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Stone, metal, fire: The spirit of design
Gold is Natasha Collis' preferred metal; its earthiness suits both the style of the pieces and her own sensibility. In the early days Natasha worked with pins and chains before moving onto gold grain and instinctively developing her signature nuggets. "If you look at a naturally formed nugget from the river, that's almost what I am making,” she explains. “Taking the gold back to the irregular forms of nature, to its original purpose, so the essence of the metal remains".
Whether its yellow, rose or white, gold can only be shaped by fire. “The colour of it is amazing,” says Natasha. “The melting of it is beautiful as you shape it with the flame. When it's a metal it's dark, it's not lovely yet and then there is a transformation. Fire is the tool." The outcome is contingent on the metal reacting to the flame, the flame moving according to the hands of the artist; it's a conversation that occurs between each element culminating in a moment of clarity when the work is complete.
When it comes to stones there is no shortage of inspiration. Diamonds, emeralds, opals, rubies and precious gems have all featured in Natasha's work. Yet her favoured stone is the sapphire. "The colours are so unusual,” she says. “There is this huge spectrum, so many hues - blues, greens, pinks - the sapphire is so… painterly." And so another element enters the conversation. Natasha chooses stones based on her creative impetus seeing inclusions as part of the story, judging the way light enters the stone and how it feels to the touch. Each stone has its own identity and character; the combination of stone and metal coming together to create a unique story.
And so, the journey came full circle from painter to one who paints with stone, metal and fire.