Sharon and Lisa

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It has all come together nicely now – 04JUN13

The mystery project has finally been completed and I must say I am curiously very happy about it.  Lisa’s last interventions really work to pull it all together.

mystery object zoom

These are the two bits of broken padded chair pendants that we made simultaneously in November 2011.  I have started referring to them affectionately as “The Twins”. In true stalker fashion, I got really excited when I noticed $5 written in black vivid on the back of Lisa’s pendant because I just love keeping price stickers on my found object pieces. I could have cropped the broom stick and the hand out of this picture but I just think they are totally hilarious in there, and quite apt for the objects they are propping up.

twins reshopped

The other two (soon to be three) video neck pieces that I have been making lately – both very very much a part of this project are about to debut in Auckland and Wellington. I am incredibly pleased with them and so grateful for the support Lisa has given me over the past 2.5 years. All this thinking, conceptual jumping and experimenting has taken me places I would not have gone otherwise.

I was recently asked how Lisa has influenced me in this mentorship – always a tricky thing to quantify in a few sentences, often resulting in some vague babblings about this and that and never really getting to the point properly…   However, I think I have finally achieved what I needed to get out of this mentorship with her.

And that is; total confidence in what I do.

snow wearing

The Snow Brooch Necklace, 2013 – for The Wintersweet exhibition at Avid, Wellington.

Teletubbies – 12MAY13

Whilst figuring out an attachment for that Winter Jewellery Show I have been doing research for at Avid (see youtube link below), I realised that I could also use this idea for my submission for Neckware 10. Rather than have the tablet playing the snow brooch movie I put together spy camera brooch footage that I have taken in supermarkets and show openings this year, focussing on those moments where people interacted with the camera – waiving, staring or talking to it – and created a 4 minute loop.  This resulted in a teletubbie like neckpiece that in a way has become jewellery about when jewellery meets people.  I sewed the tablet holder out of 3mm thick black industrial felt and worked out the most minimal construction due to my lack of crafty knowledge and bad sewing skills – only a couple of straight lines required to hold it all together.  I think the snow brooch piece will be in red to match the Rachel Bell cat hat I am wearing in the video. Renee thought it was pretty super and I am very excited about its potential (and future incarnations).

Look at Me

‘Look at Me’ necklace, 2013 – selected for Neckware 10 at Masterworks, Auckland.

That thing we have been sending back and forth now needs quite a large box – 04MAY13

My addition to the mystery object this month comes from part of an Empi VW engine dress up kit that I won in a raffle at the Volkswagen Nationals in Taranaki at Easter.  Funny thing is that I chose that this would be the thing that I would pick if I happened to be a winner the night before when all the prizes were lined up on the prize table.  Yes as you can imagine, I was getting really nervous as so many names got called out before mine in the raffle draw and many of the good prizes were taken. You can imagine my relief when I claimed this prize.  Yippee for blue leads and blue see-through distributor cap – perhaps they will come in handy next time we get the kombi serviced –  but super yay for this blue spaceship looking disk that Mr Sausage is now flying upon.  This is getting fun. I am getting less precious about what objects to add to the piece. Only 5 weeks till the Objectspace show so not sure how many interventions will happen between now and then.  Hopefully one each.  Will have to wait and see what Lisa does next…

mystery object top side mystery object side

The mystery object arrives with a mystery inscription – 26MAR13

Hmmm.  There is nothing more annoying than not being able to understand the mystery message from your mentor inscribed on the mystery object.  Aside from half of it being written in German, the words that are in English dont follow the normal left to right and top to bottom conventions you would expect in normal prose.  I did get the general idea that perhaps she would prefer this thing to be an object rather than a pendant (need we make up our mind on that yet?).  I also suspect that she is disturbing any inherent prettiness it obtains from my interventions.

mystery object 1

Mr Sausage looks a little like he is riding a spaceship in this photo.

stalker with padded chair

So….  I went to Munich and stalked “The Piece of Broken Padded Chair That I Imagined Lisa Was Going To Send To Me But Didnt” back in November 2011 (she called it ‘Pendant, 2012’) – 15APR13

Museums are funny things.  You know you shouldn’t be taking photos in there but you really really want to – especially when you have discovered a piece of work that you were almost going to work on and had to imagine instead, hanging on the wall – larger than life…  actually it was a lot bigger than I had imagined it to be way back when Lisa and I attempted our first collaboration…  Anyway, Kristin and I happened upon Lisa Walker’s ‘Pendant’ at the ‘AFTERMATH of art jewellery show’ at Museum Villa Stuck in Munich, and of course I wanted to get a photo of it because it was so breathtakingly awesome, but the security man was very present and I knew my phone and iPod would both make a loud camera noise, so we had to do a bit of mischevious covert book reading until he went away and then quickly ran into the next room for a bad photo of me stalking the piece.  We needn’t have bothered though because minutes later a swarm of student jewellers arrived and took photos all over the place.

handshake station

C stand 4








The Handshake show at the Handwerksmesse was a tremendous success and really did portray the journey that we have all been on over the past two years. Annoyingly I was faced with technical issues at the last moment and could not have the display I had planned for my own work.  My spy camera brooch was not transmitting to its display tablet, so I had to replace this component with an emergency radio.  My fault – not enough time spent on testing the equipment fully – I think the wooden display case was limiting the wifi connection. Luckily I had one tablet pendant playing footage that the camera had recorded earlier and the electronic wiring aesthetics of the emergency radio kind of tied in, but it was rather disappointing not to have the live feed playing. Oh well. I had fun wearing one of the spy cameras out to the Otto Kunzli opening though and got great responses from everyone I met there. Perhaps I can use that footage in the next show at Objectspace.

On our last day in Europe, Fran Allison, Renee Bevan and I went to Nuremburg to check out the Helen Britton show. On the train ride there we had an intense crit session critiquing ourselves and everyone else we had seen in Munich.  I asked them what they thought of my Handshake work.  Interestingly Fran sees too much of Lisa in the found object work and wishes that I would go back to being/making me. Hmmmm.

As it was snowing, I recruited Fran & Renee to help me film a brooch I wanted to make.

