Martinus has been a jeweller since 1971. He became a master goldsmith and founded his German company in 1980. In 2001 he moved to Vancouver, Canada and settled on Salt Spring Island in 2004. Here he created the Martinus Studio-Gallery. Martinus provides employment and learning opportunities for a small team of jewellers and students.
The refinement of my technical knowledge and the passion for sculptural aspects of jewelry has become evident in the evolution of my style. Over time I have learned to express myself with less effort and concentrate more on the simplicity of ideal proportions, the clarity of a shape, and the sensitivity of surface techniques.
It is important to me that each piece is visually enticing from a distance and still reveals new details up close. While living on Salt Spring my focus has shifted more towards natural patterns in my compositions. I love making jewelry with sensuous qualities from gold, other precious metals, pearls and gemstones. I want the raw materials to evolve into very personal pieces that evoke meaning for their owners. Surface texture, colour contrasts and function are all part of my thought process while I create. I like jewelry that is comfortable to wear and desirable to touch. Today jewelry is often uncomfortable for daily wear and inspired by concepts of prestige and status. That kind of creation doesn’t interest me.
My customers know what they like and enjoy expressing themselves. They want to better understand the design and craftsmanship processes involved. Many of my designs are commissioned, personalised pieces. I find it exciting to see how my customers’ ideas sometimes spark a new twist in the evolution of my creative approach. It is important to me that jewelry, different than other art, relates to our physical bodies. To obtain this requires a sensitive interaction between my creativity and my clients’ ideas. I hold a deep respect for the unique outer expression of their personality therefore this challenge highly motivates me.
Martinus discovered his love for jewelry-making in the early 1970s, a time when the fundamentals of traditional jewelry-making were morphing with a culture of new and cutting-edge ideas. His passion evolved into an apprenticeship. "Three years of apprenticing made for a hard and challenging time, but the fascination for craft and creativity has never ended since," he says.
In 1980, after nine years of rigorous studies and training, he achieved his traditional Master Goldsmith degree, and finished his artistic studies at the highly regarded German Institute of Goldsmith Arts in Hanau. After passing an important jury two years later, he became a member of the German Arts and Craft Society. It was the beginning of a long list of exhibitions across Germany, as well as in London, Paris, and Helsinki.
Since then, his creations have been internationally awarded with several prizes, with the latest being of the homegrown variety. The Canadian Jewellers Choice Award 2003 honored Martinus for his entry of a pair of beautifully constructed red gold and platinum earrings. The idea was to show the wonderful contrast of the two precious metals, using a very simple oval shape, which was overwrought with characteristic letter stamps.
There have been many other career highlights. A special gold lock he invented has been patent registered; a jewelry line he created specifically for men garnered accolades at the jewelry and gem-inspired Basel and Munich Fairs; and hes brought successful products to market working independently as well as with international jewel outfits. Along the way, he has trained many goldsmiths to higher levels of industry expertise.
I was called Martinus from an early age by my Aunt Irene who was a very religious woman. Her favorite saint was Saint Martin (who was believed to have shared his coat with a beggar). The ‘us’ comes from classic Latin where this ending is common, as in ‘Et Filius Sanctus Est’. Whenever she called me, there was always a emphasis on the “i” sound stemming from her strong Czechoslovakian accent. When I came to Canada my last name Ebbers was difficult for some people to say, so I decided to start calling myself Martinus. So I am Martin Ebbers or Martinus, whichever you prefer.