Calendar: September 2009

31 08 2009

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Blog roundup

31 08 2009

A few more of my favourite stories from recent weeks:

  • David Neale has published a photograph of a necklace he has made for a private commission – it is utterly gorgeous and luxury materialised! the colour is astonishing [post]
  • Katherine Wheeler experiments with photographing a new neckpiece – white on white is not easy to capture, but I like to top image best! [post]
  • I have recently discovered the blog of Inari Kiuru, an RMIT student – her photography is just beautiful [link]
  • Art Blart covers Mari Funaki’s current exhibition in Perth [post]
  • the results from the Bonham & Goodman Fine Jewellery auction were interesting, with just over half of the lots sold [link]; only one of the four ‘important’ diamonds sold, but the one that did made an Australian record at $400k ($480k including buyers premium) [link]
  • remember Pieces of Eight open day as part of the Craft Cubed festival tomorrow, 3-6pm [post]

Happy reading!

Handmade in Melbourne

30 08 2009

Have you seen this book yet? It was recently launched and there are many jewellers – by my count around 48 of the 200 artisans included!

over; ISBN 978-0-9805973-5-6

cover; ISBN 978-0-9805973-5-6

Svenja John ‘X_BRANEN‘ @ Gallery Funaki

28 08 2009

Oh I am so sad that this month has gone by so quickly that I am only now writing about this wonderful exhibition. It closes this weekend – so you need to run to Gallery Funaki today or tomorrow if you are to see it in person! Sorry for such short notice.

Exhibition media states: “In her latest jewellery, Svenja John works with her material, macrofol, four times thicker than she is used to. She has turned away from a spatial attachment system that creates volume, preferring a linear, additive method based on the principle of a chain and links.

X-BRANEN translates to X-BONES, and many of the elements are indeed skeletal. The immediate connection for me was to children’s toys and cartoons – both from the form of the materials, the thickness and shapes, and of course the colours. For example, the piece below has colouring that unexpectedly reminded me of a ‘Transformer’ (from the 80s cartoon, not from the recent movie) or even Skeletor (from the cartoon ‘Masters of the Universe’) … and the reverie begins…

from Gallery Funaki, image used with gallery permission

from Gallery Funaki, image used with gallery permission

The exhibition is interesting in that it has the X-BRANEN collection shown interspersed with a smaller number of pieces from her previous BREATH collection.

For me this does interrupt the flow and cohesiveness a little – mixing larger bolder thicker objects with fragile delicate ones. There is a significant difference in the feel of each group, most obviously in material thickness (though it is the same actual material), colour and construct. Putting these pieces side-by-side puts them into a dialogue I wasn’t entirely sure about. That said though, I am very happy to see the older works, as they are totally gorgeous and I like them very much.

from Gallery Funaki, image used with gallery permission

from Gallery Funaki, image used with gallery permission

Svenja is a high-profile European jeweller, and to have an exhibition of her work in Melbourne is fantastic. More of her work can be seen on her site, Klimt02, JewelersWerk Gallery, and Contemporary Applied Arts site.

The macrofol in the new works has been water-jet cut, and was hand-cut in the older pieces; and in both cases has been hand-coloured. The careful design and planning necessary to put all the components together in the X-BRANEN work is amazing, as they’re quite complex.

Below are some of my sketches of the works …



Svenja John’s ‘X_BRANEN‘ is at Gallery Funaki until 29th August 2009.

‘Building a Collection’ @ NGV

27 08 2009

The full title of this exhibition is ‘Building a Collection: Recent acquisition of prints and drawings‘, and it at the NGV International.

I visited this exhibition on a day when I actually went to the NGV with the sole intent of seeing if the jewellery collection had changed over yet. The last time the display changed was some time between the 3rd and 26th of April – I’ve been going back once or twice a month to see the next change-over, but have been disappointed to date. Perhaps I should have believed the information-desk person when they told me the display changes every three or four months, instead of wishing it to be more regular! It’s been four months now – so I’m holding my breath and am ready to see new objects.

