Studying jewellery in Melbourne (update)

12 05 2015

It’s been over a year since I last wrote about places to study jewellery in Melbourne. Time for an update.

With respect to formal degree study, the schools in Melbourne are:


Now, short courses for jewellery and silversmithing:


There are also many jewellers who regularly open their studio doors and generously share their knowledge and passion.

… I’m sure there are many more, so I’ll add to this listing as I uncover them.


I’d really like to create a listing of the best short courses in Melbourne for jewellery making – can you recommend where you’ve been or heard is good?


Previous, now superseded, posts about learning jewellery making in Melbourne


NMIT graduates ‘Mettle’ @ Red Gallery

19 11 2014

Hoorah for graduate exhibition season!

NMIT graduates are showing Mettle‘ at Red Gallery.
I do like this space.

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission

There is a lot of work here … as in all previous NMIT exhibitions actually …. and that’s a great thing, though I can sometimes feel overwhelmed with so much to look at.

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission

Participating artists are:

  • Christine Amery, Bianca Browne, Antonia Field,  Mehrnoosh Ganji, Jessica Gilbert
  • Gemma Grace, Nao Hirata, Danielle Horseman, Joanna Hyun, Mel Jeffery,
  • Michal Klimek, Rebecca Koster, Nicole Lawrence, Sisi Liu, Lisa Lubbock
  • Philip Monk, Melrose Oh, Jan-Maree Oliveira, Shea Pinxt, Jane Reilly
  • Pierina Sannia-Carbone, Emily Jayne Schilg, Benjamin Stiekema, Mimu Tabushi
  • Marcelle Thomas, Mary Turner, Ann Welton, Callie Whelan, Ash Whitchurch, Robyn Wilson, Yokie Yatagai

It took quite a few turns around the rooms to somehow ‘get to grip’ with the works … perhaps I was a little low on comprehension power today!

Eventually I think I had a good look at all the groups. Again, as expected of NMIT, the quality of construction was mostly excellent; and I noticed more conceptual pieces and more exploration of materials than previously.

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission

Collections I connected with and liked included:

  • Jane Reilley’s smithed pieces; she has a very strong group in the first room (image in the ‘read more’ section below) and playful colourful works in the last room too (image above)
  • Bianca Browne’s geometric works, exploration of an almost moderist aesthetic; her bracelet is very bold, I like it a lot (image in the ‘read more’ section below)
  • Callie Whelan’s enamel collection (image in the ‘read more’ section below)
  • Robyn Wilson’s earrings and shape combinations (wall panel in top image); in fact, I could see a pair on Margaret Pomeranz (and I mean that in the very best of ways!)
  • Nao Hirata’s shapes and incorporation of plastics (right of second image)

Mettle‘ is at Red Gallery until 22nd November 2014.

2013 ‘33 Carat‘ @ Red Gallery

2012 ‘Kaleidoscope‘ @ Northcote Town Hall

2011 ‘Auteur‘ @ Northcote Town Hall

2010 ‘Forge‘ @ Northcote Town Hall

2009 ‘Mint‘ @ Northcote Town Hall

To save loading times, I’ve popped the individual photographs of the groups I liked below:

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Other Nov&Dec: NMIT

2 11 2014

Naturally it’s only fair to now look at past NMIT graduate exhibitions.

November/December 2009

November/December 2010

November/December 2011

November/December 2012

November/December 2013

This year: ‘Mettle‘, Red Gallery [link]

Tertiary open days 2014

20 04 2014

If you’re in high school and thinking about studying jewellery / making at university, or at any stage in life and considering your next creative move, then you’ll want to get to the university open days.

It’s a great way to get a feel for a place, see the facilities first-hand, and speak with lecturers and in many cases current students.

Melbourne universities:

  • NMIT: actually has regular information evenings, next one is 19th June [link]; keep an eye on their academic calendar for announcements of their formal open day
  • Monash: 2nd & 3rd August [link]
  • RMIT: 10th August [link]

It’s not the end of the world if you can’t make it though – I didn’t and believe I was still able to get a good feel for each university (RMIT and Monash) during my interviews. But if you can possibly do it, try to find the time.

On the spot: NMIT vs RMIT

20 12 2013

I was recently asked by a potential jewellery student for some advice about choosing between RMIT and NMIT.

BIG question.

So I thought I’d reproduce (without the parts personal to the original enquirer) my answer here, in case it’s of interest to others.

First things first: this conversation was only about these two schools, but it should be noted that other options are available (see this post) with the other most formal established school being Monash.

So … what was my answer?

It’s a tricky topic and one that everyone would answer differently.

I’m happy to give you my personal opinion, but it’s only mine and from my experience, and certainly not the gospel; the final decision can only be yours after all.

As a caveat though, (as you probably read on my blog) I did the RMIT course but it was years ago now (2004 – 2006); the course seems to be a little differently structured now and the projects different. To be quite honest, I didn’t know about NMIT when I applied to the university courses; I’d not lived in Melbourne before and only knew about Monash and RMIT. So I made a choice between those two (at the time I wanted to do a ‘university fine art degree’), based solely on how the interviews felt and what I thought of their graduate exhibitions and facilities. I loved RMIT but was happy that I had done jewellery evening classes beforehand, otherwise I’d have been under-prepared skills-wise.

