Anna Davern

Anna Davern is a Melbourne-based contemporary jeweller. Covered with wine labels, her journal is her diary of isolation and her creative thought process in text, collage and images. Honesty, frustration, day to day experience of isolation and world events collide in Anna’s journal.

“The dog is sick. I took him to the vet this morning. He’ll be fine. But a simple thing like this disrupts my day…I have no orders or repairs, no exhibitions to work towards, it’s a perfect time to develop new work and I just feel immobilised!”

We asked Anna three questions about her experience of isolation, completing this journal and her hope for the future. These are her responses: 

Describe the experience of the period of isolation for you.

What a rollercoaster! I’ve loved hunkering down and discovering my inner introvert, but I have been completely lost: no energy, no motivation, no inspiration. I feel despair for the selfishness, aggression and violence that humanity is capable of and elation at the ability of so many to come together and help each other when needed. Time has slowed down, but it also seems to have passed in a flash. I’ve been fearful for my health and for the lives of my loved ones, but I have also broken a few rules along the way (how can I not hug my close friend when she loses her beloved pet). And now we’re in it again in Melbourne. My partner and I have set ourselves the challenge of trying to be more healthy in this lockdown, it will remain to be seen. Wine?

What does your book represent and how did you approach the challenge?

The sketchbooks I use for my practice are so private, I’m even reluctant to show them to my partner. Half formed ideas are so fragile that to share them lays them bare and exposes them to the potential of criticism. My sketchbooks are where I can make mistakes, they are messy and contain banal domestic shopping lists as well as thoughts and drawings. My sketchbooks have never been works of art. I decided to make my book a written journal, to try and capture how I have been feeling during this time. The entries have been written as a stream of consciousness with no drafts and little editing (except for the last entry which was so full of self-conscious ennui I had to cut it up!). 

What do you hope will change in Australia as a result of the pandemic?

I hope that people will recognise the benefits to the community, and to society, by acting collectively. And I hope that people will be kinder and more compassionate to each other. 

Anna has been making jewellery in Melbourne, Australia since the 1990’s.
She originally studied jewellery at Sydney College of the Arts and followed that up with post graduate studies at RMIT in Melbourne. Her practice straddles the visual arts, jewellery, fashion and education. She works from a light filled studio in Melbourne’s CBD which she shares with Cass Partington, Jana King and Robyn Clarke.
Anna exhibits regularly in Australia and overseas and is a well-respected artist within the Australian contemporary jewellery and craft communities.

View Anna Davern's journal here:

Image: Anna Davern, Design/Isolate Journal (detail), 2020.