An Afternoon with Aurelia Yeomans
We chat to Aurelia about her new ‘Atlantis’ collection and what’s inspiring her right now.
When did you start working on this new collection, and why?
It has really been a continuation from my last collection ‘Crystallised.’ I have been really interested in the elements, and especially the element of water. So I feel like it’s a continuation of my previous work, but it has a new aesthetic and it’s looking at water in a different way to what I have previously.
It started when I made a pair of Atlantia Earrings that I stocked with e.g.etal and that was like the spark point for that evolution. I have been quite curious and interested in Plato’s description of Atlantis, a sunken world, living in complete harmony with the sea. They had a whole city built right in the heart of the ocean and I have been really fascinated with how much humans need water and how it is used for transportation, but it is also an incredibly cleansing element.
So yeah I guess it is got a few different ideas woven into it but looking at the forms of water and how it shifted and the rhythms it has, what it create and how it affects and impacts us. Also the colours that are in water I find exquisite – the beautiful blues and greens.
Are you working with new materials?
Yes, a few new materials actually. This is the first collection I have done that’s using pearls as well as boulder opals. I have pieces I have collected over the years that have been sitting in my jewellery box waiting to be made. It’s really nice exploring these new materials and looking at colour, texture and luminosity. Particularly with pearls and that lustre you get with them, and how they connect quite beautifully with water.
What does a day in the life of Aurelia look like?
I guess I start the morning with a black coffee. I might have breakfast outside and hang out and look at the cacti and check in with nature a little bit. Then I give myself structure during the day to make sure I am getting things done, so I usually have a list of things I have to complete and then I might end up running to the city to go to suppliers to look at some beautiful gemstones.
If I am developing a piece for a new collection there is a lot of work involved in the development of that, so the initial design phase is when I sit down and do some sketches for a couple of hours. Then, I might need to go source materials and stones to see how that is going to work with the design. Once I have those, I can develop it further and spend more time and towards the end of the day get stick unto making or be on the computer doing admin stuff.
Did you know that you were going to be an artist growing up, or did this path reveal itself to you later on in life?
I was always really clear that I was going to be an artist and ever since I was young, I always did so much drawing. I had sketchbooks full where every single page was covered and there were no white spaces anywhere. I would spend my childhood outside drawing and being in nature. I always thought I wad going to be a painter and I didn’t discover jewellery until years later in my mid twenties when I did a jewellery course with a friend. Then I found a traditional goldsmithing college in Germany that I decided to attend, and that was it!
What are the things you enjoy most about being a jewellery artist? Do you ever work in other mediums?
It is incredibly creative, but it is also quite technical. You are essentially building miniature 3D structures in a way, so it was cool to see my work move from two to three dimensions. And with processes like enamelling, I can still do things that are quite painterly, but on metal instead of canvas. There are things that I miss about painting, but I really love the balance of the technicality of the jewellery as well as the creativity. You are marrying two worlds and need to understand the chemistry behind it and how the metal is going to behave.
What do you think are the biggest challenges?
I think with running my own business, I do the work of 12 different professional roles so I am jumping between those roles all the time and I feel like that can really draw you away from the making, which is the bit I love the most. Anyone who runs a small business will be able to completely identify with that. It can really pull you in a lot of different directions, and keeping on top of that all the time can make me quite scattered. I have found meditation and running are ways to help me clear my mind and bring me back to centre when I get overloaded.
What do you do when you’re feeling stuck creatively?
Every artist struggles with that from time to time. It’s not just ‘on’ all the time and there are definitely are days where whatever I design is not in flow. And most of the time it’s that I need to stop and get into nature. That’s my way of grounding myself. I connect really deeply with nature – it clears my head and gets me out of my head. Sometimes its also a matter of inquiring ‘where am I stuck within myself’ because that will always manifest in the way that I make and what I am making, so yeah I usually just need to step away and come back fresh. Give myself that space, but also sometimes it works for me to push through and keep sitting with a piece until a solution reveals itself. I have to intuitively feel into where I’m at and be guided by that.
Why do you think you have such a strong connection to nature?
I was born and lived in mountains and the rainforest for my whole upbringing. I spent my days drawing and riding horses in the bush – the Blue Mountains and Dandenong Ranges specifically. I’m a total nature baby. There has always been that constant sense of peacefulness, and inquisition being connected to plants and their textures – there is just endless inspiration. I love Mount Dandenong. There is something about the trees I really connect with, but in the last couple of years since being closer to the sea I have really started connecting to that as well, hence my new ‘Atlantis’ collection.
What is next for you? Hoping to tick off your bucket list this year?.
Getting more and more into flow. This time I’ve got a trip later in the year to Mexico and I’m hanging for it, to reinvigorate the senses, explore some new terrain and they have incredible mountains and sea as well as ancient culture. I’m really looking forward to taking some time to immerse myself in that. We’ll see. I used to be really planned, and I still am, but allowing space to see where the wind blows me. That’s the new challenge.
What advice would you give to your 18 year old self?
I think follow you intuition with what you love, and the path will unfold itself to you. Don’t lose sight of what you want to achieve, because it’s all possible with work, dedication and commitment – once you find something you love you are going to want to put your heart and soul into it anyway. But don’t lose sight of that.