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Janine Combes Jeweller

Even as a child I would make things, most often using traditional craft techniques learnt from a country upbringing.

As an adult, it took me quite a while to find my medium. Enrolling in a TAFE jewellery course gave me techniques to allow the images in my head to be realised. I thrived on learning how to make a flat piece of metal become three dimensional, textured; more complex than its humble beginnings.

Further study, artist grants, and overseas residencies have enabled me to keep pushing my skills and concepts. But the core of my making rests on the experience of being a fifth-generation Tasmanian, and my connection to the natural environment.

My work is a celebration of the Tasmanian natural environment and who we are as people. There is so much diversity in the Tasmanian environment that it provides a lifetime of material, especially for a jeweller whose focus is very much in the detail of the landscape.

I use some recurring motifs in my work, which have a significance in popular culture and are associated with aspects that make Tasmania a unique place – for example, the button grass, which is seen by many as a symbol of wilderness. It is the accessibility of nature, history, and networks of people that’s so special about living and working in Tasmania.

I work from a studio set in the bush on Bruny Island, but have also lived and worked for extended periods of time on remote National Park islands, packing up my studio and taking it with me. As an artist in Tasmania, all sorts of things are possible.

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