A global field guide to design, (life)style and secret finds
est. 2007
  1. Wee Find: Melinda Young’s botanical jewellery

    Deconstructed peony neckpiece by Melinda Young #artificialflowers

    As many Wee Birdy readers are aware, I’ve got a bit of a thing for plants. Not surprisingly, so does the rest of the design world. We’ve seen a resurgence of the modernist indoors/outdoors theme inside our homes, and gardens and indoor plants are enjoying a new-found popularity.

    It follows that in recent years, plants and foliage have found their way as a recurring motif in fashion, design, homewares and art. So I was fascinated by the work in the recent exhibition at Craft ACT in Australia, Grow Your Own: Crafting Contemporary Foliage. In particular, I was drawn to the foliage-themed pieces by contemporary jewellery designer Melinda Young.

    Above: Deconstructed Peony.

    Australian jewellery Melinda Young in her Sydney studio.

    Above: Australian contemporary jewellery designer Melinda Young in her Sydney studio.

    The Sydney-based designer has exhibited widely in Australia and internationally, and has a Master of Visual Arts, (Jewellery and Object Design) from Sydney College of the Arts (SCA), University of Sydney.

    For last month’s “Grow Your Own” exhibition, Melinda uses traditional silvermaking techniques and fake foliage to create exquisite pieces of jewellery. Each one-off piece is made with a firm tongue in cheek, deconstructing plastic flowers and salvaged plastic beads to create stunning new one-off jewellery designs.

    Brooches from the 'Old Growth' series by Melinda Young @craft.act.

    Brooches from the ‘Old Growth’ series.

    In Balance series Neckpiece by Melinda Young.

    Neckpiece from the ‘In Balance’ series.

    Melinda Young neckpiece detail, #growyourown @craft.act

    The pieces are not only beautiful to wear, but are an exploration of the mass-produced versus the handmade; highbrow versus lowbrow; and the unnatural versus the natural. These are recurrent themes throughout Melinda’s work (note that her Instagram user name is @unnaturaljeweller).

    Black foliage on the work bench - behind the scenes with jeweller Melinda Young

    Melinda Young's succulent-style neck piece.

    Above Succulent Rope Neckpieces.

    Above: Succulent Rope neckpieces.

    There is an unabashed pride of Australian flora evident in Melinda’s work, which works wonderfully with the faux flowers. The kitsch and mass-produced origins of the materials are also a statement about the traditional treatment of ‘Australiana’ flora and fauna as a souvenir.

    Variegated bottlebrush neckpiece by Melinda Young.

    Deconstructed Bottlebrush series by Melinda Young at @craft.act.

    Wattle neck piece by Melinda Young for "Grow Your Own" exhibition.

    Above: ‘Deconstructed Bottlebrush’ series neckpieces; and Wattle neckpiece.

    You can buy Melinda’s jewellery (perfect for Christmas presents) from Courtesy of the Artist; Pieces of Eight; Craft Victoria; Studio 20/17; and Fingers (Auckland). For any of the pieces from the ‘Grow Your Own’ exhibition featured in this post, contact Melinda Young.

    Pink Jewellery by Melinda Young for 'Grow Your Own' exhibition.

    Brooch with coral, pearls, moonstone and jade by Melinda Young.

    Behind the scenes: jewellery by Melinda Young in the making.

    Above: Brooch with wood, coral, pearls, moonstone and jade.

    Follow Melinda on Facebook and Instagram.

    All photography courtesy of Melinda Young.