Sunday, December 14, 2008

Marianne Huhn button brooches

These are some brooches I made using 3 gorgeous Marianne Huhn porcelain buttons owned by Shannon . I spent ages looking for her online before I realised I'd missread her signature on the back of the button - Huhn not Kuhn!
Marianne says of her work "I wanted to build on the idea of containment in our lives. I used maps and borders in our landscape and houses and the roles they play in our lives, to speak about the pots function of containment." The buttons certainly fit well here then containing people as they do in swathes of cloth. I also love the translation into buttons of these map fragments- so you can glance down at your coat to get your bearings. It makes me think of the cloth labels we had to wear as children in the first week of school with our name and grade on it.
Anyway I get to keep one. I bags the one with 17 on it (my childhood street number). I know there is always a room for me at number 17 - or so mum threatens! They are made with rubber, st silver and stainless steel. I'd like to say that the rubber discs are a well thought out reference to the streetscape graphics on the porcelain but they were just some bits and bobs I'd collected from Reverse Garbage which happen to conceal the hinge of the pin.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Fabulous Students

My BIA Intro to Gold and Silversmithing students had their final exhibition last week and they made these wonderful pieces ( I was very proud and loved what they did with the etching):Pierce Hirth: Matchbox Cover (etched pattern on side) sterling silver, sterling silver match, paper clip and ring pull, florin set in sterling silver

Melody Chen: Motif 1 (sterling silver, gemstone beads, freshwater pearls). Based on Chinese design motif.
Kristina Sinclair: Three etched pendants and 2 rings. Sterling silver (some oxidised).

Fiona Kurnadi: Paisley Brooch and Hairpin. Sterling silver.

Diana Jamieson: Etched Necklace. Sterling silver (etched), laminex, neoprene.

Ross Carew (who actually did my Found Objects in Jewellery course): Driftwood Pendant. Found driftwood, sterling silver, neoprene.

I'm so lucky to have this arts community on my doorstep. I especially realised this when I popped down yesterday to get these photos and the place was a-buzz. Linda Beck, ceramics tutor was having a studio sale and I picked up this wonderful sexy new teapot and swapped some fresh eggs for their yummy Ashgrovian honey...

BIA classes for summer semester and next year are now online...

Monday, December 01, 2008

the night of the termites

I went to bed early to escape
dealing with
a foolish fancy involving at least one woodenhead and a large quantity of sand
so missed the night of the termites.
but when i awoke
the floor under windows, doors, openings
was drifted with tiny transparent wings
their bold and reckless flight
reaping similar rewards to my own.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Made By Hand @ Kelvin Grove - Sneak Peak

Some of the lovely things on sale this weekend:

Threads Revisited - vintage glass beads, sterling silver, pebbles Uboat- Sterling silver, pebbles, 18K and 24K gold

Sea Jewels Necklaces - Recycled window glass, sterling silver

Drifter Ring- sterling silver (cuttlefish cast)

Drifter Earrings - Sterling silver, NZ beach pebbles

Fine Porcelain (Shannon Garson)
Contemporary Jewellery (Rebecca Ward)

FRIDAY 28 November 4pm - 8pm
SATURDAY 29 November 9am - 3pm.
Venue: Shop R5b, The Village Centre
cnr Musk Avenue and Caraway Street
Kelvin Grove Urban Village
Undercover parking available via Ramsgate Street (free on weekends).

Cash and cheque payments only please.

For information
Phone: 07 3861 0157 or 0411 213 610

Thursday, November 13, 2008

East, West, South Rings

A few weeks ago I had a studio visit from Sue Clement from Pomme, a fantastic gallery on Mornington Peninsula that stocks my jewellery. She was taking the time to visit her QLD artists and turned out to be as lovely in real life as in email! She also gave me heaps of excellent advice about my work, delivered in such a charming way that it did not raise my hackles at all! While looking at the mini Pebbles in Pebbles (each around 2.5 - 3cm in diameter) she popped one on top of her finger and said "Have you ever thought of making rings out of these?" "I don't normally make rings", I nearly blurted but it looked so nice on her finger and she does have some experise in retailing jewellery so it started to penetrate my consciousness...

After a few different design ideas I came up with the above trilogy. They are East, West and South for the colours of the pebbles and where they were collected (East=Orange=Katiki Beach; West=Grey=Okarito Beach; South=Green=Orepuki Beach).

