Elfi Spiewack initially began experimenting with jewellery making as a teenager by refashioning Coca Cola cans into jewellery pieces. Her formal training began on leaving school when she worked as a trainee in a jewellery studio in Montreal, Canada while also attending courses at the College of Arts. Elfi later completed an apprenticeship as a jeweller in Pforzheim, Germany and earned her accreditation as a certified jeweller. In 1996 Elfi graduated with a Degree in Design from the University College for Art, Pforzheim, subsequently working freelance as a jeweller and designer.
Born in Germany, Elfi moved to New Zealand in 1999 and is currently based in Christchurch. She has exhibited widely throughout New Zealand, Germany, the Netherlands and the USA. In 2001, Elfi established 'The Filing Kabinett', a jewellery workshop / studio co-op in central Christchurch, which she relocated to Lyttelton in 2010 with fellow jeweller Jeremy Leeming. In the February 2011 earthquake their beautiful workshop got destroyed. Their new studio and showroom is now in The Tannery Complex in Woolston, Christchurch.
Elfi's design process is often stimulated by her observations of natural materials, shapes and phenomena, but she also finds inspiration in urban culture and likes to collaborate with artists in other media. Elfi constantly searches for new means of creative expression, challenging preconceived ideas of the style and meaning of jewellery objects: “I basically like to develop new ways of seeing, wearing and maybe even defining jewellery.”
Her European background shows in her aesthetics and designs but she says concepts are more and more influenced by her new home New Zealand.