The first time we hiked in the Little Desert national park it was in drought and when the sun was up, it was oppressively hot with dry Australian summer-heat. We had previously camped in the region but I can’t remember why we singled out this relatively remote and parched semi arid national park to go hiking in mid summer, it was quite intense!
With packs full of water we set off in the direction a small salt lake we found on the map well before dawn when the desert air is very cold and damp. The sky is enormous in the Mallee and we walked for a few hours through thick, dewy sand under a heavy blanket of stars. As dawn approached a luminous orangey-yellow glow erupted on the horizon, it was so bright in the inky surroundings and burst wildly with luminous colour.
As the sun rose the beautiful soft mallee colours came into light; Salmon, olive, lime, apricot and yellow emerged in the flora and warming sand, and pink on feathered Gallah bellies.
I have searched and worked with diamonds that display hues of orange, apricot and yellow as a reminder of the incredible dawn we experienced that very cold morning.
We have continued to return to this beautiful national park in all seasons and repeat a similar pattern of rising before dawn and walking through the damp cool air before being enveloped by heat and sky. I love the region’s weathered harshness; the extraordinary diversity of vegetation and windless silence that is stabbed by shrieking Gallahs and Cockatoos or flocks of grunting Emus that tear away like crazed thatched roofs on pin legs.
The mallee desert colours and diversity of the Victorian bush that I experience on our hiking adventures greatly influences my jewellery design. Nothing can be as beautiful or perfect as nature but I’m driven by a desire to replicate its balance and subtlety. Making pieces that reflect the moments I have been so fortunate to experience in Australian wilderness allows me to repeatedly touch those vivid memories and that fills me with life and joy.
It requires time to fully appreciate desert scrub, you need to keep still and look down, it’ll reward you endlessly, I promise.