As I travel the internet highway and visit craft shows and boutiques in pursuit of jewelry designers doing unique and masterful work, I am constantly impressed with the quality of what is available and the creativity in the use of chosen materials. This is certainly true of Natasha Jade's amazing pieces using recycled buttons and fibers. These "adornments" as she calls them, are major showstoppers, with some of her best work conveying a sense of moist forest moss beds and salt water seas. From Melbourne, Australia, I asked Natasha how she first thought of the idea to use buttons:
I started with basic jewellery, but tried giving it more of an edge- using the buttons as features and the clusters of buttons as a base form to bead over. I really love buttons- the colors, the shapes, the overlapping forms / landscapes I would create out of clustering them together, and the way they would not appear as buttons at 1st glance until you looked a little closer, and it's really nice to take something that has essentially been discarded and turn it into something beautiful. I'm so tactile- I love to touch the fuzzy softness of yarns and felt against the glint of beads and the textures of buttons. I love the buttons to represent mushrooms in the textile pieces, plate-like fungi.
I like to make it up as I go, let the materials nestle around each other as they want to, let the little features "grow" out of the spaces in the forms as though the pieces were scooped up off the forest floor.
From beads to buttons to textiles to glass...I love that my vision for things has the chance to keep expanding with the introduction of new materials. I guess the subject matter/ inspiration for the pieces is much the same, it just becomes more refined as I incorporate more elements.
Your work is an interesting combination of the very modern with ancient sensibilities...tell us about this.
The Enchanted Earth series are particularly a homage to our ancient Mother Earth. She desperately needs our love and healing and in a small way I hope my pieces remind us of how precious our earth is, and by wearing them, we are re-connecting ourselves to her. Adornment is an ancient practice too- worshiping our bodies by the simple act of adorning ourselves.
Tell us a bit about your background...
Creative childhood- not a lot of cash so we would make things to play with, make art for the walls, make more of a mess than much else!!! I loved the arts subjects in school, I went on to a diploma of Fine Art after high school, and after that made films wrote/directed/edited/music).
I belonged to a medieval re-enactment society and discovered tablet weaving braids but more importantly belly dance- so from there it was creating my own costumes and jewellery galore and performing and teaching dance. I learned to crochet which probably solidified my love of yarns. Discovered glass most recently and have begun to incorporate that into my work.
A friend of mine was looking to start a business making accessories- mostly handbags and a bit of jewellery, and being that we loved creating things together, I decided to jump on board... as it turns out she decided not to go ahead with it, but I continued and "Jade Adornments" was born.
What advice do you have for fledgling jewelry designers?
Be brave enough to be original and love what you do! Fashion dictates what is popular at the time and I always found that really frustrating when my heart/soul/inspiration was leading me in a totally different direction. Do what the heart wants- you will be more fulfilled for it and those that love your work honestly will find you if you persist.
What a pleasure it was to "meet" Natasha! I am a fan!
Thanks for stopping by.