Saturday, 29 March 2008

Swarovski embellishment - three from five!

There is a bit of a story behind this brooch and a confession... Story first, confession later.

I have an ongoing and impossible to explain fascination with the Swarovski crystal embellisment count as mentioned by the weddings reporter in the Sunday Telegraph. I turn to the weddings page of the newspaper as first port of call and count how many of the gowns are 'embellished with Swarovski crystals' and that's all I read on the page. Each week the count is different, but there has only been one week in recent memory that has been Swarovski embellishment-free. Why the fascination? Perhaps it is a fascination with the pervasiveness of the brand, but other than that, impossible to explain! Even funnier, is that my partner has gotten in on the act and will now check and call out the Swarovski count on his way through the paper to the sports pages. I like a bit of sparkle now and then (who doesn't), but don't get into crystals and I am no Muriel, I have never really been into the wedding thing, I love going to them of course and make a fair few wedding rings, but the whole traditional sparkly dress confection thing has never been a dream. I recently became engaged however - which is a wonderful and beautiful thing and I look forward to our simple wedding, whenever it may be and to sewing a Swarovski crystal into the hem of my frock to honor our funny Sunday ritual!

So this brooch is an homage to the Swarovski crystal and the wedding writer from the Sunday Tele. Now for the confession. I bought the Swarovski crystal beads for the brooch and broke my rules... I just couldn't resist!!! The pink thread and wax series of brooches, with all its candy coloured feminine allusions was making a siren call for some Swarovski intervention. The result is quite interesting, the hard angularity of the crystal beads make a strange companion for the softness of the wax and thread - the crystals are a sharp imposition rather than a natural inclusion in the terrain of the piece.

the dot net

Exciting news - My website is all live!
Hugest thanks to the enormously clever and patient Martin Ford for designing and building such a fabulous site and making this dream a reality!
Have a look...

Friday, 28 March 2008

like a bird on the wire...

I have a bit of a bird issue - blame falls squarely on the shoulders of watching Hitchcock's The Birds at an open air cinema for this mild phobia. Anyway, I am trying to get over it - so here is a sweet little brooch with a pink birdie on a branch made from pink thread soaked in wax. I really find that I have an uneasy relationship with the little bird above, it is cute, but it is kind of creepy at the same time. It, and its little friends below, are cast from a cake decorating mould that caught my eye
in the window of a cake supplies shop whilst wandering through the wilds of Camperdown, what possessed me to walk in and make a random cake icing mould purchase on the way to buy a blow up bed at the camping supplies store will remain a mystery... so I have had the mould for a while and eventually last year I got around to making some waxes from it, with the idea to cast silver birds and turn them into brooches. I cast the silver birds ages ago and they are still tweeting plaintively from my bench to be made into jewellery (in the to-do basket), and I kept some pink waxes as well... the waxes are far more appealing to me than the silver versions - perhaps it is the colour, but more likely the weight I suspect - as they are feather light. So I have made a few brooches with the pink thread and the little pink birds. Below is a bird in a nest with its partner bringing more nesting material.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

pink thready balls

I know I said earlier that I wasn't going to take any more pictures on my red tray. But I couldn't resist this one! The colour has done something totally strange and is well beyond my limited photoshop abilities to correct, although I had fun trying all the different filters.

This is a pink thread and wax ball and part of a neckpiece I am working on as well as a series of little brooches. They really bring the thread to the fore with the NYC Pink wax used more as a binder and detail than the main body of the piece. Images of the neckpiece when it is complete... could be a few weeks, the balls take ages to make, and I keep dripping sizzling hot wax on my fingers. The sizzle really helps the wax to seep right through the ball of thread though. Ah, suffering for one's art (ahem!) My finger are becoming increasingly teflon coated as this project continues.

Below are two of the brooches I have made from the balls. I have been wearing one of these and it's great fun!

A Parure for Louise Bourgeois has some adventures

Finally I am posting the other pieces made as part of the Rubies and Pearls for Louise Bourgeois Parure. I should have posted them at the end of last year when I made them, but they have been away on holidays with the JMGA NSW Profile exhibition. Firstly to Adelaide at the National Wine Centre for the JMGA Conference and then in Sydney at Horus and Deloris Gallery. I was extremely fortunate not only to have been selected to be a part of such a beautiful exhibition, but also to have my work chosen by Horus and Deloris to use for the exhibition publicity and invitation. Then to really top it all off I won the Established Artist award attached to the exhibition. I am still astounded... but so extremely moved that my work was selected out of such an outstanding exhibition for this inaugural award. I was speechless at the opening when the award was given and it still hasn't really sunk in.

I would like to take the opportunity here to thank the huge team of dedicated volunteers from JMGA NSW who organised and made this exhibition possible including Jane Bowring, Jane Reynolds, Brenda Factor, JMGA NSW Chair Karin Findeis, Valerie Odewahn, Alice & Amelia Whish, Erin Keys, Sue Lorraine and Catherine Truman. In a volunatry organisation it is all about the sums of everyone's parts - so thank you to everyone who was involved in Profile 2008. Thanks too to the judges Margaret West and Tracey Clement and Margaret and Caz at Horus and Deloris for their support. Congratulations to Bridget Kennedy who won the emerging award and to Bridie Lander and Karin Jacobsen who were Highly Commended in the Established and Emerging categories respectively.

