My jewellery collection #15

2 04 2010

Purchasing this ring was a pretty exciting, as it had been almost ten years since I last commissioned a piece of jewellery for myself; it is certainly the first from a Melbourne jeweller (the previous one was from my jewellery teacher at Goldsmiths School in Brisbane, which I’ll write about another time).

[photographs published with artist permission; copyright belongs to the artist and images are not to be reproduced without permission]

Jessica Morrison; amended copyright notice as above

I have had an admiration for Jessica Morrison‘s work since I was at uni (she was a year ahead of me at RMIT); I particularly enjoyed her colour and envied her sense of play in making.

One afternoon in 2008 (I think; maybe late 2007 even) I had been wandering up Brunswick Street and popped into Studio Ingot, as I regularly do to see what’s new. This time though I finally tried on a ring of Jessica’s (yes, I’d been eyeing it off for a while!), and as it didn’t quite fit me I asked if one could be made for me.

Jessica Morrison ring; amended copyright notice as above

The commissioning process is pretty simple and Studio Ingot were fabulous – they were particularly keen to understand what aspects of the piece I was especially attracted to, that I recognised that it was a unique item and that the finished piece I received would naturally be a little different, and they gently asked a few questions that I later realised were to gauge whether I appreciated the fragility of the piece and how I was to wear the piece (ie. that I wasn’t planning on doing the dishes in it!).

It’s a beautiful piece of art in its own right. I have worn it only a few times – it’s not the sort of jewellery one wears every day; especially as I have a habit of talking with my hands and flinging them around a bit, a delicate enamelled piece is something to be very careful of.

There is more information on Jessica, and more images of her work, here: StudioIngot, e.g.etal (more), NGV (part of Rigg 2006), CraftVic, and her own blog.

… last post on my jewellery collection #14

‘Figment’ @ e.g.etal

22 03 2010

Since first reading about the ‘Figment‘ exhibition, I have been looking forward to seeing how the e.g.etal store will look: “… our showroom will be transformed by a bespoke installation into a vibrant mythical landscape.  The intention of the installation is to imbue the space with a sense of whimsy and playfulness while allowing a direct connection with the individual works on display.” (from e.g.etal website)

The image in the previous post shows the overall visual effect of the installation, but it’s quite different to see a photograph of it to the experience of actually being in the midst of it.

installation; photograph taken with gallery permission

Strangely, when I first read about the ‘immersive landscape‘ intended for this exhibition, I had in my mind developed a vision of a lush green densely-foliaged forest, complex and with limited ability to see the whole room at once – which upon reflection may be because most of my ideas fable or myth seem to be set in a forest (something to pursue and elucidate later). So when I walked into the space as it has been created, it was quite a different setting to that I had created in my mind – which in itself is an interesting experience, the mind-shift from what is imagined to what is reality. On initially entering the space I was struck by there being no soft or organic surfaces, in contrast to what I had conjured up.

installation; photograph taken with gallery permission

The atmosphere created is almost hallucinogenic – one somewhat feels like Alice in Wonderland, entering a space where the roof is lower and you feel larger than you would in an ordinary room, or any gallery space (which usually have high ceilings). The projected lights create another worldly experience, and dodging the lights accidentally getting in your eyes makes you more conscious of how your body moves through the space and aware of where you are in relation to the work.

The jewellery sits on transparencies of drawings the artists made which working on the project – so you see the finished object and also see part of the journey to make them. These drawings bring colour to the space, and create the web of wonder on the walls. Of the exhibitions I’ve seen in the last year or more, this one is one of the best (if not the best) in terms of imaginative design and committment in executing the idea.

installation; photograph taken with gallery permission

The jewellery here is outstanding! Participating artists are (by surname):

  • Katherine Bowman; “inspired by the myth of Icarus … draws on James Reeves’ engaging 1969 text entitled ‘Gods & Voyagers, Legends of Ancient Greece’” (exhibition text); these pieces are my favourite in the show, they’re gorgeous (the round pendants in the first two images above); Katherine has some amazing images of these on her own blog, and she generously shares her process, from drawing to making; I would dearly love to take one of these home (especially Invention ‘Daedalus’)!
  • Michaela Bruton ‘The Sun is Sad and it’s Crying‘; “drawing from the notion of ‘animism’ – a vibrant view of creation that conveys an instinctual respect for the earth” (exhibition text); I’ve written before about Michaela’s work, and the fine soldering and patience to create her pieces [see stories: Siemens, Fresh!, Cornucopia, Legs]
  • Anna Davern; “the tale of “Little Suck-a-Thumb” within the well-known German children’s book Der Struwwelpeter by Heinrich Hoffmann permeated the nightmares of a young Anna Davern” (exhibition text); I didn’t read this until after I saw the work, but I can now place the menace of the imagery in these works and certainly can understand the bad dreams; they’re not ugly or evil by any means, but you know that kind of wierd place some childhood stories reside, between fantasy and horror … and the on-the-surface-placid images that have an undercurrent of nasty lurking; see Anna’s blog for photographs of some of her pieces
  • Natalia Milosz-Peikarska; “recalls childhood hours lost in a world of magic and witchcraft” (exhibition text); the colours Natalia uses are quite lovely; she has more images of her work and opening night on her blog too (I love that so many makers are blogging!)
  • Jessica Morrison ‘Day Dream‘; “still looking out the window and daydreaming” (exhibition text); in pieces unlike any I’ve seen before from Jess, she is exhibiting gorgeous stained-glass pieces in blues, reds and orange; I think these are plique-a-jour, which is just incredible for the scale (having done only a little of this technique before, I can only imagine the amount of time these took); I think there’s a lovely connection between the technique (which translates to ‘open to light’) and the imagery of the work; see more of Jessica’s work on her blog, Studio Ingot and e.g.etal website
  • Karla Way; “evokes resonant memories of an imagined childhood character – a mythical lizard traversing the wide, dusty grey landscape of remote Western Australia” (exhibition text); I particularly liked her necklace combining soft grey perspex and a strong pink agate, which she shows on her blog
  • Katherine Wheeler ‘Deciphered Landscapes‘;”evokes notions of timelessness, adventure and the wandering spirit of a holiday’s endless days” (exhibition text); Katherine must have been busy the last few months, with making for this and her own solo exhibition currently on a Hand Held Gallery! (see my previous story on her exhibition, and artist profile, for images of her work); also see her blog for more photographs of the exhibition and of the opening night

installation; photograph taken with gallery permission

So much effort has been expended for this exhibition, by the artists and curators and gallery staff (and carpenters!); and it’s truly a wonderful experience.

Figment‘ is at e.g.etal until 31st March 2010.

Update (24th March): check out more photos on e.g.etal’s blog; and also in pretty exciting news, some of the text in the above story has been quoted (with permission) in the latest e.g.etal newsletter (flattering indeed!).

Update (27th March): Katherine Wheeler has shared some images of her drawings and the work she provided for this exhibition on her blog.