Grow – Meet the Maker with Sarah Munnings

Sarah

Sarah is a jeweller working with Sterling Silver, Copper, Brass and Abalone shell and has taught herself to drill, solder and smelt pewter.

Sarah did not consider herself a creative person until people repeatedly told her she was, and after a year or so she started to believe them. Looking back she acknowledges that she was always creating in some form, and never taking a traditional path. During her degree she was often found under bushes and in long grass looking for mounds and earthworks before recreating historic buildings using maps and aerial photography.

Sarah completed her degree and took a position as an Executive Trainee with HSBC bank, working nationally and internationally, and continued her creativity through community projects while her day jobs ranged from managing branches, operations departments to project management. She really does love a good spreadsheet.

Sarah has:

  • Facilitated craft sessions at MOPs groups (Mothers of Pre-schoolers)
  • Run craft sessions for Guides and Brownies
  • Run messy play sessions at childcare centres

In 2010 Sarah, her husband Chris, and then 18-month- old son Scott embarked on a journey of a lifetime, leaving behind England to travel to live and work in Australia.

Three years ago Sarah was struck down by a devastating illness. Christmas Day she went to bed not feeling 100% and when she awoke life would never be the same again. It is unclear exactly what occurred, but Sarah was left unable to read, write or even get out of bed. She was exhausted walking to the end of her driveway, could not concentrate to cook a meal, and had lost all sense of purpose.

Tests, more tests, and months of trips to doctors, neurologists, ENT specialists and Rheumatologists came to the conclusion that whatever happens, what remains is Fibromyalgia (a chronic pain condition).

Not one to sit and wait for someone else to find a solution her husband started to take Sarah to the beach to watch the children play. They brought her shells, and she saw shells she didn’t know. A bit of research on behalf of her husband led to the discovery that they were called Abalone’s and he hatched a plan – cleaning up the shells at home with a drill.

Sarah admits herself that she is stubborn and at first did not think she could use a drill having never used a power tool in her life. But Chris was persistent and she relented. Cleaning up shells,and creating with them became Sarah’s home made therapy. She did what she could and could see the way the shells changed as she dried, washed and cleaned them. It was something that she could do when she felt up to it and leave when she didn’t.

If you meet Sarah at a market or workshop it may be hard to believe how far creativity has brought her. She still can’t read a novel but she consumes audio books at a great pace, and owns more power tools than her husband.
She now has a successful jewellery business: Sarah Munnings Jewellery, a registered patent for memorial lockets designed and made in Melbourne, regular market dates, has sold at Collective stores across Melbourne and loves running joint workshops with her friend and colleague Robyn.

Sarah volunteers with Mums Supporting Families in Need, Ability Action and Kingston Creative Studios Inc, Amaze, and Co-Founded “Grow: a Creative Community” with Robyn in 2017.