Calendar: June 2009

31 05 2009

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jewellery by: Lisa Black

29 05 2009

There have been two articles in bright shiny high-brow magazines this year about Lisa Black, so I thought I would look more into her work.

article 1: pg 14, AFR magazine, Life & Leisure, Luxury'09

article 1: pg 14, AFR magazine, Life & Leisure, Luxury'09

article 2: pg 11, The AFR Magazine, April 2009

article 2: pg 11, The AFR Magazine, April 2009

Her website has some lovely images of her jewellery pieces. While not all of it is to my liking (personal opinion only), I do like two pairs of earrings with Egyptian elements and their reflection of the construction and design tastes of jewellery in that era.

Blog roundup

28 05 2009

More interesting stories from around the place:

  • Craft Vic blog has a great interview with Nina Ellis [post]
  • e.g.etal highlights new work by Jessica Morrison [post]
  • the Nicholas Building blog highlights the intriguing Kimono House [post] – it’s on my list for a visit!
  • through reading ArtBlart, I’ve been led to a new site ‘Word on the Street‘, which highlights events and exhibitions in Australia – worth keeping an eye on
  • the Craft Australia site highlights upcoming opportunities for makers – one that took my interest was from Object Gallery (Sydney) : “Precious Pendants invites makers from across Australia, and at any level of career, to submit one piece for possible inclusion in the exhibition. The judging panel will select 40 pieces from the applicants to be exhibited in Project Space.” (deadline 21st August)

‘Top Arts: VCE 2008’ @ NGV

27 05 2009

As part of the VCE Season of Excellence, ‘Top Arts: VCE 2008‘ is showing at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) Ian Potter Centre, from 25th March to 14th June.

On display are selected works “of young people who have completed Art and Studio Arts studies in the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE), across Victorian school sectors“. For those not familiar with the Victorian education system, these are high-school graduates.

The works of each of the 61 students is well shown on the NGV site here.

I was hoping for more three-dimensional pieces, but was interested to see the good representation of photographic work. A few students worth mentioning:

  • the large-scale image of Camilla Morgan’s is particularly arresting;
  • the delicate drawing on silk by Ruth O’Leary is thoughtful and beautiful; and
  • the painting by Rania Tabet is vivid and very well done.

Top Arts: VCE 2008‘ is on at the NGV Ian Potter Centre until 14th June.

Craft Australia needs our love

26 05 2009

I have come across an important story that should be of interest to all makers and designers. Craft Australia is asking for help to digitise its significant collection of images currently on slides. I have replicated the text from their website below :

The Craft Australia Image Bank is a unique image archive of the Australian Studio Craft Movement from the 1960s to the present day. The Image Bank is part of the Craft Australia National Historical Collection and includes over 25,000 35mm slides of original artwork across the disciplines of gold and silversmithing, textiles, ceramics, glass and wood. This includes extremely rare material from the 1960s and 1970s that predates the establishment of most of Australia’s tertiary training programs in craft and design and their associated libraries and research collections.

The slide collection is the most comprehensive collection of original artworks by Australian craft practitioners and designers practicing in Australia in the mid to late twentieth century.

If you were a craft artist during this time or you visited craft exhibitions during this period, it is likely that the image you remember will be in this collection.

Save our stories

The Image Bank has been identified as the area in “most urgent need of preservation” and, with support from the National Library of Australia, Craft Australia has begun digitising this nationally significant collection.

Help us save our stories. With your support we can save the Image Bank and ensure that these works are not forever lost in the plastic slide sleeves of the past. You can help us make this irreplaceable cultural and historical resource accessible online and protect it for future generations to use.

We need $45,000 to complete the first phase of this project. Your support will enable us to digitise the Education Slide Kits that form part of the Image Bank and assist in making our history accessible online.

Help save our stories, save the Craft Australia Image Bank. Make a donation to the Craft Australia Australian Craft Fund and watch the pie grow as we reach our target.

