Wearing two of Liminaire’s pieces was such an honor, and quite honestly, experiences that I will cherish for many years to come. Both pieces, Jeanne d’Arc and Hélène de Troie, embody their namesakes so incredibly well. Although the pieces may seem similar from an outsiders point of view, the experiences that I had while wearing these two pieces made me feel two very different ways.
While wearing Jeanne d’Arc, I was in France at the time. Walking around with the stunning shoulder caps adorning my skin made me feel powerful, and to be completely honest, I felt like a badass. When the light caught the plates of silver just right, the whole room would light up, the people around us were in awe of her beauty. My second experience with Jeanne was in the U.S. at a fashion show. So many people came over to me asking where they were from and telling me how incredible they were. I walked with my head high and shoulders back that night. I may be only 5’1”, but I felt as tall as the runway models that night.
When the time came for me to wear Hélène de Troie, It was just Eleni and I, playing around, doing a spontaneous photo shoot. Nonetheless, as she lowered the piece over my head and onto my shoulders, I felt like I was being crowned. This time, the powerful feeling was still there, it was just different. I felt elegant, I felt desirable. I felt what must have been the smallest fragment of what Hélène de Troie felt herself, being a woman who was so sought after, so desired, that it started a war.
These pieces aren’t just body jewelry. They make you feel how every woman wants to feel, and how every woman should get to feel in their lifetime; powerful, desirable, beautiful, confident, and so much more. These incredible couture pieces truly live up to their names. Jeanne d’ARC, and Hélène de Troie couldn’t have been given better titles.
The artist behind these masterpieces has grown to be one of my dearest friends. She is talented in so many ways beyond making jewelry. She has an old soul and a soft spirit, she is loving and kind, and is beautiful inside and out. She is a true gem, and I am forever thankful that I have been blessed enough to have her in my life. Oh, and she’s the best cook/baker I have ever met, seriously, she makes these brownies that are the equivalent to crack.
I wanted to give you, the reader, a peak behind the curtain, and a glance inside of her mind. How she became the artist that she is, how it all started, and where she finds her inspiration…
“My Mum always involved me in craft projects. She taught me how to sew, cook and draw amongst other things. One of the things she was interested in when I was young was ‘beading’. I remember she had a few stackable boxes full of beads with many different compartments, rolls of tiger tail and pliers. I used to make little bracelets strung on elastic and other simple things.
Then in my early teens I got into jewellery again, and I realised I could make all sorts of pieces. Freshwater pearls spaced randomly on a few strands of tiger tail—be it in necklace or earring—were the epitome of class back then. I discovered a great bead supplier near Canberra and started working there on weekends. The owner noticed that I was particularly passionate about jewellery so she asked me to make up her designs for the adjoining shop. There, I learned new techniques and perfected my skills.
A couple of years later, at barely 19, I was backpacking around Europe and I came across a cute little jewellery store in Italy. They sold upmarket costume jewellery—stuff I couldn’t make from just beads, and it was at that moment that I decided I wanted to learn how to work with metal. A couple more years passed before I was able to do so, but I kept that goal in mind.
I applied for entry into a gold and silversmithing course at an excellent technical college in Melbourne, and was accepted! It was a two-year Advanced Diploma: nine to five, Monday to Friday. We learned absolutely everything. The pace was intense, my fingers were permanently burned, cut, cracked, polished, filed on weird angles and dirty—but I was in heaven.
I soon discovered that if I didn’t design a piece that was almost impossible to make with my skills—or within the time frame allotted to us—I would lose interest in making it, sometimes to the point of sabotaging the project. So, when the time came to make a final piece for the graduate exhibition, I designed a ridiculously labour-intensive and intricate piece, so I’d be sure to bring it to completion.
It had etching, it had chain, it had multitudes of tiny pendants and it took me two hundred hours to make. I handmade the chain, because I’m masochistic like that. All thirty-five hundred links—or six metres. I holed myself up in my cousin’s garden shed (my jewellery studio at the time) for the entire two-week Easter holidays and made chain day in and day out. My sanity left me, briefly, but I was pretty damn proud of the finished result.
I honestly can’t remember what inspired me to make the original ‘shoulder caps’, later named Jeanne d’Arc. I just wanted to make a statement piece that wasn’t a necklace.
I can, however, pinpoint the exact moment I was inspired to make Hélène de Troie. I was listening to my soprano friend perform an aria from La Belle Hélène by Offenbach. It was my first time seeing her perform, and I was completely entranced by the way she embodied this character through her movements and voice. She had such grace. As I watched her, I started imagining this glimmering piece falling across her chest and over her shoulders, one that would move with her and shoot out radiant beams of light, reflections of the spotlight on her.
I love my trade, and I am proud of the jewellery I make. I feel lucky to be working in a field that simultaneously fulfills, challenges and inspires me. What is unexpected but wonderful about the pieces I’ve created is this: when it comes down to it, they are interconnected lengths of chain with pendants hanging off them—yet they somehow have magic in them. The way they hug the form of your body, the sound they make as you move, the way they twinkle in the light and the feelings of confidence they bring out from the depths of your being… there’s no explanation for this feeling. Maybe it’s best just to accept it as a beautiful mystery.”
Photos x Ike & Tash
Pieces x Liminaire