Natural forms and hands-on experiences are the creative craftswoman’s favourite parts of jewellery making. She is enthralled by constructing things with her own hands and the infinite possibilities that arise from the process.
Melbourne-based Elodie Darwish has a particular attraction towards form, shape, colour and material. She likes three-dimensional forms, and more so realising a two-dimensional idea in a physical object.
For more than ten years, the craft artist has been designing and producing jewellery without confining herself to the traditional framework of seasonal collections. “Instead, I just start with making a piece I want to wear myself, and from there other pieces appear. The work that is currently available is simply an expression of different forms and their relationship with each other,” said the designer.
In love with organic forms
Darwish completed her studies in Industrial Design in 2000 before moving on to the more specific area of jewellery design. “What I loved most about the course was the opportunity to make models of our designs. I always loved making things and so on completing that course I decided to do another two years of study in Jewellery Design, but this time with a more practical and hands-on approach,” she said.
From 2002, Darwish continued to make jewellery as a hobby for several years before setting up her eponymous label “élodie” with a series of exclusive items made using metals.
“My jewellery is generally organic in form and at times geometric. I’ve always been fascinated by form and the harmony created with different shapes,” she said. “[My ideas are] often born from a culmination of playing around with pen and paper, flicking through interior magazines, and basically taking note of shapes and forms I see as I go about my everyday life.”
Darwish is motivated by things she sees and their unique textures and shapes. The form of a chair, a table, an object or plant leaves, trees and even off-cuts of wood can all be her sources of inspiration. “In terms of artists, I have always appreciated Alexander Calder, whom I have referenced in some of my pieces over the years. I’ve also always loved the work of Joan Miro, whose contrasting use of fine lines and bold shapes always works.”
A fusion of craftwork and intuition
The designer’s ever-evolving collection comprises simple but intriguing items celebrating the beauty of imperfection. We see subtle brushed effects, tactile hammered textures and at times a delicate hint of patina on the rough-hewn materials.
The fine silver stack rings are by far her favourite creation. “They come as a set of five and I have been making them for over ten years. They are made from fine silver, which is essentially pure silver as opposed to sterling silver,” she explained. “The process of fusing allows every single ring to come out differently. How the metal behaves depends on how much heat I apply to it and how present I am. If I leave the heat on too long it will melt into a ball and the ring is lost. I am forever fascinated by molten metal. It’s the coolest thing to watch.”
Apart from her own projects, Darwish has also launched a series of clay bead and metal earrings and necklaces in collaboration with klaylife, a community clay workshop based in South Africa.
Back in early December, Darwish showed her work at the Big Design Market in Melbourne together with other talents in her country. In the meantime, she has been working on her next creations with pearls and stones in mind.
“I love the idea of appealing to the creative artisanal Asian market,” she added. The handcrafted jewellery of élodie sells for from AUD$95 to over AUD$300 apiece (US$68.69 to US$216.94).