Katherine Bowman

Lucy Feagins
Lucy Feagins
12th of January 2011
Beautiful details from the home of Melbourne Jeweller Katherine Bowman, including a treasured collection of necklaces which has grown over many years - Maasai necklaces and earrings, an antique glass necklace bought in Venice, and tassel from Afghanistan. " I learnt a lot about jewellery by researching these" says Katherine.
Katherine recently designed various decorative Christmas installations for her stockist eg Etal, which in turn inspired this handmade light fitting, created simply from white paper and drinking straws.
Katherine's simple, beautiful creations adorn every corner of the house - 'houses' have been a recurring theme in her work since studying at RMIT.
Katherine is filled with childlike wonder and enthusiasm for sparkles, crystals and tinsel!

I had the great pleasure of visiting Melbourne jeweller Katherine Bowman at home last week... I've known of her work for a while, and it was so lovely to finally meet Katherine in person, and of course have a snoop around her beautiful home!  Hers is such a special and creative home - both her jewellery workshop and painting studio are set up in spare rooms here, which makes for a very unique and industrious space, filled with creative energy (still, it was SPOTLESSLY tidy when I visited!).

As is often the case when I photograph someone's home, Katherine was a little doubtful about being included here...!  "It's nothing like the gorgeous homes you feature" she said.... "...after all it's a rental" yeah yeah.  I've heard that before!  People never seem to notice the special details and imperfect beauty in their own homes!  It's not until I rush about madly with a camera and post the pics online, that they seem to realise the innate cuteness of their surroundings!  WELL I hope this post goes some way to alleviate Katherine's concerns... Fingers crossed!

The one thing that really stands out about Katherine's home, is her love of all things SPARKLY!  As she recently sweetly quipped on her blog -

"...even though I am now an old lady, things like a little bit of glitter, some pipe cleaners, tinsel etc, still go a long way in my world"

For the record, Katherine is FAR from an 'old lady' - but it is certainly clear how much she loves a bit of sparkle!  Her home is filled with glittery details - hanging metallic fringing, crystals, glitter, aluminium foil and even tinsel pipe-cleaner creations can be spotted throughout the house!  As I photographed Katherine chatted with a sense of wonder about the tiny rainbows and twinkling patterns cast on the walls from her hanging decorations!  It really is a magical thing to be reminded to stop and take note of these tiny, special details... I can see why Katherine took up gold and silver smithing!

Katherine's work is stocked at eg. etal and Studio Ingot in Melbourne.  She was recently interviewed on the eg. etal blog actually!  She is also having a exhibition at Craft Victoria in September this year ... be sure to keep an eye out for the details!  She also has a gorgeous little blog you should visit... I hope she won't mind me sharing another excerpt with you here... it just so perfectly sums up her outlook on life and making art and all the precious details she collects and displays at home... what a beautiful way she has with words!

"I find myself extremely moved at times by objects and things. These objects and things are often very simple - light and shadows, birds and flight, trees and wind, are perhaps the things that inspire me the most at this stage of my life.  Every day I am struck by the randomness and beauty of these things. I love that I have no control over these experiences, but only can hope that I can be present enough to notice. This experience can take my breath away and fill me with wonder like a child.

I think about how to bring this to the work that I make and wonder how the things that I see and surround myself with take form in the things that I make."

Thanks so much for sharing your home and your sparkles with us Katherine!

Master bedroom - featuring pipe-cleaner creations above the bed!  The chest of drawers is very old, and belonged to Katherine's Great Aunt.  All pipe cleaner pieces made by Katherine, these formed part of the Christmas installation called 'The Magical Cycle of Days' that Katherine created for at e.g.etal last year.
Butterfly handpainting artwork by Katherine's Niece Lily.
Beautiful details in Katherine's bedroom!  Embroidered 'Love' handkerchief brought from a market in Porto, Portugal (at the top of the wide shot). "The woman who sold this to me said that the tradition is that a woman would embroider her intentions of love and give it to her intended partner".  Top left image - hat pin belonging to Katherine's Great Aunt, and religious picture brought in Lisbon, Portugal.  Top right - very old lace dress fragment, bought at an antique market many years ago.  "I sewed it to the canvas so I would keep looking at it" says Katherine.
Flowers on the hall table
Hallway details - Pelican painting by Katherine's mum, Ellen Bowman. All houses formed part of Katherine's Master Of Arts folio, which was exhibited at Craft Victoria in 2004.  The work on paper on the bookshelf was from an exhibition Katherine had last year.  Kookaburra by fellow local jeweller Anna Davern.
Work on paper by Katherine, preparatory work for series of objects being made for solo exhibition Locutions, which will be at Craft Victoria in September this year.
Hallway details, including woven plastic vessel by Emma Davies.
Painting from Katherine's exhibition Distant Elegies, held at the Warrnambool Art Gallery in 2007, the title of this work is Sixth Elegy - acrylic paint, beads, thread.
Details from Katherine's painting studio
Details from Katherine's jewellery workshop!
Katherine's workbench, handcrafted by a friend.
Another little collection on display!  All vessels made by Katherine, the red textile ball is by Ilka White.
More workshop details!  The black necklace is sterling silver painted black with enamel paint.
Details from the jewellery workshop, including some of Katherine's own jewellery pieces.
'One Off' necklace by Katherine, currently for sale at eg. etal.  Sterling silver, aquamarine beads, yellow sapphire, rhodalite garnets.
A Hill's Hoist and APRICOTS make for a truly Australian backyard!

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