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The Single Object At Home Edition: Past Life

Being a maker, I surround myself with objects that speak to me. Like good friends, they tell me stories, remind me of places and faces, are witnesses of scents and situations, mirroring my own transformations. These memories I hold very dear to my heart.

During lockdown I rearranged and cleaned out my workshop, which I call Schmuckgarage. It seemed to take forever, as I kept stumbling across old friends, stuck at the back of a drawer, and amongst the boxes of materials I’ve collected over the years. They stopped me in my tracks and got me reminiscing. 

I had completely forgotten that I still had this little gem. It certainly put a smile on my face, as it reappeared after 30 odd years. It is not much use to me now, but holds so much precious personal history. Back in the day, it was one of my most important tools at the beginning of my professional maker’s career. Having no idea where this journey of making would take me, it was very clear, from a young age, that it was essential for me to make.

So, in the mid-eighties I was one of very few wig maker apprentices in Switzerland.

This is my knotting needle used to knot hair onto lace.

It soon became clear, that finding work in that field would be a difficult task as it was a dying profession. Factory made wigs were the future, production was getting better and cheaper. So time had come to move on and learn new skills…

…but the site remains the same - the human body. Making wearable objects is hugely satisfying, because they are mobile and wherever the wearer goes, new stories and conversations begin.



Tatjana Panyoczki is a maker, wearer and observer of contemporary jewellery.

Born in Switzerland, she trained as a wig maker and make-up artist for theatre, film and TV. In 1993 Tatjana moved to New Zealand where she studied 3D Design at Unitec in Auckland (1997). Intrigued by the narrative between the object and wearer, she majored in contemporary jewellery.

She draws inspiration from her gut, using resources from her surrounds she attempts to be as sustainable as possible. Sometimes an idea leads, sometimes the material.

 Since 1998, she has lived and worked in Te Tai Tokerau.  Her work has been shown in national and international exhibitions and is held in public and private collections.

Tatjana Panyoczki, knotting needle used to knot hair onto lace