Franky (Francolene) Herwels is a zip jewelry maker hailing from the colourful  Elsies River in Cape Town South Africa. Her unique creations has captured the jewelry design scene and has left many spell bound by her innovative and resourceful creations.

The dancer and actress has managed to create a niche jewelry segment, through her original use of recycled and new zips. Her pieces include beautiful necklaces, elegant chokers, striking studs, stylish earrings and funky bracelets. She makes all of these products for every occasion, at a very affordable price.

Her flourishing jewelry brand has been named after her alto ego, MissAnkeJewels, a persona she uses to channel her raw, limitless and artistic side. MissAnkeJewels has been a pivotal process in allowing Franky to tap into her creativity and express it as striking pieces for her collections.

The cultural fashionista is also using her jewelry making business as a platform to preserve the heritage and the culture of the Khoi. She does this through making First Nation inspired designs and incorporating it with an edgy street flair. Her latest work, the Khoi Couture Collection is an extraordinary example of her contribution to ensuring the Khoi are never forgotten.

I am keeping the Khoi Culture alive through my jewelry creations” Owner of MissAnkeJewels, Franky Herwels.

The zip creative is also using her brand to empower young minds and their little fingers by offering free jewelry classes to children from her area and surrounds. The classes serve as a creative way to inspire awareness to today’s generation of their ancestors. The classes also help the children cope and find a artistic outlet with some of the stressors they might have to deal with from their environment.

I am passing the torch of creativity onto our tomorrow people and inspire the kids to dream again”
Miss Anke Jewels owner -  Franky Herwels, quote taken from  The Voice Newspaper interview Tuesday 18 April 2017.

Franky started her craftsmanship through making bead products and then slowly switched to using zips as the medium of her creative expression. Today her project includes an event celebrating her brand and aspirations to travel on exhibitions exhibiting pieces locally and internationally.

She has already made inroads in the entertainment industry by working with notable musicians, Blaqpearl, Jitsvinger, Claire Philips, Isaac Mutant and actress Kay Smith.

Franky Herwels is fast making a striking statement with her Miss Anke Jewels brand and with so many timeless pieces she has already bestowed the world with, who knows what treasures she still has to uncover through her creations.

1. What made you get into jewellery crafting?

* My mom's high styled clothing from the CMT's she worked at, and brought home to me. Automatically the jewellery in-stores just did not make sense, so recreating them, and so begins my costume jewellery design lifestyle . It was reachable, and I applied a close enough strategy to jewellery as designers would to clothing.

* Creating to me is a way of communication an outlet, a language.
2. Was it an interest you always had?

* Zip innovation is something that found me.. and I found it. My first creative outlet is poetry, I've stopped writing for years..until recently. Exciting times indeed.

3. Is it hard to come up with ideas for
your jewellery or do the ideas just flow with you?

* In most cases it is fluid, referring to the pieces I create from my heavens( minds eye). I could create for days, if my life would allow that. Consigned pieces takes longer to process, and longer to create as it is a request to create.. And sometimes out of my comfort zone, in some cases it inspires a new range or collection.

4. Where do you get your inspiration from?

* My emotions , nature, and individuals, which all leads to concepts that needs manifesting.  I'm also inspired by my journey and the characters I encounter. My designs are based on how the Khoi used texture and colour to  coordinate their accessories, only it is more evolved and relevant. And sometimes it looks like I've created in the dark. So it depends...

5. How important is the authenticity of your jewels to you?

* Extremely.  Though I am creating for the masses with Khoi Couture Collection, I  do my best to create each piece as if it is the time. There is an avande gard section to the collection , which consist of 10-15 pieces. That section of the collection is dedicated to savoring the essence of the collection.As every piece started of as an authentic design.

6. You’re also a dancer and an actress. How did that become part of your life’s interest?

Dancing and acting are definitely two important pieces of my puzzle, it is a childhood dream that, I wish to explore as an artist and woman, though I am neither one at this point in time.

7. What have you performed in thus far? Stage and/or theatre?

When it comes to stage and theatre I currently do the props and wardrobe styling, for Krotoa Van Vandag a community theatre production and Smoortjies en Smoothies an edutainment production where  missAnkeJewels is incorporated into these productions and strategically placed to  stimulate the visuals.

8. Is it hard being an artist in the industry you’re in and being a person of colour at the same time?

* It would be terribly hard in my mind if I had to try and force myself into a mould, that I do not fit in, within any industry.

* I'm fortunate  enough to say that I do not deal with racial conflict much, or perhaps I'm just oblivious to it.

* Create your own methods of access, and stick to it. Be diverse, versatile, authentic and raw, it's perfect.

9. Do you think your race plays a big role in how far you get in ‘your’ world especially in a segregated country such as South Africa or is it just about working hard and you’ll achieve it?

* For now the racial issue doesn't effect me much, as a brown skinned , natural woman I feel rather empowered and gifted. Perhaps I'm not that far up on the ladder to be dealing with such politics.

* What I do allows me to move around, and play in a variety of fields, no getting to cosy. 

* Race in my opinion does play a role depending on your placement, and your role through the eyes of friends and fellow creative partners.

10. As an artist, what is your vision/message that you are trying to bring across?

* With missAnkeJewels brand, culture and heritage,  awareness of rape and abuse against woman and children, gender violence, self love,and youth empowerment, not enough local, for local champaigns running for these topics.

The Khoi Couture Collection is dedicated to heritage, and culture,

11. What advice would you give to people who are trying to get into the same industry as yourself?

* Dream big, be realistic about them, execute constantly, and be neat about it all.

* Work on your craft and master it, make it  yours. Decide why your doing it, money or passion allow that to steer you. Always remain grounded through it all.

Photography: Newton Stanford

What’s happening in 2017 for Frankie Herwels?

* A lot of collaborations        
* Touring with productions
* Theatre styling                      
* Possible launch
* Artist styling
( The rest will avail itself in due time)