For sale at Made By Hand starting on Saturday!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bookclubbing 30th

I was recently commissioned to make these 9 commemorative brooches for my mother's bookclub. They've be going for 30 years! Each brooch is cut from a piece of wavy cuttlefish-cast sheet and has a freshwater pearl dangling. Because of my inability to control the casting process very well (I get the shakes around molten metal!) some of the books are thicker than others. Much like in my mother's bookclub. The books, not the ladies! Everything from vast sweeping sagas encompassing the lives of 5 generations across 4 continents to racy Jilly Cooper's to Janette Turner Hospital's tales of life in our pig city.

It has to be said though that conversation in bookclub rarely turned to books. 10 or so boxes of them sat there in the middle of the room providing a convenient excuse for a girly get-together just in case they were challenged by a disgruntled husband. There were much more interesting things to talk about than literature, high or low. Life of course was the main topic of conversation as these women grew careers, families and later grand children and compared notes on all of the above.

We used to love it when mum hosted bookclub. We hid under the covers while the ladies cackled, chomped and gulped their way through the evening's program of news, tasty nibblies and vino. Dad beat a hasty retreat to wherever it is that Dads go in these situations. Although our suburb was dry so it couldn't have been the pub.
So if you see anyone wearing one of these pins, you'll know what secret society they belong to!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Made By Hand x 3

You are invited to Made By Hand.
Porcelain artist Shannon Garson and contemporary jeweller Rebecca Ward have created a very special exhibition sale for 2008 with an emphasis on individual, classic, environmentally-aware porcelain and jewellery.
There are four different times spread over three venues leading up to the end of the year.

Made by Hand @ Maleny Studio Sale

Saturday 15 November
9am - 4pm
Venue: The Studio
23 Cedar Street

Made by Hand @ Kelvin Grove Urban Village

Friday 28 November 4pm - 8pm &
Saturday 29 November 9am - 3pm.

Venue: Shop R5b, The Village Centre
cnr Musk Avenue and Caraway Street
Kelvin Grove Urban Village
Undercover parking available via Ramsgate Street (free on weekends).

Made by Hand @ GoMA
Gallery Store Christmas Design Market

Saturday 6 December

9am - 5pm
Venue: Gallery Store forecourt
GoMA - Gallery of Modern Art
Stanley Place, South Brisbane

Cash and cheque payments only please.

For information
Phone: 07 3861 0157 or 0411 213 610

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Toto, I have the feeling...

Opening this Friday night and including jewellery by Rebecca Ward and Eleisha Nylund:

'TOTO I HAVE THE FEELING WE'RE NOT IN KANSAS ANY MORE .... a lively and diverse exhibition of works from more than twenty artists employed at Brisbane Institute of Art. The exhibition opens at 6.30pm on Friday October 10. Exhibition hours are Monday to Friday 10.00am to 4.00pm, October 6 to October 29.

I've been enjoying teaching at the Brisbane Institute of Art which is handily located around the corner. At the moment I am teaching 2 x 18 week Intro to Gold and Silversmithing classes. We are doing etching for the next 2 weeks, not using nitric acid but ferric chloride (copper/brass) and ferric nitrate (silver) - these are not as hazardous as nitric! I am also taking some short weekend classes coming up. I believe there are still places for people with some jewellery experience avaialable in the Jewellery/ Found Objects weekend course 1 & 2 Nov ...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Boy Turns 50

A two-sided pendant for a friend of mine. Well it's actually for her hunky I-can't believe-he's-turning-50 bloke who likes to mess around with Studebaker engines.

1. I found this quite wonderful sketch of a souped-up studebaker engine below by a drawing blogger,
Zeke Miller:2. Fused it with my rekindled love of Road Killed Metal ( I can feel a new range coming on):

3. Got me some texture- rough manly texture from bashing silver into the road (confounding the postman) and the top texture from rollerprinting stamped/scratched brass:

4. Finally I snuk in a 22 carat gold dome for Mr Heart of Gold, rivetted it all together, did some extra detailing and oxidising and brass brushed.
I was quite chuffed how it turned out- hope he likes it!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Green media

Peppermint Magazine - 1st issue out now

A new Brisbane-based green fashion magazine printed on 100% recycled paper has just been launched and some of my shark shard jewellery is included. Peppermint Magazine can be bought online here.

Also I just discovered another cool new green shopping blog Growing Up Green posting my neo luddite range.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Longreach Trip

Longreach metal dump.

I've just returned from Longreach, in the heart of QLD where I gave a course in Contemporary Jewellery as past of the 40th School of Creative Arts for Arts West. It was a remarkable experience- a 4-day workshop teaching students with a range of abilities how to incorporate non-traditional materials with more standard jewellery-making techniques.

