What is your practice?

I’m a contemporary jeweller and a teacher.

How did you first start and why?

I used to muck around with jewellery making using parts of old computers when I was a punk kid in high school. I moved to Sydney when I was 18 to study Jewellery Design at Sydney College of the Arts.

After art school, I did my masters in teaching and I’ve been a visual arts teacher for the past eight years, but about a year and a half ago a series of serendipitous events lead me to start taking my own practice more seriously.

What keeps you going?

My wife keeps me going – she believes in my jewellery.

I’m also part of an Artist’s Way community and we are pretty good at encouraging each other. The ideas are also welling up inside of me, reminding me to stop and create, and I have made some strict time management decisions which allows me to work on my art/ business two or three days a week.

What Props did you bring to the shoot? Why?

A nautilus shell because my work is focused on my fascination with the mind of the Great Creator. The nautilus shell is commonly pointed to as an example of the Golden Mean and the Fibonacci Sequence, which is a constant mathematical pattern found in nature.

I also brought one of my jewellery tools. Verniers are a commonly used measuring tool for jewellers. It represents my mathematical design process and it’s the tool that I mostly use when sitting at my computer drawing my ideas on a 3D drawing program. The design process is the most rewarding part of my practice.

What is the hardest thing about your practice?

I guess I dislike that jewellery is associated with status. The jewellery world tends to be geared towards pushing the client to buy objects that will impress others. I’d prefer that people sought personal meaning in the pieces they choose.

Also, a full day of polishing silver turns me into a grumpy hermit.

What has been the most significant moment for you creatively so far?

I’m the new kid on the block in the contemporary jewellery world, but last year I was a finalist in the National Contemporary Jewellery Award and this year my pieces have been picked up by Sydney’s top contemporary jewellery gallery, Courtesy of the Artist in the Strand Arcade. I’m pretty chuffed about that.

Ultimately though, I think my greatest accomplishment is an internal one. With a lot of help from the Great Creator and my Artist’s Way comrades, I now believe in myself and that a big deal.

What motivates you?

Seeing others’ work motivates me. I guess it’s like watching a teammate score a try – it motivates you to play harder. I’m also motivated by the challenge to become employed as an artist because it seems like an impossibility it makes me want to get there even more.

I tell my students that creativity isn’t about becoming rich and famous; it’s actually an ordinary human activity that we have forgotten about. It’s meant to be a generous act; a way of bringing people together; a way to play; a way we remember what’s important in life …and I guess jewellery provides me with a great opportunity to do that.

If money were no object, what would you do?

I’d move to the coast (probably Tasmania) and have an amazing studio out the back.

I’d also probably create some expensive public artwork sculptures.

What are you currently working on / what’s coming up for you?

I’m working on my new series, Arena, and trying to get my work into other galleries and I’m always designing.

What does Create or Die mean to you?

I guess it’s an invitation to begin the creative recovery process. It’s a strong reminder that when we neglect such a significant part of ourselves, we lose our creative strength.

We need each other to make it on the creative adventure and in doing so, we can bring life to our communities through our creativity. It sounds like a hippie, irrelevant idea until you are in the midst of it. I guess you have to taste it to understand.


Carl will be exhibiting amongst his comrades as part of Show me Someone who says it’s Easy – which opens Friday 30th October 6pm at Create or Die Gallery – 10 Mitchell Street Marrickville.

Photo by Chrissie Hall /
Interview by Deb Morgan