Not convinced

30 06 2011

Okay – so it has apparently broken Australian records for the highest price paid for a ‘piece of jewellery’ [Sotheby’s] …

media image; click on image for original source

But it hardly a ‘piece of jewellery’ in my opinion …
-> it’s two huge diamonds set in the least imaginative setting just so it could be sold …
-> the ‘jewellery’ component here is just so the rocks wouldn’t be sold as loose stones (and perhaps at a lower price) …
-> and there’s some import rule about bringing loose stones into some countries with attracts a much higher tax duty than applied to ‘jewellery’….
-> plus, some insurers won’t insure loose stones but will insure ‘jewellery’ …


Update (30th June): since writing the above mini-rant, have found that the pendant was on a necklet of 24cts of diamonds … okay, so I suppose I have to relinquish and admit defeat, it is theoretically ‘jewellery’ …

Calendar: July 2011

30 06 2011

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Artist profile: Julia Storey

29 06 2011

A little while ago I was thinking about who to write about next in my Artist Profile series, and naturally I wanted to continue with the theme of makers I went through university with. As such, it is with great pleasure I introduce Julia Storey.

I’ve written recently about Julia – her cufflinks have now made it into my collection!

All images used with permission of the artist; not to be reproduced without permission.

Julia at her (super-fantastic) bench

1. What have you been up to since we graduated from our RMIT undergraduate degree (at the end of 2006)?

“In 2007 I began studying my Masters of Fine Arts (Gold and Silversmithing) at RMIT. In that year I had my work shown at Gallerie Marzee in The Netherlands, Buda Contemporary Australian Silver and Metalwork Exhibition in Castlemaine and I was a finalist in the Kaiserman Prize for recently graduated students. I also curated a small exhibition in Fitzroy featuring the works of two photographer friends and my jewellery.

After a year of the Masters Degree I realised it wasn’t quite right for me at that time so I took time away from it and began working at Makers Mark Gallery in Melbourne where I became the Artistic Adviser and Merchandise Manager.

I started missing making jewellery, so along with three other girls from the undergraduate course, set up a studio where we could come together, bounce ideas off each other, and make jewellery again!

Recently, I have been working alongside a wonderful goldsmith with an amazing wealth of jewellery knowledge and technical skills, and who is a mentor to me.”

One of my favourite pieces Julia made in her final year at RMIT is the Wedding Group below – where mesh has been formed around little ceramic kissing figurines, carefully cut to release the original model, and then painstakingly rejoined. I especially loved that our friend Lucy Hearn had one of Julia’s little sculptures on the top of her wedding cupcake-cake!

Wedding Group

2. What has been your most exciting / rewarding experience over the last few years?

“Last year, two friends of mine asked me to make their wedding rings. It definitely scared me at the start, but I really enjoyed custom designing the two rings with them, incorporating their ideas with mine and then the technical challenge of creating them. Making the rings involved teaching myself a whole lot of new skills and when they were finished I was really proud of how they turned out. 

The icing on the cake was going to the beautiful beach ceremony and knowing when they were exchanging the rings that I had been part of something wonderful.”

Such a lovely story!

Below are some of Julia’s more recent work – Continuing Neckpiece and Sapphire Continue Ring.


3. What do you like most about making?

“Getting my hands dirty! I like the immediacy of metal and how it allows me to see my ideas come to life right before my eyes. When I get inspired or excited by something it kick starts the imaginative cogs in my mind and gets me thinking of textures, techniques and forms.

It’s amazing how many ways you can manipulate metal and just how much this can change its appearance.

Most often I have many pieces going on at the same time. I like that when working with metal if something isn’t quite working at that time, or if I need more time to think over its design, I can continue on with another piece and come back to it with a fresh mind. Over time I have trialled and worked with a variety of materials and you don’t quite get that luxury with a lot of resin, silicone or clay.

Construction fascinates me too. When looking at other examples of gold and silversmithing I am always trying to figure out how it has all come together. I have been to a lot of exhibitions so I could see jewellery in real life, and not in textbooks. I really feel that helps you learn about the artist and expand your own creative and technical boundaries.”

During our degree I always thought Julia was one of the most courageous and exploratitive amongst us – always happy to experiment and learn new techniques in order to bring her imagination to physical existence (where many of us often restricted our design due to our undeveloped skill-level).

