One step at a time, Studio Melt has built a strong business

Cutting edge design: Angela Hailey, co-owner of Studio Melt in Newcastle. Picture: Simone De Peak
Cutting edge design: Angela Hailey, co-owner of Studio Melt in Newcastle. Picture: Simone De Peak

When fine art jewellery makers Angela Hailey and Suzy Manning opened their business, Studio Melt, in 2012 on Hunter Street in Newcastle Mall through ReNew Newcastle they knew they had a good idea.

Five years later, the business is going strong, now operating in the same location with a commercial lease and refined business focus.

In the five years Manning has taught various jewellery classes to more than 600 students in the studio in the back of the shop. The demand for classes at all levels – introductory, intermediate and advanced – has been steady, across a wide range of disciplines.

The front of house retail shop, which began with original pieces made by Hailey, now features work from more than 70 Australian studio-based artists and a dozen international contemporary jewellers.

“We are focusing on alternative contemporary jewellery, left of centre jewellery,” Hailey says.

The studio is celebrating its successful evolution on Friday, March 24, from 6 to 8pm as well as hosting an exhibition, I Definitely Do, showcasing alternative wedding jewellery from their Australian jewellers and special new stock from Ruth Tomlinson, a London-based contemporary jeweller whose work they carry.

Other contemporary international jewellers that Studio Melt carries work from include  Ash Hilton from New Zealand, and Americans Todd Pownell, Rebecca Overmann, Monica Marcella and Jennifer Dawes. There are also pieces from Melbourne jewellers Aphra Ellen and Cass Partington.

“Some of those people have huge followings, for people who are looking,” Hailey says.

The shop also has a wide range of original ceramic products, which Hailey says have made a comeback.

Studio Melt has also invested considerable time and effort into its online store. With so many one-off designs it involves writing descriptions, taking product photos and promoting it through social media such as instagram and facebook: it is a time-consuming exercise.

Studio Melt carries work from about 30 Newcastle artists and jewellers, including Sophia Emmett’s spectacular coal jewellery as well Newcastle art prints by popular locals Trevor Dickinson and Liz Anelli.