Thursday, 31 March 2011

LUCKY CHARM. Making Good Fortune Happen

I am sure that not one of us is unaffected by the recent devastating wrath wreaked by mother nature in Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

The amazing Natalia Milosz-Piekarska has organised a charity auction of contemporary jewellery with all proceeds going to the Red Cross Disaster Relief and Rescue Fund.

Visit LUCKY CHARM. Making Good Fortune Happen to bid online for some truly amazing work by some awesome jewellers!

Thursday, 17 March 2011

The Box Project

Following my adventure in Blue, I was invited to participate in an exhibition called The Box Project curated by Jasmine Matus. A group of makers were each posted a box of diverse, random materials and asked to use them to make jewellery. You can read all about the project and the other wonderful makers at The Box Project blog.

Here is what was in my box:

Hmmmmmmmmmmm.... what to do?
I wasn't so sure about the ceramic bits and thought about crushing them with a hammer and then mixing the bits with epoxy to create elements for the work. Easier said than done when massively pregnant! So, I set them aside and thought about what to do with the rest. Firstly I gathered all the materials I had that were the same or close to the colour of what was left - greys and yellows. Then I set about playing! Here are some of my working models:

I thought about working with wood and making a series of brooches initially, but then thought about working with perspex - my favourite production work material. Perspex made its first foray into exhibition work with the Blue exhibition and I thought it might be good to push this along... 
I particularly enjoyed using the electrical cable, which I pulled the wire out of, and the 'o' rings which I eventually cut up. 
Here's the finished work:

connect, 2010, Electric Cable, Rubber 'O' Rings, Acrylic, Freshwater Pearls, Agate, Jade, Glass and Plastic Beads, Fine Silver

(You can't see it here, but the back of the neckpiece  also uses the electrical cable casing to go around the back of the neck.) 

Here is my artist statement:

A box of plugs, holes, cables, seals and connections. Yellows and greys.

Thoughts of things passing through; currents, energy. Things held in place; secure. 

The need to connect with these materials was exciting and challenging, what to make of them? There were limitations and little room for play and experimentation - what was in the box instantly took on a particular value… (I played with the materials anyway).

The final piece uses some of the 4 different materials contained within the box and responds to others by referring to their colour, function and form. Plugs, holes, cables, seals and connections.
Participating in The Box Project was a fantastic, if challenging experience. A huge thank you to Jasmine for inviting me to take part and for the amazing job she did curating this exhibition from the get go to the catalogue and end results on the gallery wall.

The Box Project was shown at gaffa gallery during October 2010 and this year it travels to Thinkspace at Masterworks in Auckland and The See Here in Wellington, New Zealand

Here's a picture of my work in the exhibition at gaffa:

Friday, 11 March 2011

Into the blue...

So, I promised that I would catch up on the past six months (and more) of what I have been up to with my work and I have made a start. Here's some more...
Blue was a group exhibition I was invited to be a part of at Object Gallery in July/August of 2010. Nine artists working in diverse media were invited by curators Kylie Johnston and Annette Mauer to respond to a phrase or saying associated with the colour blue. I was given the phrase 'Into the blue...' 
The other artists in the exhibition were: Nicholas Jones, Brenda Factor, Honor Freeman, Lucille Martin, Mel Robson, Gerry Wedd, Brenden Scott French and Emma Davies - a stellar line up of amazing makers that I am very proud to have exhibited with. 
Here are some images of my work in progress:

Here are a couple of the first pieces I made, they are brooches - acrylic paint on marine ply with semi-precious stones and freshwater pearls. 
I very much enjoyed exploring paint with this work, but I also used it as an opportunity to try new things: 
And revisit current themes using blue materials...
Here's some writing about my work and the experience of working with Blue! 

Fascinated by the potential for unexpected narrative, my exhibition work has a carefully considered use of colour and often a sly, subversive sense of humour. I am inspired by architecture, the landscape, the social condition of the body and my everyday surroundings, which also frequently provide materials for my work. I have a particular interest in re-presenting the natural state of the body and many of my works have an unsettling plasticity or tactility, a response to examining internal images of the body. I use the written and visual language of the abject, the body and frequently explore the vernacular for the titles of my work, which operate alongside colour and material to re-create the interior and exterior landscapes of the body in my jewellery.

