Tuesday, November 27, 2007

MoB Workspace Studio Sale 2007

Get on down to City Hall, Brisbania on Thursday and Friday for this:

You won't regret it. And it is the last one I'll be in after leaving the space earlier this year.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Flatliners in Deep North

Flying Pig

All you need is love

Frutti Tutti Cowboys & Indians

I created this selection of Flatliners for the Toy Box exhibition at Kick Arts Shop in Cairns. Opening Fri 23 Nov and continues until Sat 29 Dec. Xmas shopping preview with discounts Thurs 5-7pm.

The melty men were Policemen, Cowboys and Indians. They couldn't take the heat of our deep north.

Now I am Bound for here this weekend for some chillaxation.

Friday, November 16, 2007

What's on the beer fridge this week?

Lovely Liana and her knitwit bangles and knitwit friends Bibi Locke and yours truly in MX Magazine yesterday.
Circulation 500 000.
What can I say?- it is such a pleasure sharing the limelight with Liana especially when you have to make like Elton John with her wares. And you can really tell how much she loves having her photo taken. What a babe!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Delightful Things for Christmas 2007

The Umbrella Collective is a bunch of artists united by friendship. Our annual Christmas sale is on this weekend. Come along if you are in Brisbane! Preview of work for sale here.
saturday 17 november 2007
9am - 2pm

delightful things direct from the artists

st francis theological college
233 milton road milton
entrance via baroona rd

parking available
cash or cheque only

umbrella collective


florence forrest
flying star toys

shannon garson

kylie johnson
paper boat press

liana kabel
plastic girl jewellery

rebecca ward

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Wrecker in Sunday Age 11/11/07

Some nice things were said in this article. Mine is the bullet cartridge cuff. The rest is Liana Kabel's and some Haul billboard bags.

Thanks alot to my ex, WJK for taking the beautiful and HUGE photo of Liana's earrings. One day I will be able to forgive your treachery! Maybe after watching back to back Eckhart Tolle DVDs for a week. Or a 100 years.

Sunday M
11 Nov 2007

Thursday, November 08, 2007

*conditions apply

*conditions apply

I really crack myself up sometimes.

Get these crafty characters at this:

Friday, November 02, 2007

The Nibble Project

Here is a sneak peek of the project Shannon Garson and I have been working on, launching 17 Nov at Umbrella Collective. Porcelain, silver and gold are worked together in delicate designs to remind you of food, nurture and love.

The fox went out on a Chilly Night (because the fox has to feed his family too!) and Nest series:
The fox went out on a chilly night,
He prayed for the moon to give him light,
For he'd many a mile to go that night,
Before he reached the town-o, town-o, town-o,
He'd many a mile to go that night,
Before he reached the town-o.

Balanced Diet Baby Cakes and Cinderella rings and Eat Ya Peas Series:

Attach of the Vovos and 100s and 1000s brooches:

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Arc Biennial + more

I am so proud to be included in the exhibition, To be confirmed that is on now at QUT Art Museum, Gardens Point, Brisbane as part of the Arc (Art Design and Craft) Biennial. To see my work among such an excellent overview of the contemporary scene in Queensland is a great honour. There is even a proper catalogue for the show- see above and click to enlarge. The show is on until 2 December and if in Brisbania is a good opportunity to get out of the humidity and see some though-provoking and engaging new art.

There is a Jewellery Party as part of the Arc program Thurs 15 Nov 5-7pm where you can buy our fabulous wares.

I also have swag of products in a fantastic new book that is out this month variously titled Cool Hunting Green (Aus) , Cool Green Stuff (USA), and Green Hunting (UK out in 2008) by Dave Evans who I met at the Arc Biennial, a lovely chap. A couple of the pages are scanned below:

Friday, October 12, 2007

Oh the irony

City North News 11/10/2007

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Separation Jewels

Brooch: Blair Smith.

There are engagement rings, wedding rings, toasters and parties galore when couples get together. But when you separate you suddenly have half the property, half the friends, distressed children (not true in my case fortunately) as well as a broken heart and ten million forms and paperwork changes to deal with. After being in a relationship for nearly 16 years, it is surprising how much lives become intertwined and pulling apart all the tendrils, emotional and practical, can be fraught. But worth the effort in some cases, including mine.

