The crafted object : Natalia Milosz-Piekarska {jewellery}

It was a few years ago in Melbourne that I first came across Natalia Milosz-Piekarska’s luminously coloured jewellery. I was intrigued by her painted surfaces and tactile shapes; her very organic forms reminded me of some kind of mysterious, shy yet friendly sea creatures, and they stuck in my head.

So it is an absolute pleasure to finally be able to have a chat with her! To start off with, I asked her if she had any memorable childhood experiences with art and making. “It’s hard to define a particular experience. Both my parents are creative souls, and I’m an only child, so I was bombarded. Creative activity and thinking was part of daily life and a way to stay occupied. I was always making something, painting, drawing, writing stories, fiddling around with making music, making clothes for my toys… I was never bored.”

 

natalia milosz-piekarska - joy ring - silver, paint (via egetal gallery)

natalia milosz-piekarska – joy ring – silver, paint (via egetal gallery)

 

With a background like that, wanting to make a career from art was an obvious choice, and so Natalia studied a Design/Visual Communication degree through Monash University. In her last year, she took an elective in Gold and Silversmithing; however, she freely admits she was “terrible” at it and ended the subject with no intention of pursuing it. She decided she didn’t want to be a graphic designer either and so when she graduated, she packed her bags and travelled around the globe for a few years.

Discovering the incredible contemporary jewellery scene abroad was an eye opener, and on her return to Melbourne, found a similarly vibrant scene here. She decided to give it another go, doing a few short courses to get her skills up before applying to RMIT. She completed four years of study, and now divides her time between the bench, lecturing at RMIT, and working at Pieces Of Eight gallery.

 

natalia mp - frond rings - silver, paint, gemstones

natalia mp – frond rings – silver, paint, gemstones

 

Imagination is never in short supply in Natalia’s work. Such a diverse range of work comes from a, equally diverse range of materials and skills. “I don’t have one method to be honest, as diverse are my materials and ideas, so too are my methods. I do whatever I need to get a job done. I might do a sketch, play around with materials, trial and error, or sometimes I’m very calculated and precise. I guess it depends on the idea, the context, the purpose and how much time I have to experiment. In regards to techniques, I carve timber, sculpt in wax too, then cast in silver, gold or bronze, I saw-pierce sheet metal, I cast resin, I bead. I mix and match skills and techniques to best suit the piece I’m working on.” More recently, she has moved more into traditional ring forms, working with gold, silver, and precious stones.

 

natalia mp - strange fruit - necklace - timber, resin, glass, bone, paint (via Pieces of Eight gallery)

natalia mp – strange fruit – necklace – timber, resin, glass, bone, paint (via Pieces of Eight gallery)

 

 

When pressed on her influences, she said “I always find this question too hard. I compare it to when I step inside a record store, or get asked what my favourite movie of all time is… I freeze up and suddenly have no idea what I like, ever liked, and why I’m here.”

 

 

natalia mp - seeds and sea necklace - timber, beads, paint

natalia mp – seeds and sea necklace – timber, beads, paint

 

natalia mp - earrings - timber, silver, paint

natalia mp – earrings – timber, silver, paint

 

Spending her time surrounded by jewellery makes her very happy. “To be honest, I get a lot of icing on my cake. I don’t mean to sound overly saccharine, but I get a real thrill from so many different experiences. Of course it’s amazing when my work is validated with a grant or an award, and I’ve been very lucky to have had a few successes in that department, but I get such a kick out of seeing my work being worn by someone, or a genuine compliment or thoughtful observation.”

Of course, things are not always rosy in Natalia’s workshop. “Oooooh, yikes! I have epic fails all the time. There’s your usual nuking of silver or gold when having a particularly bad soldering day. Or it could be spending days working on a piece that  just simply ends up looking plain rubbish when I’m finished with it. How do I overcome it? Take a deep breath and move on.”

