Monk House Design

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Two Hills

Monk House Design is chuffed to be displaying new works and an amazing coralesque installation from another talented MHD shopgirl, Rhiannon Smith - the woman behind the jewellery label Two Hills. Her installation, consisting of a huge string of white spheres draped around pieces from the new collection TOKEN, is a bold and dramatic turn from Two Hills intricate and classic jewellery. Here, we have asked Rhi the five MHD questions about Two Hills and her work.

Thank you so much for collaborating with us on this installation! 
Thank YOU! It’s been a pleasure.

When did Two Hills launch its first range? What drove you to become a jewellery designer and how long has Two Hills been operating?
Two Hills was unintentionally launched midway through 2011 with the Elemental range.  Some simple sketches were turned into a small number of pieces for the Nicholas Building open nights, which is where I have my studio. The pieces received such a good response and people kept asking about them so I decided to start a website and things sort of snowballed from there.

I don’t really consider myself a designer but most of what I make comes directly from playing with materials or from my incomprehensible doodles! I had my first introduction to contemporary jewellery nearly 10 years ago through a Fine Art degree and have been developing my skills ever since. I guess jewellery is just something I’ve always loved tinkering away at. 

Can you tell us a bit about what has inspired your display?
The installation is based on a number of ideas that are explored in my new series TOKEN. The spherical forms that are repeated throughout the collection were the jumping point and things quite literally grew from there.

Why have you chosen these particular elements?
All the metalwork I do is quite small and delicate so for this project I really just wanted to let loose and go large! It was a lot of fun and a little challenging to work in such a grand scale – well, grand for me anyway. 

I was also really excited about using my favorite image from the photo shoot for this collection, it was taken by my good friend Jacinta Moore who I worked with on the Elemental shoot. I just love it and think it perfectly sums up the inspiration for the work. 

Can you tell us a little bit about your current range in store? 
TOKEN plays with lots of little ideas centering around representation and exchange, in particular the use of defaced coins as ‘love tokens’. Visually they’re inspired by things that have what I interpret as a kind of beguiling awkwardness, such as Australian native flora and the embossing on ancient coins.

The collection consists of rings, earrings, bracelets, bangles and necklaces all handmade in my studio.  At present they’re made in sterling silver but I’m hoping to make a few solid gold items soon too!

Who/what is your biggest creative inspiration and why? 
There’s so many! I guess for me it’s the little things, the unexpected everyday things that grab your attention and make you stop for a moment, like a great texture or an interesting shadow, these are the things I find most inspiring. I’m also very lucky to be surrounded by creative people who are doing really interesting stuff… it’s kind of infectious and being able to join forces with others makes for a lot of fun!

Photos by Elise Wilken