When the cracks could no longer be ignored and we were travelling in New Zealand earlier this year, I purchased a piece of jewellery, the choice of which must have come from the knowing and truthful
part of me, as my conscious mind was still stuck firmly in the sand of a relationship that we'd long grown out of. The work is by Blair Smith, renowned designer-maker who I'd worked with at Shed Workspace, Dunedin.

I chose the piece simply because I liked the composition and the strange poetry of its lines and construction. Laboriously handsawn from his own-made ingot it reminded me of Blair's attitude- never afraid of hard work. Heavy metal old-school industrial approach to construction fuses with a graphical intelligence switching between 2d and 3d forms. Like Blair, a bit rough around the edges but strong and true. Some tiny air holes revealed in the centre of the ingot where he'd sawn. Bold tool marks from the saw, file and pliers. Decorative scratched surface that is more about an aesthetic than construction. A strong springy pin and catch. Silver very bright and tarnish proof, though stamped 925 (925 parts silver to 1000 parts) - I believe Blair makes up his own alloys containing a much higher percentage of silver. That's how they do things in New Zealand.

Try as I might though, I could not find the pun he usually hides in his work that so often seduces the wrecker part of me. Al I knew was that I had a powerful emotional and visual response to the piece that just kept growing.

I still spent ages choosing between it and a few other shortlisted brooches and earrings as I listened to the conflicting voices of heart and mind. When I told David McLeod of Shed of my final selection, he told me something quite surprising. The piece actually says "9/10". Now that I know this it is hard not to see it. A reference to the old adage "Possession is 9/10s of the law" Blair apparently made it after going through a similar chain of events that I was to begin 3 weeks later when Wayne and I made the decision to separate. Suddenly I loved the piece even more although it unsettled me greatly and I tried to shrug off the strange set of emotions that were assailing me at the time.

Now the piece is cherished completely and along with David McLeod's unlit, dead and really dead matchsticks, the perfect jewellery to wear on settlement day- tomorrow.

It is not surprising that the separation of possessions should be one of the areas where many separating couples come unstuck and one of the areas we had to steer through carefully. Maybe because we are taught not to feel things directly but through objects, these become much more significant than the particles they are made up of. Or maybe we need these objects to help us to feel properly - in our unenlightened state they help us to work through our issues as we get to some truth or in some cases a story that pleases and bolsters the mind and can unleash all sorts of destruction and chaos.

Separation is a life passage that so many people have gone through before but also a transition that some discontented people spend a lifetime avoiding so I am grateful that I was able to get to where I am now. Sometimes it feels like a personal failure, society seems geared to keeping unhappy couples together for all sorts of reasons but mostly I feel proud of both of us and positive about my present and future.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

1, 2 ,4 ,8 ,16 ,32 ....

Mitosis Charm.

The number sequence is 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 etc. The exponential growth of splitting cells. The power of 2s. The heavy silver bauble is like a splitting ovum, that first moment of conception. A fusion of a scientific approach to fertility and something more intuitive, like a sympathetic magic for our time.

A gift for a friend who has been helping me in the last few months.

I hope it works. The last two people who were given them now have lovely babies. The other person who has one doesn't but then she is 55 and more in the market for grandkids so fingers crossed for her in that department!

Friday, September 21, 2007


Hoopies are named after the giant Hoop Pines (Araucaria cunninghamii) that built Brisbane. Descendents of these magnificent trees still loom, most noticable in the evenings, silhouetted against twilight skies on crowded inner city streets.
Above: Photo of Hoopie at Elidon Hill reservoir by Wayne Kington, Copper etching, Rebecca Ward

But today’s built environment is constructed from all sorts of other new materials which are cheaper to produce, sometimes ugly and at other times quite attractive and interesting to the human bowerbird. So my hoopies range is made from the bits and pieces you might find on a modern-day building site: coke bottle lids, rubber washers, plastic, paper, laminex, and bits of old hardwood left from what was demolished beforehand. The circular hoop shapes are still evident though as an echo to the once magnificent hoop forests of our region.

I am putting hoopies in a show coming up soon at MoB Store- The Summer Collection - opening Wed 3 October 5:30pm - come along (RSVP 3403 4355 Mon 1 Oct).

Friday, September 07, 2007

Biscuit Fever

It's no secret that I have been drinking alot lately.
Tea that is. I seem to have the other under control at the moment you'll be glad to hear. Coffee never solved anything.

