From as far back as she can remember, Melbourne-based jewellery designer Alice Tsakirakis (nee Smith) had a penchant for creativity; some of her earliest memories as a child involving paintbrushes and pencils. So she always knew it would be a huge part of her life, but admits she never imagined it would be as a jeweller.
Driven by her interest in illustration and design, she started out pursuing a Bachelor of Communication Design, but says the strong computer focus quickly led her to move into Textile Design.
While the medium was a much better fit, the opportunity to work with a number of leading Australian brands only cemented her suspicions that the world of ‘fast fashion’ didn’t sit well with her.
“I loved designing prints and products but also felt very against the morals of the companies I was working for,” Alice tells Neos Kosmos.
After spending so much time and energy looking at screens each day, she took it upon herself to seek out another creative outlet, which led her to making jewellery, quickly falling in love with the “sculptural and hands-on aspect”.
“I wanted to create pieces that were one-off, locally made, and that [were] ethical. Creating something that will only be made once versus thousands of times is very special, and every single time I do I [am] very grateful for that!” she enthuses.
Her new-found passion has resulted in the development of her independent label The Line of Sun, a palmistry reference, which resinated with her mission.
“If you have a strong Sun Line it demonstrates a love of creativity and things of beauty,” she explains.
“And it shows that you are following your path, given happiness and satisfaction in what you are doing. I’ve always been fascinated in palmistry given I mainly create pieces for your hands it just seemed to fit!”
Alice’s style of illustration has always been quite raw, with smudges and fingerprints left on the artwork, and her jewellery has a similar quality. Raw and organic – on purpose – in a metaphoric sense, it is unique, given the times of celebrated perfection we live in.
To achieve this aesthetic, she uses the Lost Wax technique. The process starts with a block of jewellery wax, which is slowly carved away using various files to form the desired piece. A mould of the work is then made, and poured with metal.
“Working with wax rather than metal allows the imperfections to come through to the final piece,” Alice explains, and sets her stones in a similar way.
Working with precious stones, such as sapphires, diamonds and rubies that can withstand high temperatures, she casts them directly into the wax, resulting in a ‘buried’ look.
“Each piece is a complete one-off and can never be directly replicated. Plus I never really know how each piece will turn out until the final moment and I love the unpredictable nature of the process, it’s always so exciting to polish the final piece!” she says.
Aside from celebrating the beauty in imperfections, she hopes her collections stand out from the mass-produced fast fashion that is taking over creative industries in her bid “to remind people of the process and personal touch that goes into each piece”.
There’s something to be said about people who are self-aware and willing to make sacrifices in pursuit of a career that is in line with their morals. Aside from her own drive, however, she makes a point of thanking her English and Australian-born parents, who she says “were always incredibly supportive” giving herself and her brother every opportunity they could, a liberal upbringing involved in the arts.
Now, as a mother herself, the creative lineage continues, complimented by her husband’s paternal line, her Cretan-born father-in-law was a former woodcarver in Chania.
“That creativity very much flows through my husband’s side of the family too. We can already see it in our two-year-old son and can’t wait to see where it leads him,” she says.
Last week marked a special occasion for Alice who saw her work exhibited as part of Melbourne Design Week. Featuring various disciplines of art and design, Hyperlink is was on show at The Toby+Co Project Space in Moorabin, and as a bayside resident Alice says it means that much more to be a part of a presentation showcasing the area’s creative community.
“It is definitely a massive compliment and I feel very excited to be showing my work alongside so many other incredible people,” she says.
“I feel like our community is often in the shadows of the inner/north creative suburbs. We have a lot of great things happening in our area so shining a spotlight on that is so important for our local creatives.”
While I have yet to meet Alice in person, I think it’s fair to assume she has a strong Sun Line. Even through our brief exchanges, there’s an undeniable passion for what she does and a beautiful energy, that lends itself to the filotimo for which Greeks are renowned.
“The need to create is in my blood and can’t be ignored,” she says.
“Being able to turn my passion into my career is such a dream and gives me so much more satisfaction than anything else I’ve ever done.”
To see more of Alice’s work, visit thelineofsun.com and get social on Instagram @thelineofsun