By Jana-Mari Smith
That Namibia’s landscapes, wildlife and geological phenomena are her muses, soon becomes evident when you browse through the jewellery crafted by master goldsmith Grit Bottcher, owner of Ekipa Gold Design, which you’ll find on the level referred to as the Hilde List Loft at the Namibia Craft Centre.
Grit uses silver, a little bit of gold, and aluminum and brass to capture the delicate shapes and textures that nature has to offer, incorporating zebra, springbok and Nguni hides, porcupine quills, gemsbok horn and ostrich eggshells, among other materials.
Inspired by all that Namibia has to offer, her creative juices flow in all directions. “Nature gifts me these shapes. All I do is put them into a frame.” Thus Grit harnesses nature for the purpose of beauty.
The colours of precious stones mined in Namibia inspire her. Various tints of tourmaline and blue aquamarine are favourites that Grit uses for her funky and stylish earrings, necklaces and rings. Each object exudes African chic. Other stones she enjoys working with are amethyst and rose quartz.
Grit opened Ekipa Gold Design in 2001, and has been offering Namibians and international visitors unique, boldly designed jewellery ever since. The pieces are carefully crafted, expressing a simplicity that belies the professional mastery of their creator.
Grit describes her style as not too fussy, with only few elements. This keeps the focus on the main ‘ingredient’, be it a tourmaline, a piece of gemsbok horn or porcupine quills.
The name of her shop was inspired by the ekipa – a traditional Owambo ornamental button that is shaped like a beehive. Women wore these classical artifacts sewn onto leather belts hanging down their backs, indicating the wealth and status of their husbands.
The end result – seeing how her creativity and her muse, Namibian nature, have taken shape in a specific design – is what keeps Grit going. “At the end of the day I want to see what I’ve created. I want to see that I’ve produced some really nice things.”
So if you’re looking for a piece of exquisite jewellery as a gift for yourself or for a loved one, make Ekipa Goldsmith a priority stop.