Makers of Melbourne

Welcome to Makers Of Melbourne – the ‘go to’ guide for our technically integrated age.

Makers Of Melbourne has been created to consume and assimilate Melbourne culture. We're male focussed, but not male specific, sorting through the dross to weed out the creative stars, standout events and stylish folk that make this city unique. 

MOM aims to embrace all facets of what makes this city a creative hub. Our aim is to inform without condescending – to keep you abreast of what’s going on without regurgitating Press Releases & to seek out this city’s sub cultures to give our readers the inside scoop on what’s REALLY happening with the people who make Melbourne Melbourne.

Filtering by Tag: interview

Interview: Bertie Blackman

Bertie Blackman’s latest single, Run For Your Life lifted off of her forthcoming fifth album, The Dash is truly three and half minutes of pop bliss, or as the artist herself describes it, “it’s music to have a good time to…music to feel your heartbeat to.”

With The Dash due for release this spring, Makers thought that now would be the perfect opportunity to arrange an interview and photo shoot with the inspiring performer. 

Blackman’s soon to be released album has been written and recorded in small studios in Melbourne, as well as Sydney and Central NSW. Bertie tells Makers that the time spent working in different locations around Australia helped to keep the sound of her new material “really fresh, open and exciting. ” 

We meet Bertie Blackman on a crisp Tuesday afternoon at the Happy Palace restaurant on Bourke Street, the retro interiors the perfect backdrop for the clean lines of local fashion label, Kloke, Bertie’s designers of choice for the shoot.

 With hair and makeup underway in the far corner of the open plan restaurant, a divine assortment of clothing and footwear set up neatly, and the excitable murmur of kitchen staff preparing for night service, the first floor restaurant is a hive of activity. The energy is upbeat, echoing the feelings that inspired the new album with its strong pop-inspired vibe. 

Bertie: “I think that the veil between pop and lots of different types of music is becoming less and less defined as modern culture closes in the gaps. Everything is attainable and that’s exiting for music.”

Run For Your Life opens with a strong ‘80s inspired synth, bringing to mind a feeling of freedom and, as the tempo grows, the liberation of feet pounding on pavement. It’s the first hint that The Dash will be quite the departure from Blackman’s last album, the more introspective 2012 release Pope Innocent X.

Bertie: “I’m always darting from one world to another. And wanting to nod at one of my favourite eras in music meant that I had to open out the production sound into big hooks and big vocals.”

It’s time for a quick costume change, and it’s evident that Bertie is loving Kloke’s stylings: the brand already has strong ties to the local music industry, dressing Chet Faker and contributing to the recent Architecture in Helsinki pop up store in Melbourne Central. We ask the singer if that musical connection inspired her decision to want to work with the label.

Bertie: “It wasn’t actually, I’ve always just dug their clothing. I love their mix of clean crisp lines and big loud patterns. I’m personally into classic cut clothing. These guys do this so well, classic cuts with a twist… super cool.”

It’s a well-chosen comment, and one that could also be used to describe the singer herself – classic with a twist and super cool. We think that about sums her up nicely.

Shot on location at Happy Palace restaurant

Clothing by Kloke

Hair & Makeup by Marlene Olsson 

Shoes by Victorine & Ms Blackman's own

Photography by Kirsty Umback

Interview: Clare Bowditch

Clare Bowditch was so believable in her portrayal of musician Rosanna Harding on the hit channel 10 drama, Offspring, that she was nominated in the best new female talent category at the 2012 Logie Awards. In retrospect, the emotional performance wasn’t such a stretch for the performer, who has long held a reputation for wearing her heart on her sleeve with her somewhat auto biographical lyrics, encompassing seven albums and numerous tours both here in Australia and internationally.

While it is the subject of her latest tour, Winter Secrets, that has allowed Makers the opportunity to sit down with the inspiring creative between stints recording inside “an ABC Tardis”, we’ll happily confess that it is her juggling of several careers while somehow appearing to live a relatively balanced life (albeit one that involves wearing the hats of singer, songwriter, actress, public speaker, mother, wife and entrepreneurial powerhouse) that had us really intrigued. 

Clare Bowditch on stage

Clare Bowditch on stage

Clare appears to have achieved both professional and personal accolades without sacrificing her private life or living under the constant spotlight of public scrutiny.

