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Craft Cubed: Two Hills

As part of our involvement in Craft Victoria’s annual Craft Cubed festival we’ve hosted a month long installation featuring Two Hills.

The brainchild of Rhiannon Smith, Two Hills is a small jewellery label based in the heart of Melbourne. Rhiannon has been working with precious metals for a number of years and has just released her highly anticipated third collection ‘Echo’. During the month of August Rhiannon has been busily working on new pieces right in our very own window! 

We talked to Rhi about her jewellery, her influences and what the future holds... 

How did Two Hills come to fruition? Did you have a set plan or did it happen organically? 

The development of Two Hills as a label was very organic. I've worked and studied in various areas of the jewellery industry for over ten years so the possibility of starting my own business was something I'd always considered. I guess things really started to come together half way through 2011. I was doing a technical metalsmithing course at the time and began making some fine silver rings for myself and then for friends and it kind of snowballed from there. I started channeling all those different experiences into one avenue. To me it feels as though Two Hills is the culmination of many years of exploration and experimentation.

What is the ethos behind Two Hills? Does this heavily influence each of your designs?

To create simple, robust jewellery with a distinctive character and subdued femininity. It’s extremely important to me to maintain a high quality, locally made product that remains in touch with my roots in contemporary handmade jewellery. Therefore a large majority of production is kept in house and every element of each item is considered from front piece to finding. It’s fun to get carried away with possibilities when you’re in the design phase but I always try to pause and then work things back to their simplest form.

Can you tell us a bit about your newest collection Echo?

The Echo collection was conceived in part while I was travelling overseas. I had an amazing time cave diving on the Yucatan Peninsular in Mexico and the collection is a response to that experience. I became interested in the ways in which visual experiences become altered by memory. The collection features my remembrance of the water, sand, and refracted light as seen in these ancient caves. Like memory, the collection gestures towards these experiences, without speaking explicitly, it is characterised by a softness, a roundness, and a lightness.

What does your residency at Monk House Design entail?

Monk House Design has kindly let me take over their window for the duration of August as a part of Craft Victoria’s Craft Cubed festival. I have re-created my workbench in the front of the store and during the residency I’ve been making a collection of one-off pieces to be displayed in a kind of evolving installation. It’s a great opportunity to explore and respond to the change in my work environment and really, just take some time out to play!

Lastly, can you tell us what is next in store for Two Hills?

I’m currently in the process of moving studios for the first time in 8 years so there is lots of cleaning, culling, organising and daydreaming about how great my new space will be. Most excitingly though, I’m looking forward to an amazing holiday in Turkey in September!! No doubt i’ll come back thoroughly inspired and ready to tackle the next collection