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).

Social media musings

3 04 2016

There have been many grumblings about the changes to Instagram lately. I would probably pay more attention if I used it more than I do – I use it with enthusiasm to see other people’s things, but not so much to publish my own. I’m a content consumer, less a content maker.

I’ve recently been having some thoughts on how Instagram is being used by makers and galleries …

I like to follow my favourite makers and galleries and pages via both Facebook and Instagram. I think that showing support – genuine support of course, not the if-I-like-you-I-expect-you-to-like-me kind of faux-support – is an important part of acknowledging the amazingness of others and for building a community of like-minded people.

However I do get a bit jaded when I see the same image repeated on both platforms.

My own personal rule is to (try to) only publish unique images to Instagram – images that are not repeated on my blog (linked to my Facebook page), though more often than not they’re related to a story on the blog.

Have Instagram users found that they have a remarkably different interaction with their images on Facebook compared to Instagram? Perhaps that’s why the repetition/replication is worthwhile – perhaps the audience is quite different, and those of us who are duplicated (ie. interacting with both platforms) are in the minority.

No doubt marketing experts will tell me that repetition is more valuable than unique images – that the fact that I notice the duplication is the whole point, for recognising the image is proving that I’m paying more attention to that maker / gallery / image.

I’m such a light-weight user of Instagram for the purposes of this blog that the changes in that respect may not impact me. However as an avid reader of other people’s feed, the changes probably will annoy me.

Do you know what other platforms are being moved to in reaction?

More historic jewellery

18 06 2014

In more documentary-watching news … this is a magnificent pectoral (really just a pendant) from Egypt’s Middle Kingdom: the Senwosret III Pectoral (Egyptian Museum, Cairo).

screen shot from documentary, approx 7min mark

screen shot from documentary, approx 7min mark

From the second film in the BBC series ‘Treasures of Ancient Egypt‘.

Particularly entertaining is the commentators description of it as a ‘despot’s bauble: it’s sinister and dazzling, it’s alluring and also toxic … kind of like the jewellery equivalent of a poisonous orchid‘.

It’s gold and while it looks like enamel it’s actually set turquoise, carnelian and lapiz lazuli.

Historic bling

12 05 2014

I’ve been hiding myself in documentaries lately.

Tonight is: BBC Lost Cities of the Ancients (3of3) “The Dark Lords of Hattusha”.

This is the image I’ve fallen in love with.

screen shot of doco.

screen shot of doco.

Assyrian bling I believe.

What happened to Barbara?

2 02 2014

The traffic information provided by blogging platforms like WordPress can throw up some pretty interesting things – like which countries readers are from (well, at least their ISP), and what other websites have sent traffic your way (either through direct links, or sometimes through the ‘similar’ suggestions generated automatically at the bottom of pages).

A few days ago I noticed that The First Book of Fashion tumblr had sent a visitor my way; specifically from the post about the upcoming sale of the Barbara Schwarz portrait.

Portrait of Barbara Schwarz, 1542 Oil on panel, 74 x 61 cm; click on image for original source

Portrait of Barbara Schwarz, 1542 Oil on panel, 74 x 61 cm; click on image for original source

This was incredibly interesting to me because the Barbara Schwarz portrait by Christophe Amberger was the basis of a piece I made in my third year at uni : Brooch for a Mother.

J#1: brooch for Mother

J#1: brooch for Mother

Further though, this tumblr was inspired by Matthaus Schwarz and his Trachtenbuch, his book of paintings of his own clothing ensembles – who was also the key inspiration for my entire collection in that uni project. How wonderful to discover kindred spirits.

image from ... Lübbeke, Isolde (translator). The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection – Early German Painting 1350 – 1550, Sotheby’s Publishing, London, 1991

image from … Lübbeke, Isolde (translator). The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection – Early German Painting 1350 – 1550, Sotheby’s Publishing, London, 1991

To the point at hand though: the portrait was being offered for sale at Christies in New York (expected to realise US$4 – $6m), and I also thought it would be super-fabulous if the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza were able to acquire it to hang with the companion portrait of Matthaus.

As the sale had already happened by the time I saw this post, I thought it would be a simple matter of searching the auction house’s website to see what it sold for; or search the internets to see if the museum had managed to buy it.

I failed to find anything. Even the original listing for the painting has been removed; and the audio that was released before the sale to promote it has also gone. Intriguing. The ‘auction results’ published on their websites only seem to contain those lots that realised sale; this is different to many other auction house sites I visit, which also note if lots were passed in.

The options seem to be that the painting was either (1) withdrawn from sale or (2) passed in. I’ve undertaken a little internet searching but have so far found no answer.

Well, I can only hope in the next few months something surfaces about this portrait. Hopefully it does make its way ‘home’ and will be next to Matthaus once again.


Update (4th February): I’ve just noticed that the post about the upcoming sale of the Barbara Schwarz portrait has been updated to include a mention and link to my original jewellery post – sharing the blog loving, how fabulous indeed!


Update (11th February): I emailed Christie’s PR/media department to ask about the portrait, a week ago, no reply yet, but if I get one I’ll update this post.


Jewellery on the morning news

28 08 2013

The news. Important stuff.

And this morning ABC news reader Virginia Trioli was wearing a contemporary jewellery piece that caught my eye.

Virginia is a Melbourne-based jewellery lover – remember she hosted the e.g.etal Giving Beads auction a few years ago.

photograph of television screen; 28th August 2013, approx 0730; ABC24

photograph of television screen; 28th August 2013, approx 0730; ABC24

Do you know who the maker is?
It seems familiar to me, but in my pre-coffee morning fog I can’t quite place it…

ps. I’ll try to get a better image sometime this morning!

Update [31st August]: solved!! the maker is Janet Watts


24 06 2013

Another post inspired by a facebook posting … I know, I could try to stop…

click on image for original facebook source

click on image for original source

What a beautiful word: Eigengrau.

The text that accompanied the above image states: “This isn’t any old shade of black, it is precisely #16161D. With no available light to contrast objects against one another, it is possible to be in the presence of items that are darker black without being able to perceive them that way.


It brought to mind the gorgeous exhibitions of recent years that have focused on black …

I’ve fallen in love with a word!