Monday, September 27, 2010

Maker - Wearer - Viewer - Naomi Stewart (Guest Blog Post)


Naomi Stewart, cry-santhemum neckpieces, 2010, sterling silver

The latest thing to come off my bench was a pair of small sterling silver earrings made on commission (my first “real” commission!). Over the last few months I have been working on a range of delicate hand-carved and cast sterling silver pieces, and the earrings were to accompany a blackened silver necklace I had made previously.


Favorite earrings: Unknown maker, ceramic, sterling silver

Today I am wearing a pair of earrings borrowed from my darling older sister. They are fairly simple oval drops: white ceramic (I think), with beautiful red detailing that is reminiscent of Japanese kimono fabric. I adore these earrings, and am not sure whether my sister will ever get them back!


Kitty Kantilla, Untitled, 2001, natural earth pigments on canvas, 96 x 86cm
(photo courtesy of Sotheby’s catalogue, Sydney 2003)

Since April I have been working (unexpectedly) in an environment surrounded by contemporary Indigenous Australian art. I can happily acknowledge that I was completely ignorant of the deeply moving works in painting, sculpture and prints that are emerging (and have been emerging for a long time) from the remote Aboriginal communities of Australia. I am grateful for the opportunity I was given to learn about the art and to hear the stories of the artists behind the works - both have been a source of inspiration that I am only just beginning to appreciate.


Thanks Naomi, and good luck with your show 'Cast Off' which opens next week.

CAST OFF: contemporary jewellery exhibition

22 contemporary jewellers from Australia 
and New Zealand explore traditional and 
non-traditional casting techniques
in this exhibition of recent work. 
7 - 19 October 2010  
Keeper Gallery @ gaffa

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Maker-Wearer-Viewer- Katherine Bowman (Guest Blog)

Making - I have just finished a body of work for an exhibition that I had with jeweller Vikki Kassioras, and that took up a lot of my time. The work that I made for this show were paintings, all on paper. I am now back at the bench and am concentrating on my production jewellery range. When I say production, it is really very small runs of 'one off' series of work.

Wearing- I wear jewellery everyday, mostly rotating a number of pieces that I love. I don't feel quite 'right' if I am not wearing at least one of the pieces that I have taken a picture of. At the moment my favourite earrings are hoops made by Anna Clynes. If I am not wearing these I wear these gold studs I made about 5 years ago. I always wear a ring, the one pictured is my favourite, I made it to celebrate my 40th birthday last year. Turquoise is my favourite stone, this necklace I brought from a Tibetan shop in Melbourne 20 years ago.The bracelet is made up of agate beads.

Viewing- I read a lot, and look at pictures a lot. The older I get I seem to look more than read, and I tend to read and look at a number of things at once. If I am reading a novel, I do that properly and read it from start to finish. I think that that is why I love reading poetry, as I can pick it up and read randomly. At the moment this is my stack of books that I am reading and looking at. Poetry by Federico Garcia Lorca, Anne Carson and Mary Oliver. A novel by Andrew McGahan, Wonders Of A Godless World. The Miracle Of Mindfulness, by Thich Nhat Hanh I am re reading. And looking at Etcetera by Sibella Court and Medieval Jewellery by Marian Campbell (which I am reading/looking)

I look at my dog Milly a lot. I think that she is the cutest dog that I have ever seen. She has recently had a big operation on her back leg, so I am sort of obsessively look at her going, I think the operation worked/ I think that she is limping etc. I also listen to a lot of music. My favourites at the moment are Coles Corner and Truelove's Gutter, by Richard Hawley, Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle by Bill Callahan and anything by the Ethiopiques.


Thanks so much Katherine, what a tops post. To see more of what Katherine likes to look at visit her blog.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Maker-Wearer-Viewer-Erin Keys (Guest Blog)

Sadly, or perhaps, excitedly (I can’t tell which YET) my bench looks like this (See image of naked bench), in preparation for the fantastic jeweller/ vessel maker Jane Bowring. I have boxed everything and I am saying farewell *sniff
* to my friends and invaluable mentors at Gray Street Workshop, Adelaide and I am moving to Sydney. I have just finished a wedding ring for the talented glass artist Amanda Dziedzic. Two rings that fit together (but not as controlled as Nina Koppel for Georg Jensen’s Fusion Ring) were hand carved out of wax and cast in 9ct white gold. Five sparkling champagne diamonds and ten smoky quartz stones were pressure set asymmetrically all over … so pretty and I especially like the hidden underneath and at the side stones; something just for Amanda. She and I worked together on this through many discussions over coffee and wine, respectively, and equal amounts of viewing throughout the carving process. I think she was more scared than me, as the wedding band has an inherent value embedded that I wont ever fully understand, unless I get married. It is such a sacred object that can contain so much for the bride and groom to be. I love it. Nerves et al.

