Julia Banks is the arty, crafty creator of Relique Vintage Jewellery. Working out of her villa home studio in Christchurch, she also paints in oils/mixed media collage and will be adding a range of affordable contemporary artworks to her repertoire, launching just in time for Christmas.
What do you make?
I take beautiful, precious antique and vintage ‘relics’ and turn them into contemporary styled mini works of wearable art jewellery.
How did you get into your craft?
There were lots of different moments in my life that compounded together making me take the ‘leap’ into my craft but I guess the main reason was a complete dissatisfaction in working for someone else doing a completely mind-numbing job that was totally void of creativity. I have always been creative and artistic, something had to give … and creativity must rule!
Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
Although my creating my jewellery has been mainly self-taught through books and trial & error, I did study Visual Arts at Christchurch Polytech.
Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
I can’t get enough of antique watch movement workings at the moment. Their delicate etching and intricacies amaze me. I love how I can take something that’s usually hidden away, turn it inside out and put it on display to show off the beautiful workmanship. As for tools and processes, I am always experimenting and learn best by making my own mistakes which sometimes turn into something really special and unique!
Five words that describe your mind: Busy, overloaded, inquisitive, yearning, thoughtful.
What inspires you?
I am also a painter so I find a lot of inspiration for my jewellery in art magazines and books and looking at other people’s work. NZ Artists Ralph Hotere, Colin McCahon and the Art Nouveau & Art Deco movements are also a major influence in my creations.
Is there a philosophy behind your work?
It really annoys me how wasteful we can be as a society on the whole. The amount of packaging and throw away products created is unbelievable in my view. So my philosophy is to make packaging from recycled materials and incorporate as much recycled product into my jewellery as possible.
Describe your workspace:
Umm… unfortunately incredibly messy. I start off really organised with things in their place but once I start creating stuff it all goes out the window. A whir of materials and bits and pieces end up everywhere. So the door to my studio is often tightly shut. But I may just tidy it a bit so you can see what it’s like…
What are you currently listening to?
I am quite happy with lots of silence and to just hear the background noises around me – birds, lawnmowers buzzing in the background etc.
Recommend an album: I really like Gotan Project.
Your favourite childhood book?
Heidi of all things! My nana gave me a special red hardbound edition I have treasured since I was a child and it still sits in my bookcase admired.
What are you reading now?
A Dream of Spires. About the beautiful Gothic architecture in New Zealand created by Benjamin Mountfort.
Rita Angus because she pushed the boundaries at a time that was very controversial for New Zealand painting.
A favourite quote: Leap … and the net will appear.
Do you have any pets?
Two slightly annoying but loveable cats. One black one who is very much like an insecure baby and needs loads of cuddles especially when you’re busy and an elderly diabetic that needs insulin injections twice daily.
If you were a crayon, what colour would you be?
I’m going to be difficult and be the paint colour Prussian Blue. I love it’s inky depth and darkness.
Be sure to check out more of the Relique Vintage Jewellery collection in Julia’s Felt shop, Relique.