ELLE MAGAZINE - July 2011
FORCE OF NATURE
Antlers and bone make a statement
"My pieces are about texture and imperfection."
Dandi Maestre was on a camping expedition with her kids when she stumbled over an unlikely inspiration.
"We found a deer leg," she says. "We didn't take it, but I became interested in transforming discarded materials
and things that people don't immediately think are beautiful." The Colombian-born, Toronto-based designer is known
for working with organic materials - like South American cattle bone (which she polishes and fashions into cuffs) and
shed antlers (which she transforms into statement necklaces and rings). But Maestre insists that she doesn't create jewellery.
"My pieces are closer to sculptures," says the former graphic designer. "They are about texture and imperfection - everything is unique."
Maestre's big break came in 2007, when Holt Renfrew purchased her debut collection; since then, the self-taught jewellery
designer has participated in collaborations with Greta Constantine, Lucian Matis and Denis Gagnon. While Maestre says that
the best part of her job is experimenting with objects found in nature, she also believes that her pieces infuse their wearer with positive energy.
"People tell me that they feel powerful when they wear my work," she says. "They come into a room and people notice them."
We can understand why. ALANAH O'NEILL
PHOTOGRAPHY: Joseph Saraceno