Brick and Mortar Creative | SIMON LOWNSBOROUGH PROFILE
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SIMON LOWNSBOROUGH PROFILE

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SIMON LOWNSBOROUGH

FOUND FORM JEWELLERY

FATHERS’ DAY SPECIAL EDITION MAKER’S PROFILE

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Simon, tell us about your background. What did you study and what led you to what you are doing today?

I have always designed and made things. In primary school I made cardboard watches. In high school I experimented with pottery and silk screening. I spent most of the 1990’s behind a camera and taking life drawing classes, while I qualified as a graphic designer. In the 2000’s I studied painting at Adelaide Central School of Art and held a few exhibitions. However nothing seemed quite right. Graphic design was a huge compromise and fine art redefined the word ‘angst’ for me.

Shortly after being made redundant from a website coordinator role I walked into a crafts market, saw a jeweller’s stall, and had a moment of pure realisation.

I took some short courses at the Jam Factory and began making.

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How do you work? Can you give us some insight into your creative process? Do you work on several pieces at once? Do you have a plan or do you work intuitively?

I bounce, from one project to another. I constantly draw as well. At the same time I have several themes I am exploring, but I allow myself to be sidetracked by a new idea or a happy accident (because they do occasionally happen). I have half-finished work in a tray sometimes for weeks while I work on other things – and then one day I’ll pick up a month-old ring and finish it.

It sounds haphazard but I do have a plan or three, and some goals I am aiming towards. I usually work on a few things at a time. It means I always have something to get on with, and then sometimes I can spend a day just setting stones or polishing.

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What materials do you use? What’s the most indispensable item in your studio?

I use silver – it is at the core of my practice. And I also use stones like onyx or tiger’s eye, and I use pearls. Recently I have been working with polycarbonate and polyethylene terephthalate and I have worked with wood and cotton as well. I like to work with unusual materials and make something special from them. For instance at present I am making a silver ring that features polyethylene terephthalate (a plastic) and a baroque pearl.

It is hard to pick one item, maybe my tumbler. Or maybe the ring clamp? Or the drill press…

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Where do you find your inspiration? Do you collect anything?

When I draw I draw fluid curves and transitional elements. I see these shapes and lines everywhere and respond to them. I find the shapes of corals and jellyfish and shark pods intriguing. And I have boxes of seed pods and beach stones. I am constantly drawn to these shapes. And unconsciously almost, draw these shapes. I admit to loving Brett Whiteley’s line work, the way he could hold a curve for an impossibly long time.

At the same time, I want to explore family history – the little things like old perfume bottles or wood thread spools that speak of our grandparents time. How evocative would it be to make a brooch combining some of these things with silver and pearls?

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How important is it for you to pursue your passion? 
Well it kind of takes over, but in a good way. I try and keep to a normal working week, but I’m constantly thinking, seeing, drawing new ideas. I can’t envisage doing anything else. And I want my children to believe they can follow their creativity – whether that’s on the weekends or as a living. So I’m glad I can be that example for them. It’s important, because you give so much more if you are doing ‘your thing’, rather than just anything. And you are generally happier too.