WA JEW­ELS OF THE NORTH

PRE­CIOUS PIECES FROM PIL­BARA

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - LIFESTYLE -

WA holds a spe­cial place in con­tem­po­rary jeweller Nicky Hep­burn’s heart, de­spite spend­ing much of her life in Mel­bourne.

“I was born at St John of God Mt Law­ley and my fam­ily lived in Perth un­til we moved to Mel­bourne when I was two,” Hep­burn said.

“My dad, Alis­tair Hep­burn, was a town plan­ner who was em­ployed to re­design the city of Perth (in the 1950s); you can Google him.

“Both our par­ents have passed away now and dad never told us just how much he did but my sis­ters and I are learn­ing while back here for a visit. It’s been a lovely trip down mem­ory lane.”

In fact, Alis­tair co-au­thored the 1955 Plan for the Metropoli­tan Re­gion of Perth and Fre­man­tle, which has been a blue­print for town plan­ning and Hep­burn Av­enue was named af­ter him.

His daugh­ter’s con­nec­tion to the state also heads north to the Pil­bara, where in 2014 Hep­burn was one of four jew­ellery artists in res­i­dency at FORM’s Spinifex Hill Stu­dios in South Hed­land.

She was joined by Yuko Fu­jita, Pen­nie Jagiello and Natalia Milosz-Piekarska.

“We had a fab­u­lous time, tak­ing in the land­scape and work­ing with in­dige­nous artists,” Hep­burn said.

“It’s such a beau­ti­ful en­vi­ron­ment of red dirt, big sky and yel­low spinifex; it’s a con­trast of dif­fer­ent colours, tex­tures and light.

“And then you go some­where like Kar­i­jini Na­tional Park with its gorges and rock and I just wanted to try and cap­ture the essence in my works.”

All four artists have their jew­ellery dis­played in FORM exhibition Worn Land at The Goods Shed in Clare­mont un­til Novem­ber 16.

Hep­burn said she used al­ter­na­tive found ma­te­ri­als from the Pil­bara in her pieces, in­clud­ing pumice, shell, nat­u­ral resin and sap which she remelted to make beads.

“It prob­a­bly boils down to a per­sonal un­der­stand­ing of what pre­cious­ness can be,” she said.

“I’m not tak­ing any­thing away from gold, sil­ver and gems, I love them equally and I make my liv­ing mak­ing pre­cious jew­ellery but I also con­sider pieces cre­ated from al­ter­na­tive ma­te­ri­als.

“I think it’s fun and in­ter­est­ing to look lat­er­ally and I think as chil­dren we all went for walks and col­lected lit­tle gum­nuts and things like that.

“I think it’s good for us to look at those things again in a dif­fer­ent light; to see jew­ellery dif­fer­ently.”

Hep­burn and other artists will run a se­ries of work­shops and dis­cus­sions in­spired by Worn Land un­til Oc­to­ber 16. More at www.form.net.au.

Tanya MacNaughton

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie

Nicky Hep­burn: Beau­ti­ful en­vi­ron­ment. d459816

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