JOURNAL 2017-05-04T02:04:33+00:00

INTERVIEW with Savant Magazine

Ice from Ash Jewellery GIVEAWAY

Interview with Anneliese Hauptstein, Designer and Director of Ice from Ash



What led to your interest in crafting zero waste jewellery?

My degree in Industrial Design exposed me to the reality of our consumer culture, the devastating condition of our environment and the unfortunate division of designing from crafting. Where once a designer was a maker and an expert in their material, the methods and forms, now the focus has shifted to the market, the machine and the bottom line. I chose instead to follow my passion for the materials themselves. I did a PhD in Materials Science and started my own studio exploring and experimenting with the most interesting materials and processes I could find. I keep it small, slow and local, working with natural materials and striving to make the best design choices I can, such as using recycled packaging and branding my own boxes.

What materials are you using?

My latest love is ceramics. I have a little kiln and I have been experimenting with melting silver wire works into ceramic pieces.

I am constantly looking into new processes and materials and weighing their pro’s and cons, whether that be the sustainability of the resource, the ethics of manufacture, or the energy in transport. I use a lot of silver, because it’s strong, durable, lovely to work with and recyclable. I use some leather, usually Kangaroo, as it is local, compostable and abundant. I have also started making pieces using mushroom and kombucha leather as a vegan alternative.

“Where once a designer was a maker and an expert in their material, the methods and forms, now the focus has shifted to the market, the machine and
the bottom line.”

What does the whole process look like from the idea to actual pieces taking shape? What’s the most difficult aspect of the making part?

I have a collection of little notebooks with research on subjects as varied as the Kikuchi patterns of crystals to evidence of aliens in ancient decoration. I add notes and sketches as I come across information that follows the thread. There is always a focus on the materials I could use and the techniques for making, so at some point this starts to take shape in the form of designs. I never really know how a piece will turn out when I sit down, but I do a lot of planning.

I find the most difficult part is staying true to the concept and not getting distracted by other ideas as I’m making. I work with other artisans to work out techniques and I try to make a lot of the decisions about materials, chains, clasps, shapes and construction before I sit down.

Who or what inspires you the most? Do you use any symbolism?

I am inspired by the various ways people from all over the world tell stories. The written languages themselves, of course, but also pictorial illustration, such as cave paintings, carvings, patterns and especially tattoos. I have had a fascination with tattooing for long time and love finding the hidden meanings in the assembly of images. The intersection of mythology and science also fascinates me.  My newest pieces refer to the flow of matter and energy from one state to another, starting with a sound and transitioning through the 5 elements of earth, wind, fire, water and ether. To me this is the oldest story.


Why is the synergy of nature and more material human world important to you?

Something fundamental changed when humans started creating their own materials and I feel it is very important for us to take full responsibility for the consequences of those choices and educate others to do the same. We can choose to surround ourselves with objects that are functional, durable, sustainable and desirable. In that way we will look after and respect the things we purchase.

“My newest pieces refer to the flow of matter and energy from one state to another, starting with a sound and transitioning through the 5 elements of earth, wind, fire, water and ether.”

What defines good quality in jewellery design?

Quality to me is about a few things. How it makes me feel, how well it works on the body and how well it is made for its purpose. To me it is about artistic expression, cultural connection and personal style.

What’s the meaning of the name, ‘Ice from Ash’?

It refers to a process of transformation and alchemy, transitioning from one element to another in a way that goes against what we take to be possible, as if by magic.

What are your personal tips to a more meaningful lifestyle and how to get into a habit of consuming less?

Consuming to fulfil needs is just a mindset we have been taught. To change this habit we need to find fulfilment from within instead, in our actions, relationships, environment and ideas. Consuming in itself is not evil, objects are essential, we just need to learn to be mindful when we take something and kind when we give it back.

March 20th, 2017|

Change your Mindset, not just your Materials


When I studied Industrial Design in the late 90’s, there was a lot of talk about environmental design, materials selection, design for disassembly, life cycle analysis (LCA) and cradle to grave thinking. By the time I moved on to study Materials Science in the 00’s the conversation had progressed to biodegradability, product miles, smart materials and cradle to cradle thinking. Now as I design my own range of products the hot topics are ethical manufacture, carbon neutral, plastic free and design led thinking.

The focus of the conversations around materials, manufacture and design thinking has shifted over the years.
The message to designers was always the same. THE LINEAR MODEL OF MANUFACTURE IS BROKEN.
What the consumers heard was, however, a very different message. WE’VE GOT SOLUTIONS, DON’T WORRY, KEEP SHOPPING.

