Why I do what I do
I was a really creative kid. I was an only child, but I was rarely bored. I made things, and drew things, and painted things, and built things. Instead of playing dolls, like most little girls, I built dollhouses and made doll clothes. In saying that, I also loved the outdoors, science, and nature. I was obsessed with archaeology, dinosaurs, and the planets. There was a large stretch of forest behind my house, and if I wasn’t inside making things, I was outside (generally wandering alone – ah the joys of growing up in the 70s and 80s) exploring. I was a pretty sensitive kid, and I loved all the critters, from bugs to birds to snakes. I was always worried about the underdog, the suffering of other beings, and the state of the world. As I grew up, my perfectionism got in the way of my creativity, and I really focused on academics and biology. As a teen, I thought I would be a microbiologist, but then I found ecology in Uni and I knew I wanted to be a field biologist of some sort. To be honest, I did struggle a bit, as everything I was interested in happened to revolve around human impact on the natural world, and I spent a lot of time in my head, worrying and anxious to the point of depression. I ended up with a bachelor’s degree in vertebrate zoology and masters in biogeography. Initially I loved my work as a physical scientist, but the creative in me was quickly fed up with all of the red tape, proposal writing, and inability to study the things that I wanted to study. I ended up doing some disaster and war zone work and finally got completely burned out and quit. I moved to Scotland with the love of my life, and really didn’t know what to do with myself, but I knew that there was no way that I was going to be able to go back to work sitting at a desk behind a computer. I started taking courses – integrative nutrition, painting, silversmithing. It was the silversmithing that stuck.
Being consumed with the state of the earth since I was a child is one of the reasons that I ended up in the biological sciences. These values play into my work as a jeweller. I strive to have an ethical and ecological practice. Jewellery making is a dirty business, but I do what I can to use low-impact items – such as recycled silver, lead-free enamel, responsibly sourced stones, and non-toxic substances. I am careful with waste in the studio, disposing of or recycling it as appropriate. I try to buy from companies that share my values and shop local as much as possible to cut down on my carbon footprint. It is all a process, and it will never be perfect, but every little bit counts. I love making jewellery. It allows me to put my creativity into practice as well allowing me to bring in my environmental side.
My jewellery may cost a little more than the average, but each and every piece is handmade and each and every component that goes into it is carefully chosen specifically based on its environmental impact as well as its aesthetic value. Wearing a piece of J. Aubrey Jewellery makes the statement that you care… about the earth, about yourself, about our future…