A recognisable influence on the international jewellery industry, Perth based Jewellery Designer Tamara Dixon focuses on the ancient technique of chain making with a signature twist to all her designs. She shies away from the luxury and status that traditional jewellery are perceived to symbolise, to explore the simplicity of repetitive forms and complex designs. By working primarily in fine silver it provides wearable purity of the collection and the lasting durability it affords. Inspired by her African and European heritage, her handmade traditional and contemporary chain designs shows more of her African heritage by incorporating texturing and weaving metal techniques. Not only does she work with silver, she also uses rubber, anodised aluminium and anodised niobium to add some colour to the unique and highly wearable pieces.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. When did you first aspire to become a jewellery designer?
I come from a family of trade watchmakers evolving into the Jewellery industry. As the only member of the 4th generation to follow this path, I decided that designing and manufacturing held more interest to me. I wanted to embrace the traditions of old and found my natural calling in chain making. I am the only woman involved in the family trade. I got into the trade at 18 and was more involved in design and gemology. Once I moved to Australia, I had the opportunity to retrain in manufacturing and my designs have evolved from there.
2. What is your main source of inspiration when designing your jewellery collection?
My main source of inspiration is the places around us and the hidden histories behind so much of what we see every day. Architecture, nature and landmarks for a number of my current starting points.
3. What is your signature style?
My signature style is chain making. This is seen in my more contemporary designs where I like to push the boundaries of what can be achieved with a jump ring. I also have a full collection of more traditional chain designs. These are not seen much these days due to the manufacturing process.
Despite having spent 4 years achieving a design qualification, I cannot draw! I tend to make up a large number of elements and try them in different combinations until I find the perfect fit. I start from a basic idea and tend to find that the idea evolves as I am making the piece.
5. Describe the person wearing your jewellery. What type of person did you have in mind when designing your jewellery?
I would describe my customers as everyday people. My Jewellery appeals to children’s gifts, teenage contemporary, everyday man and woman, and evening glamour. I have always held the belief that Jewellery should be affordable and worn every day.
My motto in life is “Fons Vitae Caritas” – Love is the fountain of life
7. How do you relax when you’re not making jewellery?
I am a prolific reader. If I am not making jewellery, you can pretty much guarantee that my nose will be in a book.
8. What is the best thing about Perth? Any recommendations?
The best thing about Perth would have to be the beaches. Having grown up in a landlocked country, it is such a privilege to be able to head to the beach any time you feel the urge.
My favourite piece from my own collection is very hard to choose. It constantly changes as you make new pieces. However, I do wear my African Woman pendant every day.
10. 3 words to describe your jewellery.
Bold Funky Affordable