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Cate Lowry - Jeweller Profile

Cate Lowry sitting at her jewellers bench in her studio. The FIND Contemporary Jewellery Collective logo is in white above text that reads Jeweller profile Cate Lowry

A native Tasmanian, Cate came to jewellery-making after a successful career in

publishing, ceramics and fine arts.

After studying Fine Art at the University of Tasmania, majoring in Ceramics, Cate

set up a studio in the late 80s making tableware and decorative pieces. This was

the genesis of her signature flower and leaf designs.

In the ensuing decades she explored many other creative pursuits including

making leadlight windows, fused and slumped glass, watercolour painting and

portraiture. Cate has developed a long-standing connection with the Salamanca

arts precinct, selling her work in several outlets over the years.

Gum Leaf Ceramic Bowl by Cate Lowry

Gum Leaf Ceramic Bowls by Cate Lowry
Bowls with gum leaf design by Cate Lowry. These designs were sold at Aspect Design in Salamanca Place and at Gallery 77, when it was on the site which is now FIND Collective.
The botton of the Gum Leaf Ceramic Bowls by Cate Lowry, showing her makers mark and small painted gumleafs

Small Bright yellow Coffee mugs made for Machine Laundry Cafe in Salamanca by Cate Lowry
French Coffee washing line bowls made for Machine Laundry Cafe, Salamanca Square in the early 2000s.
Lead Light window with Gumleaf design by Cate Lowry

Pencil portrait by Cate Lowry of author and poet Margaret Scott, that hung in The Hobart Bookshop for 10 years.
Pencil portrait of author and poet Margaret Scott, that hung in The Hobart Bookshop for 10 years.

Meanwhile, Cate worked in publishing both at the University and in her own

business, working one-on-one with authors, both in editing and design.

Just to spice things up, in the 90s Cate and husband Rob sailed a yacht from

Greece to Tasmania over two years with their young family. In 2005 they set off

again as empty nesters and cruised the coast of Australia and New Guinea.

By this time Cate was mainly focusing on ceramics and glass. “Kilns and shards

of glass don’t work so well on a boat, so I had to learn to work with something a

little smaller.” But no less fiery, as soldering with an LPG torch on a rolling boat

became a skill in itself!

Cate Lowry's yacht anchored n the Louisiade Archipelago, New Guinea.
Anchored in the Louisiade Archipelago, New Guinea.

Image of Cate Lowry from 2012 Saturday Magazine article in The Mercury about making jewellery while living aboard.
Image from 2012 Saturday Magazine article in The Mercury about making jewellery while living aboard.

Largely self-taught from books on the yacht, Cate found silversmithing

techniques a natural transition from clay and glass. “I discovered that like clay

and glass, silver as another medium just required a mindset change. I had

always worked with fire and high temperatures in kilns, so I wasn’t afraid of using

fire. Texturing the metal, especially with hammers, continues to be one of my

favourite forming methods.”

Cate Lowry handpiercing with a jeweller's saw her signature gumleaf design on the back of a silver setting.

Gumleaf Designs on a silver cuff and cufflinks by Cate Lowry.

Leaves and flowers have been a continued theme throughout all of Cate’s

creative life and are now incorporated as her signature design on the reverse of

stone-set pieces. “I started piercing out gum leaves on the back of pieces as a

little gift from me to the wearer, something for just them to see. Just like I used to

put a design on the bottom of my pots for the person doing the washing up.”

She began exhibiting her work in small galleries along the coast of Australia. On

a visit back to Tasmania in 2008, she embarked on a relationship with FIND Contemporary Jewellery Collective (then The Art of Silver). 

Now ashore, she lives a country lifestyle in a solar passive house she and Rob

built themselves. Preferring to work with recycled silver and gold and ethically

sourced stones, she specialises in Australia’s national gemstone, the Opal.

Three Opal Rings by Cate Lowry

As a person who is details oriented, jewellery making suits her meticulous

temperament. Her publishing workmates referred to it as Cate’s ‘forensic mode’.

“It also means, of course, that my fails bucket is always overflowing!”

Looking forward, Cate says she will continue making jewellery until “My eyes or

hands let me down”. Cate has developed a simple, elegant style, creating

settings that enhance, rather than overwhelm, the gemstones they frame.


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