10K followers! There and back again, an artists tale
I have made it to 10k followers! Which is amazing! Thank you everyone for helping me grow so much in the past four years. To all of my followers, new and old, here is an introduction to the artist behind the scenes.
I am a trade qualified jeweller, which means I’ve done a four-year apprenticeship. In 2011 I started an apprenticeship with Stephen Dibb Jewellery in Holland Park, BrisbaneI learnt how to; handmake jewellery, repair jewellery, restore and remake antique jewellery, clean up and assemble CAD castings, carve wax for lost wax casting, consult with clients, design and much more! I also entered the DGA design awards and won first place for emerging talent.
Let’s just say I learnt a lot. I even started an unofficial diamond setting apprenticeship which, unfortunately I didn’t finish because I moved to Melbourne. Not completing my learning from master diamond setter, Brendon Tapp, is still one of my greatest regrets.
In Melbourne I worked for Larsen Jewellery in the CBD. In this work place we focused on bridal jewellery. So, I became very good at making diamond and coloured stone engagement rings, diamond wedding bands, fancy men’s wedding bands as well as making mokume gane rings. After two years of working only with 18ct gold, platinum, diamonds and winning the contemporary category of the JAA design awards I was ready to spread my wings.
Rose Street Artist Market was my next stop. I decided to give up full time employment and work for myself. Every Saturday and Sunday for almost two years you could find me at Rose Street in Fitzroy, selling my silver sand cast jewellery. Starting a new business is hard work and the money doesn’t come easy, so I started in house contracting during the week to help pay the bills!
It was such a great experience working in a variety of workshops and learning from some of Melbourne’s best. Waterdale Jewellery in Ivanhoe was my primary contract, but I worked for other jewellers such as Black Finch in Northcote and All Diamonds in Elsternwick. In between all of this contracting and weekend markets, I entered the JAA design awards and not only won the coloured gemstone category, but the title of Jeweller of The Year!
It was during that first two crazy years of growing my business and winning awards that I started teaching sand casting workshops. What a success! My classes were so well received, I was invited to teach in all sorts of studios around Australia and New Zealand! This was a game changer for my business, and I rapidly gathered followers, students and friends. I gave up the lazy weekends at Rose Street markets and started travelling with my suitcase full of teaching tools.
This brings us to year Covid, 2020. Yup. Even though many of my classes were postponed or all together cancelled, I still managed to get around Australia to teach some workshops between lockdowns and border closures.
For Melbournians, Covid brought a lot of spare time. When I was at home during one of our many lockdowns, I started experimenting on some projects that I’ve been dreaming of trying for a long time. Things like mixed metal casting, making cutlery, and some other fun things like making little wooden jewellery boxes and gemstone night lamps and getting my hands muddy, making ceramic pieces.
Before I knew it, 2021 had arrived. To teach my workshops, I had to repeat the whole bob and weave routine around border closures, but due to all the wonderful, loving support from my amazing students, followers, friends and family I was able to come out the other side of 2021 with my business running stronger than ever! Things were falling into place, so it was time to trade the hectic Melbourne life for the quiet regional style of Hobart, Tasmania.
Down here in chilly Tassie, I work from my home studio most days, at the base of Mt Wellington, guarded by his cloudy silhouette. Contracting allows me to keep a lot of different skills sharp as I get to see a variety of jobs coming across my bench, so I work in house one day a week at Claudia Jewellers in Sandy Bay. I have heaps of fun sand-casting workshops planned for the rest of 2022 in a bunch of locations around Australia and New Zealand. Next year I am planning to teach in London!!
Again, thank you all so much for helping me reach this milestone. If you can’t make it to a class in person or if you live internationally, you can find me on Youtube where I upload my sand casting tutorials.