Feature Jewellery 2015 – Georgie Cunningham
Georgie’s fascination with hand-crafted silver jewellery began at a very young age.
After an inspiring year spent travelling extensively throughout Europe, the Middle East and India, Georgie felt an overwhelming urge to return home to Melbourne and learn the craft of being a silversmith and jeweller.
Her career began in 1995 under the watchful eye of Melbourne’s iconic Patsy Meares.
Georgie trained as a silversmith for two years with Patsy: developing her style and her own designs into finely wrought necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings, pendants, bangles and cuff links in sterling silver and gold. She commenced formal study of engineering in gold and silver smithing, which in turn gave her the confidence to understand that her own technique and point of view had already been formed.
The birth of Georgie’s gorgeous children has largely influenced her work, enabling her move into a more naïve figurative style that is centred on the connection of family, relationships, love and the celebration of life. The subtle, almost imperceptible differences in the colours of seaglass are often used to represent the eye colour of the individual for personalisation.
The beautiful Mornington Peninsula provides much of the raw material for Georgie’s work- she loves collecting washed up seaglass along its myriad of beaches.
Georgie also travels every few years to a remote stretch of coastline that harbours an incredible, secret old bottle dumping ground- this is her nirvana. Seaglass is the naturally tumbled result of the forces of the ocean, sand and tides upon broken bottles and glass, and she spends hours fossicking on this untouched beach haven, collecting these gem-like jewels of the sea.
Georgie began collecting seaglass while living in Sorrento 18 years ago. She soon discovered the beauty of combining this (intriguingly) somewhat commonly found medium with silver. Throughout her journey caring for the environment and recycling have always been important to Georgie. To this end she sometimes combines old fine bone china (collected from generous friends and op shops) into her work. Pearls are also often incorporated.
This ensures absolute individuality in all of her finished pieces- the work becomes a sentimental, personalised family heirloom that can be worn every day. The china and pearls introduce an extra dimension of colour, flair and creativity that result in a more intimate and tailored work. The wearer feels a connectedness to the character, beauty, and spirit of each piece.
Georgie has exhibited at a number of galleries in both group and solo shows. She supplies to various galleries around Australia. Most of her work is commission based: recognised locally, interstate, and internationally by social media. Many of her commissions are generated by word of mouth amongst the incredible Mornington Peninsula community.
Most of Georgie Cunningham’s jewellery is made to order and she does carry some stock which can be found on her website seaglassjewellery.com.au.