The tea thing is rather good I must say but always nice to have a bit of a nibble on something with the tea. I've never been a biscuit snack sort of a person but of late the bikkies are enjoying a bit of a craze in wrecker central. When one runs short of father's famous shortbread, then one must resort to machine-made store-bought snackage, something which would never have penetrated my former unprocessed diet of brown rice sprinked with brussel sprouts. But when tragedy strikes, desperate measures must be taken.

It was a sympathy pack of Kingstons delivered to me by one of my oldest friends that caused me to slip into the deep shadows cast by the bikkie aisle of the supermarket. I have become quite partial to the "Little Schoolboy"biscuits which have suddenly appeared in this shadowland of tempatation. Imported from France they probably are probably a major contributor to global warming but I cycle to the shops to buy them so that must count for something.
The 45% cocoa really hits the spot for me. And the idea of nibbling on french schooolboys- well that is quite a European thing I imagine.Then there is also the iced vovo, which was the inspiration for a range of earrings that I make from recycled glass. Well really I made them and then I thought "By crikey they remind me of iced vovos for some reason well they are the right colour and texture but iced vovos are so straight and these are so curvy swingy they are essence of vovo in their swing music kinda old-fashioned and vovoistic way". Profound.The Vovos have also inspired some of the Nibble Project with Shannon Garson which features such reverent reproductions of said Vovo in porcelain. It is a lonely friday night so I felt compelled to purchase some vovo and compare to the french schoolboy and I'm sorry to say that the vovo is not so great. It sucks a bit I'm afraid I think they may have cut some corners with ingredients and manufacturing as I'm sure it was much better in the 70s and 80s when I was a child and not allowed to eat them. Damn those hippy parents. I would trade my perfect teeth for a 1970s vovo anyday. And now that I've eaten all those bikkies I really don't feel like my leftover lentil soup for dinner.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Home again, home again

I've just reorganised my home studio and consolidated the wrecking into one address. This means I've moved out from MoB Workspace where I've been for nearly 4 years. It was sad to leave my lovely studio buddies and mob friends. I was the last remaining founding member but it is time to let the new team steer the space into new waters.

My split with Mr Accordian has bought about other changes as well with him moving across town and me taking on an extra day job on Wednesdays. I'm still hoping to devote as much time to my wrecking as ever though. And working from home will also give me a chance to enjoy the spring wildflowers in my garden.
In other earth-shattering news I have joined facebook at the behest of David Ellison, a fellow Griffarian whose facebook photo circa 1977 spoke of a troubled past. I had to know more.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Sea Jewels Paddling North

Recycled glass Sea Jewels have been going beserk in the top end so I just sent another batch of necklaces to Framed- the Darwin Gallery.
Life is slowly getting better after the shock of breaking up with my long-term partner and I will soon have the energy to face making a new range of pebble work. At moment it feels good to clean out and reorganise my home workshop.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Tea For Three

Cups of russian caravan tea and Dad's famous shortbread on gorgeous mix-matched handmade pottery as the afternoon sunlight trickles through the leaves in my garden. I thank my family for helping me clean out and reorganise my life and enjoy the beautiful life after a bad start to the day.

I gathered together my favourite pottery for a special tea. As Simon Suckling, who made the blue cup and saucer told me that it is better karma to break pottery after having used it than to break it having never used it, something that Shannon Garson who made the teapot and milkjug is also reminds us of.

Tea, family, neighbours and friends help you get through the hard times and I thank them all.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Saint Fran

Congratulations to Fran Crowe whose 1st solo exhibition is now underway.

Fran says "I am walking to collect 46000 pieces of litter from my local Suffolk beaches - 46000 because this is the average number of pieces of litter per square mile of ocean worldwide according to the UN. I have been walking since last September and so far I have collected over 41000 pieces, most of which I have just installed in the Babylon Gallery in Ely (where I am 2007 bursary artist). I think it makes a shocking but fascinating viewing which I really hope will engage people with some of the issues to do with marine litter and the state of our oceans. " I've been following Fran's work for some time on her website and love the way that she gets an environmental message out there with humour and a cheeky challenge to her audience. And I think she has come up with a perfect excuse for long walks on the beach and cannot help but feel a bit envious that did not think of it first!

The results of her project are not only backed up with scientific data detailed on her website but they are so very aesthetically seductive!
I know all the beach plastic is bad but I cannot help but love it at the same time for its worn edges, eroded textures and washed out colours that tell of all sorts of adventures at sea.

