In conversation with Amber Tak of inspiring handmade jewellery brand PBA

Amber Tak, owner of the recently launched handmade earring line Polymer by Amber, has been experimenting with clay since the beginning of 2017. Amber started using the medium for a college project where she had to make tiny figurines, and the success of those inspired her to start making her own earrings. In hindsight, Amber sees those pieces as pretty cliche — tiny ice-cream cones and marshmallows — but people started asking her where she got them, and Polymer by Amber was born late last year.

What inspires your earrings?
I’ve always been drawn to shapes in nature. If you look at everything you find organic outlines that flow so effortlessly. Nature is an incredible designer. It could be the shape of a pebble, a piece of bark, a water drop or the shapes of planets and the beautiful spheres they form. I also draw inspiration from quirky elements that subconsciously stick in my mind.

For my hand hoops and hand studs earrings, I was directly inspired by a pair of earrings that Frida Kahlo once wore or pyramids and the bold architectural element they bring.

What is your process?
I don’t actively think of something to make. I’ll sit there with the clay in my hands and start rolling it and playing with it and let my mind create on the spot which sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. I have a big jar at home, which is a collection of my failed attempts that never made it! I don’t use moulds or anything as I believe that there is beauty in each piece being unique, none quite like the other when crafted by hand. I don’t like to make them in bulk as it can ruin the production process and you tend to not put as much effort into making it. The process involves creating the piece, baking it, varnishing it and baking it once again to set the whole thing.

Do you stick to a certain aesthetic?
Colour wise my main palette is black, white, terracotta and gold. However I’ve been experimenting with new colours and application techniques. The colours match with most outfits and they create a natural harmony with each other.

Is this your only hustle? Where can we buy the pieces?
I am a full time graphic design student and waitress so my time is a bit constrained and I try to balance it. I work from home. I normally make order by order as it is quite time consuming. I sell via Instagram and have my earrings stocked at Life, Love and Stuff on Regent Road in Sea Point but there are a few expansions on the horizon soon. I’ll be adding to a few more stores and finish my website and online shop in the coming months!

All photos by Kelly Makropolous.

Between 10 and 5