Friday, 30 November 2012

King Protea and the Wedding Rings

 I just got these amazing photos from Becca Nichols of Sapling Photography, of the wedding and engagement rings and bridal jewellery I made for my wedding at the beginning of this year. Gorgeous!

Bounce earrings for the bridesmaids...

Cufflinks for the groomsmen with the Japanese character 愛 (love, pronounced ai)...

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Deck the Walls with Contemporary Jewellery

Happy Holidays! 

You're invited to Deck the Walls with contemporary jewellery this festive season at Studio 20/17.

Opening reception Saturday 8 December from 4-6 pm. Exhibition on from 4-24 December. 

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

New Work for Deck the Walls

Deck the Walls opens at Studio 20/17 next Tuesday 4 December! Here's a quick look at some of what I've been up to for the exhibition.

Along with these I've sent several other neckpieces and earrings, including the Stained Glass Window earrings. These new works are part of my new Neighbourhood series, looking at the architectural details I pass by every day in my neighbourhood. I've recently become particularly interested in the juxtaposition of old and new architectural details - how the seemingly incongruous styles of innovative modern renovations and additions to classic historic homes come together to create something new and beautiful (...sometimes). With all the recent construction around here, there are lots of examples to look at!

Deck the Walls opens Tuesday 4 December and runs until Christmas Eve, with celebration drinks on Saturday 8 December from 4-6pm.

Monday, 26 November 2012

RMIT MFA Graduate Exhibition 2012

The RMIT Master of Fine Arts Graduate Exhibition 2012 opens this Wednesday 28 November from 5:30 - 7:30 pm at the Gossard Project Space in RMIT Building 49, Level C, 67 Franklin Street, Melbourne. The exhibition will showcase graduating MFA candidate work from all disciplines. Graduating gold & silversmithing candidates include Jennifer Martin, Sun Woong Bang and Danielle Lott.

The exhibition runs from 29 November - 5 December.

Congratulations to the graduating MFA candidates!

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Kaleidoscope: Last Weekend!

If you haven't made it to Northcote yet to see the NMIT graduate exhibition Kaleidoscope, get there this weekend! The show is on at the Northcote Town Hall until Sunday the 25th.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Happy Thanksgiving: I'm thankful for TAFE!

Today is Thanksgiving in the United States, and there are so many things for which I am thankful. On the jewellery front, I'm thankful that the Advanced Diploma of Jewellery at NMIT will continue through 2013.

In other good news, Yesterday Victorian Labor leader Daniel Andrews promised to reinstate approximately $170 million of the $300 million  in funding cut from the Victorian TAFE sector by the Ballieu government this year if Labor wins the 2014 state election. This is the first promise by the opposition to reverse the funding cuts that have devastated the sector. Although the plan doesn't reinstate all funding, and it will be extremely difficult to reverse course and campus closures once they have occurred, it's high time that Labor recognised the need for reform and even small steps toward reinstating funding are good news for beleaguered Victorian TAFEs.  Labor has promised to reinstate funding for the community service obligations of TAFEs, and guarantee a government-subsidised place to any worker made redundant.

On Wednesday the Centre for Policy Development released a new paper entitled Valuing Skills: Why Vocational Training Matters, which has found that the TAFE sector is doing more to address Australia's skills shortages than private providers, that TAFE is the main provider of training outside metropolitan areas, and TAFE serves a disproportionate share of students with disabilities. The paper presents evidence that the VET sector (the largest sector of which is TAFE) confers substantial benefits to individuals, the economy, and society, and estimates that TAFEs provide a strong return on investment of government funding. Read a short summary or download the full paper to read more.

A well-written and informative article entitled The Dismal Future of Creative Arts Education was published the same day as last Friday's NSW protest against funding cuts to fine arts in TAFE on the ArtsHub website. Author David Williamson looks at why the arts education sector is under fire, even though the fine arts contribute over $30 billion a year to the GDP, more than agriculture, forestry and fishing combined. "Creativity has to be learned just like anything else," he says. "Our society needs artists, and artists need training."

Labor is listening, and the Centre for Policy Development is urging NSW to learn from Victoria how not to undertake reform. Keep up the pressure; keep up the fight!

And Happy Thanksgiving!

Cicely & Colin Rigg Contemporary Design Award Exhibition: Containment

Last night I was privileged to attend the opening of the 2012 Cicely & Colin Rigg Contemporary Design Award Exhibition at the NGV Australia. Held triennially, the exhibition highlights excellence in contemporary design practice in Victoria, with an Award of Excellence of $30,000 presented at the opening. Every third year the exhibition focuses on a different design discipline or subject. This year's exhibition is dedicated to vessels and notions of containment.

