Q&A with Julia Storey
Julia’s work is both highly labour intensive and meticulously crafted.
Our appreciation for what is poured into her work is all the greater after speaking with her on her inspirations and design process.
What inspired you with your new ‘Terrain’ collection?
My inspiration seems always to be the natural world, and this collection is really focused on Australian landscapes known and remembered. The colourful pops of gems & bright flashes of diamond make me think of that particularly brilliant Australian light. With my signet rings, I wanted them to be quite different and contemporary, so I pushed myself into a new direction, accentuating the hard-edged contrast between changing metals.
There are some incredible precious stones in your pieces, in what way do they play into your design considerations?
The line between gemstone collector and hoarder is pretty thin! I see special stones and know that I will use them… one day. I especially love Australian sapphires, and I seem to attract interesting stones with stories, sourced one by one from fossickers, cutters and gems merchants over the years
Many of your pieces contain segments of 9ct,14ct,18ct and 24ct yellow and white gold. What drew you to combine these materials in this way?
I think all metals and alloys have their own special character, and it’s best seen in contrast. They all react to light differently – and will often really sing at different times of the day. On a golden afternoon, the pure gold will catch the light beautifully, whereas the cool greys of the white gold will come to life on crisp Melbourne mornings.
I also like something that can stand alongside gemstones, whereas with more traditional single alloy jewellery the metal elements can sometimes feel quite practical and backgrounded.
My terrain technique is labour intensive – and undeniably handmade – something I highly value in jewellery. It’s almost a way for me to pack even more work into a piece because I feel that it somehow stays with the object.
I use many different alloys of metals, form them into wire, then divide them into many tiny pieces before working them together like a puzzle, filing to adjust as I go to make sure each individual fragment sits flush against the next and keeping the overall pattern in mind. And from these tiled arrangements, I create something solid, but still detailed, formed of many elements. It’s the essence of jewellery, this luxurious abundance of the elements, of beauty, of craft and labour, into something small and precious.
Were there any challenges if any in creating these pieces?
As always the biggest challenge is working with the different alloys of gold with their different melting temperatures and different hardnesses. I need to be very conscious of construction and be highly focused, while also remaining intuitive.
What do you hope people enjoy or discover from seeing and wearing your work?
I hope people sense the labour, care and craft in each piece and that means they can have long and changing and rewarding relationships with their wearers. I like to imagine them out in the world, living different lives, on their own journey.
You can see more about Julia and her collection here.