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).

for thought

4 04 2016

A favourite quote from an amazing novel:

“for every radiant coincidence
there are a thousand dull discrepancies”

The Possibility of an Island, Michel Houellebecq

sunrise 22Mar16

sunrise 22Mar16

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?

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!



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.

Calendar: April 2016

31 03 2016

post last updated: 15th April

all month

  • Craft, ‘Fresh! 2016‘ [link] ; “Craft’s annual showcase of Victoria’s leading emerging makers returns this March with Fresh! 2016. Ten artists have been selected from Monash, VCA, RMIT and Holmesglen TAFE graduate exhibitions, culminating in the introduction of new practitioners rigorously working within the craft sphere and giving insight into the direction of the genre.“; until 14th May
  • Applications for the Mari Funaki Award for Contemporary Jewellery 2016 are now open; closing Sunday 15 May, 11.59pm Australian Eastern Standard Time ; Prizes will be awarded in Established and Emerging categories, with the selected work shown in a major exhibition at Gallery Funaki in August/September 2016 [link]
  • ACCA, ‘NEW16‘ [link]; “NEW16 brings together eight newly commissioned projects by emerging artists around Australia. Curated by Annika Kristensen, the artists display a common interest in navigating and negotiating various tensions and thresholds: including relations between themselves and others, the artwork and the audience, private and public space, and productive futility.“; until 8th May
  • Applications for National Contemporary Jewellery Award 2016 are now open [link], closing 24th June

1st April: Workshop 3000, ‘Undertone‘, Sam Mertens & Liv Boyle; until 10th April

exhibition media

exhibition media

2nd April: last day for First Site Gallery, ‘Back to Back‘ graduating exhibition for RMIT Object-based Practice [link]

3rd April: last day for Hellenic Museum, ‘Unclasped‘ group exhibition

6th April: Craft in Conversation, Life after Fresh! [link]; “This April, as part of our Craft in Conversation series, we take a look at the role that Fresh! played for two craft practitioners at different stages of their careers. Fresh!alumni Vito Bila and Elise Sheehan will reflect on their experiences and how their practice has changed since participating in Craft’s annual showcase of leading emerging makers. In conversation with Craft Victoria’s curator Debbie Pryor, the artists will offer practical advice and insight into building a craft career, in a seminar suitable for anyone interested in building a successful craft practice and taking part in exhibitions.“; bookings essential, 6pm

9th April: last day for Gallery Funaki, Carlier Makigawa ‘Morphology‘ [link]

9th April: last day for Rubicon ARI, ‘IMBUE’ group exhibition with Naoko Inuzuka, Emma Michaelis, Yuria Okamura, Genevieve Piko [link]; “imbue brings together four emerging artists, across the mediums of Drawing, Gold and Silversmithing and Video installation. The selected works question the ways in which the inner self fragments and dissociates itself from the sacred concept of the ‘individual’. The artworks presented are imbued with a sense of fragmentation relating to our human experience, that of the material, the immaterial and of memory.

12th April: last day for &Gallery, ‘PUT IT ON‘ collaboration between Sue Buchanan + Eli Giannini

16th April: Museum of Democracy at Eureka (Ballarat), ‘19th Century Bling: Goldfields Jewellery‘ [link]; “M.A.D.E has gathered over 200 rare, fascinating and exquisite pieces of  Australian goldfields jewellery for this unique exhibition. Showcased are significant jewels and objects, including key international examples, from 1851 to 1901.“; until 4th July

exhibition media

exhibition media

16th April: last day for Bilk Gallery (Canberra), Melisssa Cameron ‘Body Politic‘ [link]; “At first glance these pieces appear extensions of her earlier works, they are light and finely balanced – exquisite in their creation. On closer consideration many works utilise everyday objects that we recognise within the pieces, rather than exclusively antique and vintage objects that formed the basis of her previous works. Here we find, in modified forms, a hand trowel, a non-stick pan and a rice dish sitting alongside vintage Japanese lacquer ware and ornately decorated silver-plate. The other difference with this collection is that the references are more confronting; in this series the patterns she has created depict darker motifs.

screen shot of exhibition page

screen shot of exhibition page

19th April: Gallery Funaki, 5×7: early career Australian makers [link]; “Gallery Funaki presents work by five up and coming artists from Melbourne and Canberra: Zoe Brand, Annie Gobel, Marcos Guzman, Inari Kiuru and Lindy McSwan.“; until 14th May

exhibition media

exhibition media

22nd April: National Gallery of Australia (Canberra), Fiona Hall ‘Wrong Way Time‘ [link]; “the installation from this year’s Venice Biennale … Hall’s seemingly random conjunction of things in a wunderkammer-like installation appeals to our human impulse to make connections, or perhaps a propensity for paranoia born of the deep uncertainty and fear of our times.“; until 10th July

exhibition media

exhibition media

27th April: Melbourne Polytechnic Jewellery Auction, start 5:30pm

click on image for larger version

click on image for larger version

please tell me of other exhibitions or events
also check out Melissa Cameron’s excellent informative blog (especially for competitions)

… last calendar post: Calendar: March 2016