Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Makers Part 12

In alchemy, silver is one of the noble metals. In mythology, silver is representative of moon energy and the balance between black and white. It is the color of the Greek goddess Artemis (Roman Diana). As a symbol associated with the moon, silver suggests purity, strength, clarity, focus, and feminine energy.  My next maker, Gab lives on the south coast of NSW in Australia and makes beautiful jewellery out of recycled silver. It is as if the material itself guides the process of making and Gab's work for me, is an embodiment of these symbolic feminine processes of renewal and intuition. Her jewellery can be found in her etsy shop RedPeg Eco Studio, on her blog and on her facebook page.

Can you tell me a little about your background?

I live on the far south coast of NSW in the beautiful Bega Valley, with my partner Mikey and our four legged friend, “Doug”. I studied at the National Art school in Sydney majoring in Sculpture. I love op shopping and garage saleing, finding forgotten treasures. I’m a lover of 50’s vintage and “Nannaism”, the old ways of mending and making do. The idea of living frugally and sustainably appeals greatly to me, although I’m yet to get there.


What do you make?

I make jewellery, body adornments and wearable art. I’m dedicated to creating art with minimal environmental impact. I work with only recycled sterling silver, I buy it in sheet and wire form from a company committed to supplying only recycled silver from commercial and industrial sources. I recycle, up-cycle and salvage. I hunt around garage sales and op shops for old jewellery I can reclaim pieces from, like broken silver jewellery or old strands of beads. Natural Alternatives, such as vinegar and bi-carb soda are used in the cleaning, polishing and oxidizing processes.

I am self taught, I treat the work as a sculptor not a jeweler, therefore, I think, my work has a pretty big point of difference. Some may say it lacks the refinement of a “jeweler”, others may say it is more of a wearable art piece than a ‘traditional’ piece of jewellery. I tend to call my work wearable art as each piece is crafted as an artwork. To me, each piece of jewellery I make, whether earrings or a trinket or even a bangle is a mini sculpture.


What attracted you to this particular medium? How did you get started?

My background is in Sculpture. I’ve been making and exhibiting sculpture for over15years but have always had a very keen interest in Jewellery and always intended to study silversmithing at some point. But you know how life gets in the way. The opportunity to go back to fulltime education and the realization I’d have to move back to the city didn’t fit with where I was in life. I’d always been making jewellery for myself and friends, mainly with found objects and beads. One day, (about 6year ago) I brought some silver wire and silver sheet and set about working with it in the same way I would if making a sculpture……. I’ve slowly built up a cache of tools and have taught myself how to use them. I’m sure some silversmiths would have a fit, if they saw me at work. Ever the heavy handed sculptor!


How does your practice fit in with your everyday life? Do you have your own studio space and when do you work and where?

I work fulltime in my Studio which is an enclosed verandah on our 1940’s house.
Its great working from home although I sometimes think if my studio wasn’t actually attached to the house, I might get more done. It’s easy to get distracted with the domestics. I spend most of the normal weekly working hours in the studio, whether it be filling orders for Gallery shops or preparing stock for markets or just tinkering, playing with whats at hand and learning new techniques through exploration of the medium.

What are the best and worst aspects about working with this medium?

I’m not sure I have a worst aspect. I get the occasional burn when I’m soldering and sometimes cut myself with sharp pieces of silver sheet, but overall I love working with silver. I love the tactility, the malleability, the endless ways of working with it. I love the colour. I especially love the colour against the skin. I love that the more I tinker with it the more exciting and new things I find I can do with it.

Who or what inspires you?

I draw a lot of inspiration from the natural world, what I like to call natures patterns. The shape and harmony of things such as leaves, seedpods and shells are a constant amazement to me. I’m also a huge fan of the Danish modernist designers of the 50’s and 60’s, I love the organic rhythm achieved in so many of the designs at that time.

What other mediums would you love to explore?

I’m really happy to continue exploring silver at this stage. I hope to hone my techniques and practices and find yet still more ways of working the silver. I feel as if I’ve barely scratched the surface with the possibilities. As with the silver, I’ll also continue to work on my large scale steel sculptures and I’m also into sewing and other construction based crafts.

What do you hope to do next with your practice?

I hope to go on doing this fulltime and not only living a fulfilling life but making an honest income out of what I love doing. I’ll keep making and tinkering, exploring and exhibiting, selling and expanding, and hopefully smiling and laughing.


Thanks Gab! If you are a maker or a collector, I would love to hear from you!


  1. Interesting interview--I love the work of this artist!

  2. Thank you, me too! Nothing more inspiring than talented people...

  3. Gorgeous jewelry...can't wait to check out her Etsy Shop! And I love her work studio!