- Click here to see Sarah and Iris
- Click here to read Sarah and Iris’s writing about the Handshake project.
- Scroll down to the bottom of the page for Why I chose Iris as my mentor
About Sarah: August 2012
I have been a practicing artist since 2006, though I first graduated from Art school in 1983.
I describe myself as an artist who works in the field of contemporary jewellery. By this I mean I don’t (usually) make engagement rings, or (ever) do repairs. Rather, I make work that usually relates in some way to the body, that has an intention beyond adornment, and that draws on our shared long history of making, wearing and collecting jewellery.
I find myself increasingly attracted to projects with an element of collaboration, third-party participation or social practice.
I am currently exploring magical thinking, radical gratitude and the sense of connectedness that makes all the difference when life is difficult.
You can see some of my work at
Sarah Read was born in England. In 1996 she moved to Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand, where she still lives and works.
Sarah graduated with a BA Fine Art (Hons) from the University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in 1983, majoring in Sculpture, but then spent some 20 years doing other stuff (technical writing/renovating houses/travelling) before she discovered the world of contemporary jewellery.
In 2010 Sarah graduated from Whitireia New Zealand with a BAppA, majoring in Jewellery, and since then has been an active member of the contemporary jewellery scene in Wellington.
Sarah is a co-founding member of The See Here, an artist-run window gallery in central Wellington, and is a Jewellery fellow at Whitireia NZ. She is a participant in the travelling show Joyaviva: Live jewellery across the Pacific and the Handshake mentoring project, where she is partnered with Iris Eichenberg.
CV: Sarah Read, Artist, Contemporary Jeweller
Education / Art training
- Cranbrook Academy of Art, MI, USA (guest of Iris Eichenberg) 2011
- BAppA Visual Arts (Jewellery), Whitireia New Zealand 2010
- BA (Hons) Fine Art, University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK 1983
- Jewellery Fellow, Visual Arts, Whitireia NZ
- Member of The See Here artist-run space:
- Participant in the Joyaviva touring show:
- Participant in the HandShake mentoring project (with Iris Eichenberg)
- Charon Kransen Arts, 817 West End Ave, NY, USA (
- HandShake 4, Toi Poneke, Wellington, NZ
- Joyaviva, RMIT, Melbourne Australia
- Retrospect, James Wallace Trust, Pah Homestead, Auckland
- Retrospect, Wallace Gallery, Morrinsville
- HandShake 3, Masterworks, Auckland, NZ
- SOFA Chicago, USA (Cranbrook Academy’s booth)
- HandShake 2, National Jewellery Show, Wellington, NZ
- HandShake 1, studio 20/17, Sydney
- The See Here at Masterworks, Auckland, NZ
- Best in Show, Objectspace, Auckland NZ
- Nestle (solo show, included Labour of Love – The Reveal) , Wellington, NZ
- The Exchange Project, Studio 20/17, Sydney, Australia
- SOFA Chicago, USA ( Charon Kransen’s booth)
- SOFA West, Santa Fe, USA (Charon Kransen’s booth)
- handSTAND Unfamiliar & innovative contemporary jewellery, Auckland
- Retelling Tales: Translations in Contemporary Jewellery, Wellington Museum
About Sarah: Feb 2011 version
For the last few years, my goal has been to develop a sustainable daily art practice. My methods, materials and approach vary from project to project. I am:
- a maker
my work grows from a conceptual base, but the making is what motivates me; I love the energy and focus of being ‘in flow’
- a mother/wife/daughter/sister
also friend/colleague/employee/caregiver/runner. So:
- relationships are a recurring preoccupation in my work
- I am time-poor. I try to counter this with ‘stealth’ projects, where I can be making on the side, whilst spending cosy evenings with my loved ones
- an immigrant
so my work often has themes around belonging and sense of place/ home
- a jewellery donor and recipient
I am fascinated by gifts and gifting, the story that accrues to a gifted piece, the power of gifts
My plan for 2011
After three years of romping through projects which have taken me in many directions, I am looking to consolidate my practice.
I need to focus my time and energy, rather than take on too much. I also need to get better/quicker at all the non-making tasks (preparing text, taking images, etc), which currently take me ages.
This year, I want to make work about protection and healing.
Why I chose Iris as my mentor
Iris Eichenberg: Two of the same kind keeping eachother warm
My path to contemporary jewellery has been all serendipity; when I set out, ten years ago, I had no idea that this world even existed.
Along the way, I happened upon perhaps a dozen pieces that caught my attention and drew me on, and which are now engraved on my heart, for without them I might well have ended up elsewhere.
I chose Iris as my mentor because she made two of these landmark pieces. Her work resonates with me and I jumped at this opportunity to get to know it in more depth.
- she has been an educator pretty much ever since she graduated, and I’m hoping for some honest exchanges (that won’t crush me) ..
-she’s based in the US, and for a while it seemed likely that I’d be travelling there this year, so could have met up in person (less likely now, but hey we have skype)
- I’m inspired by the breadth and generosity of her art practice
Iris Eichenberg: Chatelaine
It’s thrilling to be part of this. Thanks so much Peter, for your vision, and Iris, for agreeing to be my mentor.