13 12 2014

I’ve been on holidays for three weeks (from my regular day-job in a finance institution) … and I’ve been using the time to think …  a lot … a whole darn lot.

While I don’t miss the studio as such, I do miss creativity.
Writing makes up for some of that, but not all.
Knitting makes up for some of it, but it’s meditative not creative for me.



So I’ve retrieved my opal collection from their hidey-hole.

I’ll look at them, perhaps even doodle a little, and see what arises … yes, I still want to make jewellery things out of them … but I’m not sure I want to do the making, perhaps the imagining and drawing will be sufficient for now.

Beauty in suburbia

10 12 2014

The original ceiling of room that was once the front room of a beautiful home, and now part of a suburban cafe.

what's not to love?

what’s not to love?

Lesson for today: look up.

Blog roundup

6 12 2014

Oh dear readers, I fear this may be the last Blog Roundup post. There just aren’t that many blogs around any more, and those that are around are only being rarely updated, with notable exceptions:

  • Katherine Bowman is one of the few bloggers still updating regularly – this makes me happy, for I do love her work
  • my other favourite, David Neale, is only rarely updating these days
  • the most excellent Melissa Cameron continues to engage with readers; thank goodness really, she’s an incredibly important source of competition information and such, and is critically interested in so many aspects of making – if you’re not already regularly reading her, you ought to
  • in non-blog writing, I have discovered The Jewellery Activist … the authors sometimes writes, though mostly collects images and writing from other jewellery-related sources; definitely worth your regular visit

Tell me if you’ve found interesting sites recently.

Sigh … I do think it’s time I joined instagram, as that seems to be where all the young kids are posting nowadays … though it does lack the written element I enjoy even more than the images.

I’ve moved those blogs that haven’t updated for near six months into the ‘Hibernating’ group on the Links Page.

I’ve also retired a bunch that haven’t updated in over a year … though for posterity I include their links below:

Note that many of those still making of course have websites and/or tumblr and/or instagram and/or facebook and the like…

New art crush

5 12 2014

I’ve been indulging in art documentaries and have a new little art crush. It’s surprising really, for it’s an artist who’s almost been hiding in plain sight: Johannes Vermeer.

His most celebrated painting, ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring‘, is so ingrained in our culture that it’s hard to separate the genuine beauty from the artefact, its visage and accumulated assumptions (book covers and posters and movies and such).

Take another look at his other paintings … lordy, they’re lovely … the colour and quietness is so appealing.

from Wiki; click on source for original source

from Wiki; click on source for original source

Most especially, in my eyes, ‘The Milkmaid‘ (c.1658, above), ‘The Wine Glass‘ (1658-60) and ‘The Astronomer‘ (1668).

Visiting art icons

4 12 2014

Visiting art galleries and museums is one of my very most favourite things in the world. Having read bzillions of books about art over the years, highlights of gallery visits are of course seeing pieces I’ve read about and have been wanting to see in person. Unfortunately the experience is sometimes underwhelming.

If you’ve been to see the Mona Lisa in The Louvre you know exactly what I mean. Even though she wasn’t on my list of must-sees, I still did battle the crowds … why? perhaps just in case I would experience some kind of artist revelation in her presence (or something; I didn’t as it turned out).

If you’ve seen Stonehenge from a car or bus as you’ve whizzed along the nearby main road, you also know what I mean. Disappointing and barely majestic (though it is better when you’re walking around it, and I would happily visit again and again).

And so I come to Picasso’s Guernica, housed in Madrid’s Centro de Arte Reina Sofia.

image from Wiki

image from Wiki

I still think about the experience. As I wrote at the time, it was surprisingly intense and powerful, and the artwork hit me in the chest. But it tested every skerrick of my patience to be among the bustling crowd and the gormless visitors taking photographs even though there were more no-photo signs than artworks in that room.

I’m probably a gallery snob; for I do find it tiresome to hear the inane ramblings of those who are obviously only there to be able to say they were there, and not there for the sake of the artistic experience (oh you know you can tell the difference too).

