Made / Worn

Australian Contemporary Jewellery

Introduction

Australian Design Centre is a leading centre for contemporary craft and design in Australia. Its role is to build a significant design culture, one that values and nurtures the work and cultural value of creative thinkers and makers across the country. 

From intimate pieces to large scale works, the contemporary jewellery in Made / Worn: Australian Contemporary Jewellery explores the act of making and how jewellery is worn on the body, telling stories that start with the artist and continue through the life of the object worn or experienced, creating new resonances with owners into the future.

Spanning a wide range of materials, techniques and meanings, the works on display are playful, intricate, conceptual, personal and political. The artists also engage with themes of place, sustainability in materials and identity.

The project includes performative or interactive elements, including workshops and public programs that give audiences the opportunity for creative participation. Jewellery is an act of art, craft and design that also lives and breathes on the bodies of those who wear it.

Celebrating diversity and inclusivity, the exhibition includes the work of 22 artists working in contemporary jewellery in Australia today. You may be surprised by some of the things in this exhibition – they do not all immediately occur as jewellery – but rest assured the definition of contemporary jewellery is broad and encompasses many things that evoke a sense of the personal and the memorable along with the melange of human emotions swirling within all of us.

In her essay for the project ‘Everything and nothing – jewellery beyond adornment’ Melinda Young writes,

As a maker, a wearer and a viewer of contemporary jewellery I am interested in jewellery beyond its life as adornment, as a significant, charged object to be worn. This extends to the processes that engender that object, the actions that describe making and the notion that to ‘wear’ or be adorned with jewellery does not necessarily mean that it is in a traditionally recognisable form.

Contemporary jewellery practice sits at the crossroads of craft, design, and art, it positions ‘the human body as a general working area’. Contemporary jewellery not only sees the making of recognisable forms of adornment using ‘known’ materials, it also has an ‘open attitude to methods and material’, questioning and pushing against ideas of what traditional jewellery can (or could) be. The materiality and value of jewellery is questioned; sites of adornment and the process of making interrogated. The scale and scope of adornment comes into play as does a (re)consideration of what we consider the jewel or precious object to be.

Alongside the tour, the Made/Worn project includes a suite of workshops and events that will engage people in the art and craft of contemporary jewellery to deepen an understanding of wearable art as a vehicle for personal expression, the technique and skill involved in the making and how these skills are used in contemporary practice. 

We hope that this project inspires people to make and wear contemporary jewellery that speaks to who they are and what they believe in while, at the same time, bringing joy to all who experience the remarkable creativity of these Australian artists.

Liam Benson // Helena Bogucki // Julie Blyfield// Zoe Brand // Maree Clarke // Jess Dare // Anna Davern // Bin Dixon-Ward // Sian Edwards // Emma Fielden // Lola Greeno // Pennie Jagiello // Bridget Kennedy // Inari Kiuru // Grace Lillian Lee // Vicki Mason // Claire McArdle // Tiffany Parbs // Blanche Tilden // Catherine Truman // Manon van Kouswijk // Zoë Veness

Lisa Cahill, CEO and Artistic Director


National Tour Itinerary

Australian Design Centre, NSW 26 March - 27 May 2020
Glasshouse Regional Gallery, Port Macquarie, NSW 20 June - 16 August 2020
Artisan, QLD 28 August - 25 October 2020
Cairns Art Gallery, QLD 20 November 2020 - 17 January 2021
Maitland Regional Art Gallery, NSW 13 February - 16 May 2021
Wagga Wagga Art Gallery, NSW 26 June - 29 August 2021
JamFactory, SA 9 December 2021 - 13 February 2022
Bundoora Homestead Art Centre, VIC 28 February - 17 April 2022
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, TAS 28 April - 3 July 2022

Made/Worn: Australian Contemporary Jewellery is curated by Australian Design Centre, designed by Garbett Design and supported by the Australia Council for the Arts.

Made/ Worn Film

The Made/Worn film was made to accompany the exhibition by Angus Lee Forbes. It features a number of artists in the exhibition and gives some deeper insights into what inspires these artists and what contemporary jewellery can be.  

Image: Made/Worn: Australian Contemporary Jewellery graphics by Garbett design.

Made/Worn Essays

The themes and artworks in the exhibition are explored through four essays, 'A Well-Worn Country' by Kevin Murray, 'Material Investigations' by Penny Craswell, 'Constructing Identity' by Margaret Hancock Davis and 'Everything and Nothing: Jewellery Beyond Adornment' by Melinda Young.

Education and Resources

In connection with the exhibition Made/Worn, ADC has developed an Education Kit and identified a reading list, plus links to galleries, retailers and other useful organisations related to contemporary jewellery in Sydney and around Australia.

Liam Benson

"What I create and how I create it is most often a response to where I see myself within my community, how I feel my environment is contributing to my identity, what memories and cultural associations my materials hold and how the process of making contributes to the meaning of each piece."

