"Nailed Down is one in a series of objects exploring the dire state of traditional silversmithing education in Australia. With so many iconic institutions being defunded or shut down, there are few avenues for people to access this knowledge. With no one to carry on these skills and traditions, we risk losing the craft completely.

This hand-raised object is the physical manifestation of this fear. Made to resemble the metal in its molten pre-worked state, the laboriously formed object is left blank and without function, suggesting the growing absence of skills required to work it. The piece is nailed down in desperation, attempting to prevent the traditions and skills of our craft from escaping us entirely.

After completing an Advanced Diploma of Jewellery and Object Design at Design Centre in Enmore, Gretal Ferguson moved to the UK to complete her Masters in Jewellery, Silversmithing, and Related Products at Birmingham City University’s School of Jewellery. After returning to Australia, she moved to Adelaide and completed the 2-year Associate Programme at JamFactory.

Nailed Down, 2021
Silver plated copper, steel

Image top: Gretal Ferguson, Nailed Down, 2021. Photo: Courtesy of the artist