Michelle Stemm and Nellie Peoples are Brisbane-based designer makers, who work in the field of contemporary jewellery. Stemm’s practice investigates meaning by manipulating materials to create signifiers of personal stories, and is interested in the continuation of meaning making by the wearer. Peoples’ practice centres on designs where she explores the connection between objects and the wearer and how these objects can represent past, present and future narratives of people, places and events.
630 Sessions concept evolved out of the Covid-19 lockdowns, which cancelled the pair’s income streams and creative deadlines, and more impactfully, crushed their motivation to make. They found themselves listless, unable to focus or hold onto a regular schedule with uncertainty of the future weighing heavily.
By taking a small step to hold each other to account, a new home-bound schedule was developed; they decided to ‘meet’ each morning at 6:30am, in their respective backyards, to observe and draw the outside world. In communicating online, they discovered the process helped creative flow, made them feel connected, accountable, and extended their practice.
These sessions include short observational writing, quick sketches using different drawing techniques and long form experimental drawing. Each day is different. Sharing and reflection are an essential part of the process, contributing to a feeling of connectedness and creating new provocations for the following day. Morning drawings become a guide for material investigations. Using these sessions, the pair will develop a new creative process, adding to the resilience of their individual practice.
630 Sessions process:
1.) Choose a comfortable position in your garden. Make sure you have your writing and drawing utensils, and cup of coffee, at the ready.
2.) Begin with 5 minutes of writing observations about the space around you. This may range from your immediate surroundings, your garden space and your neighbourhood. These may be visual observations, soundscapes, weather, emotions, etc.
3.) Next, Divide a blank page into six equal segments. In each section write one of the six drawing styles: dots, curved lines, straight lines, shapes, continuous lines, eyes closed.
4.) Choose something around you to be the provocation for your drawings. Ready a timer for 30 seconds. Start the timer and draw in a segment employing that style to draw your provocation. For example "drawing with only straight lines". Once the timer rings, stop drawing, reset your timer and move onto the next segment until all six are done.
5.) Share and reflect on drawings with one another. After reflection, turn to a new blank page.
6.) The long form experimental drawing changes from day to day. Some provocations include: drawing the garden scene for 10 minutes, drawing with a focus on negative space, drawing something small enlarged, or drawing objects while not looking at the page, to name a few.
7.) Share and reflect on drawings with one another. Your 630 Session is now complete.
Often after the 630 Session, Michelle and Nellie would find themselves wanting to move from drawing into material studies. Ideas that came from 630 Session drawings, would continue with wire work, manipulating wire ‘drawings’ as they would with their pencils and stylus, still sitting outside with the muse in front of them. The drawings from the 630 Sessions were also brought into the studio space to inspire paper experiments to object trials - slowly bringing the sketches into a three dimensional space, and inevitably into jewellery designs.
Images by Nellie Peoples and Michelle Stemm