Currently, I am in the process of designing something big, something beautiful and something totally haute couture for an exhibition next year.

Perhaps like many jewellers, I don’t wear much jewellery. I own many pieces acquired throughout the years, either given by friends or bought. I have worn the same rings (11 rolled silver, gold and stainless steel rings) on my right hand finger since 2001. Given to me by a dear friend, Amy Jenkin, they are as much a part of me as my tattoos and the scars on my skin. Over the years they have modified my finger shape and carry with them various attachments, emotions and stories too. I love them very much. I have been wearing the same brooch practically everyday since April, it was given to me by jeweller Mark Vaarwerk. It is cast in Silver, initially shrunk from a foam disc (I think cut from a vegetable box) and, once cast, painted with red pencil. I love it and enjoy the compliments that come with owning it. A few months ago I lost my patience with my earrings always falling out of my ear lobes that were 12-14mm holes. Within a week, I could not get the plugs back in and a few weeks later they were smaller still, so, I let them shrink and allowed the excitement for “proper” ladies earrings to ensue. Recently I have been wearing black electric cable earrings given to me at my birthday by my vivacious friend and Melbourne based jeweller, Regina Middleton (who I met for the first time at the JMGA conference and have become great friends and Jedi jewellers). The earrings, while very modern because of the material used, have a 1950s aesthetic; which makes me feel totally flash

I am welcoming all other offerings of earrings now that I can wear them after 12 years of 2 big holes!

In general, I have been experiencing a general funk in my practice, and so have enjoyed sitting by the beach and nurturing my headspace, by the unbeatable coastlines within South Australia. Riding my bike and clearing the oft laden brain with cold air and long rides or perusing the SA Museum and looking at the indigenous jewellery and artefacts. My practice has led me to work at the computer a lot lately (whence funk
) because I have been entering exhibitions and applying for an arts residency. After all the writing and refining of my own language and ideas, I am trying to look further in to the content of my work, what it means, how it can evolve/ grow change remain open, and I am trying to strip it back or rather, hone it to nothing but honest and present making. By critically looking at what I do, and what I say/ write is actually very difficult. Further looking in to script, text, and language in general; in particular communication I feel like I am discovering new areas of investigating. Curiously, I feel like my discoveries are like the Möbius strip, with endless paths to explore.

I am in the process of having my website built (Coming Soon) by artist Richard Byers

Unrelated, in the direct sense, to jewellery, I am reading a book about Sun Ra, the unorthodox jazz musician, Space Is The Place: The Lives And Times Of Sun Ra.

Sun Ra developed a complex persona of "cosmic" philosophies and lyrical poetry that made him a pioneer of afrofuturism as he preached awareness and peace. In some ways I relate to the man that locates himself in outer space, beyond both the geographical limits of ones country and the ideological limits of one’s social/ political climate. The concept that SPACE IS THE PLACE is one worth embracing!

As I procrastinate, I feed steadily on the overflowing wealth of anomalies in the webosphere, I read blogs, some of worth, but most are radically rude and ridiculous time wasters to humour me. A few worth mentioning are: I wait eagerly for the next instalments by Briohny Doyle and I wish that I could write as well as her; she makes me whimper with linguistic envy. Another enviable blogger is Vasili Kaliman's Art Patrol images of the best contemporary art exhibitions in commercial galleries, a life looking at art (for real) that to me seems unreal. While I do not know him, I read David Neale’s blog mainly, because he has an equally met obsession with bicycles. However, I appreciate how he presents the world through his collection of images and brief, but often humorous narrative. I appreciate his, apparent, honesty in offering the reader artefacts from his experiences and day-to-day observations.

We have just come to the end of SALA in Adelaide where there were a lot of exhibitions to view. Some notable were Abstract Nature at Samstag, Guest curator Margot Osborne, presents work by twenty notable Australian artists. In her essay ‘The nature of things: thoughts on organic abstraction, beauty and immanence’, Osborne writes, “Many works are suffused with a discernable sense of place. They reflect the artists' deep responses not merely to the natural world in general but to those specific places in the Australian environment that are, for them, imbued with beauty, meaning and spiritual sustenance”. The work in this show is mature and with strongly executed visions that involve the manipulation of found natural materials and intuitive responses to the natural world. I saw Fiona Lowry and & Justine Varga’s exhibition at Hugo Michell Gallery I love Lowry’s titles as much as the work itself, they seem to be as much a part of the final piece as the colours she chooses to use. The delicate and seductive quality of the airbrushed landscape is inviting, yet the luring quality leaves me with a feeling of paranoia, as though I ought not trust what I see. Her imagery contains a dark and melancholy perspective. The canvas’ tease your perception and play with the idea of space, leaving a somewhat sensational feeling after seeing her work.

