Marian Hosking: Jewellery

Living Treasures: Masters of Australian Craft

10 November 2007 - 13 January 2008

Marian Hosking’s career as a silversmith spans several decades and throughout it she has translated her passion for the individuality and essence of the Australian landscape into jewellery. Her love of the natural environment started very early – during numerous childhood outings led by her mother, a keen conservationist, ‘in search of wildflowers and diverse ecosystems, along roads that often bogged the car.’

After graduating in 1969, Hosking travelled to Europe where she studied at the Fachhochschule für Gestaltung in the jewellery city of Pforzheim, Germany: ‘It was a very exciting time to be at the school because jewellery was breaking away from its commercial trade roots and the school attracted students from Europe, Asia, Africa and South America. During this time I consolidated my desire for a creative career where I could realise my own ideas. Metal was my chosen medium and I have never strayed very far from it.’

Returning to Australia in 1973, she moved to Wagga Wagga to teach at Charles Sturt University. She recalls that ‘it was this relocation back into rural Australia that reinforced my need to work with my immediate environment … I moved away from the simple modulation of hollow geometric silver forms to selecting fragments of the landscape which I was living in and travelling through each day.’

Back in Melbourne in 1975 Hosking established her own workshop. Five years later she became a director and founding member of Workshop 3000 ‘a well-equipped and centrally located access studio where jewellers could rent space and share ideas. It was a vibrant studio where many significant jewellers worked and exhibited.’ Since 1984, after the birth of her second child, Julian, Hosking has maintained a solo studio practice.

Her work is in many significant public collections and is represented in the commercial gallery sector – in Australia at Gallery Funaki, Melbourne and in Europe at Galerie Ra, Amsterdam.

This exhibition is the culmination of two years’ intensive work. The works are very specific – particular plants, translated into silver, represent particular places: ‘I see my pieces as signifiers of place ... I am not so interested in a pictorial space, but rather in capturing a slice or fragment of a larger whole … to trigger a memory in the viewer of a larger vista or place.’

As well as being a leading contemporary jeweller and senior academic, Hosking is a past President of Craft Victoria and ‘a sometimes active member of the Jewellers and Metalsmiths Group of Australia (JMGA).’ 

Hosking has long understood that ‘craft practice is about acquiring skill, it takes years to build fluency of technique and familiarity with materials.’ For many years she has taken on the role of mentor to a number of emerging craft practitioners including some funded by Australia Council Studio Traineeship grants.

Throughout her career Hosking has continued her own study, gaining a Master of Arts from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University in 1996 and currently nearing completion of a PhD at Monash University with the working title Souvenir, Motif and Allusion: historical precedents in jewellery made since white colonisation. Her work for this focuses mainly on Australian flora and considers the use of botanical specimens in art and jewellery to express Australian identity.

Hosking’s commitment to her creative practice, to exhibiting, to study and to the importance of teaching to foster ‘an approach that values individual creativity over commercial jewellery’ is driven by her passion for ‘the visibility and importance of contemporary jewellery.’ She achieves the balance by ‘working very hard and being disciplined in the time I spend in my studio.’

Melissa Boyde

The above text is an extract from Marian Hosking: Jewellery, the catalogue produced to accompany this exhibition, containing essays, an interview with the artist and many colour images of her work. It is available for purchase through Object Shop

Marian Hosking is an Australian Design Honouree. Explore Australian Design Honours here