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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.


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.


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…


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?


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.