The form of minimalist design, the essence of sculpture and spirituality exist as one in Phoebe Joel’s eponymous jewellery brand.
Growing up in Sydney, Australia, Joel and her sister were often exposed to the world of art and design. Visiting museums and browsing antique furniture stores planted the seed of design curiosity. In her pre-internet teenage years, Joel became obsessed with mid-century furniture. Books by Knoll, Saarinen, and Eames dominated her collection. At only 15 years of age, the designer acquired her first piece of furniture; a Gordon Andrews ‘Rondo’ chair. It is interesting to note that Joel’s aesthetic taste for design at this age was well beyond her years.
Modern architecture influences Joel’s design aesthetic as much as furniture design. The designer cites works by Le Corbusier and Mies Van der Rohe as inspirational, as well as artists Donald Judd and Richard Serra. All of whom work with minimal, structural shapes that seem to call for attention. Joel’s approach to form, material, function (and at times nonfunction) feels similar to these artists. There is a clash of purity and chaos at work. Therefore, it is fitting that when asked to describe her brand, the designer claimed;
“Dominant micro-sculptures intended to adorn the body”
Re-inventing ways in which familiar shapes are seen; Phoebe Joel’s pieces offer a unique combination of forms and proportions to the Classic Square, circle, or triangle. The concept of minimalism is pushed further through her vision. The pieces also stand alone as works of art and can be worn as tiny sculptures.
Many people believe they’re at their most creative state in their dreams. Joel utilises lucid dreaming and the state the mind is in when drifting between consciousness and the dream world. Perhaps this lends to the ethereal sensibility that can be felt through Joel’s delicate pieces. Another element of Joel’s design technique is finding inspiration in the simplest aspects of life; “A shadow or a detail of an architectural structure” can trigger an idea.
Joel feels an affinity to metals. Mainly working with sterling silver or stainless steel, the jewellery at Phoebe Joel is treated like a precious object as these materials can tarnish easily. Silver particularly brings fragility to the geometric shapes of Joel’s jewels, whereas blackened stainless steel gives the pieces a weight and dark aura. Aside to her art and design practice, the designer is also a therapist specialising in an ancient Tibetan healing modality that uses metal bowls. The Ancient Tibetan Singing Bowls create deep vibrations and serene sounds. These provide deep relief from pain, stress, and anxiety. Spirituality and tranquillity has importance in Joel’s practices.
Phoebe Joel | Tibetan Sound Healing
The circle takes centre stage at Phoebe Joel’s latest collection. A series of rings exploring the ways a circle can be presented were created, but still differing in form.
Quietly powerful and sculpturally elegant describes Phoebe Joel’s wearable art. Within the core of the brand lies a philosophy of peace in both concept and aesthetic. Joel treasures the moment a client tries on a piece of her jewellery and sees it resonate with them. Exciting things are yet to come at Phoebe Joel and we can’t wait to see it;
“I’m embarking on some new research in the realm of ancient astronomy. I’m interested to see where that leads and how it may inform my next collection.”
With special thanks to Phoebe Joel for her insightful words and artistic inspirations.
Written by Sonia Wan
Edited by Christina Wright
Phoebe Joel Tibetan Sound (2016) Index [Online] Available at http://tibetansoundhealing.com/index[Accessed 03/05/16]