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Elodie Darwish

Elodie Darwish is on the hunt for tree stumps.  Wide ones, preferably.

“I have one, and it’s good, but it’s a little narrow,” the soft spoken, dark-eyed designer explains.

Though somewhat large, tree stumps are one of the most crucial weapons in the Melbourne-based jewellery designer’s artillery. 

“I don’t need a lot of space really, because generally jewellery tools are all miniature versions of the big stuff,” she explains.  But the tree stump, where she forges her soft brass and pure silver with a rounded hammer, is a particularly important part of Elodie’s intriguing making process.

Elodie drinks more chlorophyll than water, though she’s also a fan of coconut water – but only if it’s straight from the drupe.  It’s subtle quirks like these that are channeled into her delicate, organic brass and silver jewellery (often in the form of a single brightly coloured glass bead) and may well be the reason for her burgeoning following in Melbourne.

Like all good designers, Elodie enrolled in Swinburne’s Industrial Design degree and even spent a stint in South Korea so that she could improve her hand drawn renderings. But it was a post-graduation “freak out” that led her to learn her craft via an Advanced Diploma in Engineering/Jewellery at NMIT.

“It was two years and it was a lot of learning about making, and a lot of making.  This was perfect for me… hands on, getting straight down to business.  Ten years on and I’m still enjoying it,” she says.

Her label, élodie, showcases the deliciously shiny fruits of these labours.  Tree stumps aside, the making process involves a lot of arduous bending, cutting, polishing, filing and holding something called a mandrel over a naked flame for a very long time. It’s hard to put a timeframe on the whole process but Elodie assures me the glass beads take the longest.

“It’s a lot of turning a thin glass rod between your fingers non stop and just waiting for it to become hot enough,” Elodie explains. An impatient soul, her favourite days are the days when she rivets the bangles, as it means they’re almost finished.  Those, and the days she works with pure silver. 

“I love watching the metal melt into itself and become all molten…it’s the coolest thing to watch,” she says.

Elodie produces her bangles, silver stack rings and brass lapel clips, inspired by the great American sculptor Alexander Calder, from a small but chaotic corner of her French librarian mother and Egyptian remedial masseur father’s garage - though she’s adamant that one day it will come from her own glass-walled studio.

“I absolutely love Scandinavian design and whilst I don’t think my work has a Scandi feel, I do think it’s quite graphic and minimal,” says Elodie.

Elodie’s new work is in the same vein, and will be exhibited next week at the MSG Gallery in Brighton.

“I’ll no doubt have some people thinking ‘I can do that’, but the process to get back to that simplicity is somewhat complex,” she says.

I’ll say. 

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Check out Elodie's pure silver stack rings and brass bangles.