Friday 18 December 2009

Introducing... Lia Tabrah

This week meet Lia Tabrah, another jeweller who was part of enCOUNTER exhibition SNEAK. Lia's label, 'OTT by Lia T.' is an outrageous display of totally out there jewellery: think big, chunky cocktail rings in Barbie doll pink and fire engine red with larger-than-life sterling silver 'gems'.

We've got our eye on this one as a lady to watch... big, over-the-top things are definitely in store!

Happy Friday everyone, see you at Craft Hatch @ SLV tomorrow for some bumper Christmassy goodness.

Photo from Lia's recent trip to Darwin

Tell us a bit about yourself...
I grew up in country Victoria on a hobby farm and we had sheep, steers. At one stage we had 100 emus. My dad built a tiny shed for me on our property this was my ‘Craft Shop’. I spent lots of time making small things like potpourri hats and picture frames, all for what I called the ‘Craft Grand Opening Sale’ – I think I still have one of the invites. I always had lots of projects on the go. I did lots of sewing projects with my Nana’s assistance, Christmas was a busy time, I would make Christmas decorations, cards and table decorations.

We moved from the farm in to town to an aged care facility, which my parents ran. I was the activities worker. I would run bingo games, and do word finds and quizzes with the elderly people. I would spend my pocket money buying them prizes usually consisting of lollies. I would also glam up some of the ladies with my make-up kit, a bit of lipstick, eye shadow and nail polish! They loved the attention.

I have always been interested in jewellery design, I studied Visual Arts at Swinburne TAFE in 2004, and took an interest in sculpture and installation. My installations always utilised jewellery and body adornment as their primary focus. During this time I had market stalls selling my big multi-strand beaded necklaces using old brightly coloured random shaped glass beads and pearls. They were often asymmetrical and very OTT [over the top]. I really wanted to learn how to work with other materials such as silver and gemstones.

Two works from the Good Ship Glitzern exhibition

Your jewellery label 'OTT by Lia T.' spells out your aesthetic. Have you always worked this way or did you gradually move towards it while at NMIT?
I have always worked OTT style, NMIT taught me the skills and techniques to produce my OTT jewellery. I have always had a strong individual design aesthetic, and I just needed to learn the hand skills.

The aforementioned scrunched tissue ball installation, R.S.I. exhibited at the Majorca Building cabinets

What has been your favourite thing that you've made to date?
I think my favourite and most satisfying is all of my scrunched tissue paper ball works I did for a solo art show in 2008. I started working with scrunched up tissue paper when I studied art in high school, I further developed this during my Visual Arts diploma at Swinburne. I felt as though I had to get the process out of my system by producing new work for an exhibition. I spent about three months over the summer working on the show, I had to scrunch up thousands of tiny balls out of different coloured tissue paper, I did this at social events, on the tram, anywhere possible. Friends would come over and help me, I had people helping me at NMIT during our breaks. I titled the show R.S.I. (which stands for Repetitive Strain Injury, exhibition pictured above) because of the repetitive process. I won’t be scrunching another tissue paper ball for quite a while!

'Victim necklace' from the Chronique Scandaleuse exhibition at Glitzern

Rings from Lia's recent enCOUNTER exhibition, SNEAK

Could you please tell us about who or what inspires you?
I am inspired by art and fashion from the 1960s, I love the op art from this era. The 80’s is another big influence I love the boldness of the 80’s fashions. I love the shapes, colours and patterns. I’ve always had an addiction to animal prints, especially leopard. I have a fascination for the crocodiles in Darwin, anything from crocodile taxidermy to crocodile attacks. And humour, I’m inspired by humour on a daily basis!

What other skills would you like to learn?
I’m a terrible business person. I’m always preoccupied with being inspired by new designs for jewellery, so learning the practical techniques in business would probably benefit me. I’m not a numbers girl.

Photo from Lia's recent trip to Darwin

What would your dream collaboration involve?
I would have to say the ‘Crocodile Mick’ He’s a crocodile hunter from Darwin. I would put on an ‘OTT’ fashion show with help from Sally Spectra from the television show The Bold and the Beautiful.

Constructing 'The Attack' peephole box for the Chronique Scandaleuse exhibition at Glitzern

A photo taken inside one of the peep hole boxes Lia made for the Chronique Scandaleuse exhibition at Glitzern

And finally, what gets you in the mood to make and create?
I get very inspired by other creative people around me. What people are wearing, doing and creating always gets me going! I always become inspired after talking to the inspiring and lovely ladies at Glitzern boutique (on Crossley Street, Melbourne). The two madame directors, Moi Rogers and Caroline Price constantly inspire me with their amazing style and they are always encouraging and supporting.

Sterling silver ring that was part of Lia's graduate exhibition in 2008


Anonymous said...

we love you O.T.T x

Pam Power said...

What a hoot of a lady! Incredible!