 The musician won the Best Female ARIA Award in 2006, has had Top Ten albums, been named Rolling Stone Woman of the Year for her contributions to Culture, YEN Young Woman of the Year, and toured all over with the likes of Leonard Cohen, who famously “proposed” to her backstage. All of this while raising three children with her husband and recording partner, Marty Brown.

It’s very rare to find a performer who is happy to share their knowledge of the ins and outs of the Australian music industry while also giving insight as to how to live a profitable yet creatively satisfying life.

 These subjects were just two of the driving forces that lead Clare to create her online mentoring program, Big Hearted Business, in 2013.  

 “Like all multi-passionate people,” the bubbly performer explains during our mid week chat, “I’ve been trying to find a place of dynamic equilibrium, which means that I can actually take care of myself while taking on my various creative pursuits, my family, my business and so on.”

Displaying a level of self-disclosure that has become increasingly rare in our age of overly hyped, mass media celebrity, she continues.

Clare: “When I saw people that were good at it [managing their careers] I started picking up on things and had the urge to pass it [the knowledge] on - I could see the usefulness, the joy the connectivity that comes from understanding creativity.”  

Since founding the program (made possible with a successful crowd funding campaign), Clare has helped produce a series of conferences and online “inspiration bombs” designed to teach creative people about business, and business people about creativity.

Clare Bowditch and Adalita performing together on the 2014  ‘Winter Secrets’ tour. Photo by   Andrew Vukosav

Clare Bowditch and Adalita performing together on the 2014  ‘Winter Secrets’ tour. Photo by Andrew Vukosav

Clare: “We work with people who get that you can have a successful business and still contribute to the community, culture and social enterprise. “

Although the performer is the first to admit that finding balance is still a constant struggle, and one of the factors that inspired her to start Big Hearted Business, she is also fostering creativity through her annual Winter Secrets tour, giving one local musician in each state the unique opportunity to perform during the concert and be in the running to win a $1000 cash prize.

 Clare: “I was the person in the audience for so many years who sat there and thought, ‘I know I’ve got something to give creatively’, but I didn’t think it would be possible to make a living from it. In the meantime I was writing songs and hoping that I would have the chance to perform them in front of people one day: for me, Winter Secrets, is about giving someone who has the guts and the talent the chance to just see what it feels like to be up there.”

Earlier this year Clare Bowditch posted an update on her Facebook page explaining that she didn’t think it would be possible to run Winter Secrets in 2014.

While this was disappointing news to fans, it’s fair to say that Clare was left feeling the most disheartened of all. She explains to Makers that her busy schedule and the launch into an “album phase” were contributing factors in her decision to cancel the tour that had been running annually since 2010. 

Clare Bowditch performs at the Palais Theatre, St Kilda.

Clare Bowditch performs at the Palais Theatre, St Kilda.

Clare: “We were thinking of launching back into an album phase now, but I thought, no, I’m going to [tour] even if it was a smaller than what we’d usually do. I needed to get out on the road and actually see the people that I’ll be writing the album for, before I get the gumption to go ahead and write it. A lot of what I write about is formed by the conversations I have with the strangers who are my audience.”

 Clare: “After [Winter Secrets] I’ll be finishing writing an album and I think we’re going to record next year. I’ll be dabbling in writing while continuing with Big Hearted Business, and next year I’ll hopefully record, release and tour. But we’ll see how we go.”

After wondering aloud how the performer manages to successfully keep all of her balls in the air, Clare can’t help but confide, “I have to tell you something funny. I was listening to a few of the new demos the other day and almost all of the songs had the word ‘tired’ in them. That was one of the themes that I was picking up on but it definitely won’t be an album about being tired. I’ll have to find something else."

See Clare Bowditch and special guest Adalita perform  Winter Secrets this Thursday 17th July at Sooki Lounge, Belgrave or catch them at The Corner Hotel, Richmond on Fri 18th July

Interview: Oscar Lake

While the concept of what is considered good or bad sartorial taste comes down to personal choice and personality, it’s hard to deny the appeal of a man in a well-cut suit. It’s even harder to deny the appeal of a personally tailored suit, especially when it’s being offered as an affordable clothing option by Oscar Lake, a man who, at the ripe old age of 30, is proud to call himself Australia’s youngest tailor.

Oscar Lake photographed by Sam Wong

Oscar Lake photographed by Sam Wong

“I’m not aware of anyone else my age that is in this line of work,” Oscar begins as he sits down with Makers over a glass of whiskey at the Oscar Hunt showrooms, where the youthful blonde has held the position of head tailor for the past 12 months.

