We had a fabulous online chat with Barbara Heath in which we learned that texture is her superpower. She talked about her early days as an apprentice to the Hungarian diamond jeweller Lazlo Puzsar in Melbourne and showed us some bizarre treasures from her cabinet of curiosities including a brooch made from a snake’s jawbone! We were joined by people from as far away as Bourke and Rotterdam who asked questions about everything from Barbara’s “jewellery for buildings” to the transformed butchers block she uses to hammer metal on.
Barbara studied contemporary jewellery at Parsons School of Design in New York and her jewels can be found in the Queensland Art Gallery, the Art Gallery of Western Australia and the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney. She also makes “jewellery for buildings” and has won awards for her monumental designs from the Royal Australian Institute of Architects among others.
Under the epithet ‘Jeweller to the Lost’, Barbara works with clients to help find themselves through jewels. Some commissions are set within tight levels of precision of perhaps 0.05mm and “attending to those increments” is all part of the job.
“I also have a serious gemstone habit,” Barbara admits; “I hoard them then pull them out and shuffle them about. They’re so happy-making with so much potential. They’re little beings of light that hum with colour and light.”
Barbara Heath is a dreamer, a creator and an exceptional maker. You can view some of her tantalising pieces here.