Monk House Design

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A studio visit with Seb Brown

Seb Brown has been in the Monk House family for a number of years now, he's best known for his one of a kind jewellery pieces and the infamous Slab Ring. Today we were lucky enough to catch him at his East Brunswick studio to ask him a few questions to gain insight into his daily work life, influences and inspiration. 

What’s your daily routine? I wake up and read in bed for an hour or so, then I swing by the coffee shop on the way to the studio. I can only really productively work for 4-5 hours, then I do some exercise to bend my body back the right way after being at the jewellery bench.

How long have you been a full time jeweller? I started making jewellery in 2010, I tried to make it a full-time job too early and it didn't work, but I tried again three years ago and then it worked. 

Do you have a mentor? What is it about them or their work that has helped you in your time being a jeweller? Kristy from Kuwaii was a great influence on me as an emerging designer. She has a brand vision which is ethical, sustainable and beautiful. Having an all encompassing idea of what you are and where you want to sit in the market is a real sweet spot she has managed to stay within. Making things in Melbourne from the best quality materials available and having an intimate relationship with suppliers and makers is important and needed as more manufacturers close down.

How much of your work is commissioned? Around half, I do a lot of commission pieces for all kinds of people. I have been making a lot more wedding jewellery lately which has been nice. I also love that people bring things back that need to be repaired, maintained or re-sized; it's a sustainable practice in a way.

What are your favourite material(s) at the moment? 18 carat yellow gold, champagne diamonds and synthetic rubies. I read a book about blood diamonds recently so the ethics are questionable, but you just can't go past the sparkle! I've recently accidentally fallen into a lot more gold smithing, gold is such a beautiful and timeless material and behaves really differently to silver.

What has inspired you to use it/them? The textured finish of 18 carat gold is so warm like a little bit of sunshine. 

What are your plans for 2017? I am part of a group show in May, which will include more large scale stone-set pieces. Of course more travel - heading to the Middle East in June. I'm also keen to design a print and expand my range a little. 



 Photography by Elise Wilken