Interview with Laura Eyles
We’re thrilled to welcome Laura Eyles to e.g.etal. Each of Laura’s pieces is an adventure strewn with surprises. Glittering constellations are hidden inside rotating mechanical discs, or buried in the belly of a luminous speckled organism. We find out what inspires Laura’s work…
We’re fascinated by the moving parts in your work, and the extra dimension this gives the pieces. What motivates you to incorporate movement into your jewellery?
You can be holding something beautiful or interesting but the minute that you realise you can interact with it, move it or play with it, THAT feeling: excitement, surprise and delight; THAT is what I want people to experience when they are holding my work. Movement allows this.
Some of your work alludes to stars and constellations. What’s the story behind these references?
I love the reminder stars give us that there is so much more to existence. So much more beyond us. I also have fond memories of camping as a child in Central Australia and seeing more stars than I ever thought possible. So many shooting stars, almost one a minute! I enjoy conjuring that childhood spirit and sense of wonder.
What are your favoured materials and how did you develop your process?
Enamelling. I find the process of enamelling really enjoyable. Unlike most enamellers I don’t use a kiln. Instead I hand fire using my torch at the bench. I discovered I could do this at NMIT in a moment of play. I like the control and connection I feel with the piece using this process.
Many of your pieces seem to meld the mechanical with the organic – how do you see these themes relating to each other?
I am totally fascinated by mechanisms and mathematics, although they didn’t come naturally to me. Inspired by my engineer father and his garage full of hoarded equipment, I grew up watching him fix and build amazing things with total accuracy. Myself on the other hand, I was always going to be an artist of some kind, freedom and creativity were what drove me. My work is a result of a blend of skills I fantasise of mastering and my natural organic creativity. I enjoy beautiful things but it is really how they are made and what they can do that wins my heart. Similarly, to me mechanisms alone can be cold without personality.
Tell us about your time working on an open pit gold mine? What prompted you to take this intriguing departure?
I am an adventure seeker by nature, and I had this idea that it would be brilliant as a jeweller to have an understanding of where my raw materials came from; in the same way that cooks benefit from the “Farm to Plate” understanding. It is mind blowing the money and the people power it takes to get 1 ounce of gold. One of my favourite memories was working on what they call the “Stick Pad” an area of the mine that the old underground workings (old wooden and steel scaffolding from the pioneers days) are hand removed from piles of high grade ore so it can be processed. There was one particularly rich load that had been scraped up by the loader and after it moved away the flat ground looked like it had been strewn with gold glitter. It was so beautiful, I will never forget that.
When you start to make a piece, do you know immediately what it will become, or is the process more exploratory?
I usually start a piece with a mechanism in mind and expand from there. I will set up some parameters for mechanical accuracy and once they are in place I allow myself the freedom to play.
How do you hope people respond to your work?
I hope when people pick up my work they experience a sense of surprise and delight as they discover that they can play with it. I would love them to share the experience with others, share that excitement.
Is there a particular artist, designer or work that inspires you?
I would love to say yes and tell you in detail who and why….but i all honesty I am as much inspired by a door hinge as I am by any particular artist. I seek inspiration everywhere I go.
You’re very well schooled, with qualifications in Fine Arts, Curatorship, Engineering technology and gold and silversmithing. What drives you to keep learning?
I am very passionate about study, I love the sense of possibility that comes with it. In the sense that if I enrol in a course and put all my energy into understanding what I am learning, that in the end I will be capable of new things. This gives me confidence that anything is possible.