Disce Mori: Julia de Ville
Relocating to Melbourne from her native New Zealand in 2001, DeVille initially tried her hand at shoe design, setting up the leather accessories label Abattoir before realizing it was her greatest interest. Upon meeting retired taxidermist Rudy Mineur, deVille began dabbling in the art form while obtaining a degree in advanced gold and silversmithing.
Inspired by the Memento Mori (reminder of our mortality) and mourning jewelry popular in Victorian times, de Ville, creates jewelry made from bones, hair, and small animals cast in sterling silver or gold, which has been turning heads ever since with its eccentric aesthetic and carefully constructed design.
I am producing work that I believe no one else is doing in the same scale and mediums; making fine jewelry pieces and artworks using taxidermy and jewelry techniques, and secondly, work that has a dialogue about both life and death. By using symbols of mortality, I hope that the viewer will contemplate their own mortal existence and, in turn, appreciate the significance of life.
Using only animals that have died from natural causes, increasingly deVille finds that people who have encountered her work and recognize art in the afterlife donate the majority of her materials.