Impulse shopping leads to two awesome solutions – 11 JAN 13

I finally went out to buy the spy camera I had been spying on for a while and committed to making that thing that had been in my head for quite some time but seemed too hard to tackle.  Full steam ahead!  While I was in the electronics shop I came upon a bag of shrink wrap – quite a popular material for jewellery in this part of the world, but not something I had actually ever used before because I didnt know how.  Obviously this became a great reason to do some impulse shopping.

There were no instructions on the bag but I did notice a temperature amongst the writing on the side of the tubing.  There was a variety of size tubes in a range of colours, so the logical thing to do was to thread a little one onto a bigger one of a different colour until I got to the biggest one and then go back down to little.  By chance my snake was the perfect length for a necklace so I turned on the oven, ramped it up to 125 degrees C and popped it in to bake.  Five minutes later it had all nicely shrunk together. Each length magically holding on to its neighbour.  Lovely.

Now that I had mastered the art of shrink wrap I pondered what to do with the rest of my bunch of tubes for about 20 seconds until I surmised that the bunch of tubes looked absolutely perfect, just the way they were, which by chance solved one of the big dilemmas I have been having for the past month…

shrink wrap 1

When the mystery object with Mr Sausage attached arrived I decided to go on the hunt for a perfect found object.  I travelled the length of the country, from Invercargill to Helensville searching dodgy op shops in Timaru, the markets in Otaki and nearly all the antique shops in Paeroa and discovered that I had a huge problem:  How can you compete with the queen of found objects and dare to offer up another found object that could sit beside something as majestic as Mr Sausage? A couple of things came close – a small plastic Boomerang and a vintage packet of Araldite glue, but nothing I found felt good enough. Until I gazed admiringly on the bunch of shrink wrap that is. Colourful, handy, minimal intervention required – just my cup of tea!

with shrinkwrap

I had to have a bit of a giggle – 12 DEC 12

The box from Lisa sat on the kitchen table for a full 24 hours before I opened it up because we had been rushing around getting ready for a road trip.  Tentatively cutting the cellotape and carefully folding back the bubble wrap I must admit that I had to have a bit of a giggle when the mysterious object emerged.  Surprise!

with sausage boy

It is funny how once you have noticed something about an object you just cant get that association out of your mind.  I wont tell you what I can see, you can figure that out yourselves.

Not Seeing the Wood for The Floppy Trees – 07 DEC 12

My making over the past few months has been going off on some quite interesting tangents and there have been some very interesting things happening, however there was one key element to these things that has strayed very far from my normal motus operandi.  I was chatting to our Head of School about the Rainbow Strings that he had seen at the Fingers Annual Show and he asked me one question which made me have a really good think about what was missing from these new things.  This made me jump back a few years to what I think of as my most successful work – the Floppy Poppies brooches – and use them as the platform for the crazy thing that I want to do next with a spy camera.  Huge technical challenges to get through on this thought though, so might have to do an enormous amount of procrastinating before I put the plan into action.

Like an alien invasion, that idea I had in September went viral – 06NOV12

What do you do if you find a piece of paper on the ground with a hole in it? – 25OCT12

Here is the Mystery Project Thingy dipped in Orangey Paint – 07OCT12

We both had Flat Whites; she had a piece of Carrot Cake, I had a ‘Frittata’ that looked more like Bacon and Egg Pie. Point Chevalier – 02OCT12

Lisa and I have the best time Handshaking when we meet in person for a coffee.  These meetings are so valuable and we talk about everything and anything.  From not taking brooches in your hand luggage to Schmuck, to the merits of cramming/not cramming work onto a wall, to what work to send to Munich, to Facebook stalkers, to the associations that people can read (or not read if they are not aware of the code) into photographs.  I was particularly talking about some associations of the work I have been making recently, especially the photograph Renee Bevan took of super model Ross Malcolm wearing ‘The Rainbow Connection’.  

To me it is loaded with queer imagery, reminiscent of a Paul Derrez image I remember fondly from Year 1 Contextual Studies when I was first falling in love with the power that contemporary jewellery has as a communication device. In this instance, a rather Bear looking man (he is not a Bear really) with sailor tattoos and beard looks defiantly at the viewer wearing rainbow jump rings. I was trying to explain how I wanted my use of rainbow coding to be more subliminal. It turns out that Lisa was not aware that the rainbow is a queer symbol, so therefore, statistically, a whole bunch of people probably will never read into it what I do.  So I guess that is subliminal enough, but I have to ask myself this question: why am I trying to hide this?

We discussed the work I have been making over the past few months.  It is great to get another makers perspective on things.  I had been worried that the joins on the jump rings and long loop necklaces were too messy.  Lisa thought they were great – they remove the machine-made look that inherently comes with silicone.  She tried on the long rainbow loop that I had previously imagined would be looped 3 times when worn, but looped it 4 times – brilliant! – instantly a more exciting piece.  I was also worried about the implied trippy hippyness of the drip pendant, but she hadnt seen that about it at all and it actually reminded her of work in an Elizabeth Thompson article she had read in Art News NZ recently.  I need to stop over thinking and worrying about what other people will read into things.  They will discover what they discover and whatever that is is ok.

I took Lisa to see the Kristin and Raewyn show – MakeShift at SnowWhite. It was interesting for me to observe her analysing what worked and didnt work in the display; how the two end walls with large spaced out objects were so much clearer for her than the wall crammed with so many things.  She was taking mental notes on things to do and not do in future shows.

We are going to meet up again in February to talk about what to put in Handshake @ Schmuck. I am going to make lots of stuff between now and then.

Making Making Making – 25SEP12

September has been quite productive. I have finished a whole lot of new things for upcoming shows and even made a little bit of stock work:

Following on from ‘The Rainbow Connection’ (see April 2012) I have been playing with injecting colours one after the other into a tube to get graduations of colours, and then joining these together to make really really long strings.  The top left one is about 3 meters long.  The bottom right one is more than 4 metres long. Or at least it was until I finger knitted it into this dark and restrictive knotted rosary neckpiece for the Rosary show at Lure.  All those knots meant that it wanted to spring back into itself… ‘so you could say that the nature of the material dictated how it turned out’ (appropriated LW misquote).

