That time …

15 04 2016

Remember that time …

… that time when I was happily making woven earrings

the good old days [image not to be reproduced without author permission]

the good old days [image not to be reproduced without author permission]

This group was for an exhibition at Studio 20/17 … back in the day.

Ah memories…





NGV visit

11 04 2016

It’s been quite some time (15months) since I last visited the National Gallery of Victoria to specifically look for the contemporary jewellery display.

Given it had been a while, I felt I had something of an expectation to see a change in the display.

It’s not obvious … perhaps there may have been one or two swap outs-ins … though the majority looked to be same to me.

photographs taken under gallery conditions, including no flash

photographs taken under gallery conditions, including no flash

photographs taken under gallery conditions, including no flash

photographs taken under gallery conditions, including no flash

Sigh. Sad news. I’m sure there are some in storage that would love to come out!

—–

In other gallery visiting news though, nearby there was an amazing exhibit.
Celeste Boursier-Mougenot, ‘clinamen‘, 2013

What an unexpected and complete joy.

A pump gently (and silently) moves the water so that the differently-sized porcelain bowls to clink into each other … the sound is so peaceful and beautiful, transcendental.

photographs taken under gallery conditions, including no flash

photographs taken under gallery conditions, including no flash

This was my highlight of the level 3 visit.





Repair -v- remake

10 04 2016

You may know the dread … when you receive an email (or call) from a gallery you sell jewellery through, that a piece has come in for ‘repair’. Horrid scary word: repair.

I received just this request recently from the most excellent Lord Coconut … a client had brought in a pair of my Onyx cufflinks which had broken after only a few wears.

The horror. As this pair was in my first collection for the gallery, I had visions of my soldering to be to blame. I had visions of all my cufflinks needing to be repaired (an overreaction, but it happened).

Weirdly, it seems that the failure was actually the base of the (manufactured) bezel. Though it must be said that it was a relief that it wasn’t my soldering.

In fact, the part of the bezel base that failed was where I had soldered (seemingly magnificently) the cufflink stirrup fitting to the bottom. See in the below photograph – just completely ripped the metal away (and strangely without buckling the metal back at all); that missing little square of metal is solidly adhered to the stirrup on the now-unattached cufflink fitting.

back of broken bezel ... after I'd unset the weave and perspex (hence the mangled edge)

back of broken bezel … after I’d unset the weave and perspex (hence the mangled edge)

Totally unpredictable, and in fact I cannot even conceive that the base could be torn away like this. The metal is thin (I use manufactured bezels for these pieces; it’s the significant compromise I made/agreed to keep to a low customer-end price-point) … but still.

So anyway … I haven’t made cufflinks for over two years. I have no studio. And effectively, due to the construction of these pieces, it is a full remake, there’s no ‘repair’ about it.

You can imagine my total relief when my fabulous old studio buddy said I could pop in and use her bench and tools and things. I love awesome people.

And it all went smoothly. Well, when I say smoothly, but I did have to remake both cufflinks, as the bezel on the unbroken cufflink was higher than any bezels I had at hand – see how much wider the old, unbroken (right), bezel setting is in the image below, compared to the new (left) one. In fact, you can also see the thinness of the bezel fold on the right side of the old cufflink, that thing was at risk of failure if knocked in the wrong spot …

new on left, old on right ... note different bezel set thicknesses ... boo

new on left, old on right … note different bezel set thicknesses … boo

… so the client has a whole new set of sassy cufflinks.

Hoorah! I wish him many more years of enjoyment and wearing these.

new cufflinks (with previous weave)

new cufflinks (with original weave)





The Staffordshire Hoard

8 04 2016

This is old news, I know … but I was watching a documentary recently (oooh I know, I do that a whole lot) and the images of the Staffordshire Hoard were truly stunning.

screen shot from documentary

screen shot from documentary

The detail of these gold and garnet weapon adornments are astonishing.

screen shot from documentary

screen shot from documentary

Can you imagine being on the conservation team who are the lucky ones to be slowly removing the soil from each of the little cells (with individually cut garnets, some of less than 1mm wide) and revealing the gorgeousness ….

or the gold work like in the pieces below …

or working as one of the volunteer documentation assistants!

screen shot from documentary

screen shot from documentary

Cannot wait until all of this is documented or displayed in its entirety all in one place (it seems that only some of the pieces are displayed, and they are spread across locations).





At the British Museum

2 04 2016

I was super lucky to be staying only a street away from the British Museum on my recent trip to Europe.
I could see the dome from my window – I know!

courtyard

courtyard

There is so much to see and absorb.

One of the most exciting things was to see the Mildenhall Treasure in person. I wrote about these many many moons ago, as the shape of the spoons were inspiration for a silversmithing project.

spoons from the Mildenhall Treasure

spoons from the Mildenhall Treasure

I also tried, it seems in vain, to photograph the beautiful jewels in the Waddesdon Bequest. The enameling on the back of three of the gorgeous jewels was stunning … and naturally I failed to be able to photograph it, so below is the collection image.

click on image for original source

click on image for original source

Love this place.





Bejewelled Treasures : The Al Thani Collection @ V&A

29 03 2016

While in London I visited a favourite museum, the Victoria and Albert.

I was quite excited about seeing the exhibition ‘Bejewelled Treasures: The Al Thani Collection‘; I had booked my ticket many many months ago.

at the V&A

at the V&A

I went through it in less than 15 minutes.
It was overwhelming in the unfortunate way.

Too much ‘bling’. Too gaudy.
Someone else said it was too vulgar (so British).

It was basically a show of large stones put in, sometimes admittedly beautiful, metal settings.

It was just hit after hit; dazzling in the unpleasant way of feeling like you’ve been through a hurricane or repeatedly dumped in the surf (so Australian).

exhibition media; click on image for original source

exhibition media; click on image for original source

And the exhibition design … when are curators going to tire of the ‘dark room with bright cabinet lighting’ trope?

I’ve said it before, this ‘jewel box’ exhibition design – where the only lighting is bright and on the objects, with the floor/walls/ceiling painted black – is exhausting and disorienting (not to mention headache-inducing).

I was so sadly disappointed. I have no idea how you could make this a more visitor-friendly exhibition … but it would have been lovely to see some of the objects in natural light and displayed against the kind of textiles they would have been worn on/with.

Lastly though: look closely at the first photograph above. The exhibition conditions included no photographs (understandable) and no sketching. The latter is quite unusual from my experience. And disappointing too – for I do like to sketch objects I’m not allowed to photograph (in pencil of course), for it allows time and room for a connection with the object.

Happily though, the remainder of the museum is still a total delight to visit.





More from the Ashmolean

23 03 2016

A few of my other favourite images from the trip to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.

1. What is the collective noun for many ancient carvings of Venus?
A replica of the Venus of Willendorf is on the left (sad it’s not the original)
A replica of the Venus of Lespugue is in the middle (again, sad it’s a replica)

photographs taken under museum conditions, no flash

photographs taken under museum conditions, no flash

2. The Dutch still life painting room.
So excited to see this in person.

photographs taken under museum conditions, no flash

photographs taken under museum conditions, no flash

photographs taken under museum conditions, no flash

photographs taken under museum conditions, no flash

3. The Alfred jewel

photograph taken under museum conditions, no flash

photograph taken under museum conditions, no flash