Megan Greenwood will take you into the forest and down to the sea. She is influenced by her dreams, turning them into stories and recreating them into whimsical and imaginative wearable art. She explores textures and materials to create pieces that feel as if they have been pulled up from the earth, from the ocean or woven by a little bird. Megan Greenwood is a storyteller, a maker and a sculptor.
Emgee is the name behind local jeweller Megan Greenwood’s collection of eclectic, vintage inspired and artistic adornments. It’s not just a name or alter-ego, but an idea, the imaginative embodiment of every piece Megan creates. “Emgee will take you into the forest and down to the sea. She is influenced by her dreams, turning them into stories and recreating them into whimsical and imaginative wearable art.”
Megan explains that the Emgee character, conceived by her husband, allows her to distance herself as an artist from the final piece to allow the customer to take ownership not just of a physical piece of jewellery but also to attribute their own identity and idea of who or what Emgee is to that piece of work. “Emgee can be whoever you imagine her to be,” Megan says.
Pieces are handcrafted, formed in chunks of blue wax moulds incorporating a few vintage objects through the casting process and using them to tell her story as it evolves rather than allow them to dictate the vision.
The vintage objects form the common thread that ties each collection of pieces together are Megan’s artistic signature. Following on from her first collection Creatures of the Greenwood – a forest adventure that featured representations of foxes, owls, rabbits and mushrooms made from Antique silver cutlery – Megan’s new collections that explore the natural themes of land and sea flow through her work, whether it’s a silver twig necklace or barnacle earrings — and that forms part of a bigger story.
Megan describes the pieces in her ocean inspire collections as detailed and intricate. She has explored the themes of Sirens and Sailors, love and loss, Some of her pieces tell stories of Sailor’s who go off to war, leaving behind the woman who loved them. Weather she has hand carved her designs from wax or used the cuttlefish casting technique, her techniques set an organic mood to the pieces. Using found materials from the sea to impress into Greenwood’s cuddle fish mold creates the broiling sea, mementoes and domestic objects create memories that the characters in her stories left behind. An old cameo silhouette represents the woman. Adding oxidization, it further creates an aesthetic of being weathered and ship wrecked, As if her designs have been drawn from under the sea.
Imagination is a precious asset that many of us neglect in adulthood, however Megan’s – perhaps appropriately represented by a child – swims the depths of the sea, walks the longest shores, climbs the tallest trees, to perceive things our eyes can’t. Artistry is Megan’s way of bringing people into her world, as she explains: “I sometimes feel that I live in a bit of a fairy tale world and my designs allow me to share that with others.”
Growing up in a small rural NSW town west of Canberra, Megan was a “real nature child”. When she moved to the Peninsula at age 18 she felt an instant affinity and has found inspiration in the boundless sea that washes in to coastline she now calls home.
Megan draws passion and enthusiasm from all parts of her life: the environment around her, The poems written by her husband Braden, friends, people she meets and their own passions, and even her dreams.
The design process is both spontaneous and structured. It starts with an instant thought – perhaps an owl that happened to fortuitously perch itself in the backyard – which Megan will sketch out and write about in terms of what it means to her. From there she lets go of expectations, perhaps allowing Emgee to guide her hand, and allows the piece to create itself and evolve naturally.
“If I’m too rigid it won’t work and will come across as contrived and overthought,” Megan says. “It’s an organic process, which of course is the best way to reflect nature.”
Her initial decision to pursue jewellery design professionally was similarly inspired. In the summer of 2008, aged 21, she was at a friend’s house making spoon necklaces and rings when she admired a beautiful big soup spoon that looked just like a bird, sparking her imagination, which lit up and explored all sorts of other ideas and the possibilities for the various types of creatures she could make.
As well as the natural environment, Megan “Loves the Pen(insula)” for its diverse culture and the wide group of people who share her artistic sensibilities – people who nurture and inspire her. This includes Braden, whose poetry often evokes images that are translated into new designs and with whom she is collaborating for the stories and pieces that will form future collections.
Where Emgee may head next is as yet unknown, or at least undisclosed, but for now we can find the traces of her adventures Into the forest & Down to the sea in Megan’s collections and take a little of her creative spirit to keep for ourselves.