I have also been making lots of that delicious kermit green colour I discovered while combining another green and yellow. And I used the puddle left over from the Secret Ongoing Project Thing below as a pendant.

The hyper experimentalness of this project is having a great effect on my general practice.

Ooooh, I have just had an idea!

The Secret Ongoing Project Thing – July to September 2012

For the past few months Lisa and I have been sending an object back and forth.  We have not been saying anything to each other about it, just getting it, changing it and sending it back. It is still early days in the life of the object, but I thought I might as well start writing about it here.

Lisa sent it to me looking like this:

I have been trying to listen to my first instincts.  But then not doing that for a while incase a better instinct comes along.  My first intervention was actually a combination of the first 2 instincts.

eg, instinct 1 – drill holes in it, instinct 2 – layer up different colours in the bowl bit.

So I drilled holes in it and then poured layers of different coloured goo into the bowl bit, which resulted in lots and lots of drips and a very nice puddle.

Then Lisa sawed it in half and sewed it back together.

And then my next instinct was to partially submerge it in paint. I realised this morning that the reason why I haven’t submerged it in paint yet was that all the paint downstairs is the wrong colour.  I have a better colour in a tin at work, so I will dip it in that soon.

Test Driving the Emergency Torch Radio Cell Phone Charger pendant – Auckland and Christchurch – July/August 2012:

The idea for this pendant was partly driven by the fact that we were going to be having an exhibition in Christchurch, so it seemed highly appropriate for me to test drive it to the opening of The Handshake Show at The National on 24 August.

Unlike the opening in Auckland below, I found that most people in Christchurch did not need an explanation of the Emergency Necklace. They recognized its handiness immediately because they have lived through several years of needing torches and radios. Elfi looked at it and said: Oh thats a good idea, Areta said: That looks like an emergency torch radio. It is! I said.

Peter said: Does the radio work?  I hadnt even thought of turning the radio on, so immediately did and searched for a station.  A rock’n’roll song was playing so we had a little impromptu dance party.  At the end of the night, the emergency necklace proved to be handy again when Kristin needed to find her way to the rubbish bin out the back.

It is so handy that everyone should wear one all the time I reckon.

This is what happened at Masterworks on 25 July when the Geeks were Subliminally Infiltrating some Geek openings wearing Geek Gang Patches:


Being Serious, and Not Serious, kind of like Martin Creed’s song ‘Thinking /  Not Thinking’ – 15JUL12:

There have been a few developments and superb possibilities running through Handshake Headquarters recently, which has lead to some serious thinking about what I should be focusing on if we do indeed take Handshake to the Antipodes.  One very wise owl from The Jewellers Guild of Greater Sandringham pointed out that if this show happens, surely I should be representing my normal practice over there rather than some of the weirdo things I have been making for the other Handshake shows…  I had previously asked my mentor about the ideas I had had before my conversations with the owl (along similar lines to the emergency radio necklace with spy cameras and video installations) and she answered after my conversation with the owl, which together have resulted in some great dilemmas rather than coherence, but they are all good thinkings about my need to be Serious / Not Serious.

To paraphrase a little of what Lisa said: ‘I think with any big project its best to show your best pieces, what you think is working.  The group should also work together well’ …. ‘if you do what makes sense to you that is what is important’ … ‘Keep working, see what comes up as the deadline nears and you’ll choose the right thing.’

I have been busy making some work for The National show – which is rather along the Serious lines – because I want to actually sell something for Caroline to support her new gallery space.  In doing this I accidentally made a jam jar pendant which is more along the lines of Not Serious, but I love it!  So will exhibit both Serious and Not Serious together.

Whilst typing up an email to Caroline advising of the above plans, I remembered that I really should finish off those crazy emergency radio things that I was originally going to show at The National, but lost enthusiasm over, because they were way too bad taste for the earthquake riddled city.

This is them: Same same but different… wind-up radio torch necklaces.

The top one is my favourite – a readymade with minimal intervention, similar to my ‘just stick a pin on it and call it a brooch’ works, but using a bit of red electrical wire rather than a brooch pin… then adding an aerial winkle just for a touch of purple tension. I think it is good enough for a test drive somewhere – so might wear it out next week…  watch this space.

The bottom one is more of an assemblage mumble.  I am not into assemblage – I don’t have the patience for it –  get bored too easily. This is one of the things that makes my found object work very different from Lisa’s.  A lot of the time, she chops things up and brings them together like they were always meant to be, often under a coat of delicious spraypaint  (sorry, but I am currently feeling the need to identify the differences in what we do in order to establish the differences in what we make with found objects – to get around those copyist attitudes that keep popping up).

The above examples of Serious / Not Serious making, and how sometimes they accidentally merge together with jam jar storage devices that become pendants, seems to be telling me that I need to keep both lines of enquiry going and maybe they will bond together nicely as the deadline rolls around.

These two lines of enquiry make sense to me, sometimes they work together, and they are informing each other to some degree. They happen to happen when I am thinking and not thinking.

I feel like another addendum is coming along, something along the lines of  ‘Be both Serious and Not Serious’…  so that will go in there as Addendum D.

ps, big thanks to super jeweller Renee Bevan for introducing me to Thinking / Not Thinking.

I had a dream! – 01MAY12:

Well not a dream really – more of a thought sequence in the shower, but it will become my mission for the next little while I think.  It stems from this email conversation with Lisa last month

and an Easter camping trip where our friends showed us their cool wind-up radio/torch/phone charger gadget which I thought would be very handy thing to have in an emergency.

So with these things in mind, rinsing out the conditioner, the thought of making a neckpiece that included wind-up or solar power, radio receiver, light source and phone /ipod charger and maybe even an ipod popped up.

You know, in an emergency, the one thing that we quite possibly would leave the house without is our contemporary jewellery collection, so this invention could alleviate the social dilemma of being homeless and un-adorned and be quite handy for keeping in touch with the world in general.

Yes, I know this is a bit bad-taste and there is a huge cringe factor involved with literalness and all that, but what the hell… I might just make it anyway.

