Monday, March 5, 2012


If you have an iPhone, you probably have Instagram. If you have an iPhone and you don't have this app, you should! I am a big fan (as I might have mentioned here once or twice before...) and find myself even browsing it more than twitter or facebook these days. If you have it, you should follow me...

my user name is eelsjewellery 

I post pictures of stuff I'm working on.

But, I should warn you, I also post pictures of myself and my extremely cute toddler...  

...and food that I cook!


If you are not blessed with an iPhone there is also a handy web viewer called webstagram.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Finders Keepers Spring Summer 2011

I know this little wrap-up is very late! But I thought I should say a little thank you to everyone who came and visited, chatted to me and took home my pieces to treasure or to give. Finders Keepers market was a huge success. I always enjoy talking directly to people about my work and an awesome market like this one is the perfect opportunity to do that with people who are as passionate about handmade design as I am.

To all of you lovely people who bought pieces from me at the market (or were given one for Christmas!) please feel free to contact me with feedback and if you have any questions about my practice or taking care of your organic jewellery.

I should note that the photos below were taken by Gary Compton and copied from the Finders Keepers facebook page. I was so crazy busy that I didn't even remember to take any photos of my stall!  

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Spend good this Christmas

The silly season. It certainly is. Love it or hate it, here in Australia we will spend $22 billion on Christmas this year. That is an insane amount of money! It actually makes me feel a little ill thinking about the reality of all of that money. What it could be better spent on, who could benefit from it, who could be fed, clothed and housed with it.... $22 billion is a lot of money. And money is powerful.

Rather than get all depressed about commercialism, hide away and refuse to participate though, I have a better idea. Use your money wisely this Christmas. I don't mean search around for bargains, I don't mean buy cheap knockoffs, I don't even mean spend less! I mean recognise that your money is powerful and use it as reflection of your values.

For me, this means that I will be buying handmade, locally produced and ethical gifts. It means that I won't be buying mass produced products, I won't be buying products made from unsustainable and non-recyclable materials and I will be supporting local designer makers. I am going to put my money where my values are.

For you, it might mean buying from the Oxfam shop to support workers in third world countries. It might mean, if you choose to eat meat, that you splurge on a free-range, sustainably-produced, rare breed ham or turkey instead of  the factory farmed supermarket variety. It might mean that you support our local community and economy by only buying Australian made products. It might mean hand-making your cards or even some of your gifts!

Spending money on your loved ones at Christmas isn't a bad thing. Commericalism isn't even an innately bad thing. Money isn't bad either. It is simply a tool, one that you can use to support and sustain the type of world you want to live in and you want your children to grow up in.

Here's some tips and links....

1) Shop for unique handmade locally produced gifts at The Finders Keepers market in Sydney this weekend. Not only will you be using your money to support emerging designer-makers, you will find some really beautiful things that your family and friends will love. And I'll be there!! ;)

2) Shop online at Blue Caravan or Made It for the same reasons! Buy from designers in your local area to save on the postage km's and carbon.

3) Have a vegetarian Christmas! It will encourage you to get creative with your family's feast and you might come up with an amazing new tradition! Though, if you really can't do Christmas without the ham, shop for sustainably produced meat at Urban Food Market.   

4) Check all of your sweets and other packaged goods for palm oil before you buy! If you don't know why you shouldn't be using palm oil, read this.

Feel free to share this with your friends and family. Stay safe and happy this holiday season.

TE x

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Finders Keepers - Spring/Summer 2011 Sydney

I am super pleased to announce that I will be having a stall at the next amazing The Finders Keepers market here in Sydney. If, in the unlikely event that, you haven't heard of The Finders Keepers, check out more information on their website

The event will be held at Carriageworks, 245 Wilson Street Eveleigh, on Friday the 2nd and Saturday the 3rd of December.

I am extremely busy making all new work for the event so as a result, will not be re-listing anything on my Etsy store until after the market. I will be showcasing pieces that are brand new as well as some familiar work. I will also be there to talk to you about my work personally and take commission orders as well.

