TIM Peel relies on his dawn muse to inspire his jewellery, writes SARAH HUDSON
When the sun is starting its crimson ascent on the horizon and the world is on the brink of a new day, Tim Peel can often be found on a big red, cosy chair in his Healesville home. Coffee in one hand, pen in the other, madly drawing.
"Some of the times I love the most are very early in the morning when I sneak out of bed and the ideas just flow and I draw," Tim says.
"It's an amazing feeling. Doesn't always last long; a half hour of passion and euphoria and excitement. It would be wonderful if it could be bottled."
Such is Tim's creative spirit.
The result of these dawn musings is his jewellery line, sold from his home gallery, Silvermist Studio.
Working in both silver and gold, with a rainbow of gemstones, he creates a spectrum of styles, from earrings to brooches, but largely rings.
"I have a very restless mind so it's hard to describe one particular style," Ross says.
"In many ways I'm driven by technique - ways of imposing design or features on to metal."
His nature-inspired pieces feature leaf skeletons or feathers pressed into metal.
An opal with blues and greens is reminiscent, he says, of a forest, while his use of orange gems was inspired by the outback and the Kimberley.
"I went to France last year and visited their famous caves with the neolithic paintings. I have a fascination for history and I saw these and thought the way we behave now is similar and no more sophisticated.
"Whereas 10,000 years ago they made megalith out of stones we now make them out of glass and bricks.
"So I made a piece that reflects this megalithic idea, a tall tower, but small, using perspective to make it look large."
Immersed in the art world from a young age - Tim grew up in the Yarra Valley with no electricity, so no TV or games - he recalls his first interest in jewellery came as a five-year-old.
"I found a broken chain on the footpath outside the butcher's shop and I remember wanting to fix it. It's a very intense memory."
He studied jewellery making first at TAFE, and then at Monash University in 1988.
Tim's first forays into the jewellery world were not all successful, but he attributes the turnaround to his wife, Liz, who showed him how to set business goals.
"She is the brains behind the business," he says. "Liz has an ability to step outside creativity."
So successful has Liz been in the business that, while still working as a nurse, she has joined her husband and makes fashion jewellery, also sold at Silvermist. Together they have been instrumental in working with other Healesville artists to establish the annual Yarra Valley Open Studios weekends, as well as a co-operative of artisans, Mud Glass Metal. "Because I work in precious jewellery we don't compete but complement each other."
Surely, for Liz, being married to a jeweller has its perks?
"You know how they say a plumber's tap drips and a mechanic's car always breaks down, well it's a lot like that for a jeweller's wife," Tim jokes.
"She does get something special for her birthday, but that ring on her finger is a pink sapphire, not a diamond.
- Silvermist Studio, Healesville, silvermiststudio.com.au or ph: (03) 5962 5470.