This artwork deserves so much better … how I wish I could have just sat in the room on my own, in quiet solitude, to feel the immense impact of it. I wanted to be engulfed by it, to feel what moved Picasso to make it.

If only galleries would consider making iconic artworks available in such a manner … to set aside a few hours, in the evening if necessary, perhaps even only once a year, when patrons (for a fee of course, likely a large fee) could have ten minutes with the artwork alone (with guards, naturally), in silence and solitude.

RMIT reduces hours, again

1 12 2014

In sad news, I have learned that the studio-based classes in the RMIT Object-based Practice Gold & Silversmithing degree will now be reduced (again) to just three hours per week.

Utterly impossibly ridiculous and such a shame.

In my time at RMIT, yes many moons ago, we had five hours per studio subject and on some days that was barely enough for each student to get time with the teacher; and there were only twelve of us (I believe there are now more per class).

How on earth will any genuine technical skills be imparted in such limited hours? I already hear stories of students who have wonderful ideas they cannot bring to physical reality because they don’t have the skills required to realise their vision.

A reduction in contact hours will only reinforce the generally held opinion that RMIT is not the place to learn technical skills, but is where you go after you’ve learned handskills and want to develop conceptually.

I feel for the teaching staff – I’m convinced they would want more time too, for they will bear the burden of unskilled students not receiving the teaching attention they require or expected when they signed on for the course.

This is all to do with funding. It is sad that the arts seem to be valued less and less by universities and governments.

A reduction in funding has no doubt contributed to the reduced effort being put into exhibitions for the students – there is no longer a 1st and 2nd year exhibition, and the graduate exhibition this year is not in a gallery but in one of the university rooms.

The students are the ones who will suffer for it all.

Enough of my rant … best not to start me …

Update (a few hours after initial publication): Victorian governments and universities best get themselves clear on the fact that Melbourne’s reputation as Australia’s “capital of culture” is entirely due to such courses being available to artists … you remove or undermine the places of learning and experimentation, and you force the culture to migrate elsewhere. If Melbourne wants to keep trading on its rich artistic culture, it must keep investing in the places it is incubated and nurtured.

Update (2nd December): an important note about funding … Universities are federally funded and each university then takes that funding and shares it among its schools, who then allocate accordingly; TAFEs are state funded.

Hence university departments/schools, like the RMIT School of Art, make decisions about how to spend their monies (staff, facilities, etc .. and we all know how expensive equipment for G&S can be); but the university is the one holding the purse-strings and determining how much each school is funded; and these university decision-makers in turn can only give out what the federal government has given them.

[a note for clarity: many thanks to Simon Cottrell for his facebook comment; these aren’t Simon’s words though, they’re mine; but his comment made me realise that this kind of information is important to the debate]

Calendar: December 2014

30 11 2014

post last updated: 5th December

all month:

  • Personal Space Project (Canberra and online), Lisa Furno [link]
  • Melbourne Museum, ‘The Art of Science‘ [link]; until 1st February 2015
  • Powerhouse Museum (Sydney), ‘A fine possession: jewellery and identity‘, will “celebrate the central place of jewellery in our lives from antiquity to the present-day through over 700 iconic and rarely seen objects” [link]; until September 2015; see my review post

2nd December: Studio 20/17 (Sydney), ‘Little Big‘ [link]; “The scale of things is always relative. It just depends upon your perspective. Studio 20/17’s closing exhibition for 2014 is about the way we perceive our world, our own problems, concerns, loves and passions. Something big to us might just be very tiny to the next person. This exhibition is about turning our perspective on its head, questioning the importance, weighting and priority we give to things. The Little|Big challenge was issued to a cohort of artists who are accustomed to working with the delicate, the tiny and the refined. It’s time to upend the cup, throw away jewellery convention and see what emerges. It’s time to make something little and it’s time to make something big.“; until 31st January 2015

