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Photograph courtesy of Jeanette Dyke©

Rarely do I find a silversmith, whose work is as exquisite as Jeanette Dykes.  The travelling salt and pepper shaker (above) is a great example of her attention to detail. It fits together to form a perfect circle with tiny mechanisms (Jeanette loves mechanisms) connecting and closing the various elements of the piece. It sits beautifully in your hand and then invites you to investigate every tiny part of it. I had fun imagining Hercule Poirot proudly using it in the dining car of the Orient Express.

I was equally stunned by the beauty of her silver pouring vessel (below) shortlisted for the  Nillumbik Prize this year. Its shape was created by ‘deconstructing’ the traditional vessel shape, only to put it back together in this elegant form.

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Photograph courtesy of Jeanette Dyke©

Salt and pepper gets another ‘working over’ by Jeanette in the piece below. Set in Welsh slate, the salt and pepper shakers fit into silver slots embedded in the slate. This functional piece is oh so sculptural.

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Photograph courtesy of Jeanette Dyke©

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Jeanette originally learnt her craft at The Royal College of Art London, where she received her Masters in Goldsmithing, Silversmithing, Metalwork and Jewellery.

She was clearly well taught and an excellent student.  I couldn’t help including these photos below, as for me they demonstrate more of the intricate detail in her work. Once again the beauty of hinges and the way that each part fits together perfectly, intrigued and delighted me. It’s a box designed to hold treasures, that is a treasure in itself.

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Photograph courtesy of the artist Jeanette Dyke©

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Photograph courtesy of the artist Jeanette Dyke©

Delicately sliding doors allow access to the treasures within each box.

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Photograph courtesy of the artist Jeanette Dyke©

While English by birth, Jeanette has happily settled in the Nillumbik region.  She affectionately described her first experience of Eltham many years ago.  She remembers the exact spot on Main Road Eltham where she decided it was the area she wanted to live in. This realisation eventually led to a successful application for a residency at Dunmoochin where she lived and worked for three years.  While there, Jeanette was touched by the beauty of the bush which began to etch itself into her tableware and jewellery. Branches, leaves and even the moon at Dunmoochin, crept onto her silver surfaces.  While her residency there ended several years ago, Dunmoochin lives on in her work to this day.

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She credits Simon Baigent Goldsmith at Montsalvat with generously teaching her the finer points of granulating and gem setting. She has used those skills to great effect, translating some of the sculptural qualities of her tableware into her jewellery.  

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Photograph courtesy of the artist Jeanette Dyke©

Each piece of Jeanette’s work is stamped with her maker’s mark. As an antique dealer, my mother became very skilled at reading maker’s marks, thereby establishing when, where and by whom her antique silverware was made. I was always intrigued by the amount of valuable information those marks could reveal. I love the idea that in years to come, some lucky person will discover that Jeanette Dyke created exquisite silverware and jewellery in an arts-rich area just north of Melbourne, simply by researching her maker’s mark.

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Photograph courtesy of the artist Jeanette Dyke©

She’s a hard worker who is usually found in her studio by 9am every morning and works through until 5 or 6pm. At nine o’clock the morning after I met her, I pictured her in her studio, completely immersed in creating something of everlasting beauty. Just thinking about it made me very happy.

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Jeanette’s work is exhibited in Galleries throughout Melbourne.  It will be showcased at the new gallery Edition X due to open in Fitzroy on the 31st October. To find out more about her go to her website or Facebook.

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All work in this post is Jeanette Dyke©