The crafted object : ArtKvarta {jewellery}

Yulia grew up in a small town in the Ukraine, with few opportunities and conservative attitudes towards art, but she always loved making things with her hands. She never wanted to work in an office for someone else, and just wanted to make a living doing something that she loved. It was a struggle, and her parents were against her pursuing that life.


artkvarta - red eyelash earrings

artkvarta – red eyelash earrings


artkvarta - autumn earrings

artkvarta – autumn earrings


But she was obstinate. She moved to Lviv when she was 20, and studied at the Academy of Arts. When she graduated, she bought herself some tools and started making some work to sell. “And I got it! I’ve always tried to do my jewelry better and neater. Constantly invent new forms and styles.”

“Over time, I had so much work that I could no longer work alone. I am looking for someone to help and found my husband Eduard. Now we are working together and this is our family business now.”


artkvarta - greens suns - necklace

artkvarta – greens suns – necklace


artkvarta - fish skeleton earrings

artkvarta – fish skeleton earrings


Inspired principally by Tiffany glass, there are also hints of mid-century modern style, surrealism, Victoriana, and popular culture. The resulting jewellery is rustic yet elegant, defined by its rich colours and its blackened copper lines. Yu loves glass because it never loses its colour, and always looks different in different lights.

The husband and wife team regularly participate in markets and festivals around their region, and Yu says it’s one of the things that she loves about her work – talking with other folk is fun, and is also helpful in understanding what customers want.


artkvarta - orange and black flower brooch

artkvarta – orange and black flower brooch


artkvarta - little green pocket mirror

artkvarta – little green pocket mirror


She describes Lviv as a very beautiful old city, but is thinking that it’s time to move on. “Now my husband and I are looking for a better place for ourselves and our business, because our country is good to visit, but bad to live here. We want to live in a place where there is less corruption and more opportunities for development.”


artkvarta - workspace

artkvarta – workspace


artkvarta - yu & Ed

ArtKvarta – Yu & Ed


With regards to living the life that you want, she doesn’t think you should worry about finding the answers first, but just keep on moving: “The thoughts will materialize, so think about the possibilities and do what you love.”


You can find more of Yulia’s jewellery in their Etsy shop, ArtKvarta.


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,


All fresh for the new year


The last day of the year? Really, it’s just another day. Ask your dog if it’s special – I’m sure their answer would be “Huh? What’s for dinner?”

However. We humans do like to ascribe meaning to events; it’s a way of defining and making sense of our world; it gives us some kind of measure. (It’s the same type of urge that makes us like to name things, and to understand the processes behind natural phenomena – we like to have a base from which to manipulate our environments according to our own desires.)

New Year’s Eve is not a time for making promises to ourselves that we can’t keep. It is a time for looking back at the year that was, of self-assessment, of understanding what it is that is important to us. Of figuring out where to go from here.

The new year holds the promise of newness and freshness, of great possibilities. And yes, this is true! But keep in mind you are not infinitely malleable. Like materials – paper, glass, metal, fabric – each has its own true nature, capable of many wonderful and amazing things, but not everything. Be kind to yourself – understand who you are, go your own direction, climb your own mountain.

I wish you all the very best for the fresh year.

Julie x


taylorseclectic – lime grove earrings – 925 silver, paper


svsoaps – citrus bliss


cksstudio80 – citrus and sunshine


clayswan – tea for two – ceramic


uneekglassfusions – coral shoots bowl – glass

The delectable lusciousness of glass : Kathryn Wardill, jeweller

Kathryn Wardill is an educator and a great artisan that I have the honour of calling my friend – we met way back in 1995 when we were at RMIT together. She always impressed me with the amount of enthusiasm and energy she put into everything every day – definitely not one to sit still for too long! She now exhibits internationally as well as locally, and has taught at numerous workshops and institutions.


pools of water – neckpiece, sterling silver, glass


Kathryn first studied Jewellery at QCA in Brisbane, and took a short lampworking class as a curiosity, “just because”. Now she has been working with glass and metal in combination for more than 15 years, and says of her obsession, “these materials have embedded themselves so deeply in me, that all I do is think about new ways to bring them together.” As a prolific maker, her work changes constantly, sometimes dwelling on an idea here and there in order to explore the different facets of it, and then leaping off at a tangent into new territory.


green patches – neckpiece – blackened sterling silver, glass


She loves glass for its rich colour and ability to be shaped, and excels at exploring its tactile qualities by grouping multiple elements to form pieces that move and clink when you touch them. Silver wire allows for fabulous construction possibilities, again using multiple elements for their expressive qualities, and for framing each glass feature.


ring series – sterling, glass, plastic, amethyst


There is something very playful, and almost edible about many of her glass pieces; they are made to be enjoyed and worn, they are spontaneous, colourful, quirky, and whimsical.


branch brooch, blackened sterling silver , glass


branch neckpiece – blackened sterling silver, glass


block arcade – neckpiece – blackened sterling, glass


stairs of passion – neckpiece – blackened sterling silver, glass


Her work has been widely exhibited and published. She is the only Australian artist featured in the book ‘1000 Glass Beads: Innovation & Imagination in Contemporary Glass Beadmaking’ (2004) and the first Australian speaker at the International Society of Glass Beadmakers (ISGB) Conference, USA in 2006. In 2011, she was an invited International Juror for the most recent volume in the prestigious Lark 500 series, 21st Century Jewelry: The Best of the 500 Series. 

You can find more of Kathryn’s work, and more about the workshops she teaches on her website,