Calendar: May 2009

30 04 2009

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NGV Collection

29 04 2009

It seems that rainy days inspire me to visit to the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). The intent for my visit was to see the ‘Dressed to Rule‘ exhibition (which I will write about shortly), but I also wanted to see if the exhibit of items from the jewellery collection had changed.

My last visit was less than a month ago, so I was a little surprised and pleased to see a new exhibit. On this visit, items from the collection were exhibited in one of the larger cases: a promotion! There were eight items last time, and this time there were twenty-seven; with Otto Kunzli being a major focus of this grouping.

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page 1

  • Nel Linssen, Necklace, 1995; paper – there are fantastic images on his website
  • Nel Linssen, Necklace, 1999; paper
  • Gert Mosettig, Necklace, 1998; aluminium, brass
  • Theresa Hilbert, Brooch, 1999; silver
  • Theresa Hilbert, Vessel, Pendant, 1996; silver

page 2

page 3

  • Otto Kunzli, Gold makes you blind, bracelet, 1980 – this is a well-known piece by Otto, where the gold bracelet is covered in black rubber
  • Otto Kunzli, Oh Say!’ Brooch, 1991 – again, another very well known piece, an acidic commentary on American life
  • Gerd Rothman, ‘For him for her for Mo Stahr’, bangle, 1990; gold
  • Karl Fritsch, Ring, 2005, 2005; oxidised silver, glass – I like the playful stacking of riotously colourful glass gems
  • Helen Britton, Red blue brooch, 2007
  • Helen Britton, Yellow structure, 2008
  • Peter Bauhius, Vessel, 2004; silver

page 4

I thought the photography policy of the NGV was not to allow visitors to take any photographs. However, on this one visit alone I saw two people taking photographs of items in the permanent collection; one even doing so with a guard standing right nearby – so is it okay?!

The NGV website offers good information on note-taking and sketching in the gallery, but it took a deal of searching to find their general conditions of entry where it is stated that: “Whenever you are on the NGV Premises you must not:

  • use photographic or recording equipment in areas where this has been restricted;
  • use flash photographic equipment without the express permission of the NGV;
  • use mobile phones and other devices in artwork display areas;
  • touch, or in any other way, interfere with artwork on display;
  • smoke in the building;
  • eat or drink in artwork display areas or other places where this is restricted; and
  • bring animals on the NGV Premises, except for guide dogs”

So, that must mean that photography in these areas was not ‘restricted’ – though I saw no clear signage as I wandered around various exhibits and gallery rooms, which areas were ‘restricted’ and which weren’t. Next time I will ask for photography permission … though I do like sketching….

Update (25th June): clarification on the policy was later achieved! see this post

Julie Carter @ Small Space Jewellery

27 04 2009

I regularly check the websites of the jewellery galleries / retail spaces, looking out for new work or notifications of upcoming exhibitions. Recently I found that Small Space was advertising new work by one of their in-house designers, Julie Carter. The image on the site was just beautiful, so I decided to visit.

From the Small Space site: “Inspired by an old tradition of children’s story telling using shadow against the wall created through hand movement.

from Small Space website

from Small Space website

The work has been popular, and by my visit (later in the month) there were a handful left. And it’s no wonder they are liked, for there is a joy and innocence in them, for of course they remind us of games we played as children. And the flat two-dimensional representation perfectly suits the imagery.

For me, they particularly remind me of shadow games I played with my family during the electricity strikes in the early 80s in Queensland. Night after night we had no electricity, only candle-light, by which I would read Charlotte’s Web and sometime play this game with my family when we were bored of reading…


photograph taken with gallery permission

Small Space Jewellery is at 365a St Georges Rd, Fitzroy North – it’s worth a visit. Julie’s work is in the window for the month of April.

for thought…

25 04 2009

in favour:

  • Happiness depends upon ourselves.
    Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC)
  • Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
    Mahatma Gandhi (1869 – 1948)
  • Remember that happiness is a way of travel – not a destination.
    Roy M. Goodman


  • A person is never happy except at the price of some ignorance.
    Anatole France (1844 – 1924)
  • To be stupid, selfish, and have good health are three requirements for happiness, though if stupidity is lacking, all is lost.
    Gustave Flaubert (1821 – 1880)

Abbotsford Convent Markets

24 04 2009

I like this monthly market at the Abbotsford Convent, held this time on 19th May. It is listed as a combination of two markets, the Makers Market and the Skirt and Shirt Market. I’m not sure if there was any genuine delineation between the two, as they’re regularly held ‘together’. The market is mostly hand-made clothing and accessories, with a handful of jewellery makers.

