Joséphine Marfurt – A European Creative from Zurich

We met illustrator and jewellery designer Joséphine Marfurt in Zurich last week. She works with her father in their family business Franz Marfurt Lucerne at Münsterhof, where they have had the shop since 1987. Her style matches her filigree works of art and her sense of jewellery making.

IRMA: You work as an illustrator and a jewellery designer in your family business, Marfurt Jewels, how does one talent or craft inspire the other?
JOSÉPHINE MARFURT: I like the mix of both crafts. Drawing and painting are very fluid, delicate, airy crafts. They come very easily to me because I have been doing them all my life. Jewellery making, on the other hand, requires physical strength and is a rough craft, although the end result is the ultimate delicate and elegant object. But there are sharp objects and fire involved, materials get hot and cold, you get your hands dirty and when I spend hours carving a ring in wax and it breaks I get so frustrated and at the same time it fascinates me because it reminds me of how delicate and precise this work is. It definitely teaches me a lot of patience.
It helps me to alternate, to keep my eyes and hands alert. I get a different feeling for a pen stroke after working with metal or wax.

Joséphine Marfurt wearing the Bomber from the  Jasmin Khezri Collection

IRMA: Where do you go in Zurich for creative inspiration?
JOSÉPHINE MARFURT: My great passion is people watching. Some people might call Zurich a boring place, but I love it here, your eye is always looking for the extraordinary and there is a lot of it if you keep looking. You can easily find the most interesting person on Langstrasse or Bahnhofstrasse, the contrast of such different neighbourhoods in such close proximity keeps it interesting. But some of the most memorable people I have seen have been at the Kronenhalle and at Sprüngli – both very traditional Zurich places.

Jewellery design by Joséphine Marfurt

IRMA: Tell us about a typical working day?
JOSÉPHINE MARFURT: I work at the jewellery store from Tuesday through Thursday, and on the remaining days, I dedicate my time to crafting illustrations at home. My mornings at the store begin before 10am, starting with checking emails and handling some administrative tasks. My father is often already there, immersed in his work at his desk, long before the doors officially open. The sound of the doorbell is my cue to greet the next visitor. It’s a constant surprise – you never predict who will walk through the door, what they will request, or the stories they’ll share. It feels akin to watching a live play; it’s thoroughly engaging.
During the afternoon, my focus shifts to photographing and editing the newly completed jewellery pieces or crafting a “voyageur” ring that’s been commissioned. Time seems to fly by until the church bells ring, signaling the end of the day and time to head home.

When I work on my illustrations I like to start in the afternoon or work late at night or on Sundays when nobody else is working. The work is more isolated and I really enjoy that.

Illustration ©Joséphine Marfurt

IRMA: What does it mean to you to find your creative language in a family business that has been working creatively for many generations?
JOSÉPHINE MARFURT: There is a lot of history and a huge archive. I love looking at the very early pieces that my father did when he was my age and sometimes we bring them back and people really like them because they tell a story. So, of course my work is very much inspired by his, but that is also kind of my goal.

Jewellery design by Joséphine Marfurt

IRMA: How would you describe your style work, the way you dress, the way you draw and the way you wear your jewellery?
JOSÉPHINE MARFURT: To work in the boutique I like to wear blazers or jackets, more elegant and put together. When I work from home, my looks go from very casual to dressy, but usually with bright colours.
I like to try different styles when I draw or paint and also new media. Sometimes they are more realistic, sometimes they are comic-like, but I like to keep a fun aspect.
The way I wear my jewellery: I go through phases with a few pieces that stay on all the time. At the moment it’s five very fine rings, two bracelets and two necklaces. I keep them on wherever I go and add one or two pieces depending on my mood or occasion.

Illustration ©Joséphine Marfurt

IRMA: What are your plans/dreams for the future?
JOSÉPHINE MARFURT: I dream of working creatively for as long as possible.