TE x

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

World Vegan Day

Today is World Vegan Day. It begins World Vegan Month, where people of all ethical persuasions, cultural backgrounds and food preferences are encouraged to adopt a vegan diet for one month. The aim is to experience how easy it actually is to follow a vegan or vegetarian diet and feel the benefits first hand.
I have been a vegetarian for a number of years. I have during this time, had periods where I also cut out the small amount of dairy and free range eggs that I ordinarily eat.  I intend to do this again for World Vegan Month.
Now, I have been asked a lot about my ethics regarding the animal materials I use in my jewellery. I have been called a hypocrite for using bone and horn products while arguing against the use of animals for food. These issues have also been in the media a lot lately too. The BBC program ‘Kill It, Cut It, Use It” which is currently showing on ABC (Wednesdays 9:30pm) follows the process from farmyard to object for many of our household products. Last week the episode featured tennis racket strings, horn buttons and fine bone china.  
I thought that World Vegan Day would be a good time to clear a few things up about why I am comfortable using bone and horn to make jewellery and why I believe that doesn’t make me a bad vegetarian/sometimes-vegan.  Here are a few points.  
1)      Animals are not killed for their bones or horns. They are generally killed for their meat. The buffalo products I mostly use are from well-cared-for farming animals in South East Asia that die naturally and whose bones and horn are salvaged from the animals after they die. I would gladly give up making jewellery if I thought for a second that I was actually contributing to an economic demand through my work. I have already removed the economic demand that I have responsibility for by not buying meat for myself or my family.
2)      Even though I would also give up making jewellery from bone and horn if the world gave up eating meat, I wouldn’t need to. Everything still dies and those materials would still be around. I am also realistic enough to accept that the rest of the world is not going to give up eating meat any time soon.  
3)      These organic products would otherwise go into landfill. Instead I am creating something beautiful from a waste product.
4)      The alternative to using natural products to produce my designs would be petro-chemical based plastics. I believe the new production of these materials is more harmful to the world than recycling an existing organic material. I am actually sacrificing profit by not mass-producing my designs in resin or plastic, as a matter of principle.    
5)      Yes, I would be more than comfortable using human bones if it were legal.
6)      Products that have been produced from animal material decades ago (eg. Vintage bone buttons, ivory piano keys etc) should be treasured and not discarded. I believe refusing to wear or use vintage pieces does a further disservice to the animal.
7)      I’ll also note that I do not advocate the use of or buy fur products.
I know these issues spark up a lot of debate, probably because eating is such a personal daily ritual and so steeped in cultural and historical implications. I am not trying to offend anyone or start an argument (so be nice please!), but I would love to hear your point of view. Feel free to contact me on twitter @eelsjewellery, facebook or comment below.    

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tattoos Down Under feature


Check it out! I was fortunate enough to be featured in the latest issue of Tattoos Down Under magazine! I am super excited about this, because I love Tattoos Down Under and have been reading it for years. Since well before I had any tattoos - I actually used to cut pages out of it for inspiration! :) The photos of my work, taken by TDU's art director and awesome photographer Nicole Reed, look so amazing. I couldn't be happier. Its available at any good newsagent, so go pick up a copy now.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

In print : *bespoke* Feature

I was lucky enough to be featured in Issue #3 of Jess Van Den's beautiful zine *bespoke*. I wrote an article called 'Tale of a Modern Scrimshander' about my work and the history of my craft. - you can buy *bespoke* online here and find it on page 37.

*bespoke* is a zine for and by the contemporary hand-made community and features articles, tutorials, beautiful images and stories about all kinds of amazing artisans and crafters. It was so great to contribute to such an awesome independent publication!

This is actually the first of a few print features that I have coming up in the next few months! Very exciting! I'll keep you posted.

TE x

Monday, May 23, 2011

branding an identity

I've been thinking lately about this thing called 'branding'. As an artist, I am the brand. But I am also an actual, real, dynamic human being. There are REAL people behind every brand, but I think small creative businesses like mine have a particularly difficult time dealing with branding themselves. How do I deal with the idea of brand consistency as a real person, when the only constant aspect of a person is the constant state of change? Can I be consistent and dynamic at the same time? What parts of my 'brand' should remain consistent and what parts should grow and change as I do?

