Thursday, 30 June 2011

Quick Release Tools

I'm continually packing and unpacking my toolbox to move my tools between home and work, which has led to an improvement in the bench: Velcro! A strip of Velcro sewn to my tool wraps for needle files and hand files/emery sticks, the matching Velcro strip hot-glued to the side of the bench, and Voila! Quick-release tools. They're easy to access and keep in order at the bench, and when I need to take them with me, I just roll them up.

My collection of pliers was too heavy for the magic of Velcro, so I went with a traditional plier rack. This one wraps around the corner, keeping the tools out of the way, and is padded with fabric to prevent the plier springs from getting caught on the wire rack.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

True Colours

 photo by Jeremy Dillon

This piece came home today from its tour as part of the New Traditional Jewellery exhibition in the Netherlands and Germany. This brooch is summer view of the church and park which in winter looked like this. (Now an apartment complex is under construction in front of the church, so I'm working on a new piece.)

These are some other pieces from the exhibition.

New Traditional Jewellery is a biennial international exhibition in which participants reinterpret a piece of historical jewellery in a contemporary context. The exhibition also has a new theme each time: the theme in 2010 was True Colours. It was first exhibited at the Sieraad International Jewellery Art Fair in November 2010.

The historical piece reinterpreted in my brooch was this Indian gold brooch, using the 'extinct' technique of babul to fuse tiny cones to larger spheres.

New Traditional Jewellery was also exhibited at der villa Bengal in Idar Oberstein, Germany and at the Museum of Modern Art Arnhem in Arnhem, the Netherlands.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Sunday, 26 June 2011


Two new pieces in yellow, on a sunny winter day.

Thursday, 23 June 2011


 I built my jewellery bench over a couple of weekends almost entirely out of recycled timber (scavenged from the hard rubbish collection). Even the magnifying lamp came from the side of the road - the clamp was broken, so I drilled a hole in the bench top to secure it.

With the help of a jigsaw, an electric drill, a couple of adjustable clamps and some woodworking advice from my dad, the only thing I was missing was a bench to work on while building the bench.

The sliding scraps tray (used to collect precious metal offcuts and dust) was a keyboard tray on an office desk in a former life. I added 1x3" wood blocks between the sliding mechanism and the underside of the bench to adjust it to the correct height. I looked long and hard for the perfect bench top, and while that office desktop wasn't usable, it also provided a number of useful screws. The final bench top is the centre section of a beautiful old hardwood dining table, too scratched to use as a table, but perfect for a sturdy workbench.

The nice thing about a bench made of recycled materials is that I can continually customise it without feeling like I'm damaging an expensive piece of furniture. I added some hooks for my saw frame and towels, and attached containers along the sides. The parts I bought were: the square aluminium tubing and hook to hold my flexi drive, the shelving unit at the back of the bench (from Savers), a couple of 1x3" wood pieces and most of the nuts and bolts (and the drill and jigsaw). I thought about trying to construct a set of drawers, but I soon found this nightstand on the roadside and decided that would do the trick. 

Now the only thing I need is more space...

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

The Art of Adornment exhibition online

New images of the exhibition The Art of Adornment at the Hunterdon Art Museum in New Jersey are now online. If you're not in the New York area this June-September, the work of each of the thirteen artists can be seen on ArtLog and ArtSlant. Each of the artists is working with innovative combinations of traditional and contemporary materials.

Kiwon Wang's exquisite paper and pearl constructions (above) have always fascinated me with their strange beauty.

The coral reef is represented in uniquely effective materials in Tina Rath's work (below).

The work of Jill Baker-Gower (below) is influenced by Victorian jewellery forms as well as contemporary ideas about beauty.

My brooch Foggy Day in Parkville, a landscape informed by the Impressionist tradition and constructed of enameled copper, sterling silver, bouncy balls, labradorite and felted wool, is also featured in the exhibition.

