Sunday, June 3, 2012

Artist Feature: Gemma Pobjoy

Today's artist feature is with Melbourne based jewellery designer Gemma Pobjoy creator of accessories label The Triangle of Bears (previously Candy Bandit). Since creating her label in 2008 Gemma has featured in The Age, Frankie Magazine and blog, Mixtape Magazine, numerous times in Etsy treasuries and as a Featured Seller on Etsy.  She has also co-ordinated several charity projects including 'heartFELT' involving 25 Australian creatives sold through leeloo and recently opened her own retail store Pony Boy Parlour.

All images in this interview are provided by and copyright of Gemma Pobjoy.

Tell us a little about yourself and your arts/design background

My name is Gemma. I am 26. My label is “the Triangle Of Bears.” (formerly "Candy Bandit"). I make jewellery and accessories and other little bits and pieces along the way.

I live in Melbourne in Box Hill, and it is beautiful because i have a giant park in my back yard that is full of ducks and possums and pigeons and rats that i imagine all play lovingly with each other in the dark, around the pond. I share my home with my boyfriend, Daniel. He is a musician and he is beautiful. I also have three pet rats (Daisy, Lula & Cobweb), and they are THE MOST beautiful creatures in the world!

I just opened a shop in Brunswick called
Pony Boy Parlour with two of my friends (an accidental dream come true!), and everything about that venture is both exciting & exhausting!

Daisy, Lula and Cobweb
I am in love with every creature, great and small, and sometimes I can barely fathom how amazing they can be! I am passionate about vegetarianism. Yum yum yum...

As far as my art/design background goes, it started when i was just a pup, and has grown and developed as I have. I studied as many art subjects as i could while in school, then went on to do my Bachelor of Visual Arts at University. I focused mainly on painting & photography at first, but then moved on to sculpture and then to jewellery.

By my third & final year of university, I knew I wasn't done studying. I had become obsessed with jewellery and adornment of all forms and decided to go on to study a jewellery course at TAFE. I did the first year of my "Advanced Diploma of Engineering Technology" (metal-smithing, sculpture & jewellery making) and then decided to have a break. During this break, I started experimenting with felt - mainly because it was a cheap & convenient way for me to continue being creative while I took time off study and didn't have access to the tools & materials I needed to make metal jewellery.

Those little "experiments" have lead me to where I am today. I never went back and finished my TAFE course, I had found the thing I want to pour my heart and soul in to...

What led you to using embroidery in your work

The sole reason I started using embroidery in my work was because it allowed me to get the small details that I couldn't achieve with fabric paint or simply by cutting shapes out of different fabrics & stitching them together.

I use embroidery, fabric paint & sewing layers/shapes together to create my pieces, and each process allows for a different kind of detail & aesthetic. Combining the three techniques together is what brings my work to life!

I taught myself how to "embroider" and I guess I still don't really know what I'm doing, but it seems to be working, so I'll keep it up! I'm always defining my skills. They develop all the time, and when I look back at what I used to make I feel a little bit like laughing!

Could you talk a little on the process of creating your work?

I don't have a clue what I'm doing. I make stuff up as i go. I have a long list of unsuccessful techniques that I've attempted to use, and thankfully, a long list of successful ones too!

The "proper" methods and techniques I learned while at uni & TAFE do not particularly apply to any of the work I produce these days, though they are useful & helpful in some way, I guess.


I have taught myself pretty much everything I employ to create my pieces by trial and error. The most basic method of making a "the Triangle Of Bears" piece is;
  1. first to imagine it,
  2. draw it to size on paper,
  3. cut out the outline of the shape,
  4. pin it to the backing fabric (stiff felt),
  5. cut that out,
  6. then cut out the different layers/shapes from the paper and pin them to felt/vegan leather,
  7. cut out each individual shape,
  8. Sew it all together in order,
  9. paint/sew on the details,
  10. attach any jewellery findings.
Done! Easy! Haha
I use mainly felt & "fake" leather in each piece. I source as many of my materials as possible from op-shops, including my threads & chains. I love the idea of turning something unwanted in to something new & fresh. Yay! New life!

Can you tell us a little about your inspirations?

My inspiration is drawn from so many different places, especially the people I am surrounded by, but when it comes down to it, it is definitely an aesthetic thing. I need to spend time staring at images and objects, and also touching them - because jewellery is my "weapon of choice" and is the only art form made to be touched and handled.

Some things I do like to swoon over & draw inspiration from are; lace, shiny gold objects, animals (animals animals!), dreamscapes, subtle colours, strange hybrids, geometrical shapes, vintage dolls, unique fashion, cute sketches, kitschy ornaments, ponies, folksy patterns, doilies, miniature versions of almost anything, bears, tiny details and diamonds.

I am also in love with Jim Henson, the tv series "Futurama", Mel Stringer's art, Studio Ghibli films & Dr. Seuss's illustrations.

Something that inspires me to no end is looking at other peoples creations who work with the same materials/ in the same field as I do. Of course!


  1. Fantastic. Such an interesting interview. Love Gemma's work so much. Inspirational.

  2. So lovely to read more about you and your work Gemma!! Love your colourful style and, both the embroidered and painted details in your pieces.

  3. Thanks for the introduction to your work and inspiration Gemma. I just love those teeth and your elephant necklace is dreamy! Look forward to meeting you.