After months of not really making, I feel that a cyclonic metal dust storm is on its way. Something has to happen! With spring slowly showing signs of blowing a cold winter away, and the pollen, petals and scent of new beginnings replacing it. I am expecting a shift in the way I work and the usual tools I use in my approach to thinking and making. Exciting times ahead.


Thanks Erin for a totally rocking Blog post. Looking forward to having beers with you in old Sydney town.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

New Jewels!

This was made for me by my good matey Likkle Girl it is made from an apron that my grandmother had made. I don't actually have it yet, monday is delivery day, needless to say I'm pretty bloody excited. Follow the link to see more images and details. I do love my crafty pals.

Maker-Wearer-Viewer-Melissa Cameron (Guest Blog)

Melissa Cameron The Maker - I'm working on some pieces to enter into Schmuck this year, which are being made out of this tin. I don't have progress shots at the moment, but so far both sides have been cut into patterns and are separated into in two neat piles (with the remainder of the tin on top) on the side of my desk in my studio. Once I've had a play with all the bits I'll make my final decision on what they will all become. At this stage I know it's four jewellery works-in-waiting.

Front and Back images of a sandblasted recycled cigarette tin - probably gilding metal.

Melissa Cameron The Wearer - I have on my engagement rings (pictured) and wedding band all by Perth jeweller Gillian Rainer. I also always wear a ring that I had made for my 21st birthday, which includes diamonds from my great-grandmother that were passed down through my nan to my mum when I was born. Finally, I also am wearing a pendant that I made as part of my MFA research, which I gave, at the time, the lofty title of Black Planar Cross. When I displayed it in my examination exhibition it was strung differently, with an extra link, and on white thread. After making a few more pieces in a similar format, I realised that it didn't need to be so complex, so I restrung it and have been wearing it ever since. (And that's why it looks so... well, careworn.)

Engagement rings, Gillian Rainer, 2005. 18 carat white gold, rose gold and yellow gold, diamonds.

BlackPlanarCross - pendant, Melissa Cameron, 2009 (5cm x 5cm x .5cm). Blackened + sandblasted mild steel, silk thread.

Melissa Cameron The Viewer - The last show I saw just happened to be jewellery! How about that? It was Bad Beasts Do Not Harm Me featuring Natalia Milosz-Piekarskaand Karla Way at Craft Victoria, which was last Thursday. I'm planning on heading out this afternoon to see Helen Dilkes's works in a show titledRe-visions: new art from old at RMIT's First Site Gallery which opened yesterday. Helen is a current MA student in RMIT's gold and silversmithing department. A brief glance at my bedside table tells me I'm reading Martin Kemp's Leonardo da Vinci: the marvellous works of nature and man, but since I spend my mornings on the computer, you're more likely to find me enthusing about a blog I read recently than anything else. So here's a few I got through this morning. Letters of Note - Shaun Usher posts a new letter that he thinks should have a wider audience, every weekday. Amy Tavern - a jeweller and educator based in America. Ponoko Blog - A geeky blog for laser-cutting and other digital technologies enthusiasts. Today what caught my eye was an article on United Nudeshoes. [While I don't generally wear heels, I do have two pairs of UN's Möbius shoes. I loved the first pair dearly, so I got a second to wear when I got married ;) And yes, they are based on the Möbius Strip.] Ordinai Observations - Inari Kiuru's blog, (a jeweller and graphic artist based in Melbourne) with beautiful images and her poetic musings. Mary Hackett - Another jeweller currently doing her MA at RMIT.and of course Melbourne Jeweller - Karen Thompson's blog about all things jewellery

Thanks Melissa for the great post. If you would like to know more about Melissa Cameron head to her blog.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

FUNdraising Auction.

14th September: Design Centre (Enmore, Sydney) Jewellery + Object Design Fundraising Auction
Bank Hotel, 324 King Street Newtown, 6:30pm (bidding commences at 7:30)

The Jewellery and Object Design Department, Design Centre Enmore is hosting its 5th annual Fundraising Auction. The Auction is an enormously successful event that showcases a range of contemporary jewellery and design by renowned Australian makers (such as Ragnar Hansen, Catherine Harrington, Anna Davern + many more!) This initiative helps to raise funds towards the Jewellery and Object Design Department’s annual end of year student exhibition that launches our emerging designers. Our fundraising auctions have become highly anticipated and are a wonderful opportunity for bidders to secure one-off, handmade designer wearables by leading contemporary designers.

The Image on the invite is the piece I donated. Zoe Brand, 'She Was Looking at Life Through the Mists of a Hangover', Grolsch Beer rubber stoppers, stainless steel.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

the world needs more of you.


(click on image to make bigger)

NB. DUKE FROST is an alter ego, this show was conceived, made and installed within a period of 3 days.