Zoë Ace Metal
I work with sterling silver, gold and steel. I draw inspiration from the natural world, pagan mythology, fables, the punk, goth and metal music that I listen to, as well as the urban textures I encounter in my daily life.
Three and a half years ago, in the Dublin National History Museum, I spent hours looking at the Viking and Celtic jewellery, the ancient precious objects still gleaming and perfect after hundreds of years hidden underground. I day dreamed (as I had before) about being an archaeologist, pulling priceless objects like these from the earth. Until a friend reminded me that I hate the sun, that I'm not cut out for painstaking research or years of digging up pottery shards. On one of the perfectly preserved bog bodies pulled from the peat, tanned red from tannin, there was a bracelet of plaited horsehair still wrapped around the wrist. The permanence of jewellery struck me.
As I traveled mainland Europe I found myself drawn over and over again to jewellery, to shopfronts, to market stalls, to museums... I decided I had to make jewellery. Maybe one day in many years, someone will excavate something that I have made. They might love it. They might hate it. They may even be inspired to make something of their own.
I returned to Australia and completed an Advanced Diploma of Jewellery Manufacture and Object Design at Melbourne Polytechnic (NMIT). I was shocked on my first day of "Material Studies" to be confronted with a picture of an open cut mine. I have spent years of my life as an environmental campaigner, opposing logging and the fossil fuel industry.
These days, I spend my time in my studio in Melbourne's leafy inner north. I use environmentally friendly chemicals and recycled metals where possible and source my gemstones ethically. I incorporate steel into my work and have joined a women's blacksmithing collective. I have made friends with the man that owns the metal scrap yard near my house. I love climbing through the piles of scrap metal and finding bits of scrap to be reborn... to live another life.