— observations from the Blue Mountains Design Bureau —

The Texture Collector

My first visit to Madeleine Chalfant Yates’ home revealed that the patterns and textures that inspire her silver and copper jewellery, are just as evident in her home. Vintage finds nestle against art swapped at international jewellery fairs and twigs from her daily wanders, creating a patchwork effect that makes your heart sing.

A keen bushwalker, Madeleine makes her way to local lookouts twice each day. This practise allows her space to reflect and “put everything into perspective”. Since moving to the Blue Mountains a year ago, and walking each day, Madeleine confides that she’s been overwhelmed with creative inspiration; often returning with a leaf or blossom, their circular forms inspiring her next piece.

Madeleine’s work is highly textured and deeply etched, using a hydraulic press. Her ideas continue to evolve as she works, and it all happens in a very organic manner. Every clasp is decorative as well as functional and her work is often playfully reversible. There is a problem solving aspect to jewellery making that Madeleine finds satisfying, and follows through into everyday life with a “never give up on things” attitude.

And as most lovers of texture and colour tend to be, Madeleine Chalfant Yates is a pretty good cook. I experienced this first hand, with the smell of her dahl greeting me as I walked in her front door, and later eating the dahl that she had just made. And luckily for readers of The Cloudscape, (and me!), she was happy to disclose her delicious recipe….


Dahl recipe

2 tbls canola or peanut oil

1 cup red lentils

2 tomatoes

Half onion

1 cm ginger

1 eggplant cut into cubes

Fresh spinach (optional)

1 tsp turmeric

2 tbls cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tbls mustard seeds

Enough water to cover ingredients


Crunchy Topping

3 tbls canola oil

2 tbls mustard seeds

1 tbls coriander seeds

4 green onions, diced

Coriander stems chopped

Fresh chillies (whichever takes your fancy)

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp cumin

Coriander leaves chopped, to garnish

Plain yoghurt

Chopped tomato (optional)



Heat oil until hot. Add mustard seeds. When they start to pop add ginger, onion and spices and eggplant. Toss until onions are clear and eggplant has absorbed oil and spices. Quickly stir in tomatoes and finally dahl. Lastly add enough water to cover, bring to the boil and top up with hot water as needed until the lentils are cooked – approximately 45mins.


To make the topping heat the oil, pop the seeds in first and then add chili, green onions, and coriander stems. Stir in turmeric and cumin. Top with chopped coriander, tomato and yoghurt.


Madeleine says that she plays around a lot with the spices in this recipe, as most Indian spices tend to complement each other, so you can have fun changing the quantities according to your taste. She also varies the veggies; cauliflower or pumpkin are nice additions, as is a splash of coconut milk! If you want to bulk up the meal for a family, serve with rice.

Madeleine has an upcoming show at woodpapersilk Gallery in Sydney, opening September 5th 6-8pm, and shows regularly at Sturt Gallery in Mittagong. She has an online gallery and holds biannual jewellery parties and open studio days in Katoomba.

For more information on Madeleine or to sign up for her next open studio jewellery party visit her website mcydesigns or contact Madeleine directly on 0424 505 631 or mail@mcydesigns.com.




4 comments on “The Texture Collector

  1. Diane Felton on said:

    A very sweet article about a beautiful talent and woman. Thanks for the recipe. I will be making that soon.

  2. I love Madeleine’s jewellery!
    And thanks for this lovely little glimpse into Madeleine’s world.

  3. Sharon Potter on said:

    Maddy, Congratulations on your latest success. Your place is darling, you already know I’m a fan of your jewelry & now everyone knows you are a fabulous cook. Sharon Potter P.S. – You look fabulous – sign me up if you release an exercise video. Sharon Potter

  4. Charles Yates on said:

    Okay… I think I know this Woman.
    Yes, that’s my Sister!

    And I cannot recall ever telling her how much I admire and respect her creativity. I just did sweetheart.

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