Be part of Australia’s history, save the past for a vibrant future.

It would be great if the community of jewellers and makers were able to contribute to this important work – these images form our collective artistic history and potentially our legacy!

Treasures for the wearer

25 05 2009

I’ve always loved jewellery that has a secret for the wearer – a gem or exquisite detailing on the underside of a brooch, or embellishment on the inside of a ring.

I have recently discovered a new term that could be applied to some examples of this concealed beauty: stealth wealth. On further research it turns out the phrase has been around for a long time, but I haven’t connected it to jewellery before. I found the term when reading the March 2009 AFR Magazine. It was used to refer to a beautiful ring from e.g.etal with ‘ruby ball-bearings’ on the inside the band.

from AFR magazine March 2009 edition

from AFR magazine March 2009 edition

It is the work of Sean O’Connell and is amazingly comfortable to wear. He also has made rings with ceramic balls and stainless steel balls, but the most covetable is the ruby one. The underside really is undetectable from the passive viewer – so  much so that while looking for it at e.g.etal I actually had to ask for help to identify which was the one in the magazine. [As an aside, Sean was one of the artists involved in this year’s Giving Beads.]

Forbes defines the term as follows: ““Stealth wealth” is about accoutrements that are subtle, not necessarily readable by the general public, but by those in the know.” And later in the same article: “There’s an immense amount of detail that only the wearer is aware of; you don’t see that detail unless the wearer wants you to see it.” The tailor being quoted is referring to bespoke suits, but this is how I connect the concept to jewellery.

The practice of paying special attention to the back of a brooch is one I liked ascribing to when making work for my degree. It is also a practice that Bettina Speckner seems to like too. When first viewing her exhibition I didn’t know there was such gorgeousness on the underside until I asked to pick up one of the pieces.

Below is an image of a brooch by Bettina: unfortunately I could not find its name, but it is the only photograph I could find with the back-side of the piece shown.  This is exactly what I mean by a ‘treasure for the wearer’ – only the wearer knows the underside is so spectacular, for there is no hint from the ‘front face’ of the brooch.

from Kath Libbert Jewellery (UK) website; used under fair dealings provision (for review and critique) of Copyright Act

from Kath Libbert Jewellery (UK) website

Also, on a recent visit to e.g.etal I learned that Katherine Bowman (one of my favourite jewellers) often has a little gem set on the back of her rings, where only the wearer knows of it. Lovely! I have only named a few jewellers here, but there are many who do this in their work.

I personally love this aspect. My view is that jewellery is worn for the wearer, and less for the observer – displays of wealth, or using jewellery to mark ones class or associations, belong to bygone eras. Personal decoration is worn for the experience, it does not require ‘the gaze of the other’ to exist.

But I also wonder – when selling or exhibiting work, why not display the pieces so that the underside can be seen too? Especially if they are so incredibly beautiful. If it is desired by the artist to sell the work, for a viewer to eventually become the owner and wearer, isn’t it best to show how wonderful the whole object is? Or is it a means of finding those worthy of owning it: in that if you interested enough to look at the back, and therefore find this beauty, then you may be the right person to own it. This is where talking with the staff at galleries is really important to understanding the whole piece, for they will often point out such treasures – imagine walking away not realising that you’ve only seen half of the beauty.

Returning to a point I make above, wearing jewellery to mark oneself as belonging to a particular group is actually interesting now that I give it some more thought … especially with the growth in popularity of the Singelringen and the abominable Pandora bracelets … more on that another time.

Beauty in suburbia

24 05 2009

I often walk past this church on Wattletree Road in Malvern – I like the shape of the window …


It reminded me of a necklace in one of my jewellery books – ‘Jewels and Jewellery‘ by Clare Philips, published by V&A (p73):

'Necklace of Berlin iron with Gothic tracery and foliage, c. 1820-30'

'Necklace of Berlin iron with Gothic tracery and foliage, c. 1820-30'