Rubies and Pearls for Louise Bourgeois Parure comprised the neckpiece posted earlier:

A brooch:

Earrings: And a ring which I will add images of soon... they didn't come out very well!

Tuesday, 18 March 2008


It has taken me a while and several conversations with people to get up the courage to post the images of my insides that originally inspired the pink wax work - thanks to Debbie, Bridie, Lisa, A mi and others for their encouragement! Of course, now I have decided to do it, I can't find them anywhere (I know I put them somewhere really safe), so I am substituting for now with a similar image I found on the internet.
I have always been fascinated by the notion of the abject - the research I did for my Honors and Masters studies was entirely focused on investigating the abject (specifically in relation to cleanliness and femininity). I started with the manner in which a single hair on a bar of soap can be such a potent marker of abjection and this was my springboard into an investigation of the surrounding ideas and theory. One of my favourite books is called 'The Anatomy of Disgust' (an excellent cultural history of the idea of 'disgusting' things over the ages by William Miller). So when after laparoscopic surgery last year I went for a follow up visit to the surgeon and was given snapshots of my innards - imagine my surprise when my stomach turned and turned and turned. Being confronted with one's own interior landscape is a weird and wonderful thing. It is at once disgusting, yet beautiful and fascinating and there is a strange sense of both ownership and disposession, connection and dislocation. Seeing pictures of my insides subconsciously inspired the pink wax work without a doubt, although it has taken me a while to realise it. In fact I have come to realise that this whole project is something of a result of the experience as I couldn't leave home for a while and was looking around for things to make - and there was the pink thread!
The image below is of a brooch which directly refers to the images. In the spirit of the work I did for my academic research, made from soap (there are some images of these works in the slideshow attached to an ealier post), this brooch incorporates scent in the form of candle wax.

There is something disturbingly hairy (abject?) about the way the thread works on this piece and the rubies peek out from its crevices.

inny and outie swapsies

During December I did a swap with the wonderful Bridie Lander. I have a gorgeous neckpiece with a piece of red coral partially concealed inside. I call it my 'coral inny' neckpiece. I made Bridie a red 'coral outie' brooch in exchange. Here it is:

I put some little green balls on the back.
They were the cause of much mirth when I delivered the piece...

the cat's in the cradle and the silver moon

The fabulous Anna Davern made a vary valid comment on one of my earlier posts that other materials seemed to have taken over from the pink thread. I am the first to admit this is true! One of the purposes of the project for me was to discover new ways of working and materials and I have gotten rather carried away with the wax I will confess - it just speaks to me on so many different levels. I haven't been ignoring the thread for thread's sake though. Here are some of the successful results of hollow balls for a neckpiece that I made during January. The balls are are just made of thread dipped in PVA glue and are about 75mm in diameter. they remind me of making cats cradles with string as a child.
I am waiting until the weather cools down a little before I complete this
piece as it's very hot in my studio and the glue is drying too fast (also it exploded out of the bottom onto my studio roof the last time I tried to squeeze some out, so I need to buy more!) Stay tuned...

One of the best things about these was how much fun they were to photograph using the macro setting!

like a distraction during a late night conversation...

Here is one of the pieces I made during the summer - I think it's pretty awful, it really didn't work out the way I wanted it to and just kept getting bigger and uglier. It looks like the kind of studied candle drip cultivation that one indulges in after a few wines during a late night conversation. I am, for the record, a huge fan of late night candle drip cultivation - I guess just not as jewellery!!! Or maybe it's the nasty blue? Or, it might just be that I was making it verrrry late at night and a glass of wine would have helped!

What I do rather like though is the way the thread fell whilst I was photographing it...

lovely loops!!!

Sunday, 2 March 2008

working hard... not posting as much as I should be!

Despite promising myself I would post again soon... I have fallen even futher behind. I have been working extremely hard though, on the pink project and also on a little collection I have called it's not easy being green which is for a mini, mini solo showcase at the A&E Metal Merchants Sydney showroom for a month starting Monday 9 march and then moving to a showcase in the Powerhouse Museum store - exciting! I have made about 30 pieces (not sure if they will all fit...) a mixture of production and one-off exhibition works - all GREEN! There really does seem to be a colour thing happening with me... I photographed the green things this weekend and will post a few images soon along with the back log of pink things I have made over the summer. They will be posted on my website too - the main thing that has been keeping me away from my blog! I tend to allocate computer time and it's all been used working on web stuff and learning how to use new things like Flickr. It should be live soon so back to bloggin'
Meanwhile while here is a hideously colourful bench shot I took today

- I will never use my yummy new red tray to take photos on again - but I do kind of like the garishness at the same time! In the photo are a few of the pink things I have been playing with - paint blobs, string balls with fabric glue, string balls with wax and a guest appearance by a green wax brooch from it's not easy being green