Beads and semi precious stones, sourced from Europe, the Middle East and India, from Afghani and West African traders in black Harlem in New York, they find their way into the necklaces of local artist Ellie Picone.
As soon as you walk into Ellie Picone's home you know you're in the presence of a creative soul.
The house is filled to the rafters with gorgeous stuff - sumptuous fabrics, glittering jewels, quirky furniture, souvenirs of her travels to north Africa, and some of her own creations. Yet, there is a sense of harmony and balance; it's vibrant but somehow not over the top. "I've always loved interior decorating and playing with strong colours, I've made things my whole life," Ellie says. "I think I get the impulse from my dad who was a mad inventor," she laughs.
Over the years her endeavours have included painting, and dazzlingly colourful knitting – in fact, she won a prize at the Sydney Royal one year for a knitted skirt. But for the last 15 years, Ellie has devoted herself to what has become an enduring passion - beaded necklaces.
Incredibly intricate and wildly flamboyant, these pieces often take up to 30 hours to make. "I have my attic room set up for beading," she says. "I sit at my work bench with the radio on, often with my husband on the computer cataloguing our travel photos, and bead for sometimes 18 hours at a time."
She has taught herself over the years, improving her skills and finding inspiration in all sorts of places. "Sometimes the beads almost 'tell' me how they want to be used, or I might think about tribal patterns, the colours in the medinas and bazaars of Marrakech, Mumbai and Istanbul."
Ellie has had a number of exhibitions over the years and every time she is astonished when she sells out, often on the opening night. "Each piece is a one-off so it's fabulous that people like them as much as I do. They're really a labour of love - if I worked out how much I was earning an hour it wouldn't make economic sense to do it. Luckily I’m bad at maths!" she adds.
She might not be very good at adding up but her necklaces are without a doubt the product of a very beautiful mind.
Ellie’s exhibition is on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd June, 10am - 4pm at Waverton Bowling Club, Woolcott Street, Waverton.
For more details, contact 0411 954410 or email: email@example.com