The new rainbow string process leads to a few colourful things – 30APR12:

These are a few of my favourite rings…

These finger rings have flown off to a Ring show at Studio 20/17 in Sydney.

“The Rainbow Connection” will hopefully feature in a neckware show in Ponsonby.  It feels nice to have finally made a completely new resolved work with silicone after such a long stretch of experimental pieces using found objects. Yippee.  The experimental-ness that this project is all about as had a lot to do with this creation.

A new invention 19MAR12:

Air Bubble Sucker (it doesnt work, but it looks like it should).

Quite tempted to stick a pin on it and call it a brooch.

One new process and the last 3 months of the Saving the World project (until I buy some new brooches of course) 07MAR12:

Today I sat down and decided to make some blob strings for a ring show and a neckware show coming up and made up 3 syringes of purple, red and green.  I then discovered that I only had 2 and a bit blob string making tubes available so I thought: Oh well, maybe I could do half purple half red …….. and by golly wasnt that good idea!

Metallic purple merging slowly into to opaque red.  Lovely I thought..  how about green moving to purple moving to red – fantastic!  Rainbow strings.

There is a slight problem with airbubbles caught between syringe changes which I will have to resolve next time, but otherwise an exciting new potential.

In retrospect I guess this is kind of like Lisa’s one glue stick after the other trick that I was exploring last April, but much more successful.  Yay.

Saving The World One Brooch At A Time

I am finally at the end of my Saving the World project after wearing 127 jewelleries since the 11MAY11.  Sixty Four of these brooches have been on display at MSVA for the past few weeks to give the students something to look at.  Quite interesting to have them all spread out for once and talking to each other.

The last necklace that I wore on 17 February was actually made during Kristin D’Agostino’s Magpie Trail through Taupo as part of the Magpie exhibition at the Taupo Museum in May 2010.

Eloise wearing the green bit of hose and one of my blob strings at JEMPOSIUM

I picked up the piece of hose on the trail thinking about my favourite Lisa Walker brooch which is a piece of Green Hose wired onto a pin that still has accumulated gunk inside and is now owned by Eloise Kitson (damn it).  That afternoon when Lisa and a few other jewellers were visiting the Geeks’ rented house for a cup of tea and a biscuit, my partner informed Lisa that I had made this Hose String Thing because it was a Lisa Walker kind of thing to do.  She replied something along the lines of “Yes, but I would have made it differently”.

That comment, and the Kim Hill comment last month have got me thinking up a plan for the next part of our project together. I need to refine it a bit before I run it passed Lisa, but I think it might be kind of exciting.

Installation shot at the Handshake show, Toi Poneke, Wellington: 9-18FEB12

Still using the red vinyl as shorthand for Lisa’s mentorship, this time as minimalist plinths which was quite successful I think – especially for the Mooing Cow on Grass pendant suspended above on invisible string.  Received a lot of good feedback, particularly from some Bootcamp mentors whose opinions I value dearly.  In her radio interview with Lisa, Kim Hill commented that this work looks a little like Lisa could have imagined herself – particularly the cow on grass – which brings up that great old using found objects problem: does Lisa have ownership or a patent on all things found object?

Can I ever make anything with a found object that wont be accused of being copyist?

Busy bee – a mad mad rush to get everything done for Retrospect, Jewelism, the Pin Swap, Handshake show #4 and my JEMposium PechaKucha speech – 08FEB12

‘Sometimes I find the perfect object that needs me to stick a pin on it and call it a brooch. Other times they need a little more intervention.’

With the final task on my list of things to do before flying to JEMposium tomorrow done, I find myself in a mushed frame of mind but very much looking forward to the next five days in Wellington and a hell of a lot of jewellery wearing, thinking, watching. And hopefully a coffee or beer with my mentor.

Here are the highlights of what I have made over the past few months:

For Retrospect: Preliminary Experiments Into The Forth Dimension,  2012, Silicone, Pigments, iPod Shuffles, Making Sounds Audio Loop, Wearing Sounds Audio Loop.

For Jewelism at Fingers:

“The material that I most commonly work with was originally designed for making flexible kitchen baking products, such as muffin tins, spatulas and egg poachers, so it seemed apt for me to start with these products for Materials into Ideas. What to do for Ideas into Materials was not so obvious, so I had to do a lot of experimentation. I inherently felt that the object needed to imply function to create an idea for the viewer. With an overabundance of Kitty Pain Killer syringes in the house after my cat got shot, these presented the perfect vehicle for the presentation of an idea via functionality.”

Poached Egg, 2011, Silicone, Pigments, Sterling Silver, 9ct Gold Pin and An Injection of Colour, 2012, Plastic Syringe, Silicone, Pigment, 9ct Gold Pin

For Handshake 4 at Toi Poneke:

Mooing Cow on Grass, 2012, Found Mooing Cow, Fake Grass, Silicone, Pigments, Screws (had to invent a new process to get the strings to do this – quite successful – might play with this new process some more)

What To Do With An Over Abundance Of Kitty Pain Killer Syringes, 2012, Plastic, Syringes, Silicone, Pigments

Samoan Sushi (just stick a pin on it and call it a brooch), 2012, Found Fake Sushi Box, Stick-on Pin, Glue

Test Driving the Box of Sushi Thursday 02 Feb:  I went op shopping in South Auckland with Richard, Frances and Caryline and found this delight just before we were about to leave the third shop.  The perfect readymade: interesting, completely wacky and including a $2 price tag.  Perfect for a ‘just stick a pin on it and call it a brooch’ intervention. Got back to work, stuck on a plastic pin (added some jewellers epoxy to be sure) and stuck it on my shirt.  Chuckled to myself and went to the kitchen to fill up my water bottle.  On the way back to my office I walked past Fran and Mary who were delighted and laughed and commented on its brilliance. Headed to Lynsays farewell drinkies at Masterworks after work.  The Box of Sushi was pounced on by all and the general consensus was that it was fantastic – just like my box of chickens but better.  Rather astounded looks from Fabrizio and Sahaja.  Penny from  The Garden Party next door ran in to see what I was wearing – she had seen me walk past and thought I was wearing a VHS tape.  Marion from upstairs thought it was most intriguing.  Most people automatically assumed that I had made the sushi and put it in the box so I explained that I had just bought it in Papatoetoe, stuck a pin on it and called it a brooch.  And here lies the tension of the piece:  Why the hell would someone make a fake box of sushi, and why would Janet’s Gift Shop in Samoa sell a fake box of sushi (it includes a Janet’s Gift Shop sticker)?  Is it a status symbol to have a fake box of sushi in your house in Samoa?  Can you not get real sushi in Samoa?  Is this a representation of completely ridiculous commercialism in plastic packaging?

