Monday, August 22, 2016

Jemica is the brain behind MeekzContemporary and she is our Monday Maker this week

Jemica and I go way back, I can't even remember the first market we met at, and we share a common interest.
Recycling!
Hi there Meekz, so glad I finally nailed you down for an interview.

Hi Anita
Thanks, I would love to be interviewed thanks for thinking of me :P
 

Well my first question is:

Were you creative as a child and do you come from a creative family?
Yes to both. I loved to do art and craft with my mum when I was little. My mum you could say is a gypsie and has been everywhere and done everything. She is very skilled in sewing, carpentry, floristry, beauty therapy, hospitality etc and has always tried to teach me everything from an early age.

How would you describe your work? 
I would describe my practice as evolving.  I love the notion that I am creating something out of nothing and that a piece of throw away metal can be turned into something beautiful and inspiring.  
Art can be anything and it is the story or journey taken that makes it rich.   


So how has your work evolved since you started?
My jewellery has evolved dramatically since I started back at university. I explored using lots of recycled materials as a source of inspiration and substance for my jewellery from plastic buttons, to hessian rope, to fabric off cuts and finally to recycled acrylic signs.   As a silversmith this gave me great excitement to explore the possibilities, but something was lacking.  

A shift and focus back to using recycled metals last year as my sole source of materials has filled the void and given me back the enjoyment I missed as a metalsmith.  I now work entirely with recycled metal from road signs, electrical wire, kitchen fittings, recycled and preloved sterling silver and gold jewellery, crockery and cutlery and other metals including recycled copper, brass and aluminium.  

The tactile qualities of working with metal and using traditional tools and techniques has sparked alive again the joy I found at university in making jewellery and given me a more fulfilling purpose in knowing that the traditional art of silversmithing is still continuing today.



How did you start selling online?
I started selling online through etsy to begin with.  This was an easy manageable outlet for me to sell my jewellery online along side facebook. 1 year later, I decided to pursue my own website, after I felt it was hard to find or locate me as at the time there were no Australian search areas on Etsy to refine your search for local designers and I felt I was getting missed.

I have now refined and changed my website 3 times as technology has progressed and with new formats, layouts, and underlying codes have changed.  This however has meant that I now have the ability to manage and edit my own website using Wix.com and find this greatly satisfying knowing that I can control the entire look, feel and format of my website and don't need to pay any one else to add or change content.  

Who or what inspires you?
My fellow jewellers, friends, and family inspire me everyday.  Art in general as well as direct topics such as architecture, geometry and fashion are great influencers in my practice and help to shape the outcomes of my work.  My sketches play a big part in the design of each piece and usually form the basis of each piece.


I know you reduce, reuse, recycle as part of your creative process but can you tell us how your art is eco - friendly?
I pride myself in having an environmentally sustainable practice from the techniques used to the materials I source.  I love to recycle, reuse, up-cycle and incorporate preloved materials such as road signs, tea pots, lamp shades, electrical wire, sterling silver cutlery/crockery/jewellery as well as copper piping, hot water systems, brass kitchen fittings etc.  Everything I source is locally found.  The tactile nature of working with raw materials alongside existing forms always creates a dialogue for me and continually keeps me searching for ways to express new stories.  



Can you describe your workspace?
My newly renovated studio space is fantastic.  I now have 4 fully functioning jewellers benches by which I can hold regular jewellery workshops to teach the community about traditional silversmithing.   Made with the help of my parents the benches are all made from recycled wood including two table tops.  We resurfaced the concrete floor, added a splash of paint and dad even made me a gorgeous sign to go out the front.




Do you have a favourite thing to make?
I love making all my jewellery.  There are no two pieces that are alike across all my ranges.  
My wrapped up range - (The brightly coloured wire jewellery)  Each piece is hand weaved using my signature weave and no two pieces are ever alike.  The simple form and minimalist design of this range make any piece the prefect accessory for an outfit.  The array of colours available allow for perfect colour coordination or colour matching.


My hammer texture range explores mark making and texturisation.  Featuring nine hand forged designs along with a combination of letter, number and symbol stamping, this collection provides the most possibilities for individual, personal and custom exploration.  No two pieces are ever the same.  Colour, pattern, texture and theme are the most inspiring characteristics of this collection for me.


How did your business name come about?
My business name : Meekz Contemporary Jewellery  came about from a play on my nickname - Meeka.  Unable to register Meeka at the business registry, I changed it to Meekz and added Contemporary Jewellery as a descriptive element and hence Meekz Contemporary Jewellery was born.


Where do you see your creative journey taking you in the next 12 months?
I would like to see myself still teaching and designing new pieces within 12 months. I would like to perhaps travel and explore maybe a residency or go on a jewellery tour overseas to see how other jewellers practice and gain some insight.  Learning and creating networks is a big passion of mine and keeps me motivated and passionate.



What's your top tip to others wanting to break into the creative market?
Be passionate, driven and self motivated.  It is a big scary world out there but if you put in the hard work you wont regret it.  
Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it and if you can ... help others as we are all in the same boat.

Describe your typical creative day?
A typical creative day of making in the studio is filled with great music, plenty of water and my mood boards.  The hours are long, the techniques and number of tools used is some days enormous but the joy I get out of creating something from nothing is priceless.  Knowing that I made a piece of jewellery that someone one day will cherish is all that matters.  


Do you have a Favourite quote?
My favourite quote is by Albert Einstein and is Knowledge is Imagination.   This to me is great and I understand where he was going with this, but as an artist I have reinterpreted this and created my own personal quote and mantra. - "Imagination is Knowledge".  If we first don't create, imagine and explore then how can we know! Knowledge can't be created without imagination and so hence Imagination is Knowledge.   



Do you prefer Music or movies while creating?
Definitely Music


What is your favourite handmade item that you have bought?
My favourite handmade item that I have bought to date would have to be my original Little Brown Dog set of rectangular cushions made by the wonderful Bec Lewis.  They feature 2 guinea fowl's one on each cushion and are the perfect statement homeware in my room!


Where can we find you online?
I am on facebook, instagram and have a website.
Instagram - meekzcontemporaryjewellery
Plus I have 12  stockists at present and they include:

QLD
Perch and Pantry - Cleveland, Reverse Garbage Echoes Gift Shop - Woolloongabba, Miss Bond Jewellery - Fortitude Valley, Estelle Elliott Designs - Yeronga, KickArts Contemporary Arts - Cairns, Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery Shop - Toowoomba, Bridget Bunchy - The Summit, Erin Lightfoot - Eat Street Market/Hamilton, Nicky's Fashion Fair - Laidley, Story Tree - Boonah, 

SA
E for Ethel - Adelaide

NSW
Zero Degrees - Thredbo



How long have you been a member of Brisstyle?
For ages now, I can't remember and don't know how to find out how long its been now.


How did you find out about Brisstyle?  
From a friend originally


Why did you become a member?
I became a member of Brisstyle to network, meet friends, surround myself with like minded people, to learn how to improve my business at workshops and discussion catch ups and to attend markets and sell my pieces while gaining recognition and get my brand out there. 



Why do you craft?
I craft because I love to make, get creative and experiment.  I am a hands on person and love to learn.








Thank you Meeks.

Anita

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