It’s easy for Makers to see the parallel between the tailor and his employers. The retail operation has its own humble beginnings; the once itinerant fashion brand was born out of temporary showrooms in both the Cullen and Olsen hotels before finding itself a more permanent home in the Melbourne CBD, while Oscar studied fashion design at Box Hill and was working in womenswear before making the decision to plunge into a more traditional trade.

“I thought that bespoke tailoring would be the most difficult thing I could do,” he says with a chuckle, “so I decided to learn how to do it.”

The young tailor spent the first five years after graduation working in Armadale before joining the ranks at Oscar Hunt. The way he tells it, the decision to move in to made-to-measure seemed like a no brainer.

The new Oscar Hunt showroom in Melbourne's Hardware Lane

The new Oscar Hunt showroom in Melbourne's Hardware Lane

Oscar: “I felt like the move to made-to-measure would be a smart one as the bespoke community here in Australia is decreasing in size. (Mine) was a decision to try and work with a business that is at the head of the new frontier of suiting, where service is still the most important aspect. We can produce something that is as close to bespoke and handmade but with less cost and more efficiency, but retaining the same amount of style and quality.”

It’s an important distinction to make: few and far between are men with the money – or even the desire – to opt for truly bespoke suiting. As American author, Meg Lukens-Noonan came to explore in her awarded book, The Coat Route, this most traditional of all tailoring schools is a dying art.

Made-to-measure offers the next best thing: where bespoke involves hand making a pattern for each individual, made-to-measure finds its niche in creating individualised alterations from a pre-made pattern. It takes a keen eye to distinguish between the two.

Tailors like Oscar, while not preserving the skill of bespoke, are at least helping to keep the dream alive by drawing new clientele in to the realm of tailoring with an option that finds itself occupying the high ground somewhere between off-the-rack and a true bespoke service.

Photograph by Sam Wong

Photograph by Sam Wong

Oscar: “We’re able to tailor for men with unusual body types and help them find clothing that they wouldn’t generally be able to find somewhere else. We’re selling a luxury product, meaning that our clients expectations are very high and they expect a good quality finished product.”

Oscar Hunt’s new CBD quarters tell the tale of a successfully growing business and – for Oscar, at least – the reason behind the rising appeal of a service that embraces both tradition and the day-to-day financial realities of the working classes is clear.

Oscar: “If you’re looking at a man across the room in pretty much any suit, regardless of how expensive the fabric is or how much they’ve paid for it, it all comes down to the fit. And if it fits well, a man will feel more confident.”

Oscar Hunt showroom  - 3/43 Hardware Lane

Oscar Hunt showroom  - 3/43 Hardware Lane

Interview: Jeffrey Phillips

"When it’s not for work, it’s all by hand – all ink and nibs. That’s what made me fall in love with drawing and that’s why I can still do it.”

-       Jeffrey Phillips

It really is incredibly difficult to walk away from an introduction to Jeffrey Phillips. Makers first bumps in to him at the Festival of Steve, note book and fountain pen in hand, hired to work this crowd as a live illustrator – a little side line business the “reformed financial advisor” squeezes in during time not spent working on his commercial illustration jobs.

He’s a great guy with whom to strike up a conversation. Jeffrey is open, gently humorous and inquisitive. Much like the drawings that, on this particular Saturday evening, fill his notebook: caricature-style portraits in black ink that capture completely aesthetics and character. The drape of a young designer’s scarf and its wearer’s serious intent; the poker-faced trio at a green felt card table; the bearded suave ‘tude of a couple of the Oscar Hunt boys dressed to impress.

Jeffrey: “I’ve always been a doodler. I would spend my evenings drawing and learning how to use different pens and fill up sketchbooks with, in hindsight, just horrible, horrible stuff. People would say, ‘Man, it’s too late to do something different now, isn’t it, yeah it is’.”

It explains much of the energy surrounding the man that Jeffrey, without fuss or fanfare, went ahead and did it anyway.

Jeffrey: “Someone said, ‘I’ve got someone who’s doing a short film and needs some story boards’, and I said, ‘What are story boards?’ and then one thing led to another and work just picked up from there.”

Speaking with the artist is a lot like this. Nothing harried. No stress. He’s intelligent but not pretentious, observant though not judgemental. Rare qualities. It's as if he’s somehow identified the portal to his own slipstream and just stepped right in.