A 10 minute gift for the Geek Christmas Party lucky dip – 05DEC11

Sometimes you see something that just has to be made into jewellery.  Wandering around Super Cheap Auto looking for anti-freeze and vaguely wondering what the hell I was going to make for my 10 minute Geek lucky dip gift, I came across the perfect starting point.  Bright orange silicone earplugs on a vibrant blue cord. Perfect! Whipped home, broke open the packaging, put some holes in a couple of blobs and there it was. It is now in the ownership of Shelley Norton who thinks it is fantastic.  Cath’s boyfriend Dave has commissioned me to make me one that is functional – he needs earplugs a lot flying rescue helicopters. Super!

Saving The World One Brooch/Necklace At A Time continued…..  

I am nearly up to 95 jewelleries in this project – still have a few more to go, should be able to make it to 100 I think.

The Handshake Show – version 3 at Masterworks in Ponsonby – 30NOV11

Exhibited ‘The Owl and The Wombat Were Keeping Their Distance but Never The Less Having Riveting Conversations’ brooch, ‘The Peg That Dictated Its Inclusion Into The Submerged Blobs’ brooch, black and white photocopies of ‘My Mother In Law Gave Me A Handful Of Ugly Gold Bling’ brooch, ‘The Orange Nippley Thing’ and ‘The Piece of Broken Padded Chair That I Imagined Lisa Was Going To Send To Me But Didnt’ neckace suspended from the ceiling next to a copy of our email conversation and a picture of the thing Lisa made. I had not put this piece on before installing it and was quite glad to discover that the curly leg bits face forward at thigh height when worn. Note: I am wearing the piece of green string that I couldnt be bothered sewing on on my wrist.

The installation of this show was very instinctual.  I taped up the smaller vinyl square while I was playing with placement and decided I liked it just like that.  The photocopies of the baggy of bling were only supposed to stay there until I figured how to display a plastic bag full of gold rings securely, but I decided I liked it better like that too – punters can ask to see the real object if they want.  I feel like I am messing with people’s heads in a usually serious retail gallery space. I like being naughty – this comes under Addendums A & B in the project Guideline.  I feel an Addendum C is coming along….  Follow your instincts and celebrate happy accidents.

See the Masterworks Handshake Opening Subliminal Infiltration here.

‘The Piece of Broken Padded Chair That I Imagined Lisa Was Going To Send To Me But Didnt’ finally gets finished and installed in the Masterworks Handshake show – 30 November 2011

Image: Front and Back views of the thing I made next to the thing Lisa made and exhibited at Gallery Ra, that I only looked at after finishing my imagined version. Quite different creatures actually. Strange how mine looks a bit like a chicken since the photo I took of the pre-mutilated chair on 16 September had chickens in it – what a coincidence!

I must say the The Piece of Broken Padded Chair took a long time to evolve into its current form and got cut up and reconfigured a quite few times. I developed a bit of a love-hate relationship with it.  At every step of the way I was trying to make Lisa Decisions which was frustrating and meant that I wasnt just going with my own instincts – eventually I just went with my own thoughts because it was stopping me from doing anything. I think I am drawn to making things quickly rather than spending this much time with a complicated object, but it was an interesting experience.  I was working on the hints that Lisa sent to me about the bit of chair she was going to send to me but didnt:

As mentioned back in September, I immediately imagined a wooden padded chair (something like one my grandparents used to have) but couldnt find a suitable candidate to sabotage, so I picked a padded stool that had curly metal bits that just had to be included in the piece somehow.

With a limited sample of padded chair vinyl, I added some of red vinyl that I have been using to display on in previous handshake shows (because Lisa’s kitchen table has red vinyl on it) on the back side, and a triangle of grey trouser offcut (first plan was to make a multiple pillow construction like Lisa’s cut up painting and chicks on speed necklaces – this plan was shelved when it became too hard and I discovered that the vintage vinyl was prone to splitting under pressure).  The choice of string colours actually came from a bundle of strings that was already made up in Aunty Win’s Embroidery String Tin – I liked how they all went together, and thought that must be a sign from the String Goddesses, so set about finding enough of those colours in the tin to embroider into squares.  I took these strings on a journey across the piece – reasonably randomly, but also in an attempt to fence the legs further apart than they wanted to be. Gravity and clinking is an issue. Note Lisa’s version has the squares all even and coloured in which is not like mine at all.  The sewing process took forever and I was totally over it by the time I got to the last green thread, therefore I bought a can of green spray paint and put that on the legs. These were previously chrome because this was the only full can I had in the garage, however, it fell off it’s perch while the last coat was drying and munted the paint, so I had to strip it back and re-spray them. I must say that green is an improvement on the chrome – it brings out the other thread colours in the piece.  From the looks of things, Lisa’s plaited neck cord contains all the colours that are in the squares, which is possibly the only thing about this project that we did the same. Lucky.

Today I made this – 19 October 2011

Today this crumpled tube of brown paper came with a box of stationery supplies, so I quickly made a rope, stapled it on and called it a necklace.

Playing with $2 Kmart egg poachers, black wax and a glue gun – Monday 10 October 2011

I have been playing with black wax again hoping to make some last minute work to put into a show alongside the road rock rings.  After the usual manipulations I decided that I most liked the least altered strip of wax which still has the fluid qualities of when I poured it into a wax sheet.  Will make more of these – thinking that nice chunky fluid wax looking rings could be awesome. Since black wax led me to silicone in the first place and it has nice fluidity I decided to cut some into strips to cast too.  I have never bothered to try this before because it is impossible to get the join to hold on perfectly and look fab, but since I will be turning them into silver I can probably erase some of the blobby overflow.  Held  them into place with some hot glue blobs which may or may not work.

