Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Bright and Beautiful

I stared at these underwater marvels for ages when we visited the Solitary Islands Aquarium in Coffs Harbour. I really wanted to share them with you, as surely there is nothing else comparable in terms of colour, shape, movement and strangeness? They waved, nodded and undulated as the water moved. So alien to this affirmed land dweller. I can't tell you what each is called, though the last picture is a crown of thorns sea star. I hope you find them equally mesmerising. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Collections, children and crowns

Sneak peek from Friday's photo shoot with Trudi Le Brese Photography

There is so much to learn about running a small business, and I am definitely still learning. I was listening to a podcast at the end of November last year, which mentioned that small businesses should be beginning preparations for Valentine's day. I think I nearly choked on my cup of tea. Late November I was preparing for Christmas! With a photo shoot completed, Christmas cards for clients printed and ready to be sent, orders coming in and an 11 day holiday in Coffs Harbour on the horizon, Valentine's had not been on my mind at all! Until that point I thought I had been really quite organised. Thus, when January began, I was home with three children, planning and prototyping a new collection with the hope of having it ready for Valentine's Day.  

I set a goal of releasing my first collection for the year on the 1st of February, to give my lovely clients time to purchase for Valentine's Day if they so desire, and so I had a deadline to work with. I find I work well with a deadline. My husband and sister said I was crazy. At this point there were two weeks left of Janurary (and I was looking after three children full time.) One week to make and finish all the jewellery in the collection, and organise a photoshoot, during nap times and night time. Followed by one week for the photographer to edit the photos. 

Two hours before the shoot I was still polishing the last pieces of jewellery. I felt really nervous and was questioning all the creative decisions I had made for the shoot, from the location to the model, from the theme to the props. I didn't want to waste the photographer and models time. But as soon as I saw the first pics on Trudi's camera, I knew it had all fallen perfectly in to place and I relaxed and enjoyed the shoot. I was so proud of both the first and second shoot, but I think this one is the best yet and I can't wait to share all the photos - it's so hard to wait until the 1st of February!

Meanwhile I have been working all the behind the scenes things one does before a launch - photographing and editing each product image for the shop, creating new Facebook and blog headers, designing a catalogue and order form for my suppliers, writing product descriptions, blog posts, newsletters etc. in between trips to the park, building blocks and referring my seven and three year old - who are struggling to see eye to eye after six weeks together without the daily enforced break school brings with it.

So stay tuned, there's one week until the launch and I can't wait! 

If you want to be the first to see the new collection, sign up to my newsletter and keep an eye on your inbox! xx

Friday, January 22, 2016

Casting Nature

Ideas, inspiration, designs, they are all strange things, aren't they? How do you work with them? Quite often I find I design my jewellery first in my head and it stays there for awhile before I put pen to paper. A concept will float around in my mind for weeks sometimes before I pin it down and write a few words in my journal, or sketch a quick sketch in my notebook. I'll keep musing on it, adding to the jottings and sketchings, before starting to play with my ideas in metal or wax. So often the designs change direction as they make their way from my mind to my hands. So often once I begin I suddenly 'know' the answers I was asking myself about texture, scale, gemstones etc. The key is always just to begin.

What a joy it is, this whole process. This way of living in my creative mind while doing the dishes, having a shower, feeding the cats - tasks where I can let go of my focus and allow my subconscious to express it's self. What a joy it is to notice the details in the day to day, and absorb their beauty. A yellow leaf against a grey gutter. A white pigeon perched on a hills hoist. Spilt milk like a comet surrounded by constellations. Or the delicate detail of a twig, which will become lost forever amongst the leaf litter, except for a scarce few which have now been cast in silver.  

And so my new collection is coming to life, capturing the organic detail of a handful of twigs, to create jewellery to be treasured.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Childhood Musings

My dear Oscar, almost 20 months old
Empty, thankfully. A victim of the wind.
My clay creations, while attending a children's workshop.
The babies shelf
My view while breastfeeding

I love the way the third baby is just so at home in whatever space he occupies. He just seems so comfortable. At home, at friends houses, at the shops. He climbs up in to laps for cuddles. Chooses the most comfortable seats. Sits himself in his bed and sucks his thumb to admire his books. Last week he fell asleep sitting in a shopping trolley - arms folded, head on arms - to the delight of several older ladies! He is just as comfortable and fearless at playgrounds. Following in his sister's footsteps as if he were equal to her three years in age. I think pure joy is the look that radiates from his face as he slides down a slippery slide all by himself.

Next month Emerson turns four and she will no longer be my toddler. Instead, Oscar will well and truly assume that title when he turns two in May. Until then, he is still my 'baby'. It only hit me last week as we drove to the library that this is my last year with Emerson at home. (She's not going to kindy, just as Cohen didn't.) Next year she starts big school. Just last month it was still two years away, suddenly it's just one year away! And just as she is nearly four, all too soon she will be turning five. Oh how true the phrase - 'the days are long but the years are short'. She really is the middle child, I find myself thinking of her as one of 'the big two', when she is with her older brother, and one of 'the little two', when she is with the baby. Her moods and communication skills swing between their skill levels. One moment kind and articulate, the next frustrated and loud. With a little space though she is sweet, imaginative and loving with a slight obsession for pink and dolls.

