Monday, January 26, 2015

MELANIE GRAY | KIMONO REINCARNATE

Sustainable Hand Painted Bamboo Teapot
Brooch
with Vintage Kimono Fabric
Don’t let its small size fool you.  The Australian city Darwin is a hotspot for tourists.  Nature lovers will enjoy its sunny, tropical climate while enjoying tours of Kakadu or Litchfield national parks. 

With its largely youthful population Darwin’s nightlife is energetic with open markets and fresh cuisine. 

Australia is also home to featured jewelry designer Melanie Gray.

A sense of fun and play is inherent to creating jewelry.  A jewelry maker plays with design ideas and seeks out materials through a play of selecting the perfect textures and colors.

A one-time freelance photographer, Gray’s buoyant and lively brooch pins, stud earrings, and pendant necklaces reflect this kind of spirited energy.  A combination of sterling silver, laser cut sustainable bamboo, and resin serve as backdrops to her signature material: vintage Japanese Kimono fabric.

Having lived in Japan for six years, Gray was awestruck by the beauty of the city at large as well as the Kimonos women wore. 

“To me, it’s like seeing a fine piece of artwork moving through everyday life,” she says. “I love their design, the colors, and the symbolism of the motifs used. 

I gathered up fabric at antique markets and specialist second-hand stores while I lived in Japan, and now I travel there each year to purchase more fabric,” she explains.

“My brand, KimonoReincarnate, began with making bags and coin purses from vintage Kimono silks.  I could not throw away the off-cuts because they were so gorgeous.  So I took these tiny pieces of fabric and used them as components of jewelry.”
Sustainable Hand Painted Bamboo Origami Rabbit
Stud Earrings
Gray implements vibrant pieces of Kimono silk as insertions beneath clear resin, and hand-assembled bamboo teapot forms for designs that are lively conversation pieces. 

Gray also creates three-dimensional origami cranes in sterling silver, as well as provides the feel of three dimensions in origami-inspired designs made with sustainable bamboo.  Her discrete visual language is a breath of fresh air in a jewelry arena that can sometimes seem stylistically uninspired.

“I live to create.  I seek out these gorgeous textiles turning them into items that can be worn every day.  Passion is a key component of running my business.  I can work long hours sometimes.
Sterling Silver and Resin Raindrop Pendant Necklace

I could not sustain the business without passion for what I do.  I also believe the love for what I do comes through in my work and it’s that passion my customers are attracted to.”
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