Perhaps it’s being so in tune with his own creativity that enables Jeffrey to garner such insights in to his studies. He is quick, challenging himself to spend no more than a glance before sketching from memory with his beloved fountain pens – an ease of use he found growing up as a boy in Mumbai where this instrument was standard issue in the schools he attended until moving to Perth, age 14.

And while his insights are acute, his gaze is forgiving.

Jeffrey: “You can get quite a lot of personality from drawing, unlike a photograph which just depicts that still scene. If someone is really loud and flamboyant, you can express that a lot better, exaggerating an action or a piece of clothing. If they have a big nose you can make them have a really big nose. If they are tall, you can make them loom over. It is opportunity to embellish and bring out aspects of character in a scene."

Analysis aside, his live illustrations are, Jeffrey explains, an opportunity to continue bettering his craft. The digital focus of most all commercial illustration means these forays with pen and ink serve as a constant series of mini tutorials.

Jeffrey: “I’ve always done it as a way of practicing my skills, trying to get better at getting as much information in a snapshot and then just being able to draw without too much thought or planning. I can draw you even if you’ve wondered off.”

The morning marches on and his shared warehouse studio space begins to buzz with the arrival of fellow artists and creatives – these people with whom he has come to share a space.

It’s an enviable scene: light-filled, the room’s interior pulled together by someone with an eye for warmth and character, from the copper wire fairy lights to the arresting over-sized bird sculpture. Someone paints in the corner while a writer sits down in a corner to peck at her keyboard.

Jeffrey sees Makers of Melbourne to the door and the joy and pleasure of his company follows, even as his last words fall out in to the light of day.

Jeffrey: “It’s a very interesting dynamic to get paid for something you would do anyway.”

Interview: Rob Adams, Urban Designer

The city is its own fragile eco system and, like all eco systems, is damaged – or dies – usually because of a lack of understanding about what nurtures it.”

                                                                                         - Rob Adams

When Rob Adams relates the city of Melbourne to “a fragile eco-system”, be clear in the understanding that this is a well-thought sentence owing nothing to hyperbole. As our city’s chief urban designer for the past 30 years (and counting), Rob is well acquainted with the intricate interplays of space, design, utilities and movement that turn a collection of concrete and asphalt in to an environment capable of sustaining creative life.

It’s not too much to say that he, along with his team, has nurtured Melbourne back to life with such success that – for most of the city’s current inhabitants – it appears there has never not been a time when ours was the epicentre of food, fashion and festivals.

Rob: "Most people think laneways have always had coffee shops in them, but if you’re looking at side walk cafes there were probably only two in the central city in 1985 compared to about 450 in 2014.  It’s the cumulative effect over 30 years of just slowly improving what are signatures of Melbourne. A lot of the works that we do are tiny interventions – we’ve taken out 30 hectares of asphalt in the city by building bigger side walks, turned roundabouts in to green space and widened median strips to make playgrounds – people don’t notice, but we do them hundreds of times a year and then, in time, you get the result.”

Outdoor cafes in the CDB - growth in numbers between 1983-2004

Outdoor cafes in the CDB - growth in numbers between 1983-2004

But like any paternal figure, Rob knows the truth of his charge’s history: the growing pains resulting in challenges that – almost paradoxically – have led Melbourne to becoming the lauded landscape it is today.

It started in the ‘80s, when a groundswell of opposition rose against the destruction of ‘Marvellous Melbourne.’  Combine this with an exodus of retail from the CBD as everyone moved to suburban shopping centres, and a council that was too broke to enact grand schemes – underground trams, and big structures built atop the historic Queen Vic Market – and the stage was set for a man of particular vision to restore the landscape much as a trained art conservateur might restore a Da Vinci: with a sure and subtle touch. 

Rob: “It starts with a political movement more than anything, so I was fortunate enough to arrive here at a time when the politicians had come in to change Melbourne. Their vision was very simple – they wanted the centre of Melbourne to become a 24-hour city, but they wanted it to look and feel like Melbourne. Nobody wanted Dallas.”

Without the cash to splash, moderations had to make the most of the landscape that was already there. Sure, the reinvigoration of the famed laneways were a large part of it, but so, too, was the reconnection of the city to the Yarra, the expansion of green space and – key to it all – the bringing back of human life in to the frame of the city’s daily function. 

Birrarung Marr - the first new park near Melbourne's CBD in over a century

Birrarung Marr - the first new park near Melbourne's CBD in over a century

It’s a sure fire equation for success when enacted sympathetically: much of the difference between central London and central Paris – Haussmanian planning aside – is the presence of living residents in every street of the French capital city. That kind of pedestrian interaction that brings normality and continual movement.

