Arts &
  Arts Culture Analysis  
Vol. 7, No. 6, 2008
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Robert J. Lewis
  Senior Editor
Mark Goldfarb
  Contributing Editors
Bernard Dubé
Diane Gordon
Sylvain Richard
Robert Rotondo
Marissa Consiglieri de Chackal
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Emanuel Pordes
Serge Gamache
  Arts Editor
Lydia Schrufer
Mady Bourdage
Emanuel Pordes
  Past Artists
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Les Cosgrove
Gustavo Sigal
Guy Benson
Eric Bertrand
Lyne Bastien
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Nguyen Tai
Magdalena Magiera
Charles Malinksy
Marc Fortier
Bernard Dubé
Remigio Valdes de Hoyos
Mylène Gervais
Christina Coleman
Laura Hollick
Louise Jalbert
Rosemary Scanlon
Manitoba Art
The Gambaroffs
Francine Hébert
Marcel Dubois
Ruben Cukier
Raka B. Saha
Purivs Young
William Kinnis & Dominique Tremblay
Gudrun Vera Hjartardottir
Gee's Bend Quilt Collective
Magie Dominic
Ryan McLelland
John Gordon
William Noguera
Alex Waterhouse-Hayward

the art and craft of

reviewed by


Throughout 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.

Manita, 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.

Manita 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.

In her own words, Manita Shine talks about her life and work.

My 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 the light.

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.

I 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 pieces.

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 wings. I 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!

My 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.

Manita offers personal instruction and studio workshops at: 514-544-6734
Or at


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