Much of my work is characterised by a monochromatic approach to colour in either individual works or groupings of pieces. I am most commonly drawn to warm colours – reds, pinks, browns; for their conceptual resonance in relation to my use of material and form and preoccupation with the body or unnatural re-presentations of nature as a source of inspiration. The colours of the body and its interior, the earth and blooms are my comfort zone, their warmth assists me to speak my visual language.

For me, blue has always been a colour whose coolness speaks of other experiences outside of making. It is the vastness of the sea and sky – a colour that is about being in the actual landscape rather than inside, at my bench making. My work is intimate; it speaks of intimate spaces and thus tends to look to the detail, the minutiae – rather than the vast, the unknowable mysteries of the world at large. Blue is a ‘big’ colour.

In this venture ‘into the blue’ I re-worked the materials and forms that commonly inhabit my practice - in blue. The result is work that seems to look outward rather than inwards, the colour seems confined by the scale of the work. Elements that once spoke of the body’s interior secrets now appear the have plunged to the ocean’s depths – flowing with the tide or soared into the sky – flirting with the clouds.

The use of blue as a constraint is also interesting in terms of the materials I have been drawn to, although they are my usual artillery of paints, wood, stones and plastics. Suddenly the blue speaks loudly of histories, of cultural value – the material resonates more loudly because of what it is and what it means. A fake blue flower – an impossible bloom in nature, lapis lazuli, ultramarine blue paint, thread dyed indigo blue - each has its own story to tell… 

Installing the exhibition was interesting as I was seven months pregnant! 
...and of course the thread works required their usual grooming once installed! 
and a bit of a haircut!
Here are some installation shots of the work in situ at the gallery taken by Object:

At the end of this experience of working with blue I have learned to be more open to different colours and embrace them... this is lucky as the next exhibition adventure, The Box Project required even more tenacity when it came to colour! 

A collection of my blue pieces are now available at Pieces of Eight in Melbourne.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

The Art of Engagement

Last year some of my most favourite New Zealand jewellers curated an exhibition featuring the work of some other most favourite New Zealand jewellers! It was held at gaffa Gallery in October, sadly I was indisposed and didn't get to see it, but the lovely ladies sent me the fabulous exhibition catalogue. 
Here is a description from the Touch, Pause, Engage blog:
Curated by Kristin D’Agostino and Raewyn Walsh, Touch, Pause, Engage, invited a diverse team of fifteen New Zealand jewellers to submit inventive and inspired works.  Although many of the makers’ practices focus on different issues and are expressed in a wide range of forms, the side is fit and game ready.  The roster is comprised of talented individuals with varying skills, strengths and experience, but who all share in common the goal of pushing the experimental aspects of their jewellery practice.
These folks are all kinds of awesome and incredibly inspiring in both their jewellery practices and also the activities they get up to, from the regular geek meets (one of which Lauren Simeoni and I were lucky enough to be invited to last year) to fantastic projects like Subliminal Infiltrations. Passion and humour! 
This year Kristin and Raewyn have curated a home game The Art of Engagement featuring the work of 15 Australian jewellers to show at Objectspace in Auckland during February alongside the original New Zealand 15 who showed in Sydney last year. I was beyond chuffed to be invited to participate alongside many of my favourite Australian jewellers! here's the piece I sent over to play:

Flow, 2010, Sewing Thread, Coral

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Tiny Studio Love!

Last week Pieces of Eight featured my studio as their 'Workbench of the Week', this week my dear friend Michele Morcos, an amazing artist who has an absolutely beautiful blog: TinyTrappings, has featured my studio as part of an online project she is working on called In our hands...
TinyTrappings charts Michele's inspiration through her gorgeous photographs and insightful writing as well as showing work in progress and finished work. My house is full of her work, from several beloved paintings to a collection of sketches and small works she has given me over the years as birthday cards; her work gives me so much pleasure every day! 
Michele came for a visit last week to meet the new studio assistant for the first time and while she was here she took some pictures of my studio and asked me some questions for the second instalment in her In our hands... project. I am so delighted that Michele wanted to feature my studio and think the finished post is so lovely. You can read it here. The first instalment of In our hands... featured our friend, the awesome ceramicist Honor Freeman, also well worth a read!
Michele also has a wonderful online store and an online gallery devoted to her art practice - both are a must to visit!

Michele Morcos, Journey To The Source, 2010, Mixed Media on Paper

Thank you beautiful lady xxx