that Nic creates is unique and jewellery is not the only pieces he creates. Owner of Ellerman House, Paul Harris, has recently commissioned a sculpture by Nic Bladen for the Wine Gallery at Ellerman House, the luxury boutique hotel in Cape Town. The sculpture of a grapevine in the Wine Gallery is a bronze casting of South Africa’s signature varietal, Pinotage. Except for the right ride of the vine that has been extended in order to follow the contour of the wall against which it has been installed, the sculpture has been accurately reflects the stock from which is was cast. Even the patina (the thin layer that forms naturally on metals such as bronze, when they are exposed to air) has been modified in order to reflect that part of the vine that was underground.
Nic Bladen’s jewellery outlets in Cape Town can be found at The Collective, The Watershed at the V&A Waterfront, Kalk Bay Modern Gallery, Africa Nova and Imagenius.