Neckpiece from 2007

I hadn’t seen the above piece before – it’s so lyrical, a little mystery landscape…

4. What is the next step for your work / What does the next year or two hold for you?

“I have spent the last year or two making jewellery to sell through galleries and would like to continue to develop this. In conjunction with that I will be getting my website up and running (

It has also been a little while since I’ve made exhibition work and I would love to get back into that. I have a few ideas of the pieces I want to make and now I just need to set myself the challenge of making them.

Oh and hopefully buying more tools (I’m completely addicted!!!)”

Time Apart 2007

Also, check out Julia’s kit-and-caboodle page; her profile on Breathing Colours site (which has an image of her lovely ‘cage’ necklace); and of course we await for more to come on her website.

Many thanks to Julia for being so generous and sharing so much about herself.

I now share the studio with Julia and two of our friends from uni. I love spending time with her in the studio, and especially talking with her about jewellery – she always has amazing ideas on how to see something I’m working / stuck on and suggest other things to consider (respectfully of course!); and naturally, her tool collection is a huge bonus!

All images used with permission of the artist; not to be reproduced without permission.

Update (20th September 2011): I am happy to say that Julia has provided an image of her makers mark / hallmark … please also see my Makers Mark page for other artist marks!

Julia Storey; with permission of the artist

… last artist profile: Michelle Taylor


27 06 2011

A flower to say ‘sorry’ for not having anything to write about today …
I have been very busy relaxing, relaxing hard …

iris ... I love flowers in my home

Looking at the photo, that iris actually looks a bit demented!

Liisa Hashimoto ‘Mebea – Red Sprout’ @ e.g.etal

24 06 2011

E.g.etal is showing two exhibitions, Joungmee Do’s ‘Longevity’ and Liisa Hashimoto ‘Mebea – Red Sprout‘.

Liisa is based in Osaka and this is her first Australian exhibition.

image courtesy of, and with thanks to, the gallery

Exhibition media: “Liisa Hashimoto’s intricately crafted rings, necklaces and pins subtly augment natural forms: buds, rocks, flowers, leaves, moss, branches… The result is jewellery that is grounded in natural forms with an enchanting sense of whimsy, sprouting from the body of the wearer.

The work here is quite lyrical and almost alive, there’s so much movement. Looking at this collection and comparing it to Joungmee’s collection, there is a striking difference … vitality and peace, vigour and calm. The gallery has done well to place them apart, so there is no competition or jarring of energies. [I hope to soon have an installation image to show you.]

There are some outrageously fantastical pieces! I’d almost call them figurative…

The elements in Liisa’s work reminded me of Miro’s iconography, however in hindsight this really doesn’t make sense! The metal is mostly silver, often heat-coloured, and there are regular highlights of red enamel (not surprising, given the title). I particularly liked the fine metal ‘presentation boxes’ over the pieces, creating a little frame for some…

Liisa Hashimoto’s ‘Mebea – Red Sprout‘ is at e.g.etal until 2nd July 2011.

Once more, with feeling

23 06 2011

Fridays are my favourite days, especially the Fridays I don’t work – naturally!

Last Friday I joined some lovely friends for brunch, wearing four rings I made during my first year at university as simple exercises. They’re not super-fabulous, though I do like their satin finish and to wear them all at once.

four rings

One of my friends, who was also at RMIT and recognised the rings, questioned whether the knife-edge one was uncomfortable to wear. I was surprised to find myself respond that I like jewellery I can feel (though if I squish my fingers against the ring, yes it does hurt; so no, I don’t often do the squishing).

I thought more about that … I prefer rings with weight, that I can feel I’m wearing. For example, I tried on a beautiful dainty gold ring of Romy Mittelman’s (at her recent e.g.etal exhibition) and while I thought it looked so beautiful, I couldn’t feel its weight on my finger enough; that was a little unsettling – I could see it, but couldn’t feel it.

I also prefer neckpieces I can feel I’m wearing … lightweight pieces I can’t feel unless I put my hand up to my neck are not at all satisfying.

Now earrings … that’s trickier … perhaps that’s why I haven’t worn them for ages … and why I still haven’t decided whether to pierce my ears again.

If I can’t feel it a piece of jewellery, how do I know if it’s still on and I haven’t lost it!!

‘Padua and its Jewellery’ opens tonight

22 06 2011

Tonight is the official opening of RMIT Gallery special exhibition “Gioielli d’Autore. Padova e la Scuola dell’oro – Italian Contemporary Jewellery. Padua and its Jewellery School“ [5-7pm; link].

I will write about my first visit shortly … but in the meantime, there was an article last week in The Age about it.

from The Age, 14th June 2011 ; click on image for original story on The Age (easier to read!)

This exhibiton runs until 14th August 2011.