Calendar: August 2013

31 07 2013

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Caring for jewellery

29 07 2013

If you’ve invested in a gorgeous piece of artisan-made jewellery, you want to care for it in the best way possible.

Firstly, the “don’t” list:

  • best not to wear jewellery to bed
  • best not to wear jewellery in the shower / bath (water isn’t jewellery’s best friend)
  • best not to wear jewellery when doing housework (chemicals / knocks)
  • never put doublet or triplet opals into water (if you’re not sure if your opal is solid or not, don’t risk it!)
  • keep jewellery away from heat

Secondly, storage:

  • best not to have all your finest pieces knocking about in a bowl together; the softer stones can be damaged and the metal scratched (for understanding relative hardness, check out Mohs Scale – a material with a higher number will damage the lower-ranking material)
  • sterling silver, and even fine silver, is prone to tarnish (or oxidise) when exposed to air; so if you have pieces that aren’t worn regularly, or are special dress pieces, my preferred way of storage is wrapped in acid-free paper and popped inside a zip-lock bag (and as I’m an organisational dork, I also have a little photo of the piece in the bag, so I don’t have to undo all the bags and unwrap all the pieces looking for the one item I want); no it’s not at all stylish, but it preserves them beautifully
  • gold is less prone to oxidisation, but due to being a soft metal it is more subject to scratches etc
  • oxidised (ie. blackened) silver pieces have a coating that is already oxidised, though they too are subject to scratches that may damage the finish
  • other metals tarnish too – copper, steel etc … so keeping them well stored is important
  • pearls are a special topic – I understand they’re best kept against the skin and their lustre will come back if worn; any tips on pearls storage would be greatly appreciated

Thirdly, cleaning:

  • I have pieces made with paint, paper, perspex, doublet opals and so-forth, so cleaning is not quite impossible but certainly difficult; for these I just hope that diligent storage will lessen the need for cleaning
  • for my solid metal pieces I use Hagerty silver cleaning foam (recommended by one of the jewellery galleries), it can be used on all metals
  • for pieces with (non-porous) stones in them, I prefer to take them to someone with a sonic cleaner (essentially a water bath with sound waves passed through it) – this gets in under the stone without damaging it
  • if you have a really fine chain, there are cleaning dips that may be more gentle than rubbing it with a cloth and foam
  • enameled pieces can handle gentle cleaning I think (remembering it is essentially glass) – though I’d be careful! perhaps someone can leave a comment with the best means of cleaning enamel work?
  • if your jewellery is made of alternate materials, my biggest tip is to be VERY careful! in fact, best approach is to ask the maker or gallery you bought it from about how to care for it

Lastly, if your jewellery item is in need of some care and attention (maybe even repair), contact the maker or gallery you purchased it from – they’re the experts.

Also remember you can have your pieces refinished – after a few years of wear one of my favourite rings was pretty scratched up, so I took it to a jeweller and had it cleaned, polished and matt finished – good as new.

Jewellery is meant to be loved and enjoyed and WORN! So care for it and you can wear it for decades to come.

[If I’ve left off any other super-duper tips, please please do leave a comment – the more the merrier!]

Buda Contemporary Australian Silver & Metalwork Award 2013

25 07 2013

A very brief visit to Bendigo was in order to see the Buda Contemporary Australian Silver & Metalwork Award at the Post Office Gallery (an arm of the Bendigo Art Gallery) – I’m given to understand that this is the first time the award exhibition has been held outside the home in Castlemaine.

photograph taken with gallery permission on condition of no flash

photograph taken with gallery permission on condition of no flash

My favourite pieces were:

  • Rei Minohara-Starke [site], Stream of Sunshine – drinkware, 2011; the satin finish and high-polish edges are gorgeous (right foreground in the image above)
  • Tracy Pateman, (Travelling tea kit) Teapot #5, 2013 (centre foreground in the image above)
  • Robin Bold, The Aunt, 2013 – as always, I love Robin’s work (far back right in image below)
  • Sean Booth [site], Milk or Sugar?, 2011

photograph taken with gallery permission on condition of no flash

There was also a lot to like about:

  • Kate Jungwirth [site], Flower Pins, 2013
  • Angela Bakker, Finding Balance, 2012
  • Jessamy Pollock [page], Fold Brooch, 2012

photograph taken with gallery permission on condition of no flash

Media: “This award is a unique biennial exhibition which aims to encourage, foster and promote excellence and innovation in Australian metalwork as well as cultivate an understanding and appreciation of silversmithing to a wider audience.

