Gilly B Design
Working in her studio on the Sunshine Coast Gilly B combines her creative passion with the practicalities of silver smithing, science and chemistry and is not limited by traditional ideas, materials or methods. She uses silver and other interesting metals and creates sculptural shapes, textures, tones and colours with them by using specialised tools, patinas and heat.
The work is then finished without polishing the personality out of the piece. Various textures and marks created in the work process may be left as authentic, handmade flourishes.
This Australian jewellery designer's inspiration not only comes from the beach and her garden, but also from the bits and pieces on her workbench. Her eyes may happen to settle on a piece of silver, opal, coral, shell or stone and suddenly a special piece of jewellery is being created and will eventually find its way to just the right person.
‘I rarely plan my pieces but prefer to be inspired by materials that are scattered over my bench and around the studio or perhaps I’ll pick up a leaf or pod or piece of beach coral and an idea starts to form in my head. Working in this spontaneous way is exciting and also challenging. I simply love making interesting pieces of jewellery for the discerning wearer. I’m very fond of texture and one piece of jewellery can go through several different processes before I’m satisfied with the result. A fondness for abstract art has followed me over to the jewellery world leaving my work open to interpretation so that my clients have the opportunity to find their own meaning in a piece they are drawn to. Often seeing something that I wasn’t aware of in the initial creative process.’
“Jewellery design for me is a never ending experiment.”
How long have you been creating your art?
With a Father and older sister who both paint, I don’t remember a time when I wasn't painting, drawing, sculpting – creating some sort of art or other. Five years ago I moved from canvas to creating metal jewellery as wearable art and I knew I’d found my creative passion.
How did you get started?
On a whim I attended a weekend silversmith workshop and it was like I’d been doing it all my life. It just felt so natural to be working with metal and using the tools and that excitement for handmade jewellery hasn’t dimmed in the slightest.
What is your greatest inspiration?
I think like most creative types nature is always a constant source of inspiration. In my case inspiration not only comes from the beach and garden but also from bits and pieces scattered on my workbench. I rarely plan my pieces but prefer to be inspired by materials that are scattered over my bench or around the studio or perhaps I’ll pick up a leaf or a pod or a piece of beach coral and an idea starts in my head.
There are a number of other jewellery artists whose style is a constant inspiration to me. Richard Salley and Sydney Lynch are two of my favourites.
What is the greatest challenge to owning and operating your own business?
I’m fortunate in this area as I’ve been running my own bookkeeping business for the past 16 years so applying all that I’ve learnt into GillyB Design has been a natural progression. Although I think it is hard for many creatives to focus on business when all you really want to do is explore and experiment with designs. Like all business owners you have to wear lots of hats including mastering things like photography, marketing and pricing.
What is the best thing about owning your own creative business?
Creative freedom and expression especially in the jeweller world. It would be awful to have to work for a big jewellery chain doing repairs and mass produced work. Also as I’m pretty much self-taught I haven’t had anyone set any kind of limits. I’ve achieved all sorts of interesting pieces that I probably wouldn’t have if someone told me I couldn’t.