Together Loves: Debra Fallowfield

Tell us about your design background and what lead you into Jewellery Design?

I fell accidentally into jewellery when living in Australia ..I worked as a retoucher back in the days PM (pre Macintosh!) on magazines such as Vogue, Marie Claire etc-.Retouching fashion shoots and Mag covers by hand -old school with paintbrush , scalpel, etch and a magnifying glassAccidentally -because I went to do a Computer -mac course at the local highschool . The course was cancelled due to not enough people and I was asked if i wanted to choose another course..I choose jewellery as a laugh.

I reckon I was pretty much hooked after the first night!

I had always been ‘arty ” as a kid I was painfully shy -but always drawing,painting or making stuff …But when I left school I had no idea what to do – I did work experience with a local print firm and ended up training up as a retoucher before moving and living in Sydney for over 15 years…When I returned to NZ late nineties pregnant,without a job and a single mum (oops ) I started making jewellery in my dads mechanics garage of an old kitchen bench with a handful of second hand tools.


What sets the Debra Fallowfield brand apart, and what do your clients come to you for?

I have no formal jewellery training nor did I go to art school.. I lamented for years about not attending art school..but now that I am older I feel it’s a blessing in disguise -I have such a distinct style,being pretty much self taught (apart from the basics) has meant I do things so differently to most jewellers.

That’s what sets me apart -I think outside the box,I take risks.I was mixing gold colours together long before it was fashionable –I look at what’s happening today in the jewellery world and think “hell,I was doing that 15 years ago!!

As well as my strong design aesthetic -I refuse to use CAD (computer aided design) -the majority of what you see these day’s from big brands is mass produced CAD work on 3D printers-Bang out one mold and then cast of 100’s of the same thing,over and over…

Everything I make is entirely by hand,made by me with a little help from my amazing husband.-old school ways -with saw,solder,flame ,files,polishing-I get my hands dirty ,I just don’t draw pretty little pictures then hand them over to someone to do all the dirty work!
My clients come to me because they want to escape the blandness that dominates the jewellery world -they come to me because they know I will create them something no one else has,they come to me because they like me are individuals.They come to me because they appreciate quality and craftmanship ..and because I am South island straight up -no B@llshit


Where do you get inspiration?

Inspiration comes from anywhere-I tend to see things in minute detail..droplets on a blade of grass,shadow on a building,erosion,natural landscapes,manmade landscapes-I don’t tend to sketch-I work with an idea in my head and just roll with it…Otago is so freakin beautiful and rugged and wild it’s a great place to be an artist..everyonesan artist in Port Chalmers. Hotere used to live up the road.
Isolation breeds creativity..

How would you describe the Debra Fallowfield aesthetic?

Strong,bold,confident – extraordinary jewellery for uncommon jewellery ..wearable art. REFRESHING’s different -I don’t follow trends nor others-others follow me!

What have been some of your favorite commitment pieces to create, and why?

Every committment piece tells a different story-it’s hard to pick one ,and whilst I love making wedding and engagement rings for your couples-it’s the 60 years olds that are still loved up getting their rings re designed that rocks my boat!

Do you have a favorite metal or stone?

I love coloured sapphires the ones called “partis”-who does not love a good party!!!
Grey diamonds,rose cut stones ,coloured diamonds and high coloured golds


Apart from Jewellery Design, do you have other creative outlets?

My other outlets are travel -I head away to Sri Lanka for a month soon -traveling solo’s my adreneline.I’m a pretty good cook too-buying contemporary art and sculpture…Music (Hubby DJS )

Favourite thing to do outside of work?

favourite thing is walking the dog at many of the amazing beaches down here on Dunedin harbour..If all you North islanders realised how bloody gorgeous it is down here i swear the would be no one left in