Steel grey brooch

Finally, the first post about an Australian piece, by the very talented Julie Blyfield! Botanical influences have always played a big role in her work, and in her most recent pieces that influence has become more relevant due to the changing climate. In Australia, and South Australia in particular, there has been a drought for the last couple of years, which is taking its toll on trees and other plants. Julie Blyfield took a trip into the desert and noticed the adaptations to drought and bush fires of the desert plants. Their forms and colors were an inspiration for her new collection and this Steel grey brooch. I can imagine how drought makes natural materials curve like the bend in this brooch. Also, bush fires would blacken everything on its path.

In addition to observing environmental changes, Julie Blyfield also studied the body ornaments made by Aboriginal people. They use natural materials with great care leading to exquisite designs which are striking in the repetition of pattern, shape and form. In her new designs she started experimenting with a variety of materials instead of using mainly metal. This resulted in the beautiful red string used in this brooch. The contrast with the steel grey and black makes the red more vibrant. On one hand that alarming red color seems like a warning sign. On the other hand the botanical feel of the brooch makes the string look like flower buds protruding on their branch, as if spring has arrived and things are looking up.

Julie Blyfiled made this amazing ‘Steel grey brooch’ in 2009 as part of the collection Natural Selection, currently exhibited (until April 4th) at Gallery Funaki in Melbourne, Australia.

Photograph by Grant Hancock.

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