Mokume Gane Ring
Pierced tree silver pendant
Mel Baldock was born in Hobart, Tasmania in 1978. She has spent time living both interstate and overseas but has been drawn back to Tasmania to settle with her family. She creates her jewellery pieces from her studio located at the 50-acre property in Snug, Southern Tasmania where she resides with her partner Dan and their 3 beloved children.
“I usually look to the natural environment for my inspiration and so the location of my studio is perfect. I find our property to be an unlimited source of natural beauty and ideas. Making one-off pieces is what makes it exciting for me, each piece is different and this is what gives them real artistic value... I try to make things that will last forever. I can not stop people simply wearing things out but my aim is for a piece that will last a lifetime.”
“I try to source recycled silver and materials whenever possible. Little silhouettes from nature are found in many of my designs. Each silhouette design evolves as the piece is being created and is unique, impossible even for me to replicate exactly. They are cut in metal using a handheld jewellers saw with a tiny blade. I mostly enjoy working in silver as the way it catches the light makes for such a lovely contrast of dark and light. Replication of natural textures is made with hammers, or handmade stamps and an assortment of hand tools. I also forge and shape the metal to compliment my designs. Some designs I produce and then have wax cast to ensure a perfect symmetry when required.”
"I have always had a keen interest in stones and metal and have been tinkering with jewellery production since I was very young. I have always been a lover of all types of art and craft including textiles and wool (taught by my mother and grandmother), ceramics, glasswork, printmaking and oil painting and was always encouraged and supported to pursue these interests by my family.”
Mel’s first experience making jewellery with advanced metalsmithing techniques was in 2003 at NOVA Artlab jewellery school in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where she fell in love with metalsmithing. She continued to make unique handmade jewellery in Australia, and in 2006 joined the lapidary club of Tasmania and also began tuition under the wing of local silversmith Chris Secker. Each year since 2008 several of her exhibits have won prizes from the RAST Gemstone and Jewellery awards.
“Now metalsmithing is my form of meditation… to relax and focus… I can feel quite frustrated when I have not had the opportunity to create for a while.”
Mel began selling her jewellery from a cabinet at her place of work and the sales and positive feedback was encouragement enough to start attending artisan markets to sell her pieces. Now she supplies jewellery as an independent artist to galleries and retail outlets throughout Tasmania and interstate.