Rob: “On the back of the collapse of the economy in the late ‘80s we came up with a project to turn commercial buildings in to residential – it succeeded in taking a whole lot of existing buildings and putting them in to multiple ownership. Ironically, the one thing that will now save the city from over development are these same small scale buildings – the Hero and the Majorca buildings – that will be difficult to develop because of the fact of having to get all these different owners to agree to sale at the same moment.”

The last is a comment forthcoming, not as a result of paranoia, but in response to recent planning decisions that Rob (and others in the know) fear are already on the way to upsetting Melbourne’s fragile balance.

Because despite their concrete spines, cities are fluid. As such, both changes and challenges are continual. Rob talks of the damage that is being wreaked by the current allowance permitting developers to build to up to 56 times the site area, something he says no other city in the world permits.

(Translated, this means a structure with full site coverage can rise up to 56 storeys, or with half site coverage, On a double site, a tower could reach 112 floors high.)

In some ways it could be said that the very success of Rob’s work has turned against him: so accustomed have we all become to the beauty and usability of our city, that it appears we may have forgotten how delicate a balance it is to maintain. That a city we feel has always been thus took no less than 30 years of thoughtful planning to construct.

Rob: “The city is its own fragile eco system, and like all eco systems it will die usually because of a lack of understanding about what nurtures it: too much fish out of the ocean, too many trees taken down. Right now I have never seen the take out of the city as huge as it is without having anything being put back.”

It is difficult not to feel panicked by Rob’s point of view. Certainly he himself feels deeply the change of focus, knowing Melbourne as well as he does.

And perhaps this, in the end, is what makes an audience with Rob so revelatory. While as residents we love to talk up the city’s creative heart, its Euro vibe and thinking-person’s tag, Rob is capable of pinpointing the programs and decisions that contribute to what goes in to creating what is essentially an ephemeral feeling.

The arts and events strategies that serves to broaden our cultural horizons while contributing financially to the city’s needs (“the return for the dollar is $1 given to $11 back for the arts; for road projects you are lucky to get $1 back”), the secret, “funny” spaces, carefully planned for, that make Melbourne a city for exploration in the model of its European cousins.

The State Library on Swanston Street during the White Night Festival

The State Library on Swanston Street during the White Night Festival

Rob: “Look at the difference between our newer areas Southbank and Docklands and the CBD: people like to walk through Melbourne, go inside and find a bar, and then someone directs them down a dog leg lane with rubbish bins in it to the next stopping point. They feel they are discovering a place for the first time. Kill all the opportunities for secrets and turn them in to a single product, and you kill the dream.”

For Rob, the death of that dream – his dream – would be a tragedy.

Rob: “I think Melbourne’s a cerebral city. This is a city where people get pleasure out of coming together, having conversations, talking about creative ideas and developing those creative ideas. And the future is in asking the question – how do we hang on to these things?” 

Interview: James Nolen

“Film is everything now in dictating people’s subconscious attitudes to style and fashion.”

-       James Nolen

As the film programmer for the Australian Centre of the Moving Image (ACMI), James Nolen views film as far more than a release in to fantasy: for him, it reads as a barometer of society’s cultural landscape, particularly as it relates to notions of style.

From the influence of The Breakfast Club in defining ‘80s style to Val Kilmer’s telling of Jim Morrison’s life in The Doors, that was the spark to ignite the leather jeans trend of the early ‘90s, the ability of film costume to exert influence on what we wear – and how – has only grown more powerful.

James: “The latest Hunger Games film is an interesting example: that one film was going to do more for that whole luxe sports industry than anything else. Costume designer Trish Somerville was looking for some contemporary high performance sportswear for the training sequence in Catching Fire and came across the label Lucas Hugh from the UK. Trish commissioned not only women's but menswear from Lucus Hugh, which was a first for the company. With the huge global success of this film, you can imagine what influence it will have on the major sportswear brands and some of the fast fashion retailers who are also expanding into sportswear, most notably, Uniqlo”

The Great Gatsby, too, has done more than its fair share to float further the gentleman’s outfitter revival that’s captured the imaginations of so many men across the city.

James: “Fashion in film completely filters down to street level, especially with Gatsby’s take on men’s fashion; those beautiful derby shoes and lovely textured socks that were a feature of the ensemble. You do see that filtering through even to mainstream at places like Top Man.”

