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September 11, 2017

In the Edments with Jane Bowring

Inherent in every piece of jewellery is a story of the time and energy that went into making it.

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  • Words: Lauren Bezzina
  • Pictures: Jessica Clark

After learning her craft and teaching it across Adelaide, Sydney, and Brisbane, in 2010 jewellery maker Jane Bowring came back to South Australia and established her studio in the CBD.

Jane’s studio is at once a workshop and a showroom, creating an environment for clients to be fitted and to discuss commissions.

She surrounds herself with an evolving collection of pieces that describe where she comes from, what she has made, and objects that are providing inspiration. There is a balance between the natural and handmade, and a kind of rhapsody exists when all the objects are in the one space.

Staples of Jane’s practice: silver, brass, diamonds and pearls

There is an obvious connection between the pieces Jane creates and the natural objects she collects

Jane introduces us to the concept of jewellery being “the earth worn on the body”, and explains that she is always looking at the world through the lens of jewellery.

“I make connections between the objects I see and my understanding of jewellery, and then it’s natural to bring the two together,” Jane says.

Natural light and natives are a necessity

“Creative process is like developing a language. Through repetition, and refining the simple low-fi processes and materials I use in my work, shapes emerge that flow across my pieces. As a jewellery maker I am a kind of custodian for materials, and I try to keep the work simple so that they may be expressed. It’s a constant process of repetition, refinement, and joy.”

Jane’s sculptural wire working practice has sat alongside her jewellery making from the beginning

The way Jane holds, moves, and places objects demonstrates her respect for the materials that she describes. We observe her using the same purposeful touch with fossilised shells and fragile coral as she uses with her finished work. The movements reflect her understanding of the materials, but also a confidence in her ability to shape them.

In Jane’s studio, the small controlled actions that are necessary to making jewellery are balanced out by larger more expressive gestures in the form of dance. At the moment, Cuban rhythms fill the studio as Jane practices her salsa counting. On a different day, you might hear Phillip Glass or Linda Rondstandt through the studio door.

Ideas sit in waiting on the pinboard

Jane’s logo is written in her own handwriting, because nothing else felt quite right. This is an embodiment of her practice: honest and natural, prescribed and purposeful, and seemingly effortless.

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