Sense of Place
The exhibition Sense of Place was exhibited at Grafton Regional Gallery 23 May - 14 July in 2019. It featured works from three contemporary jewellers, Maddison Bygrave, Kristina Gittins and Mia Wells.
I curated the exhibition around the idea of how jewellery frequently takes on the role of representing something or someone we hold dear. In the case of Bygrave, Gittins and Wells their jewellery is representative of a place without specificity, but it is a place we all know, the coastline of Australia. While the artists approach their works in quite different ways, there is a common thread between their motivations. They share a respect and concern for the ocean and coastal environments and their works emphasise the preciousness of this place that is part of the greater Australian Identity. They share a concern about the responsible use of materials and this is manifested in their choice to prioritise the use of recycled sterling silver, and the reuse and repurposing of materials.
Thank you to Niomi Sands the Grafton Regional Gallery Director.
I have attached the catalogue at the bottom of this post.
Sense of Place follows two previous exhibitions I have curated that have considered how environmental concerns are are being explored by contemporary jewellers.
In 2018 I curated Inhabiting Sense of Place for Glasshouse, Port Macquarie where it was on show from 13 October to 2 December. The exhibition featured works from Rebecca Ward (Maleny), Clare Poppi (Marburg) and Helen Wyatt (Sydney) whose jewellery through material and aesthetic choices evoke a sense of place.
In 2010 I curated an exhibition for Redlands Gallery called Revisiting the Australian Landscape - interpreting the landscape on an intimate scale. The exhibition looked at how contemporary Queensland jewellers and metalsmiths were using the Australian landscape as the vehicle to express ideas of political and cultural location at a time of reassessment and reevaluation. It occurred to me after installing Inhabiting Space that there was a clear relationship with the ideas I had explored in the 2010 exhibition. Rebecca Ward exhibited in both exhibitions.
RADICAL LOCALISM IS A TOURING EXHIBITION OF JEWELLERY & OBJECTS BY ELIZABETH SHAW CURATED BY CASSANDRA LEHMAN (ARTISAN QUEENSLAND).
Lehman has drawn jewellery and objects from decades of my studio practice. Her installation mixes works from various periods and in doing so draws attention to constant and related interests that have permeated my studio thinking.
The Opening event is 6pm Friday 4 February 2022.
Floor talk and morning tea 10am Sunday 6 February.
Further details are available here
I was happy to have two of my bracelets selected for inclusion in Nicolas Estrada's new book New Bracelets. This is the fourth book in the series, it was preceded by New Brooches, New Rings and New Necklaces.
My works included are Nail head Bracelet, found nails, steel wire, reused sterling silver and Links Bracelet (bone), found metal (assorted washers and bits with holes), reused and recycled sterling silver. Thank you to Michelle Bowden @visuall for taking the print quality photos.
The book is now available in Australia from Australian distributors Booktopia and at quality bookshops.
Why Jewellery? 2
Why Jewellery? 2 is the second in a series of exchange exhibitions between Queensland College of Art Griffith University and Hong Kong Baptist University. The exhibition features works from staff and selected current third year students and recent graduates who responded to the question "Why Jewellery?". The idea for the exhibition developed following conversations I had with Dr Ching Sze Yin, Cicy the head of the Jewellery studio when I was visiting HKBU. We held the first exhibition in the series in 2015, the Why-Jewellery? website has images and information from both exhibitions.
I see Why Jewellery? as an important prompt for our students and graduates to interrogate their ideas about jewellery through their own work and through viewing that of their peers. It is a great opportunity to exhibit their works in an international exhibition and to develop a understanding of other artists' motivations.
The exhibition opened in the Project Gallery at QCA on 14 June, and despite heavy rain, and the university break, the exhibition attracted a good crowd.
When I was 5 I wrote and illustrated a story called "The Praty" sic. I am pretty sure that praty was my 5 year old way of spelling party. Or at least the way the story progresses that is what I understand.
There is something about this small element of my past that has inspired several works over the years. In 1996 for an exhibition of artists books curated by Frank McBride at the Brisbane City Gallery (now Museum of Brisbane) I reproduced the illustrated story in a copper book.
Sometime also in the late 1990's I worked with reproducing some of the characters from the story in silver. I didn't resolve what I was going to do with them. They still linger around my work bench waiting to be resolved.
Around 2005 I printed the characters in black on unbleached linen tea towels. I gave these to members of my family. Around 2000 I made a series of reusable black shopping bags with the character printed in white, these were again given to my family.
Now in 2017 the characters have appeared in Creature Earrings and on oven mitts. The Creature earrings were included in JMGQs two April Pop Up Shops at Papermoon and an Oven Mitt – featuring a creature from my childhood was exhibited in BusyBrick's embroidery exhibition Prick also in April.
This is a pre Christmas exhibition with a difference. All of the works exhibited have been made from materials retreived from donated jewellery as a part of the Radical Jewellery Makeover.
The Radical Jewellery Makeover is an educational initiative of Ethical Metalsmiths and involves a call to the public to donate their unwanted jewellery. The donations are sorted and categorised to be deconstructed and become the raw materials to be reworked by a team of jewellers. The resulting works are heavily influenced by the donated materials, though the donors may no longer be able to recognise any elements of what they contributed. The jewellers get to work with materials they don't usually use and this proves an inspiration and challenge to develop new works that add value to the materials.
My contact with the Ethical Metalsmiths started in late 2006 when I emailed Christina Miller. I was in the process of making changes to the Jewellery Program at QCA and I was keen to talk to academics and researchers with shared interests. Christina was the first I found and we began conversing by email and mail. The conversations led to Christina and her collaborator Susie Ganch visiting QCA to host a Radical Jewellery Makeover in 2010. This was to be the first international RJM and the 4th in the ongoing series of the travelling community mining and recycling project that draws public attention to the creativity and skills of local jewellery designers, reveals the stories behind our personal collections and encourages re-consideration of our habits of consumption. I joined Susie and Christina to deliver an RJM in New Mexico in 2011. The 2016 Brisbane RJM is the second to be hosted in Australia and I have led it with the assistance of Clare Poppi a QCA Masters candidate.
The jewellers who are exhibiting RJM works in the current exhibition are: Alicia Lane, Alison Bruce, Catherine Large, Chloe Healy. Elizabeth Shaw, Juliana Platt, Katie Stormonth, Kierra-Jay Power, Lynda Shale, Melissa Stannard, Mia Wells, Nellie Peoples, Robyn Pell, Vivien Bedwell and Xiaohui Yang. Many more have been involved in the project. A big thank you to Lisa Brown from Faun Photography for documenting a lot of the jewellery made.
these are occasional posts about the things that are inspiring me, or that are happening around.