Artistic+Unique = Artistique
"Jewellery is my passport to everywhere without having to leave where I am," is the thought behind Artistique by Dyhemmia Matasha Williams.
Her work represents diversity. There is a cross-section of culture and nature that will appeal to everyone, and that is what Williams had set out to do. She admits that the industry is a competitive one, but what helps her to stand out is the fact that it can take you somewhere else.
She researches other cultures and their practices, to incorporate into her work. During this process, she has often come upon the issue of cultural appropriation which sees the struggle of who really was the origin of certain practices. She wants to help eliminate that issue with her work.
"When I am making jewellery, I normally take two or more cultures and make them into a piece. So you might see a necklace with an Apache or native look, but it's made with African beads and completed with a Persian pendant. So if a native Indian wears the necklace, an African won't have an issue with who started wearing beads before who, because it's made in the native style but instead of using native beads, we use African beads. So both sets of people can appreciate each other's culture and take part in it without feeling like they're appropriating. So, if all cultures can be cohesive on a piece of jewellery and not fall apart, then people should not have to fall apart either," she told Outlook.
She started making jewellery in 2014, while she was still in college. She was seeking a job in an art studio for the summer, and the only opening they had was for a jewellery instructor. Williams was clueless about jewellery making, but she wanted to work in the studio. So she while she was home, using pieces of her father's studio wires, she started experimenting, and found that she was talented in the area. Her lack of expertise prevented her from getting the job, but she found something new that she loved, and continued making jewellery.
Starting with coil rings, earring and bracelets, she managed to get her creations sold. But coils was just not enough for her and she started to not only explore different styles, but different raw materials like wood, yarn and plastics.
"I found interest in pushing myself and making jewellery from these materials, and I ended up weaving dream catcher necklaces and using glass and wooden beads to make necklaces along with some of my wire work," she told Outlook.
Calling her accessory line Artistique, was purely based on playing with the two words that define her work - artistic and unique. She hopes to have her creative work recognised internationally, making Artistique a household name.
She has fully invested her time into Artistique, but also engages in charitable endeavours. Williams volunteers at Chupse, which is a programme created by the Jamaica Association for the Intellectual Disabilities. She teaches adults with intellectual disabilities how to make jewellery from fish scales they they get from the fishermen and Blue Mountain coffee beans. All proceeds from the sale of their jewellery are used to fund the programme and provide the participants with a source of income.
Born and raised in Papine, St Andrew, as the eldest of three children, she admits that she has always been artistic, and being creative was always in the cards. Everyone who knows her predicted that she would be doing something in the artistic or creative field. She has been fulfilling her dream and what makes her Dyhemmia Matasha Williams.