The students were different from city students. For a start they were very, very strong. "Tighten the clamp," I said to the tall genteel-looking Sue from the 70 000acre property. Next thing, SNAP and she'd broken that heavy cast iron g-clamp just by tightening the wing nut! My half-round pliers met a similar fate in the hands of a sapphire miner. This was a man who had no use for hand moisturiser preferring to repair the cracks on his fingers and thumb with super-glue, so I should have been warned! After that my mantra became "gently, gently": these people had a dangerous affinity for heavy tools.

One of the highlights of the trip was visiting my student Cayley's farm where she showed off her orphaned joeys, emu chick and the amazing bottle dumps and metal dumps on the property. There was hours of fossicking to be done but the sun was slowly setting- my eyes were drawn particularly to the solarised amethyst glass. It was the introduction of manganese as a decolourant to the flux (most common during 1870's - 1915 and later between the wars) that gives it the purple colour. Some of it started off as clear glass but exposure to many years of hot baking sun has turned it ever more purple. Back over the years, standard practice on a property was to gather the rubbish every so often and haul it off to a different spot each time and dump it on the surface. So Cayley's place is dotted with these dumps that she keeps finding. While this seems unacceptable in a culture that prefers to bury its huge amounts of waste like it never happened, exposure to light and air is essential for many organics and plastics to biodegrade and that some cities are starting to allow this to happen after munching up all the waste first and putting in in rows to compost.
A visit to the cemetery was another highlight, especially to the keeping place of indigenous remains only just recently returned to country from museums and universities all over the world. Fellow tutor, Judy Barrass pointed out some poignant memorials on the gibber marked pauper graves: wheel hubs and dustbin lids filled with cement and stamped with homemade lettering tools with messages like "we miss you" and "ernie our old mate". These seemed to encapsulate the sentiment of the people and the strong thread of self-reliant craftsmanship that runs through the bush. I also noted that these cement memorials seemed to be holding up better than some of the marble headstones.
Meeting people who came from all around western QLD and hearing about life on the other side of the great divide was refreshing and humbling. I was reminded of the reasons we are living so high in the city: because in the big backyard of the state the fat of the land and minerals are being stripped out with little of the profits seeming to find their way back over the range. I keep wondering when the bubble will burst.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Some more Longshore Drifter jewellery making its way north and me collecting the greywacke and schist pebbles at Okarito Beach. Thanks Wayne for the photos of Okarito.

These tiny Okarito pebbles were collected during my last trip to NZ. When we 1st arrived at Okarito Beach which is renowned for its alpine views, a big storm had been through and instead of Alps, we found Falps- F for foam. This kept Wayne busy with the camera for some time chuckling away at his pun.

Okarito is a sad place for me and it was difficult making these pieces, even after a year. But as photos help me remember, the morning after the terrible storm, the weather cleared and the alps revealed themselves as I took tea on the beach and managed a smile. And there were the lenticular clouds, lenses of icecrystals, always forming in the path of turbulence. Or in the case of New Zealand, always forming!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

You Boats

This is a new brooch to go up to Umbrella Collective show at Kick Arts. Made from Orepuki pebbles, cuttlefish cast silver, 18 and 24 K gold. The little word flipper says LOOK and FIND. The U in 24 K gold refers to U boats or my pun, You Boats: the way we carry our baggage in bathtub like vessels on perilous journeys to nowhere very much but the stuff we hold precious is beautiful and interesting and often gets us sunk along the way.

So it is a "Look and Find U Boat". I was thinking of the German U boats (underwater submarine type things) suicidally sunk in Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands North of mainland Scotland at the end of WWI. Sunk by the Germans rather than letting the Brits get them, they are now the worlds largest reserve of non-radio active steel as they were submerged before the nuclear age and the steel is protected by being underwater. Now they are harvested for space exploration. How do I know this? Well I once took a tour of the Orkney Islands with Mad Uncle Mike who filmed the entire thing in real time.

Friday, June 27, 2008

End-of-the-day Celluloid Earrings

Recently a client bought to me a lovely old but fragile and broken celluloid fan.
It is not unlike these end-of-the-day fans found here.
Like end-of-the-day glass, end-of-the-day celluloid is when all the scraps were melted up together in crazy swirly patterns. I have no idea how old the fan is but the material smelled strongly of camphor when I was cutting it. the earrings are fitted with 18 carat gold fittings which sets off the bright rich tones beautifully I think!

Monday, June 16, 2008


The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night : Shannon Garson (porcelain) Rebecca Ward (jewellery).

