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My jewellery making history (part one)

Fish pendant in sterling silver and titanium by Simone Walsh (circa 1994). The first piece of metalwork jewellery I designed and made - a fish pendant in sterling silver and anodised titanium (1994).

It was way back in 1992 that I spotted a piece of jewellery in a shop which really intrigued me in terms of its construction. It was a necklace which was eye-catching (but fairly ‘chunky and clunky’ as things were back then!) and made from wire which wrapped discs of coloured glass.

When I got home I kept thinking about how it was made. Soon after I bought some wire, pliers and glass and started experimenting with ways to put the materials together and turn them into something wearable.

Soon enough I became hooked on the idea of making contemporary jewellery and was very keen to learn more!

Making a start

Initially I made very simple pieces using wire wrapping, beads and manufactured components. I made mostly for my own enjoyment, but also started selling pieces at markets in Adelaide, South Australia.

Back then I was working in the music industry, but was unhappy and looking for a new direction. After making very simple jewellery for a year or so I made a decision to pursue this work more seriously and learn to make ‘real’ jewellery.

Getting an education

I resigned from my job and started full time study in 1994, when I began a Visual Arts diploma with a Jewellery major at a technical college in Adelaide.

During my first year of study I learnt an incredible amount in terms of the core technical skills I use to this day. At the end of that year I was very proud to be presented with The Most Outstanding Jewellery Student award at my college.

Leaving the country

After another period of full time study the following year, I decided to go to London, where I lived for a couple of years.

While there I was only able to do a minimal amount of jewellery making with a few tools, but I was able to soak up a lot of ideas and inspiration.

Eventually I returned to Australia with the intention of continuing my studies.

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Read part two of my jewellery making history.

In the interim don't forget to check out my 20 years, 20 pieces, 20% off jewellery range which is on sale for September only.

Learn more about the 20th anniversary celebrations and how you can get involved!

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