 

natalia mp - special commission ring- 18ct gold, diamonds, pebble chip

natalia mp – special commission ring- 18ct gold, diamonds, pebble chip

 

I also asked Natalia if there was something quirky about herself that she’d like to share. “Well, I’ve noticed recently that I pull the same weird and rather unflattering concentration face that I used to see my dad make when he sat at his drafting board, (he’s an architect). I was mesmerised by this funny scrunched up pout that he’d develop when he was deep in thought, and now I’ve caught a reflection of myself doing the same thing when working away at my bench.”

 

Natalia Milosz-Piekarska - studio wall

Natalia Milosz-Piekarska – studio wall

 

You can find more of Natalia’s joyously quirky pieces (with no scrunched up faces in sight) at Pieces Of Eight and e.g.etal in Melbourne, and Metalab in Sydney. Natalia also occasionally writes about her work on her own blog, ahhness.blogspot.com.

 

 

The crafted object : Marianne Anderson, jeweller

 

Marianne Anderson loves books. Working her way between historical and technical sourcebooks and her own sketchbook, she teases out ideas of traditional ornamental forms and what makes them meaningful. Glasgow seems then the perfect place in which to base herself, a city steeped in decorative arts traditions and famous institutions including the Glasgow School of Art where she studied.

 

Marianne Anderson - Brocade Brooch

Marianne Anderson – Brocade Brooch

 

She is captivated by classic forms, and uses her balanced and elegant pieces to contemplate the continuing human fascination for adornment. She states that her interest is “rooted in how we learn and draw from the past and return frequently to designs, motifs and patterns of historic and symbolic significance…. Sometimes ideas for my pieces come quite easily and other times they are a long laborious process involving model making, samples etc and continued returns to the drawing board.”

 

Marianne Anderson - Brocade Pattern Necklace

Marianne Anderson – Brocade Pattern Necklace

 

Marianne Anderson - Brocade Pattern Necklace (detail)

Marianne Anderson – Brocade Pattern Necklace (detail)

 

She works in a very restrained palette of oxidised silver, rubies, pearls and gold with traditional jewellery techniques, and her pieces are sophisticated and precise with a delicious sense of balance. Her current range of work is based on damask patterns and wrought iron, using a combination of etching and enamel on the silver’s surface to produce the patterns.

 

Marianne Anderson - Embossed Quatrefoil Earrings

Marianne Anderson – Embossed Quatrefoil Earrings

 

Marianne Anderson - Pearl Swirl - Long earrings

Marianne Anderson – Pearl Swirl – Long earrings

 

Drawing and making have always come naturally to her. As a child, she says she drew on any available surface – much to the distress of her parents I am sure! “A lot of my parents’ books at home still bear my pen marks”, and particularly remembers drawing pictures of her pets across several pages of a dictionary.

“I always wanted to go to Art school – I don’t think I ever considered any other career path as a child. It took me a couple of years to decide on jewellery, but it has proved perfect as it combines my love of designing and making.”

 

Marianne Anderson - Round Garnet Ring

Marianne Anderson – Round Garnet Ring

 

Marianne Anderson - Round Pearl Ring

Marianne Anderson – Round Pearl Ring

 

Completing her degree in 2003, Marianne says she was lucky enough to picked up by a couple of galleries off the back of her degree show, and hit the ground running. She spent what spare time she had to research and develop the business side of her craft so she could make her jewellery into a continuing and viable business.

Although she admits that of course there are always pieces and processes that don’t go as planned, she firmly states that the positives of being able to do what she loves every day far outweighs everything else.

 

Marianne Anderson - Vignette Brooch

Marianne Anderson – Vignette Brooch

 

Marianne Anderson - Vignette Swirl Brooch

Marianne Anderson – Vignette Swirl Brooch

 

You can find more of Marianne’s jewellery on her website, www.marianneanderson.co.uk.

 

The crafted object : Jess Dare {jewellery}

 

Jess Dare’s work sits in that eloquent space between complexity and simplicity. Her colour palettes are clear and bright, her shapes are deceptively simple, and her compositions have an easy sense of balance.

