RMIT Year 3, Semester 2, Silversmithing

26 02 2013

Third year, second semester, Silversmithing: Mapping the Self

As mentioned in my previous post, this was a project of free personal exploration. I continued from the silversmithing project of Semester 1 that year.

As I wrote in the ‘map’ that accompanied the collection:

For each of us there are special places in world where we feel that we belong.  But what if you have not previously been to these places – what if you have come across them on your travels, yet these places resonate and have a strange pull on you?  Somehow you sense you belong, in the landscape, or amongst the people of that place.

Have you found a fragment of your identity in this place?

Or does this place somehow form a part of your identity?

Is this a kind of ‘genetic memory’ – a familiarity built into your very make-up?

Where are your special places?  Where would your map guide your visitors?

The special places I have so far found are detailed in this map – at least those found to date.  I am sure there will be further volumes in the future.

Thank you for visiting, but please do take care, tread lightly, and take your litter with you.

I made four small-scale objects, one for each of the places I’ve visited in my travels that I felt a special affinity for. Each of these map-based objects was accompanied by a matching-scale porcelain slip-cast fingerprint (one of my finger prints, enlarged and carved into linoleum, onto which the ceramic was poured).

The fingerprints were not the most successful part of this grouping, but I did and still do very much love the small objects. I was especially pleased that I had resolved the securing of the layers in a much better fashion than the first semester project.

1. Cornwall, England
dimensions: 190  *  115  *  20 mm
map source:
Ordnance Survey, sheet 203, 1:50000

with porcelain print; not to be reproduced without permission

with porcelain print; not to be reproduced without permission

2. Avebury, Wiltshire, England
dimensions: 160  *  90  *  22 mm
map source: Ordnance Survey, sheet 173, 1:50000

with porcelain print; not to be reproduced without permission

with porcelain print; not to be reproduced without permission

Avebury; image not to be reproduced without permission

Avebury; image not to be reproduced without permission

Will write more shortly.

‘Radiance: The Neo-Impressionists’ @ NGV

24 02 2013

When I studied Art in high school – only up to grade 10, I had to choose between advanced maths and art for grades 11 & 12, it wasn’t permitted to do both; it was an outrage I tell you, and broke my heart, but I digress – I was particularly attracted to Impressionism.

So it was quite a joy to visit ‘Radiance: The Neo-Impressionists‘ at the National Gallery of Victoria. Even more reason to make me happy was that it was the first time I’ve been to the NGV for over a year or more.

It was refreshing to see artists other than the most well-known of the movement: Georges Seurat, Camille Pissarro and Paul Signac. Though of course their works are amazing. Maximillian Luce and Henri-Edmond Cross were revelations to me.

My favourites of the exhibition were many. Naturally photography was not permitted (this is not a free exhibition), so I will link to the website images.

An excellent quote was on one of the walls: “The belief that the Neo-Impressionists are painters who cover their canvases with multi-colour little dots is a very widespread error … the Neo-Impressionist does not dot, he divides.” Paul Signac

A few observations as I walked around the two rooms of artworks:

  • The lithographs were a surprise, their washed out colours so beautiful and muted.
  • The term ‘Divisionism‘ was also new to me.
  • Pointellism must in a way constrain the ability for an artist to differentiate their work; as the brushstrokes are similar to others using the method; though I imagine they can be individualistic about the size of their dots, the colour palette, the degree of realism and definitions … so maybe it’s not such a limitation.
  • I noticed that there was no audio-tour but that many of the images had those little pixel boxes for smart phones; as you can tell by the simple fact I don’t know what they’re called that I have an old-fashioned phone device, so was unable to unlock these little extra snippets of knowledge. I thought this was a bit ‘exclusionist’, and would have liked the option of an audio-tour. Though that said, I recognise this is probably pretty great for international visitors as maybe it would show up in their native language – yes?

I enjoyed the visit, it was wonderful to feel well enough to wander about an exhibition for nearly an hour and fill the visual-image-well; but by the end was suffering a little of pastel and pixel overload.

Radiance: The Neo-Impressionists‘ is at NGV until 17th March 2013.

Update (25th February): it was remiss of me not to mention that this exhibition has a lot of little tips for children – I thought these were especially thoughtful and engaging.

Others have reviewed the exhibition: Hannah Duke, Hannah Duke for Melbourne Pulse, Catharine of Pondering ArtPeter Madden for Kryztoff, Howard of Extemporanea.

‘Once More, with Love’ @ Northcity4

21 02 2013

Ooh, you must get along to ‘Once More, with Love‘ at Northcity4, it’s amazing and inspiring.

photograph taken with permission

photograph taken with permission

Media: “Once More, With Love’ is a not-for-profit travelling jewellery exhibition exploring concepts of sustainability, recycling and ethical production. The project involves over 30kg of unwanted jewellery items donated by the Australian public which have been reworked ‘with love’ by a diverse selection of twenty one contemporary jewellers. The works created for Once More, With Love propose a potential new life cycle for materials, while creating space for reflecting on their origins.