The Art of Adornment opens this Sunday (2-4pm) and runs until 18 September.

Images from the Hunterdon Art Museum

Monday, 20 June 2011

Van Cleef & Arpels

Set in Style, an exhibition of Van Cleef & Arpels jewellery throughout the 20th century, is on at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York City. I had the opportunity to see the show when I was in New York for the Australian Jewellery Topos exhibition recently, and it's truly a knockout show. Visitors to the exhibition are lent an iPad loaded with high quality images of the work to zoom in on for detailed views, and videos including interviews, workshop footage, and a discussion of their patented signature 'mystery setting' (with no visible setting, seen in the above piece).
The exhibition itself is set up throughout the mansion-turned-museum, with over 350 pieces of jewellery, objects and technical drawings shown in innovative custom displays that change in each room, designed with the original function of each room in mind. The dining room is fitted with bubble-like display cases lining a large table; the atrium holds dozens of butterfly brooches which seem to be fluttering in mid-air.

The exhibition runs until 4 July: if you're in New York, get there! If not, visit the comprehensive exhibition website.

Images from the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum

Monday, 13 June 2011

Talente 2011

These images are from the Talente exhibition in Munich in March 2011. Talente is an annual showcase of emerging artists in all areas of craft and design. In 2011 three artists from Australia were selected for inclusion in the exhibition: myself, jewellery artist Natalia Milosz-Piekarska, and glass artist Kristel Britcher. It was a great honour to be included and I was fortunate to be able to go to Munich for the exhibition.

Talente takes place as part of Schmuck week (schmuck meaning jewellery in German), when Munich is taken over by jewellery exhibitions. Exploring the city was like a treasure hunt as we sought out exhibitions around every corner.

The main events, Schmuck, Talente, Exempla and Meister der Moderne, are held in the huge Munich convention centre as part of the International Handwerksmesse.

My three brooches in the show were landscapes of bouncy balls, sterling silver, mokume gane, enamelled copper, felted wool and gemstones. These landscape brooches are informed by the landscape paintings of J M W Turner and an Impressionist concern for colour and the transient effects of light.

'Bouncy ball' in German is 'flummi'.

top photo by Jeremy Dillon
exhibition photos from Talente

Friday, 10 June 2011

Link V

Link V is showing now at RMIT's School of Art Gallery, Melbourne, featuring the object-based gold and silversmithing and ceramics practices of four RMIT alumni.

A 'roving environmental jewellery project' by Roseanne Bartley called Seeding the Cloud is presented as both finished work (above) and instructions for continuing the process. (I was interested to learn the definition of the phrase: an attempt to change the amount or type of participation that falls from clouds.) Following Roseanne's lead, you'll rid your suburb of plastic rubbish through walking, collecting and making.

The paper-thin layered ceramic work of Amy Kennedy, constructed of a glaze-based material created by the artist, appears to be gently flowing through space, with delicate layers creating the illusion of mass and solid forms.

The exhibition runs until 17 June.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

The Art of Adornment

The Art of Adornment: Studio Jewelry opens at the Hunterdon Art Museum in Clinton, New Jersey on 19 June. The exhibition showcases contermporary jewellery with a unique combination of traditional and contemporary materials and techniques. An opening reception will be held on Sunday 26 June from 2-4pm, and the exhibition will run from 19 June - 18 September.

Foggy Day in Parkville (winter, clearing) is featured in the exhibition. This brooch is the landscape of Princes Park on those foggy winter Melbourne days, in the late morning when the mist begins to clear and the colours are just starting to return. It's one of three foggy day brooches, at different thicknesses of mist.

photo by Jeremy Dillon

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Water and Ice

Kirsten Haydon's Ice Structure is on now at Gallery Funaki in Melbourne. The show is a stunning collection of shimmering white enamelled jewellery and objects continuing her exploration of the Antarctic landscape, running until 18 June.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Frozen Water

Frozen Water , an exhibition of objects exploring the quailities of water by renowned Australian silversmith Wayne Guest, opens tonight at Studio Ingot in Melbourne (Fitzroy). There is a beautiful fluidity to Wayne's raised aluminium forms. The exhibition runs until 25 June.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Buda Contemporary Silver Opening

The Buda Contemporary Silver Exhibition opened today with the announcement of the award winners in the Buda Historic Home's garden room.

