On first hearing it seems quite a leap for a geologist to become a jeweller and an artist. But these strands are more intertwined than you might initially expect. Brisbane-based Ari Athans studied science at UTS and worked as a geologist briefly before detouring to art school. Since then she’s been making jewellery, and exhibiting regularly with that work, as well as creating pieces through her Ari Jewellery business, which operates as a studio, workshop and gallery all-in-one. The focus on painting has been something Ari has returned to more seriously in the past five years. “It also allows me to create colours I can’t find in gemstones,” she says. “Painting balances out the demands of a jewellery business. Ceramics allows me to play with geology - clays, glazes - which feeds back into jewellery and sculpture. Quite often there is no seperation, it’s all cross pollination.” Recently Ari exhibited her most recent artworks at the Edwina Corlette Gallery in Brisbane.
Which five words best describe you? Direct, impatient, energetic, versatile, creative.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I was a geologist for a brief time and decided to take time off to study art after that I shared studio space in Surry Hills with 10 other artists. It was a wonderful creative and experimental time in my life. I have now been making jewellery for the last 20 years but really have been making art as far back as I can remember.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Don’t sweat the small stuff.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Juggling kids with my art practice, exhibiting in Milan, my solo painting shows at Edwina Corlette Gallery and meeting all my lovely clients along the way.
What’s been your best decision? To open up a workshop/gallery, now in it’s 10th year.
Who inspires you? My mum.
What are you passionate about? I’ve just returned from Greece so there are a few Greek dishes I would like to master, the mountains were inspiring, Cycladic artefacts, creating glazes for ceramics, finding ways to express the colour blue and riding my bike along the Brisbane river.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? International jet-set shoe designer.
What are you reading? Dinner with Persephone by Patricia Storace.