I’m fortunate to live on Waiheke Island, so walks on the beach are a regular part of my daily routine. Amongst the pebbles and shells I often find pieces of seaglass, weathered and worn by the ocean over time into smooth organic shapes. Many of these pieces of glass are just crying out to be made wearable, and I’ve been combining them with silver and precious and semi-precious stones. I love taking something that was waste, and giving it a new lease on life as something beautiful and desirable.

Finding seaglass also makes us aware of our relationship to resources. One of my most fascinating finds recently was a bottle fragment with the letters AB on it. Further research at Te Papa’s website revealed this to be from a bottle belonging to the Associated Bottlers Co Ltd (formerly the Auckland Bottle Co Ltd). Bottles created during the late 19th and early 20th century in New Zealand were a valuable resource, and as such, the ownership of the bottles was retained by the bottling company. Bottles were imprinted with the words “THIS BOTTLE IS THE PROPERTY OF THE ASSOCIATED BOTTLERS CO LTD NZ”, and regular newspaper advertisements reminded people that bottles had to be returned to the company. Those found to be hoarding the bottles were also publicly shamed by newspaper advertising. I’ve since found several more of these pieces, including part of the proprietary statement.

This is in such contrast to today’s throwaway culture. I hope that pondering seaglass and our relationship to resources might make us less inclined to be wasteful.

These pieces were inspired by a territorial battle between a kereru and a tui in the garden outside my studio. With fruit ripening on the cherimoya and loquat trees, the local birds were spending a lot of time here. The kereru was a regular visitor, and wasn’t easily shifted from her favourite spot guarding the fruit, but this tui issued a challenge, ruffling his feathers, intimidating the kereru with thrusts of his head, and dive bombing her until she reluctantly gave up her claim.

I’ve immortalised the victorious tui in sterling silver as either a pendant on a sterling silver chain or brooch. Meanwhile, as soon as he was gone, the kereru was back on her perch.

At the moment I’m intrigued by the foliage in the garden. The way the ivy climbs up the water tank just begs to be recreated as jewellery.

I’m certainly not the first jeweller to think this, there is a long history of foliage as a motif in jewellery and decorative arts. From the Alphonse Mucha’s Ivy panel, where the ivy forms a border and cascades through the model’s hair, to decorative wallpapers, friezes and stained glass. Ivy was used to symbolise eternal life, and fidelity because it is evergreen and clings to its host, but was also associated with Dionysus/Bacchus and vigour.

The leaves I’ve created were first formed in wax, then cast in sterling silver. I’m now developing them into a set of pieces, from single leaf pendants and brooches, to twining chokers featuring cascading foliage.

Living on an island, I am surrounded by stunning vistas, seascapes and headlands.

I wanted to find a way to capture these views and frame them, exploring the textural possibilities of metal to indicate reflections, clouds and water.

Recently we experienced several downed power lines directly outside our house. As well as setting fire to our fence, where the live cables were in contact with the ground, they vitrified the surrounding soil, creating bizarre globular forms in a glossy substance as the earth was literally melted and turned to glass.

These mineral deposits, which can occur in nature when lightning strikes the ground, and often take on tube shaped forms, and are known as fulgurites. I was quite taken with the forms themselves, some of which looked like alien creatures, or clusters of bubbles, but was also interested in incorporating the glass-like material into some jewellery, along with the melted copper electrical wires.