From a studio surrounded by rainforest, jewellery artist and cassowary conservationist Liz Gallie creates striking 'wearable art' that matches precious metals with native cane.
Although Liz Gallie is celebrated as a maker of jewellery, the backbone of her creations is far from the precious metal and stones one might expect. Prominent at Liz’s workplace is a selection of rattan - and not just any old cane, but pieces taken from the loya vine, a native climbing palm of north-east Queensland that is the signature element of her ‘jungle art'.
Though the vine grows wild, Liz approaches it as carefully as a vigneron selecting grapes for a rare vintage: “It needs to be slow growing, on high, not wet ground, so it is strong and durable”, she says.
For Liz Gallie, this is a paradise, the only place in which to live and work. “I feel so privileged to live like this. My work is not forced or pressured. Her work includes photo frames, candlesticks, knife handles, sculptural pieces, napkin rings, bracelets and striking cane-based necklaces. From 'Jungle Jeweller' written by Eugene Navarre 2006
Liz admits to a penchant for the mechanics of clasps and catches. She often integrates them as the main design feature, introducing them as an item of both function and beauty.
Her jewellery is made using fusing and fabricating techniques creating a distinct look evocative of ancient civilizations yet with all the sophistication of the modern world.
Liz works the metal from the melting and milling process to the final finish preferring a soft molten glowing look complimenting natural materials such as bone, horn, and south sea island pearls.
Her work is a paradox. It is organic and fluid but is still cold metal. She combines the bizarre and the unusual but never fails to produce a harmony of material, that in turn gives each piece of jewellery it's own spirit of individuality.
Liz's largely uncleared half acre block, situated next to a coastal stream, is frequented by the local cassowaries as they forage for native fruits. " You can recognise the individual birds and I am fascinated to watch how they interact with each other and raise their chicks," she said. "They can live to over 50 years old. How many prehistoric wild animals can you share such intimate time with, to be able to observe their behaviour, knowing they have been walking and growing these forests for over 60 million years?"
Liz now balances her time between creating her unique style of jewellery and channeling her talents to deliver a powerful conservation message against inappropriate development, which she believes is compromising the unique lifestyle and will diminish cassowary populations.
The cassowary has been included in a new 'rainforest' range of jewellery. 10% of the profit from this range is donated to help conservation efforts within the Cassowary Coast and in particular the endangered cassowary.
Open plan living nestled in the middle of the rainforest