A quick update as the nights grow cold and I take care to lock up the chickens from foxy-loxy.
There is exhibition and public program running at
QUT Art Museum at the moment called

craft revolution
june 5 - july 13
With a story about us (the Umbrella Collective) on the Craft Revolution blog

Kylie Johnson is having a table at the market night this wednesdayJune 18th selling a small selection of umbrella collective work which includes some of mine.

I'm stressing out this week as my students at BIA have their graduating show opening this friday night at 6:30pm - the pressure is on as hardly any of them have finished their final pieces!

Finally I have some work in a sustainable fashion and jewellery exhibition for June-July at Brisbane Square Library,
on level 2
266 George Street
Library & Customer Centre
Brisbane City Council Library Service
Ph: + 61(0) 7 3403 4166

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

All at sea

Driftin' by Dan Hicks (excerpt)

Sittin' in the shade of a tree
That was meant for me
A little tired from sun and
Sittin' there to feel the breeze
And the memories
I let my thoughts go runnin'
No major discoveries
I just let myself ride
Why was I so at ease?
I can't decide

Sittin' 'neath the tree idly
That was so shady
I let myself envision
Thinkin' of the dreams
And the scenes I could see
For me
And what was my decision?
I knew that the sun was out
But how long would it shine?
Soon closing in, no doubt
But I had time

And I'm driftin'
No, no direction
Chasin' thought after thought
Into reflection
And I don't want it to stop

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A Glamorous Occupation

Above: Longshore Drifter Choker with textured cuttlefish castings and Orepuki pebbles.

I recently visited Kangaroo Island for a week and stayed with family at Vivonne Bay- a glorious beach on the Southern Ocean. I had a wonderful time exploring the coastline, playing with the kids and veging out in the gentle southern sun.

Above: Wrecker collecting cuttlefish bones - photo: Roy Ward

There were plenty of big fat cuttlefish bones for me to collect for my casting and plenty of room in my backpack for them after I'd emptied out the pressies for my rellies. Most of the fragile bones survived the trip back on a budget airline with my wintery clothes packed all around them though you can imagine the smell of 50 or so damp, barnacle encrusted cuttlefish and how that may permeate ones woollens!

Now I don't normally smell too good when I step off a plane after travelling all day and I was hoping that neither man nor beast would get close enough to be overcome or aroused by the vapours. All I can say is it's a testament to the olafactory disabling symptoms of hayfever that my friend actually stopped the car and picked me and my backpack up from the airport.

Of course the stink continues into the home studio with the casting process which subjects the cuttlefish to temperatures 800 deg+ and I thank the stars that my flatmate also suffers from hayfever. Maybe I wish I did too.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Walk up Eildon

Pill Hill

Above: The concrete crust
bottles smashed
their messages lie
the crow crows
Dark fluids
swirl and elude
seeking an opening
to flood
the fish fishes.

You and I
brittle concrete
the shell shells.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Boomerang Swingers

I've been slack with the online stuff lately - busy, busy me. Yep I've been busy with lots of new activities.
Including teaching at the BIA, wholesale orders, avoiding my new computer which though finally out of its box and plugged in needs software installed before I can do anything, visiting friends & family, enjoying life etc. But now that I have commenced 3 mths long service leave from my Uni admin job, I'm running out of excuses and finding time for some new designs.

Like these Boomerang Swinger and Retro Swinger earrings made from recycled laminex (contemporary) and sterling silver that I gave birth to last week. Despite the pointy geometry you'll be glad to know it was a quick and easy labour and the pairs of twins are doing just fine.

I love these 50's boomerang shapes that you see in architectural details of bridges, houses, carparks and on barkcloth and laminex/formica of the era and reproductions of today. It seems boomerang patterns have quite a following among the lovers of retro as a basic google/flickr search reveals.

Above is the rather wonderful and in the process of being lovingly restored Boomerang House courtesy of Boomerang Thang who did not mind me using his photo: "in true boomerang style, I say, give it away and it will come back to you". So long as it doesn't hit you in the head I reckon.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

The Windbag Award

Recognition at last for the amazing Florence Forrest.
The Windbag Award.
Made from a schist pebble from Windbag Creek, st silver, 24 ct gold.
You rock Florence!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Qantas Inflight Mag Feb 2008

This came out yesterday and I've been fielding requests for the Famous Bullet Cuff. Eeek - one of the major problems with recycling is running out of a specific type of material and not being able to get on the phone and reorder. So it's back out to the rifle range for me as soon as I can convince someone to drive me there- a bit too far on the old push bike!

If anyone is travelling on Qantas, please tear out this page for me.