MEET THE ARTIST
I made my first jewellery in high school alongside my good friend Tim Peel, we were very lucky in that we had fabulous art teachers who allowed us to explore many mediums, there was not an official jewellery class but we were able to follow our interests. I went on to start a BA in Visual Art at Melbourne University. I completed two years but
decided I did not want to be a teacher so I moved to Queensland where I was mentored by Raina Ham. Raina helped me get myself set up with tools etc and for a while I had a market stall and got involved with a community art group in Maleny to showcase and sell our work. I found it very hard to make a living and so for many years I made jewellery on the side whilst working as a cook, gardener, house cleaner and later on in health food shops and ironically as a teacher. It wasn’t until my first trip to Yowah to set opal, in 2008, that I became a full time silver and goldsmith.
I moved to Bellingen in 2010, after Black Saturday I could no longer live in bushfire country and I had always dreamed of living in a warm place. I chose to settle on this part of the coast because many of my opal friends also live here, including Ian ‘Mac’ MaArthur, whose shop and studio space I shared for my first couple of months in town.
My primary obsession as a goldsmith is with opal. I first discovered Queensland boulder opal on a trip around Australia with my daughter in a Kombi. Whilst free camping on the Paroo at Eulo I met Garry Berghopher at the Eulo stores and he put me to work setting some of his opal. My life has never been the same! Prior to this I used to do
a lot of beading, I had my own 8 week beading course I taught at Community centres and Tafe around Melbourne. Once I discovered opal I stopped beading and concentrated on setting all those amazing works of art from under the ground. Each winter since that first trip I satisfy my itchy feet by going to the opal fields in Yowah, Koroit and White Cliffs to set opal for the tourists, miners, locals - anyone and everyone!
I loved the lifestyle and people of White Cliffs so much that I moved there in August 2013. I now live and work in my dugout under the ground and have been creating a range of jewellery featuring opal, antique pottery and glass from the wonderfully inspiring palette of White cliffs.