This mindset is based on a series of misconceptions about how product manufacturing processes, the lifecycle of materials and consumer behaviour play out in our current system.
Here are a couple of examples of how you can change your mindset, your habits and your real impact on the environment through better understanding the materials:

    THE MATERIAL : Biodegradable is applied to materials that are “capable of being decomposed by bacteria or other living organisms and thereby avoiding pollution”. The idea is that the material will break down naturally releasing it’s stored carbon as carbon dioxide (CO2). Yet when you drop a biodegradable material in the bin it goes to landfill where the anaerobic environment means, no oxygen, so the breakdown, if it happens at all, involves the release of methane instead (CH4). Methane is a greenhouse gas 24 times more potent than carbon dioxide. This goes for biodegradable plastics as well which can’t be recycled with other common recyclable plastics and won’t breakdown in a household compost.

    THE MINDSET: Compost or worm farm for your kitchen scraps. Reuse and recycle your paper products. Donate biodegradable materials to your local community garden. Use this service to FIND A COMPOSTER, capable of breaking down the plastics. Petition your local council to start a collection service.

    THE MATERIAL: Plastic was the miracle material of the 1950’s and is the villain of today. It’s incredible adaptability and durability were it’s biggest assets and are, ironically, also it’s biggest risks. In Australia we have the option to recycle a number of common plastics and are provided bins for every household to do so. Yet in 2015 only 61.3% of post consumer plastics were recycled (APC (report). The big issue I have with plastics and their use in consumer products, especially disposable products, is that plastics do not go away. Combine this fact with the statistic from Plastic Europe that 150 times more plastic was produced in 2015 than in 1955 and it raises the question, where is it? Well it’s filling up landfills, washing up on beaches and breaking down into micro-particles that are being ingested by sea creatures and entereing the food chain.

    THE MINDSET: Refuse
    . Less consumption as the only way to slow down production. Recycling, while an important option, can have a negative rebound effect as it validates disposability, resulting in more production, more extraction and more waste. So take your own bags, cups, bottles, cutlery. Invest in a nice lunchbox and thermos if you eat out a lot. Buy natural materials and less of them. Shop second hand or swap. Make a gift instead of buying one. Cook from scratch. Buy from growers markets and wholefoods bulk stores. Take your own containers for meat and fish. Be creative and find another option.






November 23rd, 2016|

EARTH: Four Elements Exhibition

For the last few months I have been working on a new collection of work i’ve been calling my “kiln experiments”. Some of these new pieces will be on show from next week at a local group show titled “EARTH”.

I have become increasingly obsessed with transformations of all kinds, but particularly the transitions between physical states of matter. Phase changes and kinetic theory have completely overtaken my journals and sketchbooks. I am fascinated by how matter works and moves and the new pieces reflect that as I create rivers of silver in surface patterns formed by the once solid silver wires.

I’ll be there on opening night, so let me know if you are able to make it along xo

EARTH: Four Elements Exhibition

Opening night Thursday 17 November 6-8pm
The gallery will be open daily from 10am-4pm and closed on Monday 21 November
Nov 17 at 6 PM to Nov 27 at 4 PM

The Creative Space, 105 Abbott Road, North Curl Curl, NSW 2099


earth: four elements exhibition

November 7th, 2016|

Our shifting cultural mentality

The oldest surviving evidence of civilisation to be found in contemporary India is that of the Indus Valley Civilisation (3300–1300 BCE; mature period 2600–1900 BCE). These people practiced Arts & Crafts in ceramic and metal to rival the work of the ancient Greeks to come 3000 years later. They had a practice of Rangoli, creating mandalas from sand or petals, that we might call mindfullness. They cultivated crops and traded widely using boats and are likely the first to develop the wheel and bullock carts. They had a language system based on over 400 distinct symbols that still escapes classification. What is remaining of their religious or spiritual practices show a culture of mother goddess and animal spirit worship, with no large temples save one central ritual bathhouse. They had excellent mathematical skills and were the first to develop a uniform system of weights and measures.

In 1937 Pitirim A. Sorokin (1889–1968) developed  the Sociological cycle theory. According to their ‘cultural mentality’, societies can be classified as ideational (reality is spiritual), sensate (reality is material), or idealistic (a synthesis of the two). According to Sorokin the West is a sensate civilisation dedicated to technological progress. He prophesied its fall into decadence and the emergence of a new idealistic era.

