Our Kin: Esther Weinberg | Melbourne, Australia
Creating custom jewelry and repurposing family treasures into everyday wearables, Esther Weinberg calls herself a Metal Witch. Read on to learn more about Esther’s practice and how she balances work, health and creativity through her unique take on daily ritual.
Who modelled “success” for you growing up?
Success isn’t actually a word in my vocab. But if there was anyone growing up I think back on as a definition of success, I’d say my mother.
She was an artist, did things her way. Looking back at her body of work I would say she was successful in the formal sense. If I think critically on what success is for me now, I would say it is more about autonomy, freedom to work on my own. I can see my mum also had that same approach to her work.
When did you know you wanted to be a jeweller? How did you begin and how did you learn your craft?
This question I can answer easy! I would say I started making wearable pieces from a young age, I was always creating. There was always fabric and thread at home with mum being a textile artist, so I played. I learnt to make knotted friendship bracelets from my neighbour's older sister. When we moved to Melbourne, I found this shop on Chapel St called Purple (or something with purple in the name).
Everything in this shop was purple and it was dreamy. I used to just hang out in there, I ended up making beaded bracelets for the owner to sell. It was my first glimpse at a creative endeavour with an exchange of money. I think I was about 14 years old.
Once I finished uni I found some freedom in my work and became a jeweller. I’ve been doing this for around 10 years.
In a world that is very focussed on the digital, what are the benefits of working with your hands?
For me working with my hands is meditative - throughout my life I have always gravitated to keeping my hands busy. In my practise my favoured parts are always at the bench and working with metal. My mind quietens when I am working.
Do you have a clear line between work and everything else in your life, or is it more intertwined?
I have been trying to create clear demarcation points between work and home. However as a solo business owner it’s hard. Really hard.
I feel like I am always thinking about what's on my plate and problem solving aspects of tricky jobs. It often happens in a subconscious way, like I will be driving and have a light bulb moment of a potential fix on a job.
When I think about social media it is even more blurred. When do we switch off?
What are your favourite ways to relax?
Probably when I am gardening, walking the dogs or bird spotting.
How does your energy impact your ability to create? Do you need to be in the right frame of mind to make?
Hugely. Being a spoonie my arthritis and endometriosis affect my energy. I definitely feel like I don’t work my best when I am in pain. I guess being able to work in a flexible environment helps a lot, I have so much control over my workspace which affects my mental health and my physical health. I feel so lucky I have the ability to be a jeweller on my terms with amazing customers.
Do you have any rituals that your like to honour?
Yes, I definitely do in an informal sense. I am heavily drawn to elements - water, fire, earth and air.
I see the ritual elements in my everyday life
Water I feel in baths and showering.
Fire is work.
Earth is gardening which I really do as much as possible - pyjama gardening is a favorite morning ritual!
Air - incense, smell and the visual of air moving is an instant time out for me. I try to light incense whenever I can - my aim is once a day and watch the smoke and have the moment. Smelling the fragrance through the house with the airflow is a nose twitch fave.
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