Precious | Meet the makers: Janine Combes

Engraved metal artwork by Tasmanian artist Janine Combes

Image: Artist Janine Combes expresses exploitation and connection through her sculpted jewellery works.

For Tasmanian artist Janine Combes, jewellery is not simply a fashion statement. Her pieces are wearable expressions that carry the weight of one's self and history.

"All of this work is about identity and belonging. They're about how I use objects and materials to respond to histories of place.

"They're about exploitation - but also about connection to place, and a love of beautiful natural environments."

Combes is one of the artists featured in QVMAG's Precious exhibition, which celebrates excellence in contemporary jewellery. She lives and creates on Bruny Island in Tasmania's south-east, and believes that it is important for her to create work in relation to where she lives.

"It's quite immersive, the process of making jewellery," Combes said. "I come here for the solitude and to really focus on what I'm making."

Engraved metal artwork by Tasmanian artist Janine Combes

Image: Artist Janine Combes uses recycled materials in her jewellery pieces, taking an item that was cast off and finding the beauty within. 

With a strong sense of human impact on the environment, she seeks to use recycled materials as much as possible. Combes uses re-purposed objects, semi-precious metals, and organic materials in her artwork. In doing so, some of her works will at times celebrate natural wonders, while other pieces question how to live more lightly within the world. 

Combes turned to art approximately 13 years ago, after working in Human Services. "I found that it's hard to see the results of what you do in life in general," she said. "Here, making jewellery, I feel like I make really tangible things. It's quite satisfying.  

"At the end of the day, I can hold up what I've made, and I feel like it's a solid achievement." 


Precious: excellence in contemporary jewellery 
Art Gallery at Royal Park
8 July - 1 October 2023