Along with the waves of Indo-Aryan migrations through India came a caste system that separated the peoples based on occupation (varna) and rank (jāti). The lowest in this hierarchy were the Indigenous peoples or “the untouchables” (also Dalits) as you may have heard them referred to. Those very people of the Indus Valley who lived in the flourishing culture of artistic, scientific and spiritual practices I mentioned above were now stripped of their dignity as well as basic human rights such as access to roads, schools, temples and clean water.

Since 2014 Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been working on a campaign to change the values of contemporary Indians who have been living within this caste system. The project aims to normalise cleaning public spaces, typically seen as the job of the lower casts. At the same time we can see a global push towards acknowledging the skills of artisans that have continued their cultures practices since ancient times. This acknowledgment is based on much more than the aesthetic value of the work, is takes in the ethical and environmental value of handmade and careful attention in manufacture. In this light Modi’s campaign, to change the perception that blue collar work is degrading while white collar work is uplifting, can be seen as a sign of the times as many of us wish to move away from a ‘sensate’ mentality towards  something more ‘idealistic’.

Images from Wiki Commons:

By Royroydeb – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

November 1st, 2016|

New Clay Makers Market

One of the enormous benefits of being part of such a vibrant and creative collective such as Makerspace & Co, is that there is always something going on. And it’s usually pretty amazing. This weeks surprise was being asked to add some of my new works in clay to the Makerspace table at this great new event being held at the Australian Design Centre in Sydney called the New Clay Makers Market.

September 3rd, 2016|

Kiln Experiments: Silver River’s & Urchin Shell Glaze

I have been asked to part of an upcoming ceramics market, and as my work in ceramics has thus far been experimental only, I have been working flat out for the last few days to get something wearable ready.

The process I have to date is as follows:

  • Make piece in stoneware. Add urchin print or impression from silver
  • Air dry
  • Bisque fire
  • Glaze backs with urchin/pumice recipe & fire
  • Glaze urchin print pieces with urchin/pumice glaze + iron oxide powder & fire
  • Add silver pieces & heat to just on melting point

As the firings each take between 9-16 hours, this has been no small feat.

Here are some of the pieces. I’m really liking the silver river earrings and the big urchin print necklaces.

I have always been fascinated by the colour changes that occur with glazes during firing.

I was determined to keep my glaze for these pieces simple and made from found materials, so I was a little limited in the colour choices this time.

The glaze is made form sea urchin shell, pumice stone and ball clay.

The colour is from iron oxide to represent the rusty headlands which to me are such a significant part of the coastline here in Australia.

Here are some pics of the amazing colour change that occurs once the iron oxide is heated in the kiln.

August 30th, 2016|

Kiln Experiments: 2nd & 3rd firing


I have created some larger pieces to see how a larger body of silver will behave in these conditions.

I have also created some elements that are separated by a channel to test how effectively the silver flows between parts and how functional these parts are once removed.

I have created somelarger pieces to tes

 Small electric kiln.

  1. Temp increase 300 mins to 300℃
  2. Then up to 980℃
  3. Held for 15 minutes
  4. Back to room temp


Clay fired to a bisque.

A number of pieces exploded and damaged others.

This may have been the result of insufficient air drying prior to kiln firing.

Another theory is that the larger pieces of silver sheet became too hot or volatile for their ceramic containers.

3rd Firing

I have again created pieces that have channels to test the flow of the silver and the strength of the resulting pieces. I wish the ascertain whether the “flow silver” is strong enough for use as a functional pieces of jewellery. I also wish to test how easily the pieces are removed from the stoneware.


Small electric kiln.

  1. Temp increase 300 mins to 300℃
  2. Then up to 960℃
  3. Held for 15 minutes
  4. Back to room temp


Clay fired to a bisque.

The silver has melted and fused the cracked pieces and channels as I hypothesised.

It was very difficult to separate the silver and stoneware. The resulting pieces made from this “flow silver” are thinner and weaker than the original material.

The usual black oxide was also created.

July 12th, 2016|

Kiln Experiments: Stoneware + Sterling Silver & Copper

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be gifted a small kiln by some very dear friends who have always been idols for me. They live on a beautiful property and are some of the most capable, interesting people I know. They are true makers. Always learning new skills, making from scratch and living sustainably. One week it’s cheese making, then chook raising, building their own wood fired kiln or deep sea fishing. Nothing seems below their notice or beyond their reach.

Almost at the same time I joined a shared workshop space in Marrickville, Sydney called Makerspace & Co. They have a metal workshop, a wood workshop, textiles and photography equipment and a very cool, calm and quiet ceramics studio.

All of a sudden I have all the equipment I need to begin some experiments into working with clay.

