Suzette Watkins is a jeweller, Mike Fewster is a photographer: two artists presenting the quintessential Australian landscape through two quite different but complementary lens.
“As kids we grew up in the coastal Australian cities. But the legend of the Australian bush was strong. Explorers, settlers and rural life were the stuff of our readers at school and the core of our collective self image. Going bush yourself one day was a rite of passage for our generation.”
To keep their vision fresh, they travel almost every year, camping in out-of the way spots as well as more travelled areas. The immense distances and never-ending landscape are part of the fascination. Out there, it’s just you and that country.
The colours – especially those reds – are a huge part of their shared experiences. They shift from the palest of apricots to the most vivid of neons to purples and blues. And tomorrow the light will change and they will be different again.
The bush and the outback continue to be a passion for Suzette and Mike: a shared passion for the colours, for the shapes, the textures the landscape and above all for the light. And the light is what Mike captures in his deeply evocative photographs, interpreting the land in all its guises.
Suzette’s jewellery is a visceral response to the landscape, the colours and the light, bringing the same view into an entirely new focus.
Today their work reflects locations from all over Australia but the focal point remains the Red Centre to which they return again and again.
Suzette Watkins swapped her arts management job in Alice Springs for a jewellers’ bench in Adelaide in 2006. At 56 she returned to college to retrain as a silversmith, bringing a new focus to the jewellery she has been creating since 2003. A keen eye for colour and an ongoing involvement with Indigenous art led to her engagement with jewellery and design.
Her jewellery interprets the Australian landscape in a bold abstract context, with an emphasis on colour, shape, texture and light. Suzette’s work includes commissioned work, exclusive and limited designs as well as uniquely available pieces.
Mike Fewster was a teacher in Victoria for most of his life He specialised in working with students and families from the streets of inner-urban Melbourne and non-English speaking backgrounds. In Alice Springs he taught at the Correctional Centre working mainly with traditional indigenous men. His passion for photography goes back to his teens.
They are now based in Adelaide, but the bush remains an enduring love. Together they have created “Australian Landscape Jewellery”, photographing the land and interpreting those places in jewellery.