Here are some favourite beach plastic specimens from my personal collection:

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Surface Paradise

A need to escape from Brisbania led me to beg fellow Umbrellaist and good friend Shannon Garson to accompany her on a weekend ceramic workshop at the Gold Coast Potters Association. She was more than happy to have me along as she was touching on jewellery making in the workshop and adorable little Pearl, her 4mth old baby was also coming and in need of occassional distraction and cuddles (not that I got much of a look in with 15 or so clucky women at the workshop).
Shannon demonstrates her leaf tattoo painting style in sepia watercolour.

Shannon generously demonstrated many of her surface decoration techniques (slip trailing, watercolour-like brush work, shellac resists and sgraffito) as well as expertly throwing some tricksy southern ice clay and demonstrating the turning of the drying pots. While I have no intention of getting into ceramics myself, I gained plenty of useful knowledge during the workshop and enjoyed meeting the lovely ladies from the Potters group who were so appreciative of Shannon's tuition.
Top: Throwing
Bottom: Shannon with Anne

We also publicly showed for the very first time our collaborative project: Nibble. Shannon has created some delightful tiny porcelain pieces which I have turned into rings (below), necklaces, earrings and brooches with st silver and gold. Shannon was initially inspired after making a gift of porcelain miniature food for a child's dolls house and we have always wanted to do a collaboration together. Giftmaking often inspires me too as I try to make something different from my usual to suit a specific person and this often leads to a whole new tangent! Much of the Nibble range is about food and nurturing: there are peas in pods, eggs in nests, iced vovos and pumpkins. More photos of it on this site in a review by participant Anne Mossman and we'll be publicising it more soon. Any suggestions on where and how to exhibit it are most welcome!
Above top: rings from the Nibble collection
Below: surface decoration equip, workshop participants

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Sea Jewels Therapy

It is ages since my last posting - due to some personal upheavals that I am going through. At times like these I may not be good for much else, but can take refuge in making my recycled glass sea jewels earrings. Simple designs, soft edges and such happy bright colours all lined up and ready to send off to MoB Store in Brisbane, Pomme in Victoria and Framed in Darwin.

Thursday, May 31, 2007


The highlight of visiting Wellington is never going to be the weather unless you fancy gales and horizontal rain - that must be why they have such excellent galleries and museums. In fact, we did not defrost until we daytripped out to the Kapiti Coast with Uncle Ron (right) to visit Uncle Ken (left).
Top: Alan Preston, jewellery made from greywacke road base and paint
Middle: Blair Smith, Visible panty line
BottomLeft: Shelly Norton: jewellery made from plastic shopping bags
Bottom Right: Genevieve Packer, Craft Terrorist

My favorite museum was the Dowse in Lower Hutt which presented a beautifully displayed Alan Preston survey exhibition (love his road base pieces) and contemporary jewellery/craft from the collection on display upstairs.
Much of the jewellery had probably been collected from the 2 excellent jewellery galleries in town, Quoil (shame on them for not having a website going) and Avid. Quoil was my favourite because the staff were so friendly (I'm easily won over by nice happy people) - and they also have some wacky plastic work by Lisa Walker and Shelly Norton that Plastic Girl would have enjoyed.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Return to Oz

I have returned.

8 kilos heavier and not from all the butter and cheese I ate- but from the pebbles spread over 2 backpacks. Fortunately with no hassles from customs.

Here are some pictures from the interior of a marvellous old villa we stayed at in French Pass. Actually it was so grand from the exterior that I thought it must be a private residence and we first showed ourselves into the little shed nextdoor! The house was built by sheep farming settlers, the Webbers who have now moved into more modern accommodations nextdoor while the old residence is converted into a backpackers: big draughty rooms with odd assortments of furniture from different eras, a modernised kitchen and this rather wonderful old linoleum 'rug'. I love these old linoleum patterns ( here and also Betty Jo- jewellery made from it) and this one that imitates the persian rug using some early mechanical printing that looks real from a distance up up close like a pixelated image.

Detail of 'rug':

Mr Accoridan teased a haunting melody from the decomposing old piano (blogged here)- due to the lack of recent tuning and missing notes, possibly the only tune that could have been played!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Foaming Nanas

It will be no great surprise to many of you that Nana and I have become very close over the last year. Very close indeed. Something which has meant that she has really been able to open up to me, and visa versa.

In one of our recent conversations she mentioned a very personal problem she has been experiencing. It concerns her trademark glasses.

