the ages there has raged a heated debate as to what constitutes
the difference between art and craft. Is an object, born of
the same creative impulse as painting or sculpture, not worthy
to be called art just because it can be worn as adornment? I
regard the argument as irrelevant since many great artists have
created useful and beautiful objects: Japanese lacquer ware,
Picasso’s ceramics, Stella’s screens and Noguci’s
furniture – to mention only a few that are that are considered
valuable artworks. What we value is their beauty, design and
originality -- and so it is with the extraordinary pieces fashioned
by Manita Shine.
a native Montrealer, has recently returned to this city after
many years living and training as a jeweller in Mexico, where
she gained renown for her unique creations. Walking into her
new studio, in a wonderfully restored industrial building, is
a feast for the senses. Her necklaces, which adorn almost every
surface, emit an aura of sensuality.
doesn’t design her work, but rather, each original piece
is one of a kind never to be repeated exactly the same way.
Each work comes about as an intuition, from handling the surface,
shape and weight of the stones and elements until they arrange
themselves. When creating for a specific client she obliges
herself to get to know the person in order to produce a piece
that is matched to that person’s qualities and character.
her own words, Manita Shine talks about her life and work.
name is Marghanita Shine, but people call me Manita. There are
different meanings to this name, one is little sister, but the
other means little hands. And yes Shine as in brightness. How
appropriate because I work with my hands and my pieces reflect
I grew up going
to my mother's store, The Bead Emporium, where, when I was 15,
I was happy to work on Saturdays. My passion for beading was
born in that shop.
I attended CEGEP
for two years studying arts and languages and then did a two
year program in fashion merchandising at the International Academy
of Merchandising & Design. My serious passion for design
and composition was developed and encouraged at the academy.
The teachers allowed me to present actual pieces instead of
doing written reports.
During the summers, between semesters, I would go to San Miguel
de Allende, where I took jewelry courses. During the semesters
in Montreal, I went to The Visual Arts Centre and Ecole de joaillerie
de Montréal. After graduating from The Academy, I went
off to Barcelona where I continued to pursue my dream of becoming
the next Paloma Picasso. This is where and when I realized that
I was ‘not’ to become a silver smith. My teachers
kept reminding me and insisting, " . . . go back to beading
. . . " How shattering. After processing this blow, I finally
realized that they were right.
soon discovered I possessed an incredible ability to put things
together just by looking at the elements in front of me; an
innate intuition about what pieces would make the most beautiful
combination. Not only did I develop a connection with the pieces
that I would work with, I realized that I could not work with
just anything. Because I was young and did not have much money,
I would buy what I could afford, but managed to create wonderful
After Spain, 1992,
I became the manager at The Bead Emporium until 1997. During
those years I taught at the store and at the The Visual Arts
Center, and continued to develop my skills, but there was no
great inspirational moment until my husband and I moved to Mexico
City. It was there I came alive. Being in such a magical country
filled with art, colour and life seemed to give my imagination
became Mexico's top costume jewelry designer. We opened a factory
because there was a demand for quality semi-precious jewelry.
The factory produced thousands of pieces which enabled me to
circulate in the fashion world; my work was very much in demand.
My pieces were very bold and created quite the buzz , especially
when I wore not one but many at a time to illustrate the drama
and electricity stunning necklaces can create.
We decided to leave
Mexico in 2003. By that time, our son Lucca was three years
old and our daughter was on the way. Safety for our family had
become a serious consideration and we wanted our children to
grow up near family.
Returning to Montreal
was a challenge both emotionally as well a creatively. These
past few years have led me through many spiritual paths and
now I have created my magical studio space where I can lose
myself in my work . . . my Zen space!
latest creations are the result of my growing maturity and life
experiences as they reflect and refract my moods. Funny how
I can look back and remember what state of mind I was in when
I made a particular piece. Some of my best creations have been
produced when I have been at my worst!
My jewelry reflects
my personality: bold, spiritual, mystical and even whimsical.
They are strung together with this magical flow of energy which
is what makes them unique. Many people can string beads, as
if following a recipe, but it requires a very special and original
touch to bring the work to life. I think that is what separates
craft from artful design.
For now most of
my materials are natural, organic, silver, gold, precious and
semi-precious stones. I will incorporate a resin or other fibers
if I feel that the piece merits the fusion.
I am grateful to
have found the path that allows me to do something so fulfilling.
Manita sees clients
by appointment only which leaves her the quiet reflection she
needs to create her unique pieces. I’m persuaded that
it’s only a matter of time before we see her creations
featured in fashion magazines and on the personages of the world’s
most discerning jewelry connoisseurs.
offers personal instruction and studio workshops at: 514-544-6734
Or at firstname.lastname@example.org