But it is the subtle touches of visual texture that make each piece so intriguing. Strange little flowers blossom and leaves sprout between bigger, more ‘sensible’ shapes. Surfaces twist softly and tiny berries adorn larger buds. Look closer, and you will be rewarded.

 

jess dare - leaf neckpiece - lime green

jess dare – leaf neckpiece – lime green

 

jess dare - leaf neckpiece - multicoloured

jess dare – leaf neckpiece – multicoloured

 

She is always inspired by colour and nature, and often by memory. Recollections of childhood exist in a space filled with warm skies and sunshine: “playing in the garden, picking flowers, watching the fuzzy caterpillars, picking the nuts out of pine cones, dodging the green berries being thrown by my older brother. Making mud pies, sandwiched between huge, lime green, vine leaves. Stringing daisies together to make chains, to hang around my neck and dangling two cherries over my ears to make earrings.”

While completing her Bachelor of Visual Arts at the Adelaide Centre for the Arts, TAFEsa, Jess took a one year intermission in 2004 to live in London and travel around Europe. While in Italy, she discovered traditional glass lampworking in Murano. She was smitten by its rich colours, its malleability when molten, its fragility and durability when cold, and has been incorporating it in her work since 2005.

 

jess dare - implosion series - brooches

jess dare – implosion series – brooches

 

jess dare - Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor - brooch (photo by Grant Hancock)

jess dare – Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor – brooch (photo by Grant Hancock)

 

“Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor” was a brooch created for an exhibition by 100 Australian contemporary jewellers; each jeweller was paired to an inspirational Australian woman with the purpose of creating a brooch representative of that person and her achievements. Jess made this piece for Marion Hall Best (1905-1988), an interior designer best known for her vibrant use of colour and bold surfaces.

 

jess dare - conceptual flowering plant series 4 (photo by Grant Hancock)

jess dare – conceptual flowering plant series 4 (photo by Grant Hancock)

 

Jess’s most recent group of works is for her first solo exhibition, The Nature of Memory, and comprises a collection of jewellery, glass objects and photographs based on themes of fragility and memory. The exhibition won the Best Visual Art award for the 2013 Fringe Festival, and has also attracted several high profile acquisitions.

 

jess dare - conceptual flowering plant series 2 (photo by Grant Hancock)

jess dare – conceptual flowering plant series 2 (photo by Grant Hancock)

 

jess dare - conceptual flowering plant series 3 (photo by Grant Hancock)

jess dare – conceptual flowering plant series 3 (photo by Grant Hancock)

 

On completion of her degree in 2006, Jess took up a residency at the renowned Gray Street Workshop in 2007, and in 2010, she became a partner of the Workshop. She joins Catherine Truman and Sue Lorraine in continuing its legacy and shaping its future.

 

You can find more of Jess’s work on her website, jessdare.com.

 

Meet the sponsors – July

 

Welcome to my sponsors for July! It’s quite chilly where I am – not surprising really, as it’s the middle of winter. So I’m snuggled up in my woolly scarf next to the fire. What’s it like in your part of the world?

 

Well of course in the US it’s summer!

anastridendeavor - skull brooch

anastridendeavor – skull brooch

And that’s why my brand new sponsor AnAstridEndeavor is having a fabulous sale all month long, but with some special spot sales within that – so get on over to check out what beautiful bargains you might pick up! Astrid makes a range of hand-embroidered brooches and neckpieces like this skull, as well as more abstract and geometric shapes – all very colourful, all very distinctive.

 

 

planettreasures - chunky gemstones necklace

planettreasures – chunky gemstones necklace

Tess from PlanetTreasures specialises in bold and colourful jewellery, made from delicate Czech and Venetian glass and semi-precious gems. If you’re ever up in the Blue Mountains, you can also find her and her work at The Nook in Leura.  I really like this chunky necklace, I’m very surprised it hasn’t sold! Look at all those wonderful colours. You can find it here.

