Meet Your Maker | Julie Blyfield
Julie Blyfield by Julianne Pierce
An artist’s studio is always a reflection of the artist, of how they create work and how they organise their thoughts and practice. This is very true of jeweller Julie Blyfield, whose light-filled studio sits in the luscious back garden of her Adelaide home.
Following several years at Gray Street Studio, Blyfield made the decision in 2010 to work from home. This gives her more space but also the opportunity to be surrounded by the plants and botanical forms that provide inspiration for her jewellery. Working predominantly in sliver, Blyfield uses the traditional techniques of repoussé and chasing, where fine marks are made on the malleable metal surface using small tools and hammers.
Her interest in gardens and plants can be seen in the shapes and forms of her pieces, where floral or leaf-life patterns are delicately inscribed into a necklace, brooch or earrings. A recent wall-work ‘Silver, leaves of grey’ (2018) is a merging of individual silver leaves into a larger tableau, a beautiful and impressive piece that was a finalist in this year’s Stanthorpe Art Prize.
Blyfield says of her interest in botany, “My father and grandmother were gardeners and my grandmother embroidered flowers on pillow cases. My parents immigrated from England to Australia in the 1950s and brought the pillow cases with them. I loved these patterns and I went back to England where I visited a pea sorting factory in Lincolnshire, undertook a residency at a Herbarium in London and visited Cambridge to view botanical specimens.”
Closer to home, Blyfield continues to research and explore the local environment. In developing collaborative pieces with ceramicist Kirsten Coelho, the two visited the Moonta Mines Museum and SA Museum to view ceramic materials from the RAH archaeological dig (the original dump site for Adelaide). Emerging from their explorations, is an exhibition called ‘Ormolu’ (an 18th century term for applying gilding to objects) where Coelho has created ceramics decorated with metalwork by Blyfield.
South Australia is home to many accomplished craft practitioners and Julie Blyfield’s work can be found in Australian and international galleries and museums. The collaboration with Coelho brings together two highly skilled artists, with their exhibition ‘Ormolu’ on show during October 2018 at the JamFactory Collect gallery space.
The Adelaide Review is a proud media partner of Well Made. First published in The Adelaide Review Issue 461.
Image (banner): Kirsten Coelho & Julie Blyfield, Matakohe, 2017. Bi metal copper & sterling silver,oxidised sterling silver,porcelain, matt white grey, cable, wax, bottle. Photograph by Grant Hancock. Images (top to bottom): Julie Blyfield, Stopper, Cone, Sieve Pendents, 2017. Oxidised sterling silver, bi metal copper and sterling silver, cable, wax, detail. Photograph by Grant Hancock. Julie Blyfield, Silver, Leaves of Grey aall plaque, 2018, Sterling silver. Photograph by Grant Hancock.