There’s an evocative line in the description of the typical Leo starsign: ‘They react to situations with action instead of sitting back and thinking about it.’
In the case of Leo Bronte Harris of Yondale Designs at Pampas, the situation in question could best be described as ‘Life’. Bronte’s a doer. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. But whatever it is, you can be sure it’s being done with quirky flair and the utmost dedication to detail.
Bronte and her husband Ross live on a family farm with their three school-aged kids. That is actually a situation with the potential for a relatively busy lifestyle, however, apparently there are some dull moments interspersed therein, as Bronte’s extra-curricular activities attest.
Living with a head full of ideas and energy to match, Bronte’s CV of self-taught out-there activities, past and present, includes web design, photography, growing daylilies, breeding registered dogs and jewellery design. While she insists that her heart still lies with her Australian stumpy tail cattle dogs, it’s her silver jewellery enterprise, Yondale Designs, that currently captures most of her attention.
Yondale Designs is an interest that became a hobby; a hobby that became a passion; a passion that became a business; and a business that has our Bronte the Leo holding a tiger by the tail. It doesn’t take long to work out why. The customised jewellery Bronte creates by hand is fabulous and immensely popular. Sterling silver, sometimes gold-filled, and now venturing into the precious metals, Yondale Designs’ pieces speak, whisper or shout their carefully stamped messages from a choice of many pendant shapes and designs. Embellished with personal sentiment, each jewellery piece, due to its handstamping, is uniquely different.
For Bronte, it’s a privilege to be involved with people’s stories as they talk to her over the telephone, or visit her at her market stalls or in her barn-cum-studio at Pampas with their choice of content for their custom-made pieces.
So, how did it begin? “I just started doing it,” says Bronte. No fanfare. She taught herself from the internet. “And I took my first order in February 2010.” There’s been a bit of water under the bridge – and over the bridge – since then. Two devastating floods of the Condamine River within weeks of each other in 2010/2011 put paid to her early passion for gardening, and also to the family’s housing situation. Their home was flooded, and with a couple of more close calls since then, moving to higher ground became a primary consideration for the family. But where to house Yondale Designs?
Bronte’s eye lit on an old grain storage shed adjacent to their new home. Corrugated iron with a solid ironbark floor, it had endless possibilities. Made over last year, its potential has become a stylish, comfortable workshop and office for Yondale Designs.
Like the sign on her workshop wall, Bronte’s philosophy seems to be: Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass … it’s about learning to dance in the rain.
Words by Jane Grieve | Images by Janine Waters