The north-western quadrant of New South Wales is known for its rugged and remote wilderness. The harsh country is dominated by large farming properties, livestock stations and small towns that carry their fair share of colourful characters and well- worn legends. It was in such an area, near the town of Goodooga where I grew up, alongside three younger brothers on our family’s sheep station. My childhood was dominated by long days in the paddock, wool shed or sheep yards with my father. Or, running amok on horses and motorbikes in the bush with my siblings and finding ways to utilise my creative style and flair.
Growing up, I would look to my family for inspiration, and with an intrinsic need to create I found my eye drawn to my mother and my father’s sisters who wore the most incredible vintage rings, necklaces, bangles and were beautifully dressed. They wore pieces you would not find in generic chain stores, they were not sub-standard, they were different. It seemed as if their jewellery had been plucked out of a Bower birds nest, each trinket was special in its own unique way and was fiercely guarded by its owner. Bower birds have always been a favourite of dad’s and there were nests dotted around the property that were strictly no-go zones. You were not-to, under any circumstances, disrupt their work. However, this did not stop me from looking from a distance and deciding that there were little treasures hidden between layers of leaves and twigs that would look fabulous on a pair of hoops or on the end of a chain.
At an early age, I flew the coup and landed on the steps of Frensham in Sydney. It was here that my fascination with jewellery and fashion evolved into a passion. I began blending my rural background with inner-city experiences and started creating and inventing my own style. After 6 years, I completed my HSC and decided I wanted to enrol at the Design Centre TAFE in Enmore. However, at that time majority of my generation was focused on securing more traditional working roles, compelling me to pack my bags and relocate to Armidale to complete a bachelor in teaching.
It was not until years later, when my grandmother handed down her own Silversmithing kit that my need to create was reignited. It was a fairly aged kit, but was full of bits and bobs that I could use at home. So began endless hours tinkering around in woodsheds, stockyards and playing with materials such as copper, silver, pearls and pennies, creating my own Bower Birds nest. With this, I started making pieces that attracted attention. It was not just my family and friends saying how beautiful , it was. I had strangers stopping my in the street complementing me on a pair of earrings or a ring I had designed myself. This led to attending markets where I would set up my little stall and sell my products. But, as life goes, I got busy. I was raising four children and building a family with my husband Tim. Creating beautiful jewellery was once again pushed to the background and came out sporadically when I had time.
That was until December 2020, when I had a moment of peace and managed to pull out my pliers and design and make over 35 pieces of handcrafted jewellery. I then decided to pack it all up and make my way to Soul Food in Narromine for a pop-up shop. In my mind, I was sure I would sell a one or two; enough to make the trip worth it. However, just a couple of hours in and all my stock was sold. Every single pair of earrings, every ring or bracelet had walked straight out the door. It was in this moment that I became aware that people liked my jewellery. They wanted to wear it, whether that be in the country, the city or somewhere in-between.
Now? While still trailing after four children and a paddock full of ponies, and my husband… I have spread my wings and flown into a world where I can create until my heart is content. Recently fashion has been added to the Dumble Collective banner. Our curated collection of clothing is designed alongside our jewellery and is considered, crafted and proudly made in Australia. Our garments are predominantly made up of natural fibres allowing the designs of our small collection to interthread with the ethos of Dumble Collective.
My business process has been very similar to my creative approach, it has happened organically. I have let my creative flair run wild and watched on as ladies and young women across Australia have purchased my jewellery and clothing and worn them with pride. This is how I wish Dumble Collective to continue, I want my customers to find my website or social pages and connect on a wholesome level. I want them to understand that I am first a mother, a wife and a daughter. Second, I am a creator, a designer and a business owner.
Love Kirsty xx