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]

Art Melbourne 2009

19 04 2009

Art Melbourne 2009 is on this weekend (16-19th April) at the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton.

I have visited it every year since moving to Melbourne, and it has been progressively getting less edgy and more expensive. Last year was really disappointing; the year before though was reasonably interesting for the excitement of the Hazel Dooney exhibit; and the year before that I saw a magnificent Sharon Green photograph which I eventually bought (from Metro 5 Gallery, now renamed Metro Gallery).

There is little three-dimensional work here – though there is the odd sculptural or ceramic piece (and a massive interactive piece in the Off the Wall section, which was fun) – so the fair is mainly paintings and photographs, ‘hang-on-the-wall’ art.


This year wasn’t as beige and boring as last year. The artistic highlights for me included:

  • The arresting stand for Brunswick Street Gallery (BSG), which greets visitors as they first enter the building. The photograph below shows photo-boxes by Perran Costi (who won the 2008 BSG Small Works prize) and the large-scale photographs on the right are by Harmony Nicholas.
  • The subtly distorted paintings by Marcus Rose are both interesting and yet strangely boring at the same time!  I like them and then I don’t like them – it is a very odd reaction. The photograph doesn’t give a good idea of how he slightly warps the image of the buildings. Plus I like this shot for the juxtoposition of the external building images with the internal physical building.
  • The Everfresh crew had a stand (though it wasn’t actually listed on the guide? maybe not all exhibitors are listed…) – I wondered if Art Melbourne was perhaps on the verge of becoming cool, or if Everfresh were flirting with a wider not-so-cool public.
  • Last year there were quite a few artists channelling Basquiat. This wasn’t so in fashion this year, where quite a few works reminded me of Jeffrey Smart in colour, composition and subject.
  • I liked the Melbourne images at the Matt Irwin stand, and found out that they will also print up your own images on quality paper and canvas – perhaps a future project awaits!
  • Lastly, in the Off the Wall section: peacock-feathered pug-dog sculptures by Emily Valentine Bullock were stunning, disturbing and fascinating; and a particularly gorgeous black-and-white photograph of a woman’s pubic hair partially covered by a beautiful small round Japanese fan, however I am very sad that I didn’t make note of the artist’s name.

With all of that though, the real star for me was the beautiful old building herself.