Julie Blyfield

"My practice is defined by research into personal, family and Australian collections with a particular focus on flora and botanical collections and as well the Australian landscape."

Helena Bogucki

"The works that I create combine formed and found pieces.  The found objects I discover on field trips to regional locations in Western Australia are combined with silver, copper and enamel components in my studio. These pieces come together to provide a memento of my research."

Zoe Brand

"I am concerned with finding language that can describe both the object or the idea of the object, as well as the person who might wear the piece. How the piece is read when it is hanging in a gallery or when it is worn out in public, and by whom, is paramount to my practice. I am interested in how a work is read both on and off the body."

Maree Clarke

"All my adornments, whether it’s a river reed necklace or a breast plate or mourning cap adornments, tell very different stories about identity with south eastern Australian cultural practices."

Jess Dare

"Nature, botanical specimens and memory influence my exhibition work. I use nature as a metaphor to investigate concepts of the fragility and transience of memory.  To me, flowers are a constant reminder that life is ephemeral, ever changing, momentary and precious."

Anna Davern

"My practice incorporates the technique of metal collage and assemblage to make jewellery and small dioramas that question long-held ideas about Australia’s cultural identity."

Bin Dixon-Ward

"Through making jewellery, I apply spatial thinking to engage in contemporary discussions relating to the role of digital technologies in material culture, and the relationship between the maker and the machine."

Sian Edwards

"I define my practice by my approach to materials, my penchant for time-consuming and repetitive processes, my interest in detail, pattern, and qualities of light (like colour, shimmer and shine), my study of animals and my concern with connective mechanisms, movement and texture."

Emma Fielden

“What is the nature of our universe? Why is there something rather than nothing? What’s our human place in all this? These are some of the questions that form a backbone to my practice, and I explore such ideas through the materiality and conceptual framework of my artworks.”

Lola Greeno

"I was asked lots of questions about making shell necklaces and I kept going to talk to Mum about how she made them. This Tasmanian Aboriginal women’s cultural practice has a significance that has continued over many generations. It was really important for me to capture and be part of it. I am so lucky Mum and I made several necklaces. We held our first exhibition together in Queensland."

Pennie Jagiello

"The importance of my work is placed within human made debris as the discarded wearable heirlooms we pass on and leave behind us, in place of more traditional forms of jewellery. Diamonds are forever, so is anthropogenic debris which defines in our short existence the era and errors of the Anthropocene."

Bridget Kennedy

"My exhibition practice continues an ongoing enquiry into environmental fragility, impermanence, choice, social expectations and value. An emphasis on materials and exploration allows the physical act of making to partly drive the outcome."

Inari Kiuru

"I tend to work with materials that are non-precious and widely available, often from the industrial realm (steel and concrete as examples to date). I’m attracted to the idea of democracy - availability and low cost of ‘common’ materials - in my making. Revealing the poetic qualities of materials most often interpreted as tough or coarse brings me endless pleasure."

Grace Lillian Lee

"My practice is based on the methodology of preservation. I am heavily involved in this process of reflecting on the past and my identity. I use my practice as that vehicle for me to connect and learn more about my Torres Strait Island Heritage."

Vicki Mason

"I’m interested in unpacking our relationship(s) with plants within the contemporary context. My purview is to build knowledge and raise awareness about the natural world through investigating the myriad of themes the study of plants opens me up to."

Claire McArdle

"My practice is led by concept but grounded in materiality and processes. The materials that will make up the piece are carefully selected in line with the ideas behind the work and the appropriate skills to realise the piece are researched and exercised where needed to bring it into being."

Tiffany Parbs

"My practice explores a worn body. I am primarily motivated by expanding public perceptions and awareness of jewellery, examining the dialogue between body and object, capacity for transference of meaning and the potential for jewellery as a medium to reflect a changing social narrative."

Blanche Tilden

"During 25 years of practice in the fields of contemporary jewellery, glass and design, I have developed a unique visual and material vocabulary through an innovative use of glass and metals, creating jewellery and objects that reference mechanical technology, industrial modernity and architecture."

Catherine Truman

"My practice is research based and focuses on the parallels between craft processes and science research methodologies. For many years now, I have had an avid interest in anatomy and have viewed the body as a rich and potent vehicle for the exploration of the personal and the political."

Manon van Kouswijk

"My working methodology is based on exploring and translating the archetypal forms and motifs of jewellery, and of other types of objects that we attach a similar personal value to, through a range of diverse materials and processes."

Zoe Veness

"Fundamentally jewellery is a supplemental form requiring the body to support it in order to function. Can jewellery therefore function without the body? What happens when the body is absent, such as the case when on display in an exhibition? How does this impact on the sculptural ‘presence’ of the jewel? These are ongoing questions in my work."

Exhibition Supporters

This project is supported by the Australia Council for the Arts’ Contemporary Touring Initiative with design by Garbett Design.

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