3rd December: Woollongong Art Gallery ‘White Heat‘ [link]; group ceramic jewellery exhibition; until 15th February 2015

exhibition media; click on image for original facebook source

exhibition media; click on image for original facebook source

4th December: Pieces of Eight, Josh Grogan curates ‘Victory‘ [link]; “Grogan sets the challenge by inviting the artists to make a piece of jewellery in his signature colour palette of blue, white, gold or silver that encapsulates the theme of VICTORY. The works will be installed in the central vitrine and available for purchase during the exhibition.; until 18th January 2015

exhibition media

exhibition media

4th December: Courtesy of the Artist (Sydney), ‘Christmas Showcase ’14‘ [link]

exhibition media; click on image for original source

exhibition media; click on image for original source

4th December: Fehily Contemporary, Lousje Skala ‘In Conversation‘ [link]; until 20th December, opening 7th [spotted on Bin Dixon-Ward’s facebook page]

exhibition media; from facebook; click on image for original source

exhibition media; from facebook; click on image for original source

5th December: last day for RMIT School of Art Graduate Exhibitions [link]; in various RMIT buildings; see my review post about the G&S exhibition ‘Greater Than, Less Than

5th December: last day for RMIT First Site Gallery, RMIT School of Art Honour GraduatesHey Handsome‘ [link]; see my review post

5th December: last day for Gallery Bilk (Canberra), Kath Ingliss ‘Lamina‘ [link]

5th December: Craft ‘Supermarket‘ [link]; “Exploring the phenomenon of markets and production ware, Supermarket transforms the gallery into a marketplace of limited edition works exclusive to Craft from a select group of Melbourne makers. Curated by Debbie Pryor, a selection of artists have been invited to create exclusive ranges as an extension of products in the retail store or reinvention of exhibition concepts. Featuring new works by Katherine Bowman, Kris Coad, Andrei Davidoff, Bin Dixon–Ward, Amanda Dziedzic, Pennie Jagiello, Kate Jones, Mattt Bags, Sarah O’Sullivan, Philip Stokes and Karla Way.“; until 31st January 2015

5th December: Bilk Gallery (Canberra) ‘Ring a ding ding‘ Xmas showcase [link]; until 24th December

exhibition media; from facebook; click on image for original source

exhibition media; from facebook; click on image for original source

6th December: MPavillion Walk Meet with Roseanne Bartley, 10-11am [link]; “Her ‘My Shadow Wears’ is a public performance project that creates jewellery through the chance meeting of found objects—rubbish, fallen leaves, lost trinkets—and the shadows cast by bodies as we loom over our discoveries, incorporating them into our silhouettes. The results are jewellery ‘experiences’, rather than finished or formal accessories. In walking together we also share in, swap and wear one another’s jewellery finds.

7th December: Craft ‘NEW CRAFT @ Queen Victoria Market‘ event [link]; “A one of its kind event, NEW CRAFT showcases a considered selection of handmade objects, presented to you by the people who made them – a truly special experience and a precious opportunity to learn about the skills and processes involved in making each object!

12th December: Jam Factory (Adelaide), Alice Potter ‘Colour: Speaking in Plumes‘ [link, page]; “a collection of new jewellery pieces centred around the colour combinations different species of birds display in their feathers. Having researched many species of colourful birds, as well as having photographed hundreds of taxidermied specimens at the South Australian Museum Science Centre’s Ornithology collection, Potter whittled her collection down to around 70 species to focus the exhibition on. Each of these pieces embodies a specific species of bird, taking the colours from their feathers and reinterpreting these within the jewellery works.“; until 24th January 2015

exhibition media

exhibition media

24th December: last day for Gray Street Workshop (Adelaide) ‘Collections‘ [with thanks to Erin Key’s facebook page]

please tell me of other exhibitions or events
also check out Melissa Cameron’s excellent informative blog (especially for competitions)
also, check out ArtPrizes

… last calendar post: Calendar: November 2014 …