Find Phoebe here
Buy her work: etal (Flinders Lane, Melbourne), Courtesy of the Artist (Strand Arcade, Sydney), KIN Gallery (Lonsdale Street, Braddon), NGA Shop (Canberra) and directly from Phoebe's studio by appointment
After studying Gold and Silversmithing at Canberra School of Art I gradually developed my studio practice while working part time in related jobs. I’ve been working solely in my own business since 2011.
I spent a year travelling in Europe and North America after finishing my degree, then relocated to Melbourne in 2005 to undertake a mentorship with one of Australia’s leading contemporary jewellers, Blanche Tilden. Melbourne has a thriving contemporary jewellery scene and I was deeply immersed in the craft and design community there for about eight years, returning to Canberra in 2013.
My business was well established in Melbourne and I shared a wonderful jewellery studio at the Abottsford Convent, so it wasn’t an easy decision to move back to Canberra. The pull of our extended family as well as deep personal and professional connections here was what drew my husband and I back. It’s been a fantastic decision and I’ve since enjoyed working in the incredibly supportive creative community Canberra offers. We have so many close friends here and love living in Hackett, which feels a lot like Northcote (where we lived in Melbourne) but has the advantage of backing onto beautiful Mt Majura.
One of the things I love about my work is that it’s so diverse. Sometimes I spend most of the day at my jewellery bench hand making a piece of custom jewellery, other days I might be drawing and developing models for new designs or making components for some of my collections. I use CAD (Computer Aided Design) in the development of my work, so I can also spend quite a lot of time on the computer, working on new designs or custom orders.
My work combines traditional jewellery making techniques such as sawing, filing and soldiering with more industrial processes such a machining and anodising. I recently launched my first precious collection Mutifaceted, featuring gold and faceted gemstones in combination with less traditional materials such as titanium, stainless steel and tantalum.
I have a beautiful studio at Gorman Arts Centre. It’s situated in an iconic 1920’s building, surrounded by heritage gardens and other creative tenants.
Having two small children means I don’t get much time to worry about work once I leave the studio. As a family, we love to spend time at the beach or catch up with friends anywhere that has a great playground. I find that debriefing with my husband over a glass of red wine is the best way to unwind from a busy day.
My work is quite process driven, so my starting point for new work is often exploring a particular technique or material. It’s through making that my ideas are refined and each design is resolved into its most pure expression.
I collect vintage tools and machinery, most of which I use on a regular basis for the production of my work. I also love collecting shells and beach pebbles as I’ve done since I was a child.
The monumental design of the city and the geometry of its axis’, give Canberra a feeling of clarity and openness that I love. This is enhanced by the clear crisp weather and vast blue skies. I also love spending time in the garden. All the rooms of our house look onto a central courtyard where we are slowly establishing a tranquil garden.
I’m currently working on pieces for an upcoming exhibition at Craft ACT, Mechanical Sampling, for which I’m exploring vintage machining techniques to make a series of rings. The exhibition will include documentation of the processes involved in making each piece, so I’m looking forward to collaborating with a photographer or videographer on developing that aspect of the exhibition.
I have a number of other exciting collaborative projects on the back burner that I’d love to make more time for in the future – it’s all about finding a balance between producing enough work to sustain my business, while still finding some time to explore new ideas and be experimental.