Julie Blyfield

Julie Blyfield / Australia, b.1957 / Saltbush (from 'Paris collection' series) 2007 / Oxidised sterling silver, enamel paint, wax / Purchased 2008 with funds from the Estate of Jessica Ellis through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery / © The artist

Julie Blyfield's interest in Victorian jewellery partly stemmed from a volunteering experience at an archaeological dig in the east end of Adelaide. Carefully scraping through the surface soil at the site, she found objects or relics, such as buttons, pins, needles, fragments of jewellery and shards of pottery and porcelain. She describes the sense 'of aura, mystery and intrigue' surrounding these objects that are often considered to be ordinary and mundane.

Many of her pieces draw on her interest in investigating her own familial archeology, reworking the remnants of a matrilineal craft practice from nineteenth century Australia into contemporary pieces. Other objects relate to mourning brooches (made from hair in Victorian time), and are made to be held and experienced in the hand, rather than worn. She is also interested in the study of organic forms such as flora, botanicals and seeds, including native Australian and introduced specimens. Blyfield describes jewellery as an 'agent of communication', because of its often intimate relationship to a specific moment and to the body.