I found some nice red silicone egg poachers at Kmart. 2 for $2, so I bought 8.  The silicone that I normally use was originally designed for making kitchen utensils, so I like the idea of using it with its mass produced forms.  I experimented quite a bit with the red poachers and invented some brooch gadgets to hold them into place – trying to discover all I can do with it inside out, upside down, contorted in on itself, holding onto an egg…  That was all good fun, so I went back to Kmart and bought some more gadgets including some different coloured egg poachers and egg cups, a whisk and a basting brush – all for $2 each, bargain!

The brooch gadget on the above red triangle looks kind of like a spaceship so I might make some more of them.  A bit risque for me with lots of soldering, but I surprised myself – solder confidence slowly returning.

I have done a few bits and pieces with that bit of padded chair, but it is progressing slowly because I am having more fun with poached eggs.

My mentor is away being super famous in Europe again – lucky lucky!

the pre-mutilated padded stool with chickens

The broken bit of padded chair project – an ongoing exploration into the thing I imagine Lisa was going to send to me but didnt – 16 September.

Not being able to find the piece of broken chair that was in my mind after Lisa’s email, I decided to sabotage this retro stool.  Obviously bits of the stool will need to be included in the final piece so I have chopped off some curly whirlies to use later.

Plasticky-vinyl top is proving to be too retro to hold itself together under pressure so I will have to unpick it and sew back together in a less ambitious shape.

Didnt like where the first object was going anyway, it was looking mighty like a trouser leg with triangle foot.  Not sure whether I am making a brooch or a neck piece… or a pendant.  There is a lot of work to get through before I can even think about embroidery squares. Lots of decisions to make along the way. Quite tempted to chop the stool up some more and weld it back together. I keep coming across instincts to do things my way so that it doesnt look like an imitation Lisa, but then I remind myself that I am supposed to be making the thing that I imagine Lisa was going to send me, so really it should look like an imitation Lisa. Aye.

“Its got a hole in it, so you know its jewellery” Sharon and Lisa meet near the big buckets sculpture in Cuba Street for coffee – Friday 9 September 2011.

We start off having a look at the things she has been making lately to send to her next two big shows in Europe.  She has made enough but is still hoping to make another brilliant thing or two to add to the collection. We talk a bit about those things that include something that someone else has made – what happens when they find out what she has done and dont particularly like her changing their work.  Most of the time they dont find out – but isnt something yours if you have bought it and therefore you can cut it up and rejig it if you want too? Do you have less ownership and rights to cut up a handmade object compared to a mass produced whatever object. I guess this is a big issue when you work with found objects most of the time. Like the cut up painting necklaces.  If the vincent van gogh lookalike painting man saw a picture of the fantastic necklace that Lisa made out of his painting he might be offended, or he might like what she did with it… but surely he lost control of its destiny when he sold it on trademe or sent it to the op shop.

I thought about the box of chickens brooch I was wearing and wondered if I could ever be done for copyright infringement because I just stuck a pin on it and called it a brooch. Surely this would be seen as good advertisement though rather than direct appropriation.  So many people never knew you could buy miniature chickens before they saw me wearing this.

We also talked quite a bit about the very big pieces she has been making out of fabric. How they mess with the line between jewellery and clothing. They are unified by having a neck hole. They reminded me of the Mah Rana Jewellery Is Life series where a bunch of disparate objects are united by the fact that they have a jump ring. Her new neck pieces also have this quality, ‘Its got a hole in it, so you know its jewellery’ I say.

We talked about time;  I am struggling with not having enough at the moment. She has the luxury of being a full time maker, but still finds that those moments of pure playtime are fairly rare. I discuss how I recently turned down an invitation to be a Board Member for Artists Alliance because I am at the point of over commitment. I really have to watch it at the moment or else I wont be making anything. I must preserve my time.

She really liked what I did with my display at Handshake 2, totally taking ownership of the space with the red background and the three things were hanging together perfectly.                     I mentioned how the blue blob was hanging out of its purple bag in the Sydney show which frustrated me a lot when I saw an image of it a week down the line, but it was too late to change anything by then.

Other people will always do unexpected things with your work so it’s really important to be there to install if you can she reckons.   I agree. I should have been there.

We talked about Worth in relation to the price tag that jewellers can put on their work compared to fine artists; take Gesamtkunsthanwerk for example.  Three super fabulous artists at equal heights in their field but with very three very different price range expectations. We just have to deal with that if we are situating our work as jewellery she reckons, it will probably never change.

We end the meeting having a quick discussion about our new imaginary broken bit of chair project – but not giving away too much information to preserve the mystery of it.     I tell her about my initial thought of the chair being wooden with a padded bit on it and how I thought that the wood would be a part of it…  but having found no such chair I have settled on sabotaging a padded stool that I found in the studio downstairs.

I leave the meeting thinking quite a lot about Sabotage.  How hard it is to cut up a perfectly good bit of chair to make something and thereby removing its chairness. The element of Sabotage really applies to any found object that you turn into jewellery.  Lisa almost always cuts it up, changes it, paints it, adds bits to it, makes it her own construction.  My found object things are most often exactly as I found them – plus an added pin or bit of string – but sabotaged non the less because I have completely changed the intention of their being.

Handshake at The New Zealand Jewellery Show, Wellington 8-11 September 

Two of my favorite Random Acts of Adornment along with Lisa’s favorite piece so far – the piece of paper brooch which I have named “The Owl and the Wombat were keeping their distance but never the less having riveting conversations” displayed in the cabinet on red vinyl to be reminiscent of Lisa’s table cloth. Joey is quite miffed that I have stolen her wombat brooch.  I feel very naughty that I am exhibiting a piece of paper with a brooch made by someone else at the New Zealand Jewellery Show.  Funny as.

Becky Bliss pointed out that Lisa and I were almost the same height on opening night because she was wearing five inch heels.  I was wearing skatey shoes.

