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.

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.

Pretty things

9 11 2014

I’ve come to realise that my enjoyment of Etsy seems to have a lot to do with “filling the visual well”, so to speak.

I’ve also had the revelation that buying yarn is most likely my way of “buying colour”.

Lastly, I’ve also noticed how gorgeous the serendipitous collecting of my selected “favourites” look when shown together …

Read the rest of this entry »

Things I love about making

8 11 2014

I’ve been thinking a lot about this question: so what do you love doing?

A few thoughts pop up with respect to what I love about making:

  • researching, reading, learning
  • developing ideas, exploring options, thinking
  • making conceptual connections
  • imagining
  • planning, organising
  • drawing, doodling
  • playing with proportions
  • symmetry, curves
  • tracing over the previous drawing and altering just one small aspect
  • going about my everyday with an all-pervasive underlying mind-current of my latest project
  • seeing the world in an entirely different way when I’m in an idea/project

I’m sure there’s more…

Gold harp strings

20 10 2014

Recently I was told about wire strung harps, and that while mythology sometimes referred to them as ‘golden’ this may not have been hyperbole but in fact descriptive. What?! Yes, harps may have in fact been strung with gold.

What a fabulous thing.

Henry VIII playing harp; click on image for original Wiki source

Henry VIII playing harp; click on image for original Wiki source

A little bit of internets reading later, and I’ve found a few articles you may be interested in if you’d like to read more.

An article (2003) by Ann Heymann indicates that an Australian team were the first to practically explore the possibility of precious metal strings, and successfully used silver. Eventually she led a team that strung a specific kind of harp, a clairseach, with gold strings.

Another article (2010) by Cynthia Cathcart explores her own journey to string a harp with (sterling) silver.

Lastly, there’s an article comparing wire-strung and gut-strung harps … probably one for the musically focused reader. In fact the site this article is from is dedicated to harps … for the musician for sure!

So interesting … the second article will be of interest to technical metalsmiths, as it describes various hardness tests etc.

Upcoming Sydney visit

16 10 2014

So I’m popping into Sydney for a day-trip later in the month to see some jewellery exhibitions.

Powerhouse Museum’s ‘A fine possession: jewellery and identity‘ is first.
Then the ‘National Contemporary Jewellery Award‘ at COTA.
And M Contemporary ‘Intimately Connected‘.
If I have time I’ll pop into Studio 20/17 of course.

What else should I put on the list?

Update (20th October): maybe I can add Craft NSW ‘Emerging Artist: Craft Award 2014

Most important exhibition

14 10 2014

With thanks to a heads-up from the inimitable Zoe Brand of Personal Space Project fame, I’m now aware of a Kickstarter project ‘Shows & Tales‘: the AJF (Art Jewelry Forum) raising funds for a publication focusing on exhibitions.

Naturally I want to be a supporter … not the least because jewellery is my thing, but I’m very interested in reading and thinking about the content. I’m deciding between the various supporter levels, and one of them includes the publication on the AJF website of a brief paragraph about your most important exhibition.

I liked this idea so much I thought I’d write it here anyway. Perhaps there will be more than one when I give the idea a bit more time to sink in … but the first that came to mind was: ‘Ad Astra per Aspera‘ in 2003. I wrote the below a few years ago and I’m not sure I can put it any better.

When I moved to Melbourne (to study goldsmithing) the first exhibition I visited was the 2003 RMIT Gold & Silversmithing Graduate exhibition ‘Ad Astra per Aspera‘, which translates to ‘to the stars with difficulty’, at the Melbourne Gold Treasury Museum.

This was a key moment for me – I wandered around the exhibits and felt like I was in the right place; that this was something I not only wanted to do, but felt I was able to do, and it made sense to me and almost felt like home.