A Moment With | Natalie Marie Fitch
Jewellery designer Natalie Marie Fitch creates the most wonderful jewellery pieces which are made for life. With a love affair for jewellery design which began after an alternate career path in a science-based field, Natalie found her calling as a goldsmith while creating and making pieces on the side. That side project is now her full time job and her greatest passion. We talk to Natalie about the great lesson of slowing down and honing in on life’s finer details, the evolution of her design process and the best advice she’s ever received.
Hi Natalie, when did you first encounter jewellery design? I’ve always had a love for jewellery, but it wasn’t until I chose Jewellery and Object to major in on enrolling for a Bachelor of Visual Arts at Sydney College of the Arts, that I had my first official introduction into the world of goldsmithing and jewellery design.
Did you grow up knowing you wanted to work in the design field? I was always a budding maker. My childhood was defined by crafting strange objects out of anything and everything I could find. I always knew I wanted to work with my hands to some degree, but I actually had a very different career in mind before I took on my training in the arts. After graduating from school, I started on a path into a science-based field.
How did you first respond to it? My training was in the Visual Arts, so the learning style was very concept based initially, which was explorative and broad. I found this expansive in the sense that it really opened up a new way of thinking and developing an idea or design prospect through to physicality. Once we settled into the more technical training, I found great satisfaction in bringing ideas to life in a practical, tangible way. I’m an impatient learner, and always want to be on to the next step before I have mastered the basics.
Has it taken a long time to hone in on your aesthetic? My style evolved over the years as my skills have developed, along with a furthered understanding of materials, processes and production. Where I was initially limited in what I could create, with increasing skills came potential to expand and explore a more refined aesthetic, which has become my signature.
What’s your process like – are you in the studio every day? I’m now actually on the bench a lot less than I once was. When I started out, I was creating every single piece with my own hands, whereas now we have a team of six jewellers on the production team. This transition really started when I was pregnant eighteen months ago, as I just didn’t have the agility or focus to work on the bench in the way I once had. My days on the bench may now be fewer and further between, but it will always be the reason I started and my favourite part of what I do.
When you begin designing a piece, do you have a clear image of the form you want to make? Initially I always designed from a more tactile, process-based methodology, letting the materials and the practice take the lead. This is really where the brands aesthetic was born. However, as time has gone on, we have really needed more structure around the design process – designing seasonal collections with defined stories, as well as bespoke client pieces. I now design the collections collaboratively with Em, my colleague, and we create much clearer images of the forms and the collection as a whole prior to making the pieces. Even so, this is always an evolving process, as when we take designs from paper to the bench, there is always a natural progression.
What are you most looking forward to in 2019? I’m really excited by the prospect of some interstate and international pop ups of our bespoke service which are in the pipeline. These pop ups enable us to engage in our signature face to face, personal way with a wider audience than just our Sydney catchment. This year we will also launch two new collections and an injection range, our most cohesive and thoughtfully designed collections to date. I’m excited to see these collections come to life!
I usually wake up at: 6:30am .
My perfect day would involve: Breakfast with my little family, a morning at the beach, a midday nap and a sunset swim with dinner on the sand.
I am inspired by: Love.
Best advice I’ve ever received: Trust your instinct above all else.
I couldn’t live without: Tea.
My favourite daily ritual: Breakfast at home with my husband and daughter.
I recently discovered: More of a rediscovery, but I have recently started riding my bike to work, with my little one on the back to drop off on the way. Starting the day with some fresh air and breaking up the morning rush around has been so good for us both.
On my wish-list: A trip home to Europe to see my family.
I’m currently reading: Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton .
And listening to: Boxer by the National, an old favourite which I was recently gifted on vinyl.
My guilty pleasure: Chocolate… always chocolate!
My mantra is: Everything is as it’s meant to be.