The Once More, With Love project was started in 2010 by Suse Scholem. Suse was inspired by the activities of the American group Ethical Metalsmiths, who have significantly increased ethical/sustainability awareness in the American jewellery industry.  Once More, With Love grew as the number of jewellers involved increased, and Simon Cottrell,  took on the role of co-curator.

Make sure you read the website for much more information and back story; and images of the work and the process to make them (fabulous!).

I visited the exhibition with a dear friend [see her post] who had donated some of the jewellery in the mystery bags – it was such a delight for her to see some of her unwanted pieces being used in new interpretations.

photograph taken with permission

photograph taken with permission

Each jeweller was given a bag of no-longer-wanted jewellery to remake into new jewels. A photograph of the ‘bag of goodies’ is displayed alongside the new pieces – a brilliant idea, as part of the fun for me was looking for the origin of each component.

I found it so interesting that I was able to identify many of the jewellers’ works without seeing their name (on the fabulously recycled displays) – I’m sure that’s to do with my increased knowledge of jewellers’ oeuvre.

There were many examples of direct use of the materials in the goodie-bags. Other more intriguing uses of the original objects includes melting of plastic components, grinding of semi-precious stones into powder to use as dye, and most exceptionally melting of metal into new shapes.

If you haven’t had a look at Ethical Metalsmiths, do take some time. I remember seeing two of the founders at a conference, and distinctly remember the advice of making jewellery in such a way that it would be easier to deconstruct and reuse in the future. With this in mind, especially at this exhibition, I noticed some of the reinterpreted pieces were made in such a way that they were no longer able to be reused themselves in the future – an interesting juxtaposition for me. It didn’t stop me from enjoying the work, but it was quite a debate in my mind.


photograph taken with permission

Participating artists (in alphabetical order):

Quite a lot has been written about this exhibition, as it has already been shown in Sydney at Studio 20/17 and in Canberra at Bilk. There’s a great press page on the OMWL website; also HandMadeLife, WearableArtBlog and Joyaviva.

As the exhibition is traveling, note that some pieces have already been sold and may not make it to the next destination (though some collectors are permitting the pieces to travel).

Once More, with Love‘ is at Northcity4 until 2nd March 2013.

Update (21st February): there is a related workshop this weekend at Northcity4 … maybe you’d like to join in? Suse will be joined by Emma Grace (of Treasury workshop fame) to host a workshop where “participants will have the opportunity to deconstruct recycled jewellery and under the guidance of Emma and Suse, create a completely new piece of jewellery to take home. Materials and tools will be provided.” It’s so great to see these two powerhouses of sustainable practice collaborating!

RMIT Year 3, Semester 2, Jewellery

20 02 2013

The final semester of our Bachelor of Art (Fine Art) in Gold and Silversmithing at RMIT had only two projects, one each for jewellery and silversmithing, and the objectives of these were for each student to pursue our own investigation.

My jewellery project continued on from my favourite project from second year, Gold.

Third year, second semester, Jewellery: Quilted Fragments

To quote the text I wrote in the booklet made to accompany the collection:
Hand-worked textiles are treasures of special significance: the labour involved, the care invested, the importance and preciousness imparted to the cloth, the creative expression traditionally associated with women, and the personal stories each cloth signifies.
Sadly the inherent fragility of textiles, and the need for our ancestors to re-use and recycle cloth fragments until they were threadbare, often means that this aspect of the past is rarely illuminated.  Museums gather and shelter many artefacts from the ages, but rarely textiles.
To date I have produced two small groups of wearable objects that ‘metallise fabric fragments’ – Gold Brooches and Quilted Fragments – translating textile memories into more permanent artefact, capturing their delicacy and preciousness.
The inspiration for both groups is seventeenth and eighteenth century quilting work of Provençe.  Citing the traditional use of local floral motifs, the first group features Wattle and the second False Sarsparilla: blooms of personal importance from my own childhood.  The focus is the metal fragment; the ‘frayed’ edges from the manufacturing process is exploited to strengthen the textile connection.  The second group explores the fragmentary nature further by presenting the pieces as a museum historian may attempt to connect them in a search for an overall pattern.

booklet, front page

booklet, front page

booklet, pages 1 and 2

booklet, pages 1 and 2

booklet, page 3 and 4

booklet, page 3 and 4

booklet, pages 5 and 6

booklet, pages 5 and 6

I’ll write more about the pieces shortly. In the meantime, I’ll hide some more photographs below (if I publish them in the main body of this post, your computron device may implode!).

… last post in this series: RMIT Year 3, Semester 2, Silversmithing update
… see more projects from RMIT Year 3 here

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