On to RMIT vs NMIT:

Did you have a chance to see the graduate exhibitions? They were quite different and probably the most excellent demonstration of each school.

Did you have an interview at both schools? Perhaps you got a ‘gut-feel’ for the one that suited you best and felt right?

Each course seems to me to have quite a different focus – NMIT is known for being technically focused and connected to industry, and RMIT more conceptually and contextually focused. That is not at all a criticism, but a description of their historic evolution.

NMIT used to offer an evening or part-time stream (they may still?), which is helpful if you need to work during the day to fund uni.

If a student was really serious about jewellery or metalsmithing as a career, I’d personally recommend starting at NMIT to get a good grounding in technique and handskills; then going to RMIT if they’d like further artistic development and the international connections that university offers.

I have known a number of students who transferred into 2nd year RMIT after 1st year at NMIT – and that seemed like a good way of doing it (though that was a few years ago now, you’d best check if that’s still possible).

Another option may be to learn some handskills before you start either course.

One is the MADA (Monash) summer intensive. I’ve not done this before, but it looks like a great introductory option.

I’d also recommend Northcity4 classes (the people here are lovely), but the timing may not work with starting a uni course; though there’s no reason you couldn’t do both if you wanted to!

I hope that’s helpful. Most of all though I hope that I haven’t made it more confusing for you!

Best wishes for your decision and best of luck in your future – I’ll keep an eye out for your name in future exhibitions!

Everyone’s view on this would be different I expect.
The more views potential students are exposed to, the more informed their decision can be.
Please contribute and share your thoughts too.

Studying jewellery in Melbourne

27 11 2013


THE UPDATED POST IS : Studying jewellery in Melbourne (update) [12May15]

Original post is below:


Update: please go to this NEW updated and revised post about jewellery classes in Melbourne, as information in this post may now be outdated


Read the rest of this entry »

NMIT graduates ’33 Carat’ @ Red Gallery

10 11 2013

In what may be a first, I’ve managed to actually visit an exhibition in its first few days. I know; it is excellent.

In a break from recent years, the NMIT Jewellery Graduate (Advanced Diploma of Engineering Technology) exhibition, ‘33 Carat‘, is being shown at Red Gallery.

It’s a lovely bright space; I like this better than the previous venue for its light and the partitions/walls make the experience less daunting or visually overwhelming.

photograph with gallery permission

photograph with gallery permission

First impressions include:

  • more variety of materials
  • less high-polish (that’s a good thing in my personal opinion)
  • more lyrical pieces
  • not as much enamel this year
  • … and of course the high quality construction is still a constant of NMIT graduates.
  • and most especially gorgeous, a few examples of opals as a gem of choice. Perhaps this has had something to do with last year’s Part B exhibition ‘Oh Opal!‘ and Kim Victoria’s recent collections.
photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph with gallery permission

Participating makers are (alphabetical by surname):

  • Sally Balfour, Zoe Beman, Jeremy Bryant
  • Samantha Carr, Linda Clark, Tom Corbett
  • Adrian Dyson
  • Sarah Gibson, Anna Maidment Gray
  • Arlia Hassell, Imogen Hobbs, Verity J Hollingworth, Sian E. Horrocks
  • Yu Ishito [site]
  • Takako Kajiya [site], Michael W Kilner, Jana King
  • Willem Asher Payten, Kim Bach Pham [blog]
  • Claire Renehan, Meegan Roberts, Marie Rose
  • Beth Sayer, Gabrielle Sharp, Carmel Sheehy, Lizzie Slattery
  • Dale Williams
  • Sally Zurbo
photograph with gallery permission

photograph with gallery permission

Collections I most connected with include:

  • Jeremy Bryant’s bold opal pieces
  • Sarah Gibson’s geometric pieces, some with synthetic opals used to amazing effect
  • Sally Zurbo’s earrings using choum iybsa, the shapes are lovely
  • Yu Ishito’s whimsical enamel pieces are beautifully displayed
  • Adrian Dyson’s amazing objects

Photos of some of these works are below … click on the ‘read more’.

33 Carat‘ is at Red Gallery until 23rd November 2013.

2012 ‘Kaleidoscope‘ @ Northcote Town Hall

2011 ‘Auteur‘ @ Northcote Town Hall

2010 ‘Forge‘ @ Northcote Town Hall

2009 ‘Mint‘ @ Northcote Town Hall

Update (11th November): I thought it may be interesting to republish the comment I wrote on this post today (for the super-lazy, who don’t want to click the ‘comments’ link .. you know, I like being helpful!):

“To add to my post, this year I felt something that I’ve had trouble putting into words; but I’ll try here (comments are more forgiving I think).

I think there was a genuine sense of individuality and personality and personal expression … in that it felt like I could feel something of the maker in the works, that I could sense a little of who they are … not that it’s not been there in previous years, but it seemed very evident to me this year. This is a wonderful thing, walking away feeling like you’ve ‘met’ the makers to a degree … I’m not sure if any of that makes sense … see what I mean about finding it difficult to put into words.”

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