We recently caught up with Cathy Tipping of Newend jewellery, before she jetted off to L.A. We visited her work space in Brunswick East, where all the effortlessly simple Newend pieces are designed and made.
We asked Cathy some questions about her inspirations and daily life. Here goes...
What do you do?
I am a designer and the maker of jewellery for Newend. I also have a textile art practice :)
How long have you been doing what you do?
I started Newend about 3 years ago and joined forces with my business partner Belinda Redmond about a year ago. Prior to that I was interested in image making using embroidery where I worked toward a few shows and now do it for pleasure and commission based projects.
What’s your daily routine?
I wake up and walk my dog to my studio in Brunswick East, School House studios. I will often swing by East Elevation to say a quick g-day, grab a takeaway coffee from Newend's investor (Brian, Part-owner of East Elevation). Upon entering the studio I have quick chats with my other fellow studio pals, put on my apron, set up my dog Miro's water bowl and dog bed and start reading instructions from Belinda on what pieces/orders I need to make. I then start making jewellery.
I will have a break to eat if all goes to plan, sometimes this doesn't. When making jewellery time often slips right by you and a couple of hours seem like nothing! By the afternoon my lovely intern Elizabeth will come in to assist making pieces. I will run through what needs to be done and make a list for her so she can work through it during the course of the next couple of days.
Each week I get Elizabeth to attempt soldering and oversee her progress and give her tips to make it easier. She has just recently mastered the art independently which is great as it takes time and practice.
Everything is hand made so it takes a lot of time and sometimes things don't always work, so at the end of the day I have to go through the pieces I have made and separate the ones that need to be revisited. Those that are ready to be finalised are set aside to be polished and ready for Belinda to organise for shipment and check pieces for photo shoots with other artists and labels.
How long have you lived in Melbourne?
For 34 years, my whole life other than living aboard on and off.
Do you have a mentor? What is it about them or their work that has helped you to be where you are today?
Eliza Hutchinson. She is an amazing artist and was a lecturer at RMIT where I studied Interior Design many moons ago. I was fresh out of high school starting that course and found her subjects/studio's life changing. She introduced me to the weird and wacky art world such as 'Holy Mountain' By Alejandro Jodorowsky, 'THX-1138' George Lucas' first film to the 90's 'Shock Art' movement.
I begin to appreciate exploring ideas around popular culture and the mainstream and almost working with it. Like working with what you have got in front of you being a city dweller and in order to feel that you are not being complacent to the powers of mass media, make art in response to that.
So from then on I worked within boundaries set in front of me to allow me to make and create things that consider those elements.
With the jewellery, they are in response to traditional jewellery and familiar standard earrings like the 'sleeper' earrings from the chemist but with a slight twist - being the dangle of chain or silver and gold behind the sleeper earring. This way the familiarity of the sleeper, it's easy wearability that everyone loves and the addition of a bit of 'bling' makes it appealing to many as they understand the references that make it comforting to wear but also unique to them as a hand made piece.
Who is your favourite artist?
Lyndal Walker. She is an Australian artist who has always been making wonderful images that inspired me as a female artist. I particularly love her self portrait 'Pole Street' 2000. This image is strikingly similar to an iconic 70's photo of a nude female staring boldly into the camera with two young men behind her. Lyndal's version of the image shows herself nude with her arms crossed, also staring into the lens as a response to how much time has passed since that original hopeful image for liberation and the frustration women still have to endure.
What are you listening to at the moment? Name your top three tracks
Mild High Club, Tessellation
Soft Hair, Lying has to stop
Lightning Dust, I knew
What are your plans for 2017?
To continue to make Newend jewellery, improving our product for Australians but this time in the settings of lovely Los Angeles hoping to extend the audience and take some inspiration from the amazing city.
Photographs by Elise Wilken