Colleen Brennan

I completed TEE at Busselton Senior High School in the 1980’s.  Art was always my best subject.  Back then students were challenged with exciting and complicated still life arrangements to paint and my teacher nurtured my love of Van Gogh.  After leaving school I developed my painting at a local art class for ladies in Margaret River and began to exhibit in various shows and galleries. I was fascinated with Monet, Impressionism, lines, dashes and colour.

Much later, as a mature age student I studied Visual Arts at Edith Cowan University in Bunbury specialising in painting and etching.  I sometimes say that this is where I forgot how to paint; the lecturers were impressed with conceptual ideas.  I did learn how to broaden my horizons and immersed myself in Art history.   Attending the Julian Ashton Art School in Sydney in 2009 gave me a fresh start and I began to concentrate on refining still life and oils.

My career in jewellery began in 2003 when I became a senior sales consultant for Linneys, in Broome (now Allure South Sea Pearls).  I soon discovered that one never tires of working with pearls:  each has its own size, shape, colour, lustre and natural imperfections.  Working daily with bags and bags of pearls and turning them into something to wear is the best job I have ever had.

Broome has many social issues so I decided to be proactive by helping Aboriginal youth, starting as a volunteer mentor which rapidly progressed in to teaching art to the remote community students that were boarding in Broome.  I instantly warmed to the Kimberley teenagers and together we painted a mural at the college which took one year to make.  I then began to work in the art room at St Mary’s Secondary College as an artist assisting the students with the elements and principles of art. During this time we had numerous student visual art exhibitions.

In 2014 I developed the concept of making my own necklaces given the techniques I had learnt over the years.  I have been making them almost daily ever since, in a simple workshop at the old dairy cottage, on my farm in Rosa Brook, Margaret River.

The name Salt Water & Fire is derived from two elements that come together to produce something of beauty. The pearls are produced in fertile salt water and are much more superior to the fresh water variety.  Intense fiery heat is required to produce cold glass and silver.  Salt Water & Fire also represents where I share my life, Broome beside the beach and Margaret River, keeping warm beside the fire.

My vibrant neoprene necklaces comprise of lamp work glass beads, sterling silver Hill Tribe beads and quality South Sea pearls.  I am often asked “Are these pearls real?” and yes, they are! My favourite pearl is the unique keshi pearl, natural in form and baroque in shape. Like a bower bird I collect the colourful glass beads from different sources and carefully assemble them to create harmony.  I am influenced by the shores of Western Australia: an avid beach walker in Broome, the colours I use resemble nature and the fragments washed up with the tide.

My aim is to create a distinct fashion accessory that will help express a busy woman’s creative individuality and style. Designed for everyday wear they are easy care, durable and will add artistic flair to any outfit.

Silver & White

Necklace One Size Fits All
Neoprene with cultured pearls & 925 & glass beads
$95

Shades of Teal

Necklace Opera length
Neoprene with glass & 925 daisy flowers & tahitian cultured pearls
$75-

Orange & Keshi Rocks

Necklace 70cm
Neoprene with glass & 925 beads & baroque Broome keshi pearl
$145-

Broome Tidal Colours

Necklace 62cm
Neoprene with glass & 925 turtles & pearls
$60-

Starfish Lariat

Necklace 
Neoprene with 925 starfish & frosted mint glass beads
$75-

Pearls & Golden Hearts

Necklace
Neoprene with glass beads & pearls
$125-

Fiery Reds with Ladybug

Necklace 66cm
Neoprene with glass & 925 beads & pearls
$195-

Plums

Necklace 
Neoprene with lampwork beads
$35-

Shark Bay Colours

Necklace - 74cm
Neoprene with 925 cone shells & salt-water pearls
$225-