My sweet seven year old can't wait to get back to school. He pours over his school pack as though it were a gift from Santa, and treats his first calculator like a Gameboy. He adores school. He loves being surrounded by children, playing at lunch time and all the new and interesting things each day. He has learnt so very much these holidays though - spending time in nature, exploring galleries, museums and aquariums, and reading, reading, reading. He won't leave the house without a book. Sometimes it's his favourite book about snakes, other times it's extreme weather. His seven year old obsessions are Pokemon and Lego Star Wars, and he has encyclopedias for both, which he carries with him everywhere. The names and details he can recall amazes me. 

My sweet children. I hope one day they read these little sketches about their lives and it brings back memories for them, or at least gives them a glimpse of how very much I love and adore them.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Made OF Australia - Anna-Marie Wallace

I visited the lovely Logan Art gallery for the first time last week. Upon entering the primary coloured building, one steps foot in to a gift shop showcasing the work of local artisans, before heading left or right, to peruse the varying spaces hung with canvas and board. Toward the back of the gallery was a lovely space housing a ceramic exhibition, to which I was of course drawn. Those who have been reading for awhile will know I have a growing collection of handmade contemporary Australian pottery. Here I discovered the beautiful work of the Northern Rivers based artist and designer, Anna-Marie Wallace, and was introduced to the saggar firing process which makes all of her pieces so unique.

"Each piece, each object, whether large or small, be it either functional or simply beautiful in its form, imparts a sense of connection with the earth when it is held in the observer’s hand. Works of art in clay are tangible, tactile & so somehow often more engaging than two dimensional works. It is almost impossible not to gravitate toward a beautifully sculpted vessel & caress it, feel the satisfying mass of it, the refreshing coolness of it & appreciate its unyielding form as a solid, all the while aware that it was once a shapeless, malleable & indistinct morsel of earth & water & that through the careful manipulation of a skilled hand this small piece of our planet now has form, purpose even; not only is it beautiful, but in the case of a vessel or adornment, it is also useful & practical…” 
Anna-Marie Wallace 

Don't you just want to pick up these cups and feel them in your hands?

I love Anna-Marie's words above, and I did indeed want to touch her work. To weigh it in my hands, navigate the textures of each piece and examine the patterns that spill across the surfaces. I restrained myself and resorted to taking photos to share with you instead. But I bet there have been many that couldn't resist gently running a finger tip across one of these pieces when the gallery staff weren't looking!

And oh, the nature table of found and foraged treasures above presented the same tactile allure. Feather, shell, drift wood, seeds. Just the things we were collecting on our beach holiday the week before, and to which my inner magpie is drawn.

The exhibition closes on the 16th of January, so if you are in the area, pop in and try to resist touching the pieces. Or else you can see and purchase more of Anna-Marie's work on her website.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Contact Me!

Thinking about a custom made design and want to know the next steps?
Have a questions about your ring size?
Interested in reviewing my wholesale catalogue?

Please feel free to contact me!  
Phone: 0437 775 907

Brisbane, Australia

Thursday, January 7, 2016

What's Your Colour Giveaway!

It's the 7th day of the New Year (!), I'm still sorting through holiday snaps, the shop is open again, and my studio is in the middle of a new year clean. How about you? What have you been up to?
With a new year comes a new collection, and I am drawing, planning and working on new designs. I just need a little help. I want to create jewellery that my lovely community will love and wear and I'd love to know what colour jewellery you wear?! Silver, Oxidised Silver, Yellow Gold, Rose Gold, White Gold, a mix? If you have a moment could you please either leave a comment below, head to Facebook, or leave a comment on Instagram?
As a little thank you I am giving away a ring sizing gauge to several commenters chosen at random on Monday. A great little tool to tuck away in your jewellery box!
I've always been a silver girl myself. My engagement and wedding ring are white gold. But lately I find I am mixing in a little bit of gold with my silver, like a yellow gold Elsa ring beside a silver Edith ring, or the rose and white hues of a Beryl necklace. I find the warmth of gold mixed with the coolness of silver can really make some designs pop. But I want to know what you think, what you like to wear?
I'm looking forward to hearing your response!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

My Word For 2016

We've returned from our holiday and I have photos and stories to share in the coming days, but before the New Year gets too far behind us, I wanted to share my word for 2016.

Rather than resolutions, I've embraced a single word for the year, as a reminder, inspiration and promise to myself. My word is NURTURE - nurturing myself, my marriage, children, family, friends, home, creativity and business. The word graces the fist page of my diary and is chalked across the black board in our kitchen, so that I am reminded daily. I'm committed to asking myself 'Will this nurture me/them?' - be it food, possessions or activities - 'will it nurture the way I want to live?' 

I settled on 'nurture' after reading this article and discussing with my sister the questions and points it raises. Fiona has also adopted 'nurture' as her word of the year, so that we will keep each other accountable. What could be more powerful than identical twins on the same mission?! 
Because nurturing myself typically comes last, I started the New Year with a relaxing facial, my first ever eyelash and eyebrow tint, and a new skin care regime. I splurged on a cleanser, which I now follow with 2-3 drops of Sukin Rose Hip Oil, and essano Rosehip Moisturiser, followed by sun cream and make up in the morning. This simple, deliberate, daily cleansing and care of my skin already feels so much more nurturing and respectful to my skin, and is inspiring other changes in my daily routines. 

I'm looking forward to sharing more of  my discoveries over the course of the year.

Do you have a word or a resolution for 2016? 
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