1st Firing

I have crafted small pieces of clay created into various shapes and containing sterling silver or copper to test the behaviour of the material combinations under high heat using an electric kiln.
I am attempting to fire the clay to a bisque state by reaching a temperature between 950℃ and 1000℃ hardening the clay, ready for a secondary process such as glazing.


Small electric kiln.

1. Temp increase 100 mins to 300℃
2. Then up to 980℃
3. Held for 15 minutes
4. Back to room temp


Clay fired to a bisque.

* nice splattered metal effect.
* Love the drops.
* Potential for crack filling.
* wrapped chain, melted into indent. Dripped nicely down cylinder.
* wrapped clay lump, mesh fused over indents and into cracks.
* dots within clay splattered randomly
* beautiful black oxide.
* Burnt coloured clay around metal.
* Held shape.
* ring around centre of clay cylinder held nicely\
* colour change – from black to orange
* cracked clay during shrinkage
* surface completely shattered and separated

July 2nd, 2016|

SHORELINE ACTION: Protecting our oceans and how you can help

My social calendar has been filled with inspiring events lately as I have caught up with some of the activists leading the charge towards protecting our oceans. Beyond simply sharing on their particular fields of expertise and the causes they are passionately campaigning for the reason behind the current push has been to raise awareness of how you can help. The government is currently inviting community submissions about how you would like to see the the marine bioregion around the Hawkesbury managed. This means you can directly influence this push towards safeguarding significant ecosystems that could support fish numbers and biodiversity in the whole Sydney region.

Earlier this month it was the launch of The Greenhouse, which combines the efforts of longstanding environmental awareness meetup Greenups, plus Sustainability Drinks and the Total Environment Centre’s HotHouse. The lineup was stellar and their message was all about solutions and was MC’d by passionate ocean champion Laura Wells.
Dave West from the Boomerang Alliance has had huge success campaigning for a change in the NSW container deposit laws.
Dr Katherine Dafforn spoke about beautiful solutions she has been developing for shorefront ecosystem development, like greenwalls for fish.
John Corkill OAM, a committed activist since the mid 1980’s, is interested by the legal issues of ownership of our shorelines in the face of global worming and sea level rise.
The eve also featured The Ocean Action Pod, a grant winning initiative set to travel to coastal communities highlighting the marine plastic pollution crisis.

The other speaker who works with Living Ocean was Fiona McCuaig, who I also had the pleasure of hearing at a screening of Racing Extinction, just last night. Fiona is campaigning for a Marine Park in Sydney. While not a marine ecologist herself, she is a passionate speaker and delivers a compelling argument, even for the fishing enthusiasts among us. As we watched the movie, directed by Louie Psihoyos, it became increasingly apparent how vital it is for each of us to take action to reduce the mass extinction of species we are currently seeing, RIGHT NOW, in whatever way we are able.
Having your say about the legacy you want to leave for your children in our local area, has just been made crazy easy for us here in Sydney. Don’t miss your chance.
You have until May 8 2016. LINK TO SUBMIT


Ocean Action Pod The Greenhouse Launch Bags of plastic

April 22nd, 2016|


I LOVE the colours and colour variations of natural dyes.
I LOVE that people are experimenting with plants in a way others before them have for hundreds of years.
I LOVE that consumers want to make a difference and buy something that’s better for themselves, their kids and the earth.

There are, however, some draw backs to natural dyeing you may not have considered.
Natural dye’s are less permanent, difficult to apply, less wash fast and typically require mordants which can be toxic. The process can also use more water and heat than synthetic dyes.

Natural doesn’t mean non-toxic.
There are many things that are naturally occurring and unsafe. Arsenic and some mushrooms for example. Logwood, a flowering tree in the legume family, native to southern Mexico and northern Central America used as a dye, is toxic whether inhaled, absored through the skin or ingested.

Natural also doesn’t mean organically grown.
The plants could be treated with pesticides, herbicides or defoliants.

Whichever way a company chooses to go, one of the most important things they can do to ensure they are making a minimal impact on the environment is to make sure they have water treatment in place.

While I applaud the movement towards a non-toxic future, I hope the companies working in this space are keeping themselves and their local workspace safe as well as us.

Andrea Plell of Ecohabitude Inc. looks at a few companies working towards this end in her article below.

ecohabitude: natural dyeing article



March 25th, 2016|


Most days I feel pretty good about the changes i’ve made to reduce my footprint.

I take my own bags, cups, bottles with me.

I buy whole foods in bulk and shop at growers markets.

I make a lot of my own toiletries and cleaning products.

I re-use and recycle.

Then I chat with my amazing friend Sarah who has been living completely plastic free for over a year!