I will spend some time reading up on the rules of selection; however I do admit to being surprised by the significant number of jewellery items compared to silversmithing pieces (ie. personal ornament vs object). Also a little surprised there were a number of pieces made of mostly non-metal materials.

I hope the next award will see more smithing pieces … perhaps it’s time I put my thoughts into action and get smithing and make some objects myself!!


photograph taken with gallery permission on condition of no flash

Award winners were most worthy indeed! (in my humble opinion):

  • The Leviny Commemorative Award: Joung Mee Do, Reflection, 2013
  • Arts Centre Melbourne Silver Award (Acquisitive): Karl Millard, The Ashlar Shuffle, 2013
  • The Australian Decorative and Fine Arts Societies of Melbourne, Yarra & Central Victoria Emerging Artist Award: Tracy Pateman, (Travelling tea kit) Teapot #5, 2013
  • e.g.etal Design & Development Award: Jo Hawley, Untitled, 2012
  • P.J.Williams & Associates Award: Rei Minohara-Starke, Stream of Sunshine – drinkware, 2011
  • The Gold and Silversmiths’ Guild of Australia Award: Jessamy Pollock, Fold Brooch, 2012

See the Bendigo Art Gallery page for gorgeous images of these awarded pieces.


photograph taken with gallery permission on condition of no flash

Finalists were (in alphabetical order):

  • Helen Aitken-Kuhnen, Justine Austen
  • Angela Bakker, Sylvia Ballerini, Carolyn Barker, Emily Becher, Vito Bila, Safira Blom, Rose Boddam-Whetham, Robin Bold, Sean Booth, Olivia Boyle, Ximena Briceno
  • Melissa Cragg
  • Julia deVille, Joung Mee Do
  • Mark Edgoose
  • Marcus Foley, Robert Foster
  • Allona Goren, Wayne Guest
  • Jo Hawley, Jill Hermans, Annelies Hofmeyr
  • Sarah Johnston, Kate Jungwirth, Soo Been Kim, Saori Kita, Wendy Korol
  • Carmen Lam, Bethamy Linton, Danielle Lott
  • Trephina Mackay, Caroline McQueen, Lindy McSwan, Karl Millard, Rei Minohara-Starke, Christopher Mullins, Sarah Murphy
  • Maria Natoli, Danae Natsis, Asha Nicholas, Larah Nott
  • Tracy Pateman, Ellen Pittman, Nicole Polentas, Jessamy Pollock
  • Stephen Robb, Jana Roman
  • Beatrice Schlabowsky, Vicky Shukuroglou
  • Janine Tanzer, Blanche Tilden
  • Katherine Wheeler
  • Katherine Yaroslavceff

The accompanying publication is only $15, an absolute bargain given the beautiful images in it.

Buda Contemporary Australian Silver & Metalwork Award 2013 is at Post Office Gallery in Bendigo until 28th July 2013.

It will also travel – selected works from this exhibition will be on display from Thursday 8 August – Sunday 1 September in Arts Centre Melbourne’s Smorgon Family Plaza.

[see also my posts on previous Buda exhibitions: 2009 and it seems I must have missed 2011 (sad face; most likely there was too much on!]

My piece for RMIT Auction 2013

24 07 2013

It’s that time of year again – RMIT Auction time. Yay.

This year the RMIT Object-based Practice Jewellery auction is on 7th August 2013, at Mercy Bar + Eatery (upstairs from Craft); preview online and from 5:30, auction from 630pm.

Their blog is rmitgoldandsilversmithingauction2013 – go see!

I’ve donated a pair of my Coffee‘ earrings, ‘Long Black‘.

Long Black; image not to be reproduced without permission

Long Black; image not to be reproduced without permission

Best of luck! Hope to see you there.