Otway Talent – Karen Harvey

Things of Soil & Silver

My family love to tell the tale of how as a toddler I was often found in the garden quietly and intently examining snails!  Not eating them as other children might do, but tracing the roundness of their shells and the deep dark spiral shapes and stripes.  This eye for detail and fascination with nature continues in my work today – both in landscape design and jewellery making.

leaf and disc stacker

Originally from Melbourne, I have lived in many places in Australia and the UK.  While in England I gained much inspiration for both of my passions: I visited many of the historic gardens of our landscaping forebears and I lived for quite a while near Birmingham and visited the famous Jewellery Quarter often – the centre of the UK’s jewellery making industry since 1553.

 

1947 Keyring

After many years of visiting my family who have lived in this district for over 35 years, I decided I’d love to live here too.  So in late 2007 I moved to Warncoort, established my design business incorporating a garden sculpture gallery in Birregurra and designed and built my home, which I moved into in 2009.

 

B Coccinea

My approach to garden design and construction is guided by a strong passion and respect for the environment, an essential element for gardens to be successful. I am a member of a group of dedicated and active environmentally aware horticulturists known as Sustainable Gardening Australia’s Green Gardening Professionals.

Asparagus meyeri

I’ve been lucky enough to work on some wonderful projects throughout this beautiful district: from private gardens to school playgrounds, aged care facilities, libraries, farm gardens and courtyards. The variety of work is one of the things I love about what I do.  Another thing I love about my work is getting to meet so many extraordinary people from all walks of life – some of whom have become very good friends.

Mercy Crop1

While designing gardens might be considered a creative outlet, I still had a need for my own source of creativity.  The call of the jewellers’ workshops in Birmingham started working their magic and I decided to undertake a course in silversmithing. Since then I have been creating contemporary handcrafted jewellery using sterling silver and other precious metals.  The very idea of turning something as solid as a sheet of silver into a piece of wearable art fascinated me from the moment I tried it.  Each day in the studio is full of learning, experimenting and making and is endlessly intriguing.

Trinity Up Down

The processes I use are traditional silversmithing techniques and often include etching images or shapes into a piece.  I also use found objects from nature such as seedpods, leaves and feathers.  I love the fact that most of the sterling silver I use is re-milled here in Australia, making it a more environmentally aware choice.

Karen in studio 1I have long been inspired by nature and you’ll always find a bit of that in everything I do.

 

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