Style Melbourne

Tessa Blazey jewellery

Constructing a piece of jewellery is no ordinary process for Tessa Blazey; a designer whose truly unique collections are created from her passion for geometry. Sourcing rare mineral elements, Tessa has developed an imaginative collection of remarkable rings, bold necklaces and structural cuffs – what Tessa calls ‘miniature architecture.’ Here we discuss the establishment of ‘Tessa Blazey’ the label and the extraordinary development process behind her jewellery collection.

1. You describe your Tessa Blazey pieces as ‘fiction’ What does this mean to us jewellery devotees?

My work is a series of experiments with elements of form and space. It explores concepts of the imagination, geometry, camouflage and scale shifts. I hope the work produced for the label fiction is evocative of these ideas.

2. You successfully completed a Bachelor in Sculpture, when did you decide you would transform your skills into a jewellery label?

I previously studied sculpture at RMIT and was constructing room-sized installations before I moved into interior design (also at RMIT). Interior design essentially lead me to jewellery. I became obsessed with working at a smaller scale through model making. Jewellery seemed like a natural progression.

I began studying jewellery at NMIT in 2007 and established my jewellery brand fiction at the end of 2008 upon graduating from an Advanced Diploma. I think my jewellery work is the summation of my entire education both at RMIT and NMIT – it seems everything I have studied previously has been crystallized into my jewellery practice.

I’m much happier working at this miniature scale. I find it a very accessible as I can imagine, design and construct everything myself from scratch. Jewellery is so immediate and satisfying in that way.

3. Your jewellery is contemporary and architecturally styled. How are your designs developed and where do you source the exclusive materials?

Since taking up jewellery I have been fascinated with the natural forms of minerals. The structures of these minerals are extraordinarily beautiful – they often grow in very pure geometric forms that look artificial or manufactured when they are in fact naturally occurring. (i.e. tetrahedrons, cubes, octahedron’s, dodecahedron’s and icosahedron’s). Many of them resemble a form of miniature architecture. I imagine them operating at contradictory scales – like tiny buildings or even fictive cities. I draw much of my inspiration for jewellery from the geometric forms of these mineral specimens – but also from architecture and experimental fashion design. My main supplier for unusual mineral specimens is a crystal shop located in Melbourne – they import extraordinary specimens from all over the world.

4. Do you design to forecasted trends or create your own?

I am interested in fashion as a form of design but my jewellery is not driven by trends – I simply make things that engage me – I love all things geometric and I think geometry is timeless.

5. How long does it take to construct a piece and what is involved? What is your favorite part of conceptualizing a design?

It is very varied – the longest time I spent making a piece was 90 hours when I was studying at NMIT. I hand sawed, filed, soldered and plated forty pieces of triangular chain for a very elaborate necklace with a huge faceted smoky quartz pendant. But on the other end of the scale – a piece for my production range can sometimes be put together within an hour.

My favorite part of conceptualizing a design is the beginning of the process – when an idea begins to take on a three dimensional form. I often model things in card before committing something to metal. I find I am able to resolve the form most effectively in 3D.

6. What is your greatest accomplishment to date?

I am so happy to have established my jewellery label – it had been a fantasy for such a long time. It’s such a pleasure to be able to work independently on something I love doing.

7. Do you have a stand-out, memorable or favorite piece in your collections?

I have done some collaborative jewellery work for fashion designer Alexi Freeman under the label TBAF. [Ed’s note. There may be some exciting news concerning TBAF that we will reveal asap however for now all Tessa can say is…] I’m very excited to see it realized.

8. Where will Tessa Blazey be in five years?

It’s a privilege to do what I love so my biggest hope is that my business is sustainable enough to still exist in 5 years. Melbourne is a great city to live and work in so I hope to continue designing and making my work here.

You can find Tessa Blazey jewellery in Melbourne at Pieces of Eight, Glitzern, Craft Victoria, Obus, Luft, LIFEwithBIRD and via her website and web shop.

Interview by Angela Fedele

Images courtesy label

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