In case any of you had ever wondered, this may be the right time to share... eels is actually my nick name. My very best friends call me eels. It was coined years ago by Bernadette (@bmtrainor) when we were both studying at Enmore. There's no crazy story, it just comes from my name, Tenille. (not One-eel, Ten-eels..?) I actually didn't like the nick name at first, but it grew on me. And now I love it. It also relates in a quirky kind of way to the ocean and scrimshaw. Because I have lots of different elements to my design and art practice, I wanted my scrimshaw jewellery to have a very clear identity. I like to use my full name for exhibition work, events and other jewellery work that isn't scrimshaw.

All of my work IS ME. So branding my business and my work means that I am branding my own identity. This is a troublesome idea for me. Those that know me well know that I can be flippant, flighty and easily distracted. I am constantly growing, changing and evolving as a person, so how do I resolve this within the context of a consistent 'brand'?

Lately I am thinking that the only option is to embrace it! To accept that many things will change, but there are things that will remain strong and provide solid grounding for my identity and the identity of my brand.

What will remain constistent? ...My voice, my values, my ethics, my true imperfect growing self. My resolve to make amazing and meaningful work; whatever that may mean. My commitment to making individual and unique work of a high quality. By accepting these things as constant, I am able to accept the things that will change.

What will change?  ...My work. Hopefully it will get better and better! It may change dramatically over the years, but this is ok with me! My appearance, I will get older and more wrinkled. Haha! My perspective, I will grow and mature and that will impact on my brand and my work. My work is made by me and is influenced at every stage by me and my life.

What does this mean? ...I think that by embracing the reality of change, I will be more likely to be honest and take risks. This can only be a good thing! In the past, I have delayed 'making a move' until I was absolutely certain. Delayed launching a website, product, talking about an idea... etc until I was sure it was perfect. I now embrace the perfection of growth and resolve to put it all out there during the process.

What are your thoughts on branding a personal identity as an artist or in small business? What are the constants for you? and what do you allow to change and grow? I'd love to hear your comments below, or chat with me on twitter! @eelsjewellery



Saturday, May 14, 2011


I've started to get a reputation as "that girl that likes ships", so I thought I'd start posting about other things I love. Hopefully I will be able to keep it up as a regular thing! Yes, I love ships and anchors and nautical things. But I also like other things. For my first adore post; one of my biggest idols in the Australian contemporary jewellery industry, David Neale.

Not a new love, I've admired his work for a long time. His lovely idiosyncratic stylised natural forms appeal to me in a very pure and honest way. His work is warm and sturdy like old furniture. Check out his beautiful blog and his website

all images are Copyright David Neale 2007, source:

Friday, April 29, 2011

eels all over the interwebs

I have been so lucky to be featured in a few gorgeous blogs lately, thought I'd share...

The amazing Danielle from Sometimes Sweet featured me in her regular Tattoo Tuesday post. Have a read here.

It was so great to have the opportunity to talk about myself outside of my work. It was heaps of fun to share images of all the artwork I collect on my body, which is something I haven't really done before!

I also wrote a guest post on Winter Love for beautiful mama Natalie about the love of my life, my son Cash. I talked about the awesome adventure of motherhood and juggling working at home on my jewellery business with a young baby. Find it here.

The very talented jewellery designer and artist Sophie from That Vintage also did a shout-out to me and my work on her blog recently. This is such a huge compliment, because she's a super rad lady! Have a look here.

Keep an eye out on the tenmoregirls blog too! I will be a featured artist on there very soon.

While I'm sharing links, I should also let you know that I have recently listed some new stuff on two more online marketplaces... 

The awesome new Young Republic site will be launching very soon, and I have already started listing items. The brand new site is very exciting and the Australian designers featured on there are looking brilliant. Check out a sneak preview of my shop here.

I have also joined the Australian based ethical handmade store Blue Caravan. It is a beautiful site that promotes sustainable design, locally made products, organic materials as well as ethical and fair trade production. All the stuff I love! Have a look at my shop here.