The hatching of a new plan 02 September 2011

Lisa was going to send me something to play with, but couldnt let it go…

The Sydney show at Studio 20/17 9 – 20 August 2011:

These are the four Random Acts of Adornment that I sent to the Sydney show at Studio 20/17. For some reason, the blue blob was displayed hanging out of its purple bag, completely changing the piece “It’s Got Potential (It Is Jewellery She Says)”. This made it a necklace rather than an object, and I fear removed the very thing that I liked about it. ie, how it was inside the bag giving an air of potential. Apparently it got sold though, I wonder if they took the purple bag too.  And “The Peg That Dictated Its Inclusion Into The Submerged Blobs Brooch” was curiously displayed upside down exposing the cow. I guess that happens when your are relying on others to display your work.   Jhana said that the vintage baggie full of jewels arrived in Sydney with its bottom blown out. I wonder if this was due to air pressure on the plane.  Luckily she sourced a new baggie of similar appearance to save the day.

Lisa 07 August 2011:                                                                                                        

Here’s a few words about how I’m finding the handshake project with Sharon so far.

We’ve emailed and talked, met and exchanged in the last few months.  It’s been a close arrangement of interaction with each other, with our work.

I’ve really enjoyed Sharon’s diary like exchange with me, her openness and directness in allowing me to understand her working methods and ideas, a real treat.  I in turn feel like my contribution is more a reaction to Sharon’s initiation.  Perhaps it’s time for me to a have a turn?

I’m enjoying the lack of instruction, we’re making it up as we go.  Each exchange is information to dictate the next, like making a piece.

Not seeing the Wood for the Trees – 06 August 2011

I acknowledged at the beginning of this project that there were things that I enjoyed making and wearing myself that I did not put out for sale because they had or could be seen to have a direct reference to Lisa Walker’s work.  I call these things Random Acts of Adornment because they invariably use found objects or readymades that require very little intervention by me and often happen when I leave the house unadorned, feeling naked because I have no jewellery on… Just stick a pin on it and call it a brooch.

Although these things really excite me, I have put them aside somewhat for this project because as Damian Skinner pointed out at Bootcamp – the last thing that should come out of a 2 year mentorship with Lisa Walker is that I start producing Lisa Walker lookalikes.

When developing my use of silicone and bright floppy jewelleries I was very deliberately trying not to look like anyone else and I think I have become very comfortable with this difference. Some people have told me they see the odd formal reference here and there to Ross Malcolm and Shelley Norton.  Perhaps this has happened subliminally because I absolutely love these artists.

I struggle with the concept of releasing work that looks a bit like someone else’s.

I have been casting rings from black wax this week with road rocks, preparing samples for a casting brief we are doing at school soon. A first year student was admiring them, saying I should sell them and I said, ‘Oh no, they are copyist and look too much like Karl Fritsch’.  But really they are quite different.

Fran Allison was delighted to see that I was using road rocks – ‘you are doing Bone Stone Shell’ she said.  I admit that using found painted road rocks did come from looking at Alan Preston’s work from The Multitude, however, the initial motivation came from the rocks that keep getting stuck in our shoes on our regular 7km hikes around the hills behind Helensville (you could say that the rocks found me).

Perhaps it is inevitable that the influence of other artist’s aesthetics or processes will filter through in whatever we do.  If I do not make the necklace that popped into my head because I realise after a while that part of it could be resonating from something I have seen Lisa Walker make, I am surely shutting myself and my creative processes down.

And this is why Addendum B is important in this project, and why I am going to stop denying that side of my work from now on even if they do look a bit copyist because these things surely deserve a chance at life.  My making decisions and motivations will produce different outcomes to what their decisions would produce.

–          Addendum B: Why not make everything that pops into my head

New idea: When I have finished Saving The World One Brooch At A Time with my brooch collection, I should venture out each day unadorned so that I can play “Just Stick A Pin On It And Call It A Brooch”

Saving The World One Brooch At a Time.

A maker documents her brooch collection from May – August 2011 and explores her new philosophy of saving the world by wearing brooches.

and that was about it really…… World saved? Probably not, but I had a lot of fun trying. For information on who made what, visit the blog below.

11 July 2011 – What have I been doing for the past month?

Not much Handstand making really, but I have been making some gallery stock work and doing tax returns and paperwork and photo taking and continuing with my project and going on really big long walks.

I most recently hoed up some weeds to plant Silverbeet.

My mentor is away being super famous in Europe.

I feel like I can now put up the photos of 2 out of 3 those crazy necklaces I made a couple of months ago:

Jumping Jack Flash, from ‘The Pop-Up Show’ now available from

Love Sunshine and Happiness, from Neckware 8, now available from

Fotos von Neuer Ordner: a wearing expedition by Lisa Walker’s family

Photo credits: Lisa Walker©

(you could say that Sharon had Subliminally Infiltrated Lisa’s family)

Thursday the 9th of June: this project meets that project meets that project

Last night the most awesome Subliminal Infiltration occurred when the Auckland (and Wellington) Jewellery Geeks Subliminally Infiltrated The See Here and Broach of the Month Club openings at Masterworks Gallery, wearing the work of Handshake Mastermind Peter Deckers. Super! Six Handshake apprentices in attendance.

Tuesday the 7th of June: a flying visit to Wellington

Running late for the airport I quickly ran into my studio to grab a flat blob that I poured last week. Wrestled it out of its squashing boards and threw it into a purple plastic baggy that just happened to be on the bench. A quick pause to appreciate how nice it looked in there before throwing it into the shoe box of goodies I was taking to Wellywood.

Appreciated it more when it came out of the box and onto the crit table and decided that it was meant to live in that baggy – maybe just stick a pin on it and call it a brooch – not sure,  it has got potential.  Accidentally like.

We converse about everything and anything. We both drink flat whites. We both have rumbly tummys. We have both worked for Annie and Sara. We both have a parent with a slow growing lurgy inside.  Hardest question of the day: How old are you? – I had a mind blank – not something I have bothered to think about for a while. We are within coo-ee age wise.

We do not have wearing in common.  She does not. I do, a lot.

I tried to explain that special reach out and touch quality I am looking for, like with the little chickens in the box brooch, and how the texture and floppiness of silicone gets that for me. I was moving away from silicone when this project started, but it is drawing me back in.

