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Robyn Clarke Artist – Up Close & Personal

We are excited to be representing Robyn Clarke and invite you to get to know the artist in our Up Close & Personal Q&A feature below.

Enjoy getting to know Robyn Clarke

When did you first feel the desire to be artistic and realize you had talent?

I went to a very artistic primary school where we were encouraged in painting, photography and ceramics from very young ages. It was such a part of the school DNA that I just did it without thinking – I felt we all had talent.

Where did you learn your art?

My jewellery practice began at Melbourne Polytechnic – a fantastic learning environment with encouraging and talented teachers.

What inspires you most?

Being outside inspires me – almost any kind of landscape is feedback for my internal catalogue of places. But overall I crave the ocean and bodies of water.  

What message are you sending to the viewer of your art?

I like to make interesting and wearable jewellery that hopefully inspires a bit of curiosity.

Describe your studio

I have a purpose-built studio on my property which is a good size for me with plenty of light and fresh air. Almost everything inside the studio is salvaged from friends, hard rubbish and even a church (I have an old prayer wall converted to a bench). I’m in a bushy area only 20 odd k’s from Melbourne so I have the sounds of the trees, birds, local dingo and chooks to keep me company. It’s a retreat and one of my favourite places to be. Being removed from the main house I feel a part of the rhythm of the landscape when I’m there.

Describe your typical day of creating art

My day starts early so I can get a glimpse of the sunrise and walk/frisbee the dogs which allows me to have some uninterrupted time before the kids are home from school. I’m usually working by 9am and I go until the first child arrives home from school or I get my first phone call to pick somebody up.

What mediums do you use and why?

I use lots of silver, but also gold, copper and brass. I also use vitreous enamel which is a powdered glass applied to the metal and then fired in a kiln at about 800 degrees to fuse a hard layer of coloured glass to the metal. I think all metals have their own qualities but I think I’d say silver as it’s so workable and beautiful (especially with enamel) but also really affordable.

What are you working on now?

I’m developing a collection of brooches and pendants called ‘Monolith’ which reference some of my favourite rocks collected and visited over the years. My aim is to get the shape and scale just right so that light and wearable pieces still impart the huge bulk and stillness of monoliths in the landscape. I’m currently exploring the best materials and finishes for the work.

What are your recent career achievements you feel proud of?

I think anyone who makes and creates something from almost nothing should be proud of that. Having an idea and bringing it to life is such an exercise in transmuting thought to matter and is pretty great. Especially when that matter brings pleasure to people. But as an emerging artist I’m always just happy when someone wants to wear my work.

What do you love most about what you do?

I love the fabrication process and the discovery of an idea more than the finished piece most of the time. I had a beautiful teacher who spoke of artist’s/makers needing to have busy hands and I feel that really strongly. I’m most content when I’m making.

Where can you see yourself in 10 years time?

In 10 years I imagine I’ll still be making jewellery and objects –  it’s a nice thought to wonder where my work might be up to by then. Hopefully I’ll have a great studio on more land with more animals and at least one donkey.


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