Want something different and unique? Then head to Courtesy Of The Artist at Sydney’s destination for bespoke, the Strand Arcade
EVERY city has its different destinations, those “quarters”, districts or laneways known for specific interests. It might be food-related, high fashion, fabric, homewares or the banking and legal fraternities. It’s also interesting how certain like-minded retailers tend to attract like-minded traders, thus creating a community of sorts. But if you are looking for something different, something hand-made or bespoke, sometimes it can prove to be a little more difficult.
Not so in Sydney. The destination of choice is the Strand Arcade, home to a unique mix of speciality stores catering for a discerning and sophisticated clientele.
The Strand is Sydney’s creative heart and soul and is home to several artisans and designers. There’s a shoemaker, a bespoke jeans maker and a milliner. There are tailors, specialist bridal and evening wear designers and jewellers. Then there’s Courtesy Of The Artist, a retail space dedicated to unique contemporary jewellery and objets.
The mistress with the mostest is Nina Cueva. She consults, curates and commissions and is the driving force behind one of Sydney’s unique jewellery destinations.
“We’ve (Courtesy Of The Artist) been around nine years,” Nina says, explaining the partnership with her husband, artist and creative director, Cesar Cueva.
“Cesar and I met in art school, 21 years ago. But after art school, Cesar went on to do gold and silver smithing in Canberra. When he came back to Sydney, we discovered there were no galleries or studios here. So we found a small studio space in Surry Hills. One thing led to another and we started to use the front as a gallery space. Next stop was a space on Bourke St before finally settling here in The Strand five years ago.”
However, due to the growing number of requests for bespoke commissions, Cesar and Nina Cueva have opened Courtesy Of The Artist Custom, a shop which complements their existing business and is dedicated to showcasing international and local artistes and objets. It also doubles as a private consultation space for those ever-increasing custom inquiries.
“We are thrilled to have a designated space where our clients can meet with the artist, who is crafting their piece, and collaborate on the design,” Nina explains.
And, as you would expect, the client is involved in every step of the design process.
“We work directly with the guy who is fossicking for the stones, the guy who cuts the stones and then with the jeweller. We represent some of the best contemporary jewellers in Sydney who are at top of their game. and we’re getting inquiries from all over Australia.”
Courtesy Of The Artist Custom also welcomes commissions for commitment, engagement and wedding rings as well as re-crafting existing pieces, meaning that the creations are genuinely one of a kind. In typical bespoke fashion, no two pieces are the same.
Part of the custom process, Cesar is also crafting a series of Vundebar earrings as a way to grow the business. I am the proud owner of a pair and, just as in the custom process, I chose the material – silver – and the style. Cesar offers a variety of shapes and combinations, so I essentially designed my own earrings.
Whether you visit to enjoy the latest art installation or commission a handmade creation by one of the Courtesy Of The Artists Custom’s resident artists, it’s just what retail needs.