We first noticed the stunning Tasmanian Wood Jewellery made by talented duo Adrienne and Kenn when we wrote about Gallery Kempton* back in December. Since then, the pair have been following Think Tasmania on Facebook, and often make a positive comment or share our stories. We thought it was about time to repay some of that dedication, and made it our business to find out about theirs!
Tasmanian Wood Jewellery: Adrienne and Kenn
Adrienne was born in Hobart, spent her childhood in the Huon Valley, then moved back to Hobart at age 12 to board at St Michael’s Collegiate School. She moved to New Norfolk in 1974, and has lived in the Derwent Valley ever since.
Kenn was born in Sydney, NSW. While serving in the Royal Australian Navy for 22 years, he visited Hobart, and the vision of living in Tasmania became foremost in his mind. After retiring from the Navy, he moved to Tasmania and took up a position as a Correctional Officer for 13 years, living in the Derwent Valley. During that time, he fell in love with the beauty of Tasmanian timber, and decided to learn wood turning.
Adrienne became interested in arts and crafts at a very early age. Her grandmother and aunt were both dressmakers, and her mother was a very good knitter. After mastering these crafts, she decided to pursue other forms, including crocheting, tatting, embroidery, bobbin lace, card making and toy making. She has been selling her craft for the last 30 years. Adrienne was interested in painting at school, but became disenchanted when discouraged from using her own style. She left off painting until 1980, when she re-started with watercolours. She then progressed to acrylic and fabric painting, and has been painting ever since. Adrienne attended classes with local artist Gillam Reid for several years.
Kenn’s other interest is Bonsai, from which he has derived great pleasure for 30 years. Both Adrienne and Kenn have a great interest in the local art and craft scene and attend many exhibitions.
Special Projects and Mentors
Adrienne is a member of the Victorian Bead Society. She also knits for the homeless, through the St Vincent De Paul project: Beanie Needs a Home. The knitted hats and scarves are distributed through Loui’s Van. Both Adrienne and Kenn have a great respect for anyone who can create something beautiful from nothing, and they deem those people an inspiration. The Tasmanian art and craft community is without doubt, the most amazingly talented in the world. They count being part of that community (with their Tasmanian Wood Jewellery) as a privilege.
Kenn and Adrienne’s artwork has been described as tribal, original and earthy; but really, Tasmanian Wood Jewellery has developed a style of its own, as each piece is individual. They don’t use patterns, therefore each piece is different in some way. The pieces are assembled with semi-precious stones that compliment the wood, and enhanced with silver.
The Realisation of Creative Talent
Adrienne didn’t really ever think about being creative; she’s always been able to turn her hand to most things. She always wanted to make jewellery, but the opportunity didn’t arise until 10 years ago when a friend started teaching her beading. Before that, she made brooches with tiny pieces of tatting in them.
Kenn realised he had talent when his woodwork started selling at Salamanca Market and Richmond galleries. Then he began to receive regular custom orders. When Kenn and Adrienne met two years ago, they decided to combine their jewellery-making talents and initially became Tasmanian Wood Beads. They sold their work at a wood stall at Salamanca Market, where Kenn had been supplying woodwork for 15 years. They decided then to move on to galleries, which was the beginning of Tasmanian Wood Jewellery.
Tasmanian Wood Jewellery: Goals
The first goal was to combine talents and create a unique range of jewellery. The second was to find an outlet for the end product. That was achieved through a wood stall at Salamanca Market. As the jewellery evolved, the next challenge was to sell through shops and galleries throughout Tasmania, which has also been achieved. Kenn and Adrienne had a vision to achieve sales and be recognised statewide, nationally, and internationally. All these goals were realised within 15 months. The future goal is to continually create unusual designs that depict the beauty of our Tasmanian wood, and hopefully create some interest in our beautiful state.
Favourite Tasmanian Wood
Kenn and Adrienne use all kinds of timber, but Myrtle is their favourite, because of the variety of colours covering almost the full spectrum.
Sourcing the Wood
Kenn and Adrienne make their Tasmanian Wood Jewellery from recycled or salvaged wood where possible, and they only ever purchase from reputable wood merchants. They have also used old table legs and lamp bases. Often friends will re-cycle their old wood to the designers, which is then used to make more extraordinary pieces.
Why Tasmanian Wood?
It’s the uncertainty of the structure, with the strength of the wood, that intrigues Kenn. The beauty of the grains and the colours continually amaze him. He prefers wood because every piece he works with is different and presents him with a new challenge. Adrienne enjoys mixing unusual mediums together with the wood pieces: Swarovski crystals, leather, cotton cord, as well as the natural stones. Recently they have combined Tasmanian Serpentine with Huon Pine.
Sales of Tasmanian Wood Jewellery
Currently, the jewellery is displayed at in.cube8r Gallery in Geelong and Melbourne; Brave Art Gallery in Longford, and they have a display exhibit at the Hobart Tower Motel. Previously their work has sold at Spacebar Gallery, Rebecca Roth Gallery, Salamanca Market and the Mill Providore in Launceston. You can also find Kenn and Adrienne at various markets around the state (including The Nook & Derwent Valley).
Kenn and Adrienne have decided to give away a Blackwood Necklace to one lucky Think Tasmania reader. Follow the link to be in the running.
For more information about Tasmanian Wood Jewellery visit their website, follow Tasmanian Wood Jewellery on Facebook or call Kenn and Adrienne 0400 267 486. You can also make a purchase online from their website.
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*Please note: Gallery Kempton is no longer open.