‘5×7: early career Australian makers’ @ Gallery Funaki

14 05 2016

Oh dear readers, it has been a marvellously convoluted life that I’ve been living over the last month or more … so much so that it was only possible to visit ‘5×7: early career Australian makers‘ at Gallery Funaki on its last day.

For that I most sincerely beg forgiveness … though I anticipate that many of you have visited yourself, and if not I hope you’ve been watching the online pictures.

photograph taken with explicit gallery permission

photograph taken with explicit gallery permission ; Lindy

Makers invited to exhibit are:

photograph taken with explicit gallery permission

photograph taken with explicit gallery permission ; Marcos (left) and Zoe (right)

I’ve been a long-time sincere admirer of Inari’s work – you may never, or perhaps only rarely, see work with such genuine spirit; or an artist with such a bright internal fire and need to create. The earrings and brooch in this collection were standouts for me; their darkness and surface finish is incredibly ethereal, though somehow broodingly standoffish at the same time. The little aluminium pin was a delight too. And while I admit to being troubled by not being able to hear what the larger scale sculptures were saying, I cannot help but be impressed by their scale and confidence.

I’ve also been a long-time supporter of, and interlocutor with, Zoe – her work is full of words and I freakin’ love words. I’m brutally self-critical and open about my struggle with humour and irreverence in jewellery, as I am far too much of a rigid traditionalist regarding the preciousness of adornment … though I like to think that I’m lightening up a little through exposure to work like Zoe’s (the earrings she’s making for the current Bilk exhibition are fantastic fun – see!). I have such respect for her work, her ethic, her enthusiasm in encouraging other makers, and truly wish I had her approach to making. I actually had a bit of a senior moment, when I initially misread the ‘GO ON’ pendant as ‘GOON’ … ah, showing my Queensland university days there.

photograph taken with explicit gallery permission

photograph taken with explicit gallery permission ; Inari (left) and Annie (right)

In all her previous graduate exhibitions (that I’ve been able to visit) I’ve called out Lindy’s work as exceptional – I do really respond to her vessels’ shapes, and the black is the blackest black I’ve seen in a very long time (it must take her so much preparation and intense care to create). If I hadn’t blown my budget on my recent Norwegian adventures, I may have brought one home with me – though the ones I responded to most had already been bought (which is so super for them and Lindy, not so much for me).

Annie’s work felt a little different to the other makers, though I couldn’t quite put my finger on why … perhaps it was due to the colours, with these pieces being pale blue and pinks, and the other work in the show being quite monochromatic and/or low/subdued colouring. Sadly I have quite an aversion to pastels – completely not the fault of the maker of course, all my own fault!

The collection of pendants by Marcos was a revelation. It shouldn’t have been of course, as I’ve seen his work in many graduate and other shows … but it seems this particular group really called out to my attentions. I was speaking with another maker recently, and they made a great observation that I agree with (but cannot claim as my own) : he makes perspex look like it’s not perspex. It can really be a tricky material, though in his hands it’s transformed and given a delicious matt finish. How he put the colours into the holes in the material is beyond me! I spent ages, along with today’s most excellent gallery attendant, trying to figure how how he did it … part of me really really seriously wants to know, but I rather enjoy the mystery of not knowing too.

Warmest congratulations to the makers for being invited … by the best contemporary jewellery gallery in the universe no less(!) … to exhibit in this group show. I look forward to seeing how their work develops over the coming years.

5×7: early career Australian makers‘ was at Gallery Funaki until 14th May 2016.

ps. a note on photography: there was a sign asking for no photographs; this is the first time I’ve seen this at Funaki though it is of course understandable; the above photographs were taken with explicit gallery permission





My jewellery collection #31

5 05 2016

Holy 80s!

New to my collection: this vintage super-statement onyx and opal ring.

It’s pretty fabulous.

new ring

new ring

Bold and amazingly comfortable to wear, and in perfect condition.

new ring

new ring

Hoorah.

… last post on my jewellery collection #30 …





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.