 

 

von haus design studio

von haus design studio

It’s all about lots of colour this month with my sponsors! Fiona Parry-Jones is an interior colour consultant working out of Melbourne. As part of her services, she holds regular workshops for people wanting to explore colour in their homes. These workshops explore the latest trends and help you get exactly the colour result you’re looking for. Her next workshop is on Saturday 10th August, and you can find out more details on her website, von-haus.com.au.

 

 

photospots - colourburst decal {via country & co}

photospots – colourburst decal {via country & co}

Hello again to Holly of Country & Co.  Holly sources handcrafted goods from around regional Australia, including homewares, jewellery and accessories, delectable gourmet treats and a heap more. Every time I look, there’s always something new! How’s this for adding colour to your room!? Colourburst decal, from Photospots, via countryandco.com.

 

 

crimson pear - social media buttons

crimson pear – social media buttons

Libby Heasman of Crimson Pear (who I had the very lovely pleasure of meeting in real life a couple of weeks back!) is your go-to for all web design and wordpress themes and other good stuff. She’s got lots of useful things, including these fresh social media buttons. You can check out all she has to offer on her website, crimsonpear.com.au

 

 

middlemost - derby shorts

middlemost – derby shorts

Janine of Middlemost Clothing (well of course you know who she is, so I won’t ramble on). But HEY! She’s just started making fabulous roller derby shorts and things. Look at them, makes you kinda want to take up derbying, just so you can wear them! Check her new Etsy shop, BobbinWeaver.

 

 

*bespoke* - winter issue

*bespoke* – winter issue

A big welcome to new sponsor, *bespoke* magazine! I’m sure many of my readers are familiar with this wonderful little package of goodness, brought to you by Robyn and Elle. It’s all about promoting artists, makers, and designers. It’s about the handmade home, and vintage treasures; and it’s got recipes and interviews too! The winter edition, due out 31st July is a bumper, with 100 pages. Can’t wait to see.

 

 

74limelane - sunrise

74limelane – sunrise

A big welcome also to Kellie from 74 Lime Lane – a wonderful blog with all sorts goodness from around the interwebs. Kellie is a photographer as well, so there’s always lots of great images, as well as some very fun links, free printables to download, and plenty of Kellie’s other love, typography. Do have a look, I’m sure you’ll find plenty to keep you busy! You can find her blog at 74limelane.com.au/blog/.

 

 

shinelittlelight - frosty july morning

shinelittlelight – frosty july morning

Sophie, from Shine Little Light, also always has a fab bunch of photos on her blog. Isn’t this a fab crispy winter morning? You can check out her winterscapes in and around Wagga on her blog shinelittlelight.blogspot.com.au, as well as cute dog photos (yep, she’s always got cute dog photos – comes from having a cute dog I guess).

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Thank you SO much again to all my sponsors. I truly appreciate your support, and it would be great if all you readers could in turn, support my sponsors. Yep, go! Share it around 🙂

Cheers, Julie x

 

 

Colouring my day : All Neon Like

 

As you might know, I’m taking a kind of mini-break from the blog – but not disappearing completely. For the next little while, instead of full interviews with artists, I will be sharing a bunch of beautiful craft, surface design and photography, themed around songs with colour in the title. 

 I hope you enjoy my selections.

 Julie x

 

 

All Neon Like : Björk

OK so I’m not really a Neon gal, but the ever-fabulous Björk is, and she does it well. I love Björk’s impish inventiveness, and what she does with sound is a constant surprise and always impressive.

 

 

 

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allneonlike - dorota kos - brooches - dorotakos blogspot com

dorota kos – brooches

{Dorota Kos via dorotakos.blogspot.com}

 

 

Neon_Pinstripes1_A_X

k_shaynejacobson – neon pinstripes

 {k_shaynejacobson – via spoonflower}

 

 

allneonlike - unknown - aurora borealis  yukon canada - via pinterest

{unknown photographer} – aurora borealis, yukon, canada

{unknown, via pinterest}

 

 

simon cottrell - brooch - phosphorescent powder coat over monel

simon cottrell – brooch – phosphorescent powder coat over monel

 {Simon Cottrell – via here}

 

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