WORDS JULIA STRELOU Self-taught sustainable jewellery artist Julia Banks has always been creative.
Ienjoy exploring the beauty of everyday objects and my surroundings.”
When she found herself some land in the rural countryside of Greendale, her eye for design saw it transformed it into a brand new heritage-style home and 2.5 acres of landscaped garden and this is where she now has her home workshop.
Her love for the beauty that can be found in natural forms caused her to “stumble” into the handmade jewellery business.
“I was a contemporary painter before this and it was only after having children that I found spare time was a precious commodity.”
After a trip to the Little River Gallery where she saw the alluring jewellery of other artists on display she began to explore turning vintage objects from her own home into pieces of wearable art. “I’ve never really looked back since that day.”
Inspired by “beautiful organic forms, plants, nature, and architecture,” and often featuring fl orals there is a softness to her work. The textured Sterling Silver of a pair of fl ower earrings look like, if touched, their delicate shimmering petals would curl in your fi ngers just like that of a real fl ower. Banks says that walking around old buildings and noticing their architectural quirks or the way the sun bounces o angles to juxtapose light and dark helps her begin the journey of creating a piece. “I have a journal that I’m always jotting down ideas in.” She describes each piece as “made with its own story.”
Bothered by the fact that it often felt like she lived in a “throw-away” society, Banks wanted to do everything she could to make her designs eco-friendly. “I try to use alternatives to chemicals and because I make everything from start to fi nish, I know every piece is created the way I would want to purchase it.”
Since starting her journey by exploring videos and books, Banks is now a member of the Silversmiths Guild of Canterbury and is looking to expand her workshop.
Canterbury is home to a variety of creative jewellers, many of whom advertise on these pages. From necklaces, pendants and bracelets, to wedding and engagement rings, bridesmaids and groomsmen gifts, and special anniversary treasures, look no further than local.