Collaborations in Copper

A little while ago, I had the pleasure of meeting local artisan jeweller Jen Banks. We were both featured in the Arts Northern Rivers Creatives Pop Up Shows in Byron & Sydney. Jen studied in both Auckland at Workshop 6, and in Brisbane at the Goldsmiths School and is a member of the Jewellery and Metal Collective ‘Hammer and Hand’ Byron Bay.

Jen finds her inspiration in the world around her – anything from a mossy branch to a window frame can start her creative cogs whirling. Nature is always original, as is each and every piece Jen creates. No two pieces or even two earrings in a pair are exactly the same – the jewellery technique ‘piercing’ – using a tiny saw to cut out shapes – is one that plays a major part in the creation of many of her pieces.

It is often assumed that her pieces are laser cut, but it is working by hand from scratch and creating an original piece, that for her is being true to herself and those who buy her work.

Re- and up-cycling is very important to Jen and she sources all her metal from an Australian firm who manufacture their metal solely from recycled materials on new machinery that uses significantly less chemicals and water – which itself is recycled and none reaches the waterways. Jen dropped into the Ms Browns Lounge studio a couple of months ago and got talking, we compared practices, processes & materials and spoke about collaboration…which lead to the idea of Jen repurposing my old copper etching plates into jewellery.

Copper is a beautiful metal to print with and once the prints from a plate are complete and not going to be editioned any longer, printmakers generally cancel the plate by scratching a line or cross through the image. Being that copper is such an expensive material, mined through cringeworthy processes – it kind of made sense to give the plates a new life as something wearable to be cherished forever. The shadows and elements of the images on the plate are still visible but transformed into something totally new.

I am totally stoked at the results so far, Jen is a total artisan and the pieces that are coming from the repurposed copper are stunning! Here are the pieces she has created so far, I have more plates to pass on and looking forward to seeing Jen make more unique and original copper etching plate jewellery! Make sure you head over to her facebook page and check out all her other amazing work,  http://www.facebook.com/JenBanksJewellery