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Journal - Interviews

Introducing Fiona Fitzgerald

Fiona FitzgeraldFiona Fitzgerald’s debut collection ‘Anamnesis’ is a new body of work that highlights her intricate making techniques in filigree and granulation and marries them with concepts around ancient philosophies and shared knowledge. As well as being a highly skilled jeweller, Fiona is also an integral part of the e.g.etal team, so we asked her to chat with us and share on her practice.

Firstly, how would you describe your aesthetic?
For the most part texture-focused and organic. I favour matte worn surfaces over something very polished. I aim for each piece to have it’s own presence, to feel like it may have been around longer than it has.

Do you have any favourite materials to work with?
I love working in high carat yellow gold and fine silver because of their appearance and way they behave during the making process. They both lend themselves well to traditional techniques like fusing, granulation, and filigree too.

What drew you into making contemporary jewellery initially?
I dabbled with a lot of mediums before I really stumbled into jewellery making. I always had an interest in creating objects from timber, metal and glass but my background was dressmaking. Nothing had really challenged me or held my interest in the way jewellery had. The process was as rewarding as the outcome. There is also something about the smaller scale of jewellery that drew me in because it allowed me to focus my ideas.

Fiona - Photos 3

What influences and inspires you?
I’m interested in how we connect and evolve. I try to reflect that in my pieces… often via texture. Whether that’s created with lost wax casting, filigree, or granulation I’m usually trying to capture that tangential movement of growth each of us experiences, dipping back and forth through time to retrieve, rebuild, reconnect or learn.

For me personally alongside my healing practice, usually at any given time there is an energetic imprint, pattern or trauma I’m aware of at the surface of my consciousness. Something I’m being guided to work through and that’s reflected back to me in the people and situations around me. In almost all cases these imprints tap back into several past lives where the pattern stemmed, repeated and became calcified. This always influences the pieces I’m making and they will often become a fusion of memories and eras, symbolic of what has been or is being healed.

How do you approach making new work?
I will generally have an idea that’s quite clear and make only a simple rough sketch considering comfort and scale. My planning is more writing based. I will jot down potential issues, thinking my way through the construction process from start to finish in order to iron out any issues. If it’s a complex piece I will redraw the design and make initial weight and material estimates. I may make a very rudimentary paper or metal mockup to assess fit or scale. That methodical side is a direct result of my pattern/dress making experience but there’s always room for experimentation, play and happy mistakes. Most of the time there’s not a lot of deviation from the initial idea.

Your work is highly detailed, what do you enjoy most about creating such intricate pieces?
I often feel that the only way I can capture time, convey the depth of feeling behind a piece or tell its story is through detail. When we approach something we want to heal, as we draw closer we become aware of its intricacies, complexities we perhaps weren’t aware of before. There’s sometimes some endurance work before the triumph. I think that’s what making jewellery is like for me. I enjoy the challenges it presents.

Fiona - Photos 4

Do you think working in a contemporary jewellery gallery has informed or shaped your practice?
I wanted to work in contemporary jewellery in the hope that it would motivate me to progress my own practice, help me stay connected to other artists, and serve as a reminder for why I love to make jewellery. I think over the last year especially, hearing some of the beautiful stories from clients of the gallery made me remember what a special privilege it is to make a piece for someone, knowing that it’s life begins with that person and really whatever intention they hold and imbue.

Working remotely is something we all had to adjust to for portions of last year, do you think this created any interesting results in your practice?
I think like perhaps a lot of people during periods of lockdown in Melbourne I had a lot of grand schemes to utilise that time to learn new skills and explore some larger scale pieces using only materials I had on hand. Besides a few little projects, not a lot of these plans came to fruition! Where others might have been channelling their experience into new works I was definitely sitting in a creative ebb. I think it was a good reminder that it’s okay to take time out to recharge and make space for other things. I think it helped me to find a new level of balance that was lacking before

Finally, what would like people to take away from your new collection Anamnesis?
There are a lot of layers of symbology in the collection, especially around drawing from collective experiences, the flow of life force, and overcoming restraint. Everyone is capable of profound change. When you remember where you’ve come from, what you’ve been through and emerged from, and you choose to see yourself and those experiences through a lens of compassion and acceptance, that is the time for harvesting all of that knowledge you’ve gained and turning it into something wildly beautiful. The collection is meant to be a celebration of what happens when you trust and show up for yourself and others. Really, I hope people connect with the pieces, that they spark the imagination and act as a canvas for people’s own experiences.

You can see more about Fiona and the ‘Anamnesis’ collection here.