The work of the fourteen artists in the 2012 exhibition is of a superb standard, representing gold & silversmithing, ceramics, glass, and hybrid design practices. Gold & silversmithing is represented by Mark Edgoose's striking titanium wallpiece Rail as Vessel; Robin Bold's Series 3 vessels of silver, copper, Kauri wood and plaster bandage; Katherine Wheeler's Tea Set of painted silver, porcelain and paper vessels with branch-like projections supporting delicate vessel forms; and the silver, wood, porcelain and steel vessels entitled Clearing by Marian Hosking.

This year's Award of Excellence was awarded to Marian Hosking for her vessels made from and informed by collected natural materials in the Australian landscape. As Marian pointed out in her award acceptance speech, one of the great strengths of the National Gallery of Victoria is that design and the decorative arts are represented together in the same collection as painting and sculpture, maintaining a strong voice for contemporary craft and design in Victoria.

Congratulations to Marian Hosking and the participants of the 2012 Cicely & Colin Rigg Contemporary Design Award Exhibition!

The exhibition is on at the NGV Australia at Federation Square until 21 July 2013. Floor talks introducing the exhibition will be held this Saturday 24 November and 14 December at 12:30pm. In addition exhibiting artists Robin Bold, Mark Edgoose and Marian Hosking will be speaking at the Artist Response Series talk titled Contemporary Containment on 23 February at 2pm, and Gary Bish, Owen Rye, David Ray and David Pottinger will speak at the same series on 9 March at 2pm. Entry to both the exhibitions and public talks is free.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

A Rainbow of New Earrings at Arbor

I dropped off these brand new earrings at Arbor yesterday! Similar to the stained glass window earrings I sent to Studio 20/17 recently for the upcoming Deck the Walls show,  the carved bouncy ball "gems" in these earrings have a beautiful luminosity when they catch the light.

They also match perfectly with the pendants that will soon be featured on Arbor's new online store, launching very soon!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Resting Points: RMIT 1st & 2nd Year Exhibition

The first and second year students of RMIT's department of Object Based Practice (comprising Gold & Silversmithing and Ceramics) are opening their end of year exhibition, Resting Points, tonight from 6-8pm at RMIT's Ceramics Studio, located at RMIT Building 4, Level 1, on Rodda Lane off Latrobe Street. The exhibition will run from 21 November - 5 December.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Musical Instruments at the Met: Part 1 - String Instruments

Over the weekend I had the chance to go to a very impressive sitar and tabla concert  featuring Malaysian sitar master Samuel J Das and Sam Evans from the Melbourne Tabla School. Besides being on the edge of my seat trying to keep up with listening to the music, I couldn't stop admiring the visual elegance of the sitar itself. Which reminds me of an exhibit on musical instruments I saw earlier this year at the Metropolitan Museum of Art  in New York. Part of the permanent collection of the Met, the exhibit features musical oddities and highly decorative, exquisitely crafted instruments. 

Here are some of the string instruments in the collection: 

Above are three sarinda - a type of sarangi, an Indian folk instrument. Coincidentally, there was also a sarangi player at the sitar and tabla concert I went to on the weekend. Sarangi is said to be extremely difficult to play, as the fingers don't press directly on the strings, but instead press firmly beside the strings to create a harmonic-like effect.

Two of the above sarinda have no sympathetic strings, which is unusual for the instrument. The sarinda on the left (also below) has 17 sympathetic strings, while the sarangi I saw played on Saturday had 47 sympathetic strings humming below the surface of the instrument. The sarinda at the Met were covered in intricate inlay throughout the wood (below).

Below is the ekanda veena, a South Indian lute. The shape of the instrument and the resonating bulb on the reverse are similar to a sitar. The bulb on this one is made of paper mache.

Above is an Indonesian instrument called a serando, with strings winding around a central pole.

Look closely at the detail below of the instrument pictured above - the entire body of the instrument is inlaid with tiny geometric patterns.

This beautifully crafted but goofy instrument looks like a bit like it has teeth!

I was really fascinated by the variety of oddball instruments and the technical virtuosity with which they have been made, but there are too many to post here, so I'll post more images soon. Next time - woodwind and brass instruments, and percussion!

Friday, 16 November 2012

Save Art in TAFE

Although happily NMIT has confirmed that the Advanced Diploma of Jewellery program will continue in 2013, the drastic funding cuts to TAFE in Victoria have hit hard. With the NSW government's recent announcement that it is cutting all funding to fine arts courses in TAFE as of 1 January 2013, the fight to save TAFE, and especially art education in TAFE, is more urgent than ever. So now it's time to ask again...

What can you do to help? 
This time with a focus on NSW...