They have begun to foam. Yes, foam.
You can see the transition from the mid to late stages as the virus makes it increasingly difficult for Nana to see. The ravages of this illness are set to take their toll on Nana, who has sold more records than Celine Dion and Madonna combined, but we pray that it will not affect her forthcoming show at London's Royal Albert Hall.

We cannot explain why it has been happening and it is something that has Europe's finest pathologists baffled and scared. Could we be experiencing the beginnings new viral pandemic? Fortunately it has not jumped from Nana into the general population but as we know, with viruses it is only a matter of time before the mutations cause this devastating leap to occur.Seriously though, before you make the switch to contact lenses, these new works do come with a warning for members of the Nana Mouskouri fanclub: MAY CONTAIN TRACES OF NANA. They are made from old vinyl records and were a few experiements from my NANA range of pins that got a little overcooked. Recycled for the Fabulous Foam exhibition. Each has a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist herself.

Fabulous Foam

Have you ever noticed how the invitations for shows I'm in all seem the same? Well the reason for this is that I design the damn things for free! And the reason they look the same is that I have no graphic design training and only a small box of tricks in my photoshop repertoire! But as we are often reminded by our arts organisations, beggars can't be chosers so I get stuck with me!

This show, Fabulous Foam organised by Dan Cox opens next friday and I originally wasn't going to be able to put work in - running out of time etc. However, I made a supremo effort and have some truly special pieces for it. Rules are that it has to consist of 80% foam. Yay!



May 4th - May 30th 2007

Brisbane Square Library
Brisbane Square
(Opposite the Treasury Casino)

Opening: Friday 4th May 5pm - 6:30pm
phone: 07 3403 4166 email: info@jmgq.com.au

Miriam Carter Dan Cox Renee Dillon Branka Doncevska
Clare Dyer Kylie Gartside Elizabeth Gray Hannah Kelly
Kath Kerswell Bibi Locke Sue Preston Elizabeth Shaw
Joan Teo Rebecca Ward Patsie Wishart Susie Woodhouse

Monday, April 23, 2007

Mr Mcleod's Lucky Strike

Above: David Mcleod's Matchstick Brooches- st silver and red gold

At this end of this week I’ll be winging across the Tasman to find out what has been happening since I was there last in 2003. I intend to construct extra large pockets in all of mine and Mr Accordian’s clothing to maximise pebble collecting capacity!

I will also catch up with David Mcleod, Dunedin jeweller and sculptor who I did a mentorship and residency with. His beautiful stone, bone and shell work with Japanese alloys drew me at the Jewellers and Metalsmiths conference in 2000 and I was lucky to be able to work with him for the 3month mentorship and afterwards in his collective studio, SHED. I’m looking forward to hearing about a new 3d gallery in the pipeline that he is involved with and seeing he new directions in his practice.

David’s latest work uses matchsticks as concept and material - matches can be interpreted in all sorts of different ways. As shorthand symbols of transience, survival, safety/danger, warmth, light and sustenance. Destruction and a chaos; disposable, stored energy. He has remade matches in sterling silver and red gold (above) as well as many other materials and also used the burnt matches themselves:The piece that inspired the collection was a paua shell inlaid box made from matchsticks – I suspect he picked it up in one of his favourite second-hand shop haunts. David is one of those people who cannot walk past a secondhand shop without stopping for a look-see.

Matchstick crafted objects remind me of prison art. Constructed by desperate men with time on their hands for repetitive, tiny work that is not highly valued by society, though gaining recognition by collectors under the banner of Tramp Art. I appreciate the wrecking aspect – the pointless and nihilistic activity of going through matchbox after matchbox lighting and discarding matches. Then the rebuilding into decorative objects expressing some scaled-down emotion - hope cloaked irony? Maybe part of a deeper need just to create and build that comes out in odd ways when suppressed. Tinderbox was an apt name for the show he presented last year at Quoil Gallery.

The ownership of materials, native to New Zealand and introduced through colonisation and their adoption by different cultures is explored in the flag-like brooches. It picks up on a theme resonant in NZ contemporary art here as in Ralph Hotere’s work exploring the British Union Jack flag that we cannot seem to move past in post-colonial Down Under.

As a gift, I can imagine these matchstick brooches ($75AUD) will be ideal markers for women or men (yes boys, these would look great on a lapel) celebrating significant birthdays and events and am already taking orders for them from Brisbane friends! I wonder if he sells them in matchboxes. I cannot wait to see one close up so I can find out what tricky hinge and catch mechanism he has worked out! And I want to team one up with one of my Flatliner firemen pins!