Breathing New Materialism, artist and jeweller Carolyn Barker grows heirlooms that delight in the natural world. Timeless adornments, Carolyn’s precious creations honour men and woman of all ages. Her collections playfully reflect the micro-macro dance of the treasured landscapes we share.
- The Planthunter
With cauldron bubbling in the corner, Carolyn Barker's jewellery studio looks more like a witch's lair. Carolyn is one of the few artisans in Australia using time-honoured Japanese techniques to colour the precious metals in her contemporary jewellery range.
- Naomi Lim
And surely you have seen, in the darkness of the innermost rooms of these buildings, to which sunlight never penetrates, how the gold leaf of a sliding door or screen will pick up a distant glimmer from the garden, then suddenly send forth an ethereal glow, a faint golden light cast into the enveloping darkness, like the glow upon the horizon at sunset. In no other setting is gold quite so exquisitely beautiful. You walk past, turning to look again, and yet again, and as you move away the golden surface of the paper glows ever more deeply, changing not in a flash, but growing slowly, steadily brighter, like colour rising in the face of a giant.
Excerpt: In Praise of Shadows by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki, 1933.
As far as possible I work with Australian and/or recycled materials: metals re-refined rather than newly mined, and Australian stone. My work includes both precious and non-precious materials: sterling silver, yellow/white/pink gold, platinum, shibuichi (silver and copper), shakudo (gold and copper), copper, gems and stones.
I have developed a particular interest in Japanese alloys and their traditional patina (colouring) processes. These are the black, brown and grey metals you see through the collections. The methodical techniques used to create these colours require time and patience but their depth of beauty make the effort worthwhile.
Much of my metalsmithing is bespoke; making pieces for a diverse range of clients in styles and materials that best suit them. I love making keepsakes that remind their owners of their places, people and feelings most special.
If you have a special event, moment or person deserving of a treasure, contact me so we can talk about capturing the essence of what you are feeling and transform it into an heirloom.
If it happens that you have seen a piece you love that is not in the shop do contact me as there are always pieces in the workshop which have not yet made it online.
And don't fret if the piece you spotted has sold I will be delighted to design something especially for you.
Photograph: Mindi Cooke