She chose to change her life after a trip to Tonga where she saw first hand the islands of plastic that are choking the oceans there.

Her blog, Wander Lightly details her journey, her tips and tricks for shopping and eating out as well as recipes for making at home.

A little while ago she came to me with this stunning Tahitian Black Pearl and asked for a custom setting.

Knowing of her connection to the ocean I set this beauty in a handcrafted sterling silver finding with a sea urchin surface detail.

SarahsPiece_On rock_01_medSarahs_Piece_Leather_side_med Sarahs_Piece_Leather_sidetop_med

March 14th, 2016|


I am a hoarder. Not a serious, house filled to the brim kind of hoarder, but a hoarder no less.

I collect materials, tools, old jewellery, clothes, hats, bags, books. I love old tools and tool boxes. I have wooden tool boxes found at auction houses and flea markets, wooden boxes filled with tiny little bits, big old leather bags filled with hats and gloves and plastic guns and rubber snakes. All these things add colour and texture to my life and are amazing fun when it comes to dressing up. BUT, they weigh me down. They sit on my shoulders and make it hard for me to move. I dream of having nothing but what I can cary on my back. You know the feeling you get when you go camping and all you have is a bag full of well made, highly functional goods. Two outfits you can wear for days, a pair of good walking shoes, a bikini, a lightweight Turkish towel, a Kindle, the bare essential toiletries. That is my idea of luxury.

IMG_1228     Boxes_03_photo_filter      Hoarder Bag

Coming home after my most recent trip away, enjoying the space and lightness of a life without stuff, I began considering what it is I actually need and want in my life.

What do I value? Do old ideas of quality, worth and luxury still hold true?

This is my list…

I treasure excellent craftsmanship.

I prefer natural materials.

I value ethical and sustainable production.

I am interested by rarity.

I am inspired by connection.

I am satisfied by ease of use and competent functioning.

While the things I have been collecting tick most of these boxes, they rarely tick them all. While it may not be possible to maintain a checklist such as this for all purchases in ones life, my new resolve is to weigh up my purchases with these points in mind and cut through the clutter.

In my mind luxury and lightness of mind is no longer reserved for the wealthy, but rather the aware and restrained.

What does luxury mean to you? What do you want to surround yourself with?


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March 7th, 2016|


IN 2010 a Forbes Magazine article by Elaine Wong noted that 250,000 new products are launched globally each year, with a typical failure rate of 85-95 %.

This was also the year Apple first launched their hugely successful iPad tablet computer.

What did you buy that year? Do you still have it and love it? How much energy and resources did it take to make it? What did you do with it when it broke?

These are the questions i’ve been asking myself lately as read Alain de Botton’s Religion for Atheists and consider the way some brands inspire worship with an almost religious fervour while others go straight to landfill. Do I buy product’s I need from the best maker I can find, or an image from the best marketing campaign? If I, with my degree’s in Industrial Design and Materials Science can’t make an educated decision based on quality and function rather than popularity and appearance, how are others getting on? Are they satisfied with their purchases? Do they feel supported, connected, heard?

I want the wisdom and community of religions that de Botton talks of rather than concepts and catch phrases.

I want products that I need and love.

I want to feel satisfied that I have the information I need to make a good decision.

I want to be part of the solution.

telegraph pole ipad

February 3rd, 2016|


Some of you may know that my brother has recently taken up gemstone facetting (see here for some pics), and I have promised to learn the art of stone setting in order to create beautiful works together…   of course his pile of perfectly cut treasures has been growing, and growing, and growing, and yet none have been set. Until now!!

Today I received a great little stone setting teaching system from the states, and got to it.

No chips or scratches so far…


Stonesetting 1 stonesetting 2

November 7th, 2015|


Today I had a request for a piece from someone that enjoys her’s so much she wants to share the love. How sweet is that!

2015-04-16 11.03.43-2


September 17th, 2015|


As a recent mother I now understand why a child’s love is so precious. And necessary. Because that’s all you get!

For all the hours, all the sleeplessness, the cooking, the filth, the crying, the heartache.

All you get back is love.


Thankfully, it’s almost all you need…

Pearls in a pod

Mothers love pearls xo

May 7th, 2015|


To complement our collections of fine jewellery, ICE from ASH is is taking a new direction and will be focusing on creating unique, one-off pieces, Using fine metals and precious stones set within pictorial wireworks, with the first works celebrating Australian flora.

Native Flora

December 11th, 2014|


Sketches Workbench


As my home is remodelled and my studio redesigned the rapid destruction of a once sacred space brings to mind the cycle of materials and the flow of life from one for to the next.

March 22nd, 2013|