A few months ago I picked up a gorgeous shift dress by Mint Slice Afternoon; and this month the affair continued, with a beautiful skirt coming home with me. Sharing her stall with Mint Slice Afternoon was BridBird – her hand-made felt brooches and necklaces are delightful.


photograph taken with permission of artist

Two other jewellers worth mentioning are Lisa-Keri Jenness, whose silver pieces are Celtic-inspired; and her stall-mate Belinda di Nino, whose earrings were modern yet classically shaped and beautifully made.

The next market at Abbotsford Convent is on 17th May, the third Sunday of the month.

Reworking pieces

22 04 2009

I have been spending some time archiving, and properly storing, the jewellery and silversmithing objects I made during my Fine Arts Degree at RMIT (2004-2006).

Spending time, indulging really, to leaf through the visual diary attached to each assignment piece, and in some cases I’ve made a technical drawing or a still-life rendering (a practice I picked up at the Goldsmiths School in Brisbane).

This process can take hours for each piece, for I can easily fall into reverie: how I was feeling at the time I was exploring that particular idea; what was going on in my life; what other objects could have been made instead of the one that actually ended up being made.

On that last point, one of the lecturers at uni once said that the hardest part of designing was not necessarily coming up with an idea, but deciding on which of your ideas to bring into existence. That decision was often uneasy, especially because in the first few years of the degree we are set tasks and assignments that need to be completed in limited time.

As I look over the underlying work for each assignment, I find that I am now having ‘better’ ideas on what I could do with various components in these fledgling pieces.

For example, our very first assignment was to make a jewellery piece with an element of cuttlefish casting. This was the very first piece I made at university, and I’m a bit shy about it and no longer even like it, and it doesn’t represent my style at all – but for the sake of the argument here I have included a photograph.

Project: Cut to the Bone (Year 1, Semester 1, 2004) image: Mark Kral

project: Cut to the Bone (Year 1, Semester 1, 2004); materials: sterling silver, silk, thread; image: Mark Kral

But now I look at the piece I created, particularly in context of the drawings I was making at the time of alternate uses of the main component, and find myself toying with the idea of essentially destroying the piece and making something else from the components.

This has been troubling me – if a piece is not successful, or no longer considered successful, is it okay to ‘remodel’ it?

  • Does it depend on how much time has passed since the piece was last touched – if it has existed in this complete state for five years should it remain as is, or if it was only a few months ago is it okay?
  • Does it depend on whether it has previously been presented as ‘finished’ – exhibited in public, or at an examination?
  • Should it never be altered after being ‘finished’ – if a better piece is possible, then make a new piece to reflect the new idea, and don’t touch the older piece – in this way an unaltered history of the artist’s development is kept?
  • Does it matter at all, the artist can choose to do whatever they like?

What do other jewellers think and do? What do artists in other media think and do? Leonardi da Vinci touched-up and altered the paintings that remained in his possession and if it’s good enough for him…

After giving it lots of thought, I’ve decided that given I made this object for university assessment and it effectively forms part of the documentation of my progression as an artist and jeweller, especially when placed in context against later work, that I won’t be destroying it. Though I suspect the urge will probably remain.

Blog round-up

20 04 2009

Yee-hah! What has been published on my favourite blogs and sites this week?

  • Pieces of Eight: the publication of massive two-volume “The Complete Compendium of Contemporary Jewellery 2008”; an international survey featuring a number of artists from the gallery [post]
  • Kate Wheeler‘s gorgeous drawings and ameoboid teapot [post]
  • Katherine Bowman‘s beautiful floral earrings and Ava ring [post]
  • Vikki Kassioras‘s vibrant sapphire bangle [post]
  • Kit and Caboodle‘s story on “Jewellery Topos“, the RMIT Postgraduate group exhibition at Gallery Marzee in The Netherlands [post]