Anyway, on my way out I remembered the new print exhibition. The gallery is on the ground floor and is decorated in the style of the late 1960s in a homage to the original St Kilda road gallery spaces. The walls are a pale peach-pink, which was apparently meant to be warm and welcoming; but a background colour isn’t my favourite thing as I think it literally colours how I perceive the art. On one wall of this exhibition though it actually seems a suitable colour – the below lithographs are by Maurice Denis, 1897-98.

photograph taken with persmission, without flash

photograph taken with permission, without flash

The prints and drawings in this exhibition span dates from the earliest print now in the collection, c1465 ‘Master of the E Series Tarocchi’ (image on NGV site), up to contemporary work. Consistent with the title, all shown were purchased since 2002. I found it interesting that some were from funds donated by ‘an anonymous donor’ – I like the idea of donating funds to the NGV (when I become fantastically wealthy!), but I do believe I am vain enough to ask for my name to be written under the art bought with my help.

The highlight for me was a large-scale etching by Grayson Perry, ‘Map of an Englishman’, 2004 [further images here and here, the second allowing close-ups of each panel and is definitely worth checking out]. I think I’ve written before about my love for maps, so it is no surprise I love this.

photograph taken with permission, without flash

photograph taken with permission, without flash

There is so much to see here. The features I love the most, aside from some insightful and hilarious ‘place-names’ (including ‘Smacked-arse-in-the-moonlight’ and ‘Pretentious-moi’) is that the ‘Dreams’ region is an island not connect to the mainland, and that the two main landmasses are connected by a bridge between the major cities of ‘Love’ and ‘Sex’.

photograph taken with permission, without flash

photograph taken with permission, without flash

The complexity of the village and town buildings tell a story – it is interesting that ‘Sex’ is a vast fortified place, the walls of ‘Love’ aren’t so high, and ‘G-spot’ (in the ‘Cliche’ region) is quite a lovely round walled township not too far away from ‘Yes-yes-yes’ and ‘Up-a-bit’. Spending time looking at this work of art was an utter delight!

Building a Collection: Recent acquisitions of prints and drawings‘  is at the NGV until 31st January 2010.

Nicholas Building open studio

26 08 2009

This Thursday and Friday afternoons (27 & 28th August), from 4 – 9pm, selected artists in the Nicholas Building (37 Swanston, cnr Flinders Lane, entry via Cathedral Arcade) will open their studios. A must-see – there are lots of jewellers!


RMIT jewellery auction – the night

24 08 2009

I was so dearly hoping to add to my collection at this year’s auction, but was defeated by an amazingly enthusiastic crowd doing some fantastic bidding!


just before the start

The venue was packed initially, but the crowd reduced a little after the first break.  I do have to admit that I went home (like a nana, I know) during the second set (of four) as I was feeling mighty weary, and more importantly had been out-bid on the brooch I really really wanted – a beautiful enamelled piece by Claire O’Halloran [piece, her site]. That’s not to say there weren’t lovely pieces after #31 of #101, but I did have my heart set…

In my day (again, nana, I know) we were impossibly tickled and impressed when a piece reached $150 say – but this year that mark was effortlessly sailed past by many in the first and early second set … a good indication indeed of the wealth of support for this event and the artists and the artform. Someone next to me remarked: ‘what global financial crisis’.

A lot of effort goes in to organising this kind of event (especially while also attempting to concentrate on producing a body of work for assessment in a few short months), and each graduating year learns from the previous years. The one tip (by no means meant as a criticism of this year’s event) I would suggest to next year’s group is to look for a larger venue – this annual evening is so very popular, and as alumni and general community support continues to grow, more seats and room will become necessary. That said though, through my own experience, I completely understand how hard it is to find a venue that ticks all the boxes – close to uni (for safe transport of pieces and organisation), drinkies for the bidders, a good feel, a least a little protection from random-crazy-dudes who wander by and make havoc (this happened a few times in the past), and not too expensive to hire (preferably free), with the facilities for holding an auction (stage/platform, audio, lights, projector, etc). It is easy to underestimate how successful you’ll be and I would venture to say that every year has been surprised by it – perhaps planning for a very large attendance sometimes feels like tempting fate. This was actually a pretty good venue, but if only it was a smidge larger.

The most impressive development was the on-line previewing – the photography was exceptional, and it did relieve some of the pressure to get to the boards to see the pieces on the night. This must be continued in future years, it is almost necessary.

I hope the graduate group had a fantastic night and that the fundraising was most successful!

Please feel free to share your experiences of the evening – did you get to take home the piece you had your heart set on? Did you stay to the end and have some more stories to share?