Makila Nsika

Makila is a London based jeweller, born in the Republic of Congo. She discovered her love of jewellery making while regularly visiting her father in Congo, between 2012-2017, and spending time with artists and artisans in their studios. She is particularly influenced by a locally renowned painter and sculptor Remy Etsion, who told her the history of the disappearing crafts around her and the hidden symbols in objects and paintings. This started Makila’s fascination for how objects – especially jewellery – are made, and for how the materials chosen to make them are testimonies of our attachments to a time and place, as well as of the way these bonds evolve over time.

Makila first taught herself basic soldering and metal shaping techniques and sold pieces in Spitalfields market. Hooked, she joined City Lit in London to study fine jewellery. This comprehensive course has enabled her to identify her direction and create her first collection.
Makila’s first collection, Sand and Fire, combines silver with traditionally crafted beads made in Ghana from recycled glass. Glass is made from sand and heat - it can change shape and purpose. In pre-colonial Africa, it was unusual and considered precious to the extent that the beads were used for trade. Now, they may have lost their worth, but they are still loved as multicoloured adornment. Makila was touched by the different stories that one can read in the beads: stories of conquest, power and change, but also attachment.
Her designs incorporate the beads sparingly like precious stones. The silver is textured to resemble the grainy aspects of the beads and sand. Shaping the silver in repetitive patterns, echoing those seen in textile and sculptures, Makila explores her attachment to Africa. The pieces have a rough but tactile beauty and shine gently under the light.