But the film and shoe buff’s own personal style heralds from a different source: the queen of English punk rock fashion, Vivienne Westwood. She is, he believes, one of the few men’s shoe designers willing to take radical style risks in order to realise her vision.

James: “She is willing to make ugly shoes that then become beautiful in two years time. I don’t think she cares if they work, as long as they work for her.”

It is a perfect match: James is nothing if not adventurous in his choices, from today’s silver custom-made Rocco shoes to the Melbourne-made red brogues produced by a local Greek shoemaker under the Pantheon label. 

James admits he pushes the boundaries, noting the regular comments received on some of his more striking pairs. But then what are shoes, he notes, if not a vehicle for self-expression?

James Nolen, ACMI film programmer.

Interview: Julia deVille

“I don’t really look outward for inspiration – I have enough that comes from within."

 Julia deVille

It’s been a long 10-months for Julia deVille. Makers meets her after a few false starts, earlier arrangements derailed by a week-long illness arriving as the result of exhaustion: the artist has spent the better part of a year working 12- to 13-hour days in order to keep up with a demanding schedule as her star continues to rise.

Certainly it appears that the woman whose inspiration rises from Victorian-era ideals of life, death and nature – art works realised through her dual passions of taxidermy and jewellery – has created a rich niche for herself in an art world enamoured of her confronting visions. 

And they are confronting. Having opened the door to her Collingwood warehouse studio, Julia leads us through the diaspora of beauty and death that is her working space: look to the right and take in her striking rings and necklaces replete with Gothic motifs; look to the left and your gaze may fall upon three taxidermied puppies curled up on porcelain salad plates.

That Julia sees no philosophical clash between her animal loving, vegan nature and her taxidermied works speaks clearly to the artist’s unique view of the world.

Julia: “My grandmother gave me her fox fur stole when I was five or six, one of those styles with the head and you would wrap it and hold the tail in its mouth. I loved it. I used to dress up in it and I felt like it was still alive because it had all its features. So as soon as I worked out taxidermy was something you could do, I wanted to learn how to do it.  And then I’ve always just been a massive animal lover – I became a vegetarian when I was nine and I’m now vegan – so, for me, taxidermy was a way of celebrating animals and being around them when you are growing up in a city. As a child I was always interested in death, so for me it seems entirely normal and not at all macabre.”

These words are spoken as she sits, surrounded by vases of dead roses dried to preserve their skeletal beauty, the glint of her Victorian-era inspired silver rings catching the light.

She acknowledges that, initially at least, her work was often viewed through a lens of shock. Like the mouse brooch created from a taxidermied rodent whose eyes were replaced with diamonds and its tail a cord of silver – for Julia the ideal marriage as she undertook both a jewellery design course and a mentorship working alongside a retired Melbourne taxidermist.

Julia: “When I first started blending taxidermy and jewellery it was considered plain crazy, but then I’ve always been a bit different. Since then a lot more people have started to work in taxidermy and a lot of big art collectors are collecting it so it means I get to now do what I love and live off it.”

Certainly it is recognised among the Melbourne arts community that Julia is one of the more successful contemporary artists operating within a city teeming with talented creatives: a recent installation found its showing as part of the NGV’s Melbourne Now exhibition extended, while her current showing as part of the Adelaide Biennial, PHANTASMAGORIA, has generated critical acclaim. Not that the idea of acclaim appears to influence her degree of commitment.

Julia: “Recognition is not the driving force for me. The driving force is the creative process and the problem solving and making something that you really love. Anything else that comes is just a bonus.”

And the “bonuses” keep on coming: though confessing to “lone wolf” status (“I prefer my own company”) the artist now works alongside three assistants required to help her meet demand on a jewellery business that now spans the globe: along with growing demand in Australia and New Zealand, Julia’s pieces have found resonance as far away as Texas, Russia and Romania.

There is a rare, upcoming collaboration with painter and tattooist Leslie Rice (twice winner of the Doug Moran Portrait prize) for a joint show at Sophie Gannon Gallery scheduled for September, not to mention a still-born foal stored in one of her many freezers that will take centre stage for an installation planned for exhibit in 2015.

Of course, for Julia, it all comes back to following her passions, however dark they may seem to a world looking through the eccentric prism of her gaze.

Julia: “I would still be doing it as a hobby even if I couldn’t sell it. It’s always just been for the love of it.”