There's a wonderful simplicity to the photography on Christina Lowry's "a little bird told me" blog and its this simplicity which helps focus attention on the beauty of her subjects, their colour and shapes, their lines and textures.
Her beautiful jewellery is the same. The classic settings are made to celebrate and frame the unique stones and simple shapes she sources. I love that many of these pieces also have secret, intricate cutout patterns in the base, a hidden feature that is revealed when you turn them over.
Like many of us Christina is a lover of vintage and craft, of pattern and nature and form. She's also a generous bloggy friend who early on in our acquaintance worked out a crochet pattern for me to try and later was kind enough to share her skills in a special guest post tutorial which she wrote and photographed to illustrate her brooch making techniques and inspire our Brooch Swap.
At the moment Brisbane-based Christina has a couple of new and exciting projects in her sights - baby number two is due next year and she and her partner are soon to move into a new house with big renovation plans.
I always love to see Christina's new work and I really hope she finds time in her busy life to continue making her gorgeous pieces. If you haven't seen her work make sure you check out her blog and her shop soon. Thanks again Christina for being this month's Show & Teller.
1. Can you give us a short description of your blog/style/work
My blog is a series of eclectic snapshots of a vintage loving, thrifty jeweller and crafter, who is mother to a toddler, sister to an identical twin and wife to my lovely husband. I work in several different mediums, from sewing to knitting, crochet to silversmithing. My jewellery focus is on original pieces with simple settings. My pieces feature unusual gemstones with hidden details. I employ textured finishes, cutouts and silhouettes. I love writing little stories about my pieces and giving them unique names like 'The Museum Curator Pendant' or 'Left Bank Portrait Artist Studs'.
2. Why blog? How did you start?
I've always been a rather compulsive journal keeper and collector. I have an antique trunk full of my old diaries, whose pages contain years of writing, photos, cuttings, pressed flowers and bus tickets. When I first started reading blogs I was pregnant and nostalgic and drawn to the journaling and documenting aspects. I blog because I want to capture little moments from my day that would be so easily forgotten, to document the making of things and be involved in the inspiring and supportive community that has developed around blogging.
3. Family taught/Self-taught/Trained?
My mother is an amazingly crafty lady. She is a dressmaker, quilter, embroiderer, knitter and crocheter. Growing up it was normal to play in Mum's sewing room and make our toys clothes out of little bits of fabric. Over the years Mum has taught me many of her skills and always encouraged my creativity. After school I completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Arts, and it was during this time that I fell in love with Silversmithing. From there I undertook a Vocation course in gold and silver smithing and began an apprenticeship as a second year jeweller. When that fell through, I worked at the bench with several jewellers until I felt comfortable going out on my own, as I am now.
4. Workspace - studio or kitchen table?
We have just brought another house, so I have a new room downstairs to transform into my workshop/craft space. At our last house I had the spare room as my craft room and a garage as my workshop, but I still managed to sew at the kitchen table... I am also quite partial to couch crafts like knitting and crochet.
5. Blog/Shop name, where does it come from?
I don't know now. It was another idea while pregnant. 'A little bird told me' seemed like a nice old phrase that could hold many different meanings. My shop name is rather unimaginative...
6. Favourite media to work in?
I love working with metal, gold in particular. Metal seems so hard and unforgiving, yet it can be softened and hammered, curved and worked into all manner of forms. I also love wool and fabric for being the very opposite in nature.
7. Ambitions/future directions/future projects/medium you'd like to try?
8. Are you neat and organised or, ahem, creatively messy?
My bench is always clean at the start and end of a day, but varying degrees of messy in the middle. A clean bench was always drilled into us when training. I find it so much more inviting to sit down to a clean bench with my tools all in their place.
9. Favourite handmade, handcrafted item you own not made by you
A 'tiny happy' hand embroidered pincushion
10. Favourite food/recipe?
Singapore noodles cooked by my husband
11. Favourite colour?
12. Star sign?
First day of Sagittarius.
13. Favourite place, landscape (not necessarily Australian)?
The Italian countryside, the Dalmatian Coast and the beauty of Maleny in Queensland count among my favourites.
14. Any tricks for juggling life/work/family with creative pursuits?
15. Favourite artists, artisans, crafters?
I have so many favourite artists. In particular I am always drawn to Picasso, Whitely and Schiele. I really admire jeweller Hermann Junger and crafty ladies Emily Martin, Gretchenmist, Vintage Ric Rac and Handmade Romance.
16. Your favourite thing you've made/written/done.
My latest project is probably always my favourite thing. I do love starting projects. My favourite jewellery piece I've made recently would be a large amber brooch, 'The Secret of the Olive Grove'.
17. Three words to describe yourself?
Creative, generous, quirky
18. What do you like to do besides creating?
Rainy days you will find me curled up with a book or watching foreign films. At the weekend I am most likely to be found dragging my family to art galleries, feeding the ducks at the park or searching gem fairs for beautiful and unusual gemstones.