Call for National Media Attention of TAFE Cuts across Australia
NSW TAFE student action group SaveTAFE is calling for media action to draw attention to the dramatic changes in funding to TAFEs across Australia, asking the ABC's Q&A program and SBS's Insight to dedicate a program to discussing the recent changes to funding models of skills education in Australia, and TAFE in particular. Join their campaign and write to Q&A and Insight calling for an episode on "Skilling in Australia". You can use the sample text on their blog (reproduced below) or say it in your own words:

"With the recent announcement of the NSW government to introduce the Victorian style Vocational Education funding I request your program to dedicate a program to these dramatic changes. Skills education is now a critical national issue with three states Victoria, SA and NSW changing the funding to TAFE and opening up a contestable funding model. QLD, WA and Tasmania are also undergoing changes to their vocational education systems. The debate is currently active in the community between Federal, State and local politicians plus students, teachers, trade unions and the business community."

If you're on Twitter, tag @QandA and @insightSBS asking for discussion of the future of skills education in Australia, and follow the discussion at @SaveTAFE.

Sign the NSW Petition
The NSW government has removed all funding from art courses in TAFE, alleging that there are low employment outcomes of the programs. Sign the petition to remind the NSW Legislative Assembly that the cultural sector is an economic force contributing over $30 billion to Australia each year, and call on the government to fund accessible art education in NSW.

Email the NSW Government and Media
Contact the NSW premier, parliament and media to share your concerns about the future of art education in NSW. Sample email text, contact details for government and media, and email writing tips can be found on the SaveTAFE blog.

Attend a Rally - Today!
The next Rally to Save Art in TAFE will be held tonight, Friday 16 November, in front of the Art Gallery of NSW. The NSW Premier, Barry O'Farrell, will be opening a new Francis Bacon exhibition at 6pm, and supporters of art in TAFE will be there from 5pm to bring home the consequences of funding cuts.

This Sunday 18 November will be a Community Day of Action in Tumbalong Park, Darling Harbour, Sydney from 11am. The day was organised by the NSW Teachers' Federation to protest funding cuts to education in NSW.

Read about this Wednesday's rally at the NSW Parliament House, and keep up to date with future rallies with SaveTAFE.

Maintain your ArtRage!

NMIT Jewellery in 2013: The Good News in TAFE

It's official - The Advanced Diploma in Jewellery at NMIT will continue in 2013. Enrolments are now open for the Advanced Diploma of Jewellery and Diploma of Jewellery at the NMIT website or by phoning enrolments on 03 9269 1360. After the whirlwind of uncertainty following this year's drastic TAFE funding cuts, it's a significant victory for jewellery education in Victoria to have secured the future of the program through 2013.

But the $300 million in funding cuts hasn't changed, and the fight to save TAFE continues. I'll write another post very soon with more things you can do to help, but for now, I just wanted to share the good news!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Kaleidoscope: the NMIT Jewellery Graduate Exhibition 2012

This Thursday 16 November will be the opening of Kaleidoscope, the graduate exhibition of this year's final year Advanced Diploma of Jewellery students at NMIT. Congratulations to the graduates! The exhibition will be held at the Northcote Town Hall and runs from 16 -25 November. An opening reception will be held Thursday from 6-9pm.

Thursday is also Catherine Truman's lecture at RMIT, in conjunction with her exhibition at Gallery Funaki, opening tonight. Thursday's lecture is from 5:30 - 6:30pm, so there is plenty of time to get to the Northcote Town Hall and see the graduates' work afterward!

Congratulations to this year's graduates of NMIT's Advanced Diploma of Jewellery!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Psychomantum at Gallery Loupe

Change of Dates: See update below...

Following last year's showing of the 18 Melbourne contemporary jewellers in the exhibition Australian Jewellery Topos at Gallery Loupe in New Jersey, Melbourne jeweller Nicole Polentas's solo show Psychomantum is touring to the US to be exhibited at Gallery Loupe this month. Gallery Loupe is located in Montclair, New Jersey, less than an hour from Manhattan. The exhibition will run from 10 November - 1 December, with an opening reception Saturday 10 November from 7-9pm.

My thoughts are with those in the New York/New Jersey area who are struggling to recover from the devastation of superstorm Sandy. Although Montclair is within the FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) disaster declared area, recent web updates from Gallery Loupe indicate no changes to the exhibition program.

***Update - Change of dates: Psychomanteum will now run from 17 November - 6 December, with an opening reception 17 November. Nicole will give an artist lecture at Brooklyn Metal Works on Friday 16 November at 7pm, and not on 11 November as originally planned.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Catherine Truman Exhibition and Lecture

Catherine Truman, co-founder of Adelaide's Gray Street Workshop, is exhibiting a new solo show entitled Some Uncertain Facts, at Gallery Funaki from 13 November - 8 December.

In conjunction with the exhibition, RMIT's department of Object Based Practice is hosting a free public lecture by Catherine Truman Thursday 15 November from 5:30 - 6:30pm. The lecture will be held at RMIT (City Campus), Building 10, Level 11, Room 3.

A quick heads up: Thursday the 15th is also the opening night of NMIT's gold and silversmithing graduate show, starting at 6pm. Make a night of it and come to both!