Marianne Anselin's workshop viewsDapper colours and green plants soon give way to tools usually associated with the male world... Welcomed by Marianne's youthful smile, reason flinches: but how do you make a blacksmith into a woman?




The first thing you notice when you see Marianne Anselin's intriguing jewellery is the original combination of discarded materials, recovered and carefully worked with precious metals to create real jewellery that is both meaningful and makes you want to wear it.

Elsa (EV): Marianne, some of your pieces evoke nature, others a mechanic workshop, and yet, their offbeat look, their touch, the soft shine of gold and the discreet presence of precious stones immediately make you want to make them your own. How do you explain this?

Marianne Anselin, mechanical necklace and ring in gold, iron and emeraldMarianne (MA) It seems to me that if one takes pleasure in making objects, in playing with them, it must necessarily arouse desire, right? Pleasure transpires, and jewellery is an object of pleasure... My training as a jeweller was completed by an artistic training in Strasbourg and then in Geneva, but my "chosen" profession is indeed to express myself through jewellery. For me, jewellery only makes sense when it is in relation with the person who wears it. My pieces question both our relationship with the planet and human relations. A whole.

The concepts that my jewels convey do not exclude either intrinsic beauty or the pleasure of the eye that I hope to arouse and the so-called poor materials are worked so as to be ennobled and pleasant to wear. Moreover, I do not place preciousness in a market value, and for example, iron, native metal which constitutes the Earth and indissociable of the human evolution is for me a very "precious" material.


EV: But what techniques do you use?

MA : Creative work begins with a walk in nature and in places that are dear to me. I need to walk in the natural environment, deep countryside, forest... to find my "voice", my inspiration, but I also stroll in places abandoned by man, in fallow land.

Marianne Anselin, wasteland and workshop object
Deeply admiring of what surrounds us and especially of nature, I have always collected the objects that caught my eye and kept those that moved me... I realized little by little that I was collecting objects, either for their shape, or for the imprint of time they bear on them, like rusty iron.
For rusty iron, it is first of all a work of transformation because it is the object, its form or its material which interests me. I work it with classic jewellery techniques: I hammer it cold so as not to lose its patina. In order not to hide the passage of time, I often use riveting and setting to associate it with gold or silver which will be in direct contact with the skin. It is often a work of adjustment to obtain an obvious, natural contrast.

Marianne Anselin, Gourmandise cuff, silver and riveted iron, unique piece

As far as pebbles or plants are concerned, I sometimes take impressions of them and rework them, divert them or freeze them so that they become portable. I try to focus on details that we take so little time to look at.

EV: It's quite rare to find a forge in a jeweler's workshop!

Anselin, gas forgeMA: Yes, I enjoy working with the material and mastering it. I regularly put on my apron and gloves to go and strike the anvil. What interests me in the act of forging is the physical gesture, the link between the head, the hands and the material that is made and unmade... When you don't master this technique thoroughly, you sometimes have to let the material guide you. As it is very hot near the forge and it is sometimes tiring, the brain goes into "off" mode and it is the body to body that speaks, I then let the hand do the work.

EV: And where did you learn?

MA: I briefly discovered the forge at ENSAMA (Olivier de Serre) in Paris, while I was specialising in copperware, in 2000. In each school, then, Decorative Arts in Strasbourg or HEAD in Geneva, I used all the possibilities that were offered to me to deepen my technique and it is in Geneva, for my diploma, that I made my very first forged jewel, in iron. Finally, Gilles Joneman, Master of Art whose pupil I was for 3 years was a blacksmith in his youth and guided me a lot, especially after our very striking trip to Mali.

Anselin, forged rings "Africa inside me

Forged "Africa inside me" rings


EV: How would you describe the workshop?

Marianne Anselin at the benchIt is located on the top floor of a building in the jewellers' district of Paris, with a beautiful light. It is quite vast, composed of a main room with 4 workbenches, a soundproof room to knock on the anvil and a reception room .
I mean, it's primarily a girls' workshop! Even though we also have a boy roommate, we try to make it a friendly place to work and share.

Marianne Anselin's studio, view on the roofs of Paris


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