How did you get there?

27 03 2016

Today I was watching an art documentary … you know, as I like to do.

During said passive education I was presented with a painting, a collaboration no less, between Jan Brueghel the Elder and Peter Paul Rubens : specifically, ‘Hearing‘ (1617-18) in their ‘The Five Senses‘ series.

Hearing ; from Prado Museum in Madrid ; click on image for original source

Hearing ; from Prado Museum in Madrid ; click on image for original source

Look a bit closer at this little birdie …

cropped from above image

cropped from above image

Unless I’m very much mistaken, and I absorbed nothing from my Grandma’s copy of ‘Complete Book of Australian Birds‘, that is a sulfur-crested cockatoo. This raucous little feathered fellow is native to Australia and New Guinea.

So … this was painted in 1617-18.

Mmm … time for me to check my history.

The Dutch apparently were visiting Australia’s coast line (north-west) from 1606 – though most of these visits seem to have been accidents of incorrect navigation and quite a proportion perished.

It seems more likely that perhaps the bird was brought back instead from New Guinea – considering the Portuguese and Spanish were gadding about there from the mid 1500s.

Or perhaps they were traded by Indonesians in touch with New Guinea, who in turn were trading with the Dutch and others.

Oh. I was hoping for a strange story.
This isn’t strange but actually quite reasonable.
Best you go about your day.

No jewellery for you

24 01 2014

Have you heard this before: “I can’t give her/you/him jewellery for their birthday/xmas/awesomeness celebration; they’re a jeweller, they make it themselves, how could I possibly choose what to give them” ?

Or have you been the one to say it?

I admit it is a field fraught with danger … similar to being asked to select a bottle of wine for a gift to a wine blender or wine judge. Shudder. ‘Tis a task usually worth your avoidance.

Allow me to offer the potential gift-giver some thoughts if you find yourself willing to take on the risk of giving jewellery to someone who may be considered knowledgeable or a connoisseur of the genre:

  • it is not for the fainthearted, you do need to be aware of the recipient’s preferences (if you know them well enough to want to gift them jewellery, I’d suggest you’ve spent enough time to get a general feel of things in this department)
  • perhaps you can secretly request the help of family or friends
  • even better, the help of a maker-jeweller-friend of your recipient
  • I would err on the side of ‘the simpler the better’; the fussier the item, the higher the chance of a misstep
  • if you can be involved in the design, or even the construction, so much the better (I’ve written before about commissioning bespoke jewellery)
  • sentiment matters
  • consider involving the recipient – the receipt of the finished object won’t be a surprise this way; but your introduction of the idea and your desire to gift them something they love, the anticipation and involvement during the design or selection process may make up for that; and you’ll know the piece will be to their liking/loving
  • one idea I especially like is for said gift-giver to work with a maker who uses wax-casting, roll a little sausage of wax and shape it into a simple ring with your very own hands, so it has your very own fingerprints on it, and have it cast in the metal of choice (no polish, for heaven’s sake, no polish; and best a matt finish)

Oopsies, that last one there turned out to be more about my preferences. Dear me. How did that happen?

Amazing nature

12 06 2013

Is it just me, or does this look like a pair of cufflinks or earrings or lapel pins?

from my favourite facebook page; click on image for original source

from my favourite facebook page; click on image for original source

They’re actually Golden Wattle pollen grains. Beautiful. I wonder if all pollen grains are so gorgeous?

I love wattle flowers … they were everywhere in the area I grew up, and were the inspiration of the carving for my Gold Brooches from my second year at uni.

second year, 'gold' brooch

second year, ‘gold’ brooch

Dear Contemporary Jewellery …

6 05 2013

Zoe Brand writes a regular column ‘Brandlandia’ for a NZ jewellers newsletter ‘Overview’.

In this issue she wrote a love letter to Contemporary Jewellery (CJ):

I’ve been thinking lately, what is this thing that has become my life. I wanted to write it a quick note just to let it know how much it means to me. I though a love letter would be a lovely vehicle in which to express freely and informally my relationship with it, or what I more affectionately call it: CJ (aka contemporary jewellery).

Dearest CJ
Thanks for being the reason I jump out of bed in the morning!
Thanks for being the reason that I look for the edge and want to push past it.
Thanks for being the reason that I have so many BFF’s!
Thanks for being the reason I am I hardly content by just ‘pretty’ things.
Thanks for being the reason I am, who I am.
So much love, now and forever

As she writes, she also “asked some of my good friends to drop a line to their lovers.

This was my love letter … it took less than a minute to write and I was genuinely surprised by the content.

Dearest Contemporary Jewellery
You know of the deep admiration I hold for you.
In your rare quieter guise, I adore and relate to you.

I want to hold you close, be near you, be reflected in you.
But your wilder side is bewildering to me.

I wish I could like it more.
I wish I could be like it more.
I have tried. I am yet to succeed.
Can I not be brought into the fold until I am more like you?
Your uncertain lover


For more love letters see the latest ‘Overview’ newsletter #12.