Watching Phoebe Porter work is a lesson in pure precision, attention to detail and humility. In any other hands, the tools she uses – a saw, files, drills and a lathe – would do little to achieve the same refined, elegant results of Phoebe’s work. Since 1998, she has been developing her intimate knowledge of materials, working primarily with titanium, stainless steel and aluminium.

These materials are difficult to work with as they are less malleable than silver and gold – their hardness makes them time-consuming and particularly brutal on tools. “Their strength allows me to make pieces that are very fine yet very robust. I exploit the properties of each material in the function of my pieces,” Phoebe explains. “For instance the use of spring-hard stainless steel for my earring wires allows them to keep their shape over many years of wear.”

Each of her designs is refined to its necessary elements, often using a mechanism as a starting point, which then becomes integral to the design. Phoebe successfully combines industrial materials and processes with the refined hand skills of a craftsperson. Her technical understanding and appreciation for material characteristics is the culmination of over 15 years of work, research and development. Graduating from a Bachelor of Arts (Gold and Silversmithing) at ANU School of Art in 2001 – under the tutelage of German-born Silversmith, Johannes Kuhnen – she went on to undertake a mentorship with one of Australia’s leading contemporary jewellers, Blanche Tilden.

Phoebe’s work has since been acquired for a number of public collections, including the Art Gallery of South Australia and the Powerhouse Museum. She has exhibited work across the country, including Craft Victoria (solo show) 2012 and the National Gallery of Victoria’s Melbourne Now exhibition in 2013. She has also received a number of awards including grants from the Australia Council and Arts Victoria. Still a young talent, Phoebe’s work, spanning well over a decade, demonstrates a consistency and evolution of form that promises a long career, and a permanent place in Australia’s jewellery and design landscape.