Janine Combes is a fifth generation Tasmanian who loves living in her Island state. She makes contemporary jewellery in her studio on Bruny Island which is at the most southern end of Australia. Her work explores a narrative of nature, cultural identity, memory and belonging. As someone with a long connection to 'this place' she has a particular focus on the place where nature and history intersect.
Janine thinks of her jewellery as small scale wearable ‘sculptures’ – they are intimate objects, worn on the body, imbued with meaning by both the maker and the wearer.
She uses a range of different materials including: metals (silver, gold, aluminium, mild steel), organic materials such as silk, pearls, buffalo horn and lacquer as well as some man-made products such as plastics.
Strong forms, surface texturing and a layering of different materials are all important in Janine’s making. She draws heavily on her experience of Tasmania's beautiful natural environment for her designs but also researches local history. Janine has been lucky enough to spend extended periods of time in some of Tasmania's most remote places and this 'close up and personal' relationship with nature is evident in her collection of work (e.g. button grass earrings).
Janine changed careers about ten years ago when she trained as a jeweller in Hobart. She has since completed further studies at the University of Tasmania and Alchimia Contemporary Jewellery School in Florence, Italy (2014). In 2016 she undertook a residency at Muong Studio in North Vietnam and in 2019 participated in a five-day professional development workshop at Atelier Rudee in Bangkok where she learnt traditional inlay techniques with Korean Jeweller Sungho Cho.
Janine is represented by Handmark Tasmania. She has held three solo exhibitions at Handmark's Hobart gallery since 2010 and has been part of group shows at Handmark Galleries, The Henry Jones Art Hotel, The Schoolhouse Gallery, Castlemaine Art Gallery (Australian Silver and Metalwork Award) and Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery (Contemporary Wearables), Radiant Pavilion (Melbourne), The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, The Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery and Hadley's Orient Hotel. In 2019 her work was part of Profile '19 at the Australian Design Centre in Sydney. In 2020 she is one of 25 finalists for the Tasmanian Women's Art Prize.
In 2012 one of her pieces was selected as the gift for the Duchess of Cornwall from the people of Tasmania by then Premier of Tasmania, Lara Giddings.
In 2015 Janine was awarded an Arts Tasmania, Individual Artists Grant and in 2018 she was lucky enough to be awarded a Dombrovskis Wilderness Residency on Maria Island.
what a place to work- my Bruny Island studio and retreat
a very portable studio- it can go anywhere! Deal island 2009, Maria Island 2018.
I recently had the pleasure of featuring in a blog by Kreamondo, a company based in France who specialise in travel and creativity. Here is the link to the blog: