Julie Blyfield never tires of looking at the Australian nature. Often her looking is at botanical specimens in museums, fragile survivors from the past ranged in drawers, but she also relishes seeing new environments, seeking out fresh inspiration for making jewellery and objects.
Embrace is Blyfield’s response to visiting the Kimberley region in northeast Western Australia in May 2018, staying near the Bungle Bungles in the World Heritage-listed Purnululu National Park, the home of the the Jaru and Gidja peoples, who are its Traditional Custodians. This new body of work comes from immersing herself in the country, driving, walking, taking hundreds of photographs, collecting plant samples, absorbing the rich colours and textures.
Blyfield is nationally and internationally known both for jewellery and vessels, which always take the exquisite structures of the natural world as inspiration. Here she brings the two forms of her practice together in a concerted tribute to the glory of that desert country in Western Australia. On one long plinth she is presenting a model landscape, the upturned copper vessels evoking the soft bulbous shapes and intense colours of the Bungle Bungles, the delicate painted flowers and foliage of the silver jewellery threading between them, fragile and ephemeral.
Tough pebbles, delicate blooms, stringy spinifex, seeds promising new life: Julie Blyfield evokes the extraordinary beauty of that remote northwestern desert, in tribute to its present beauty and enduring significance.
Julie Blyfield: Artist Statement & Bio
Julie Blyfield has worked for over 30 years at her practice, currently from her own independent studio overlooking her garden environment in Maylands, South Australia. Julie’s jewellery and object work is inspired by research into botanical specimens, historical silver collections and the rich diversity of the Australian landscape, which she interprets using the technique of metal chasing, hammering and surface chiselling, predominately in sterling silver and more recently, copper.
Julie Blyfield has worked for over 30 years at her practice, currently from her own independent studio overlooking her garden environment in Maylands, South Australia. Blyfield’s jewellery and object work is inspired by research into botanical specimens, historical silver collections and the rich diversity of the Australian landscape, which she interprets using the technique of metal chasing, hammering and surface chiselling, predominately in sterling silver and more recently, copper.
In 2007, Blyfield was a recipient of the prestigious South Australian Living Artists Award which celebrated her achievements with a major monograph about her life and work, published by Wakefield Press. An Australia Council - Creative Australia Award (2015-16) offered Blyfield the opportunity to create and exhibit Panorama a significant body of new jewellery and objects for an international touring solo exhibition at Ruthin Crafts Centre, North Wales; The Scottish Gallery in Edinburgh and Bilk Gallery in Canberra in 2017. Blyfield collaborated with Kirsten Coelho, a potter to present Ormolu at Gallery Funaki opening in October, 2017 touring to The Jam Factory in Adelaide and The National in Christchurch, New Zealand. In 2018 she presented a solo exhibition Flora at Irene Belfi Gallery in Milan, Italy.
Blyfield’s jewellery and metalwork is held in Australian and International museum collections including the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra; the Musée des Arts Decoratifs in Paris, France; the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, United Kingdom. Her work has been shown in International Art and Design Fairs such as Collect, London, UK and Chicago SOFA in America. Blyfield’s work has also been selected for the prestigious international jewellery exhibition - Schmuck and her silver objects have been shown at the Schoonhoven Silver Award several times in her career.
Blyfield has travelled, lectured and presented workshops in Australia, United States of America, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. As part of her practice she regularly mentors emerging jewellers, sharing her knowledge, skills and professional experience. She is currently mentoring the Jam Factory Metal Associates in 2019. Blyfield has won numerous prizes for her work including the Overall Winner of the South Australian Museum Natural History Art Prize where her work was acquired by the South Australian Museum collection.
Julie Blyfield: CV July, 2020
Please note: This CV has been revised and shortened. For Julie Blyfield's full CV, please contact the gallery.
Awards and achievements
Residencies & Workshops
Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK; Indiana University Art Museum, Bloomington, Indiana, USA; Musée des Arts Decoratifs, Paris, France, Aberdeen Art Galleries and Museums, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK; National Museums of Scotland Edinburgh, Scotland, UK; Turnov Collection, Czech Republic; National Gallery of Australia, ACT; Art Gallery of SA, Adelaide, SA; Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth WA; SA Museum, Adelaide, SA; Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art, University of SA; The Arts Centre Melbourne, VIC; Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Queensland; The Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, New South Wales; National Gallery of VIC, Melbourne, VIC; Griffith Regional Art Gallery, Griffith, New South Wales; Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery Toowoomba, Queensland; Geelong Gallery, Geelong, Victoria.