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In case you’re wondering whose hands are behind these beautiful little sophisticated wearable pieces of art, meet Veruschka Stevens, the Bolivian woman who is the founder and artist of Veru Designs based in Philadelphia, USA. Raised in Germany and Bolivia, the now happily married American citizen has a rather odd past considering her present career. “I was a systems and software engineer working as an SAP project manager here in the US, Latin America and Europe for 10 years,” she said.

Veruschka’s story began at the tender age of three when she first discovered her love for art. Art became her frequent golden escapades to roam freely her emotions and energy and by the age of six, she had her first taste of recognition for her talent where a few of her paintings were exhibited at art galleries. By then, her gifts extended to other areas like sculpting, drawing, dancing and singing. Despite her multifaceted abilities, the self-taught artist admitted her career decision to do otherwise by choosing engineering was a result of her good skills in physics and mathematics, and “because like most people in Latin America, I believed that there was no future as an artist.” Art was eventually reduced to relaxing times from her busy schedule, and it was not until a decade or so that destiny would oil those rusty wheels to full steam.

One fine day, as Veruschka was walking past a small shop, a glance at a bracelet on display stopped her at her tracks. Curious about its material, she stepped inside the shop and picked up the bracelet. At an instant touch of the material, she immediately fell in love with it. Veruschka learned that this magical material was polymer clay, propelling her to purchase her first 2 oz. batch of polymer clay for her exciting experiment the following day, and the experiment paid off. Her very first hand-made polymer clay necklace more than satisfied the then engineer who realised its potential to make endless kinds of jewellery. Every night and every weekend for the next few months, new jewellery was created with her own techniques and styles perfected into every piece along the way.

By 2010, the obsession translated into a serious business. While Veruschka juggled with her day job and the newly created Veru Designs, an unfortunate family tragedy struck the artist not long after its founding. Her younger brother Chris was diagnosed with terminal cancer, so the next twelve months saw her living in Bolivia and spending her precious moments with Chris before he finally succumbed to the illness. In her grief and desperation for answers, Veruschka came to a profound and important realisation: “I knew very clearly, for the first time in my life how I wanted to live and what I wanted to do in this short time we all call ‘life.'” She further explained with conviction: “Veru Designs was not only my re-birth, but it is now a growing and thriving custom jewellery design business online that has 100% of my energy and focus.” Life indeed became the focal point of every piece of her jewellery, with sources of inspiration ranging from nature, architecture, design, fashion, people, and of course, the South American culture.

Veru Designs

Clockwise from top left: Metamorphosis, Amalfi, Bounty Garden and Sampona by Veru Designs

There’s the Sampona collection inspired by the traditional South American wind pipe with choices of simplistic to complicated Mayan patterns, including the Charango Laughs which ties in strong Bolivian musical roots from its highlands. Going over to the green side, Bounty Garden is sure to make any garden lover fall head over heels with its vibrant and happier replica of the backyard. The Amalfi is perhaps one of the most ambitious and sophisticated design of the lot – a beautiful resemblance to the village and lemons of the Amalfi Coast of Italy. And let’s not forget Metamorphosis, Veru Designs’ signature design that set the standard for all their collections. This assembly of caterpillars and butterfly which carries an encouraging message of progress and hope is Veruschka’s most personal and touching piece that was created prior to her discovering Chris’ diagnosis, and which earned her the title “true artist” by her brother before his passing.

The creation process starts with the kind of woman Veruschka envisions in mind, and the resulting design is sketched onto paper. Next, pieces of polymer clay are coloured and sculptured to precision with a small blade. The delicate process can take days to complete. Finally, the finished piece is packed in a 100% hand-made packaging made of fine fabrics, customised into jewellery bags, boxes and other minute details which resonate ‘Voila!’ that will make any customer feel over-the-top special. Customers in the USA enjoy an additional 1 hour photo-shoot service, where they even get to be featured in Veru Designs’ own publications, a wonderful breath of fresh air knowing that you don’t need to be model-material to qualify.

Veru Designs

Indeed, Veru Designs’ jewellery are made for the regular woman or girl who wants to inject that magical and lively touch into her everyday fashion, special occasions and even for her wedding. Veruschka’s positive attitude towards life are manifested in each of her hand-crafted imaginative artworks which she describes as uniquely creative, handmade, inspired, colourful and personal. Her pieces are a wonderful reminder to treasure the beauty and gifts that this life can bring.

So ladies, it’s time for you and not your walls to shine, so why not hang some art on yourself today!

You can purchase your very own Veru jewellery at http://www.verudesigns.com/

This article was published on Vida De Latinos’ online magazine, Jan 2013.

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