The Leviny Commemorative Award went to Meghan O'Rourke for her Peacock Series brooch exploring the decorative imagery of India in coloured titanium and niobium (pictured in the poster, bottom right). Melissa Cameron was awarded the Art Centre Award for her pendant and hollowware objects Raven and the Fishes (pictured in the poster, left), saw pierced and constructed from antique silver plates using motifs of the poetry of Australian performing artist and writer Nick Cave. The Australian Decorative and Fine Arts Society Award was awarded to Maureen Faye-Chauhan for her two brooches from the Geomericus Augmen series, laser cut and TIG welded geometric forms in sterling silver and mild steel.

Student awards were awarded to Nadeem Sahabun for Teapot Series with wooden handles (PJ Williams Award), Annie Broadway for her geometric silver Apogee objects (Gold and Silversmiths' Guild of Australia Award), and Danae Natsis for Time is Life, 3 neckpieces of interchangeable magnetic components (e.g. etal Design and Development Award).

Congratulations to all the winners!

Images of all the award-winning works will be posted on the Buda website soon.

My hollowware object exhibited in the Buda exhibition was Rathdowne Street (dusk, wettest summer on record) a 4-part landscape of colours in sterling silver, enamel, copper and bouncy balls.

photo by Andrew Barcham

The exhibition runs until 19 June. The show is full of interesting work from around Australia, and both Castlemaine and the Buda Historic House are beautiful this time of year!

Friday, 3 June 2011

Australian Jewellery Topos

This piece was part of the recent show Australian Jewellery Topos at Gallery Loupe in Montclair, New Jersey, USA.

'Topos' means 'of place' in Greek: the exhibition showcased 18 Melbourne jewellers' interpretations of place. Mnemochronology 3 is an object with 10 removable, wearable rings, in fine silver, enamel, felted wool and fabric.

Dendrochronology is the process of constructing narratives of history out of the rings of trees. Mnemochronology constructs narratives of the past out of rings of memory.

I had the opportunity to go to New Jersey with some of the other exhibiting artists for the opening night. We gave a public lecture at the 92nd Street Y, New York City, on the subject of Australian Jewellery Topos.

With the support of Arts Victoria, we produced a book called Australian Jewellery Topos: Talking About Place (Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2011).

This was the third location (on three continents) for the Jewellery Topos exhibition. In 2009, in a slightly different form, Jewellery Topos was shown at Galerie Marzee, Nijmegen, the Netherlands, and First Site Gallery, Melbourne.

Mnemochronology photo by Jeremy Dillon
Galerie Marzee photo by Galerie Marzee

Thursday, 2 June 2011


I've opened an Etsy shop!
It's full of colourful pieces from the Bounce series and the Fuzzy series.
...with more to be added soon!

Etsy is an online marketplace for all things handmade. Their motto is "Buy, Sell and Live Handmade!"

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

BUDA Contemporary Silver Exhibition

This Sunday 5th June is the opening of the 11th Biennial Leviny Commemorative Contemporary Silver & Metalwork Exhibtion at Buda Historic House & Garden in Castlemaine, Victoria.

The Buda Silver Exhibition is Australia's only ongoing hollowware award exhibition.

I will have a new piece from the Bounce! series in the show...Image to be revealed soon!

Opening reception:
11am, Sunday 5th June 2011
Buda Historic House & Garden
42 Hunter Street, Castlemaine, Victoria

Gallery open:
4th - 19th June, 12-5pm Wed-Sat, 10am-5pm Sun & Public holidays