We talk about taking photos, light box tents, lamps, how tricky big things can be to shoot, how handy it is that I have befriended the new Photography Technician at work (MSVA) who is helping me learn how to use the lighting studio and big flash camera.  We talk about invoicing and how it would be really great to invent the perfect database system to track where jewellery goes. And wouldn’t it be great to have a pleb to do our paper work for us. She would quite like to have her studio at home one day.

I spy the brooch that is going to The National Pop Up show it is so much bigger than in the picture. It is so yummy I could eat it. She professes her new found admiration for car spray paint. I appreciate the broken glue gun necklace adding an extra ‘oh wow’ when I notice how the cord is the cord.

We talk about the wonderful Caroline at The National. I mention quite a few things about Bootcamp during the day… it was starting to feel like “This one time, at Bootcamp…”

I talk about my goal of Subliminally Infiltrating Schmuck. ‘Come next year, I will be there’ she says. I will definitely try.

The overwhelming consensus is that the Random Acts of Adornment things that I make are the most special for this project.  Like that piece of paper brooch and the bag of rings and the orange nippley thing and the peg that dictated its inclusion in the submerged blobs brooch (Lisa likes the backwards cow too) and that thing I made this morning. We line those RAA’s present up on her kitchen table. Nice.  I decide that the blue flat blob in the purple plastic baggy does not need a pin.  It is just perfect the way it is.  It’s got potential (It is jewellery she says). I can see a hand going in it like a glove. Karl really likes one of the rings in that baggy – I think but dare not say ‘Yeah, sure, swap it for one of yours…’  I declare that the red table cloth is helping these colours work and I might need some red vinyl at Studio 20/17.

We talk about how she often has to put her fighting hat on to get big spaces in art galleries not the piddly little ones that they expect jewellers would be happy with.  It is all of our responsibility to keep pushing those expectations and limitations put on contemporary jewellers by galleries and institutions.  I mention how Otto’s red dot came about.

She likes my phone with its Pukeko painting.

We talk about how writing can be like making a piece.

We talk about Yuko Oyama’s Schmuck Quickies.

So many things I am trying to remember now.

Monday 30 May: Shiver Me Timbers

I am so cold sitting in the kitchen doing a bunch of computer things that really must get done today, wishing I could receive broadband in the lounge or in bed.  Brrr.

I have been a very busy bee in the past few weeks and feel like I am finally catching up with a few gallery supplies and feeling happier about the 3 x 01June deadlines.

I feel unable to show you these 3 things though because they will let the cat out of the bag, so to speak, for a competition and shows that should be more of a surprise….  so here is the drawing they came from:

Although these works probably wont make it to the Handshake show, I feel they have evolved from the project – Some Addendum B (why not make everything that pops into my head) with a bit of Sabotage and craziness on top.

They are named after songs that popped into my head when I was making them. Night Moves, Love Sunshine and Happiness and Jumping Jack Flash.

I have also finally solved one of my biggest obstacles to making in the past few weeks which has meant that I have been doing a little fast forward making action to help with re-stocking.

I feel that an attitude shift has occurred in my head which is allowing things to change. I no longer have to dislike making flat blobs and can whip them up in a flash (almost) – it has taken 4 years for me to get to this stage with them. Super.

Side project updates:

– The suspense and mystery tour is still strangely very suspenseful and mysterious so I cant update you on that until somebody wears something.

– Saving the world one brooch at a time is going along swimingly. So slow though – I wonder how long it will take to get through my whole collection.

Friday the 13th of May: Suspense and Mystery

These lucky critters have been sent on an exciting and mysterious journey. Not the cup of coffee, I drank that. Watch this space.

And that idea i had last week…..   is slowly developing on facebook. I have made a blog so that everyone can watch.

Friday 06 May: Saving the World one brooch at a time

I have had an idea.

Tuesday 03 May: Submerge, Sabotage (again), Bag and Pin and a bit of ‘Why the hell Not’

Today the far too cutesy octopus got Submerged in a bucket of chocolate milkshake coloured house paint which is not the oil slick colour I was originally intending but yucky and uncute enough for this experiment I think.  I have a feeling the eyes may remain covered once the paint has dried.

I then re-Sabotaged one of those Sabotaged things that I should have left alone by covering it in Black Zinc spray paint which has made it look even uglier. Should have left it alone again. Maybe it will become the ugliest piece of jewellery ever conceived.

I also pulled the top layer of urethane off the other thing I should have left alone and after a bit of humming, dripped hot glue all over it. Much nicer. I felt like it needed a little bit of peachy pink, so I riveted it on top with glue.

Had a bit of left over orange so decided to revisit dripping and pouring on rude looking things.

My mother in law kindly gave me a handful of ugly gold and silver bling rings this morning which I initially thought I would melt down to make some imitation Karl Fritsch blobby rings. But then I thought I could Submerge them Ted Noten handbag style but then I thought why not just do what I would normally do in this situation:

Put them in a baggie, stick a pin on it and call it a brooch!

Now of course these rings hold a bunch of history from former owners along the same lines as Otto Kunzli’s famous wedding ring necklace, but let it be known that this baggie also holds some provenance and is not just an ordinary baggie.  It has been exhibited in Christchurch for the ‘Multitude’ and in Auckland for the ‘Subliminal Infiltrations’ THINKspace in its former life as the Poppy Ring/Brooch. Sadly someone bought the Poppy Ring and didnt want the baggie (not realising its importance or historical significance) and therefore, the baggie has remained empty for a few months.

As the aforementioned Poppy Ring was sold baggieless at Masterworks, I see it as only fitting that the new and improved baggie will get a trial run at the opening of ‘The Box Project’ THINKspace which coincidentally has a baggie piece in it that I made last year including radio bits that were in the Box I was sent.

I have adopted a new mantra for this project: “Why Not”

Why Not involves me making everything and anything that pops into my head.  It will now be listed on the plan as Addendum B.

TEST RUN ONE: May the Forth (a very auspicious day for Jedi Knights and bling ring baggies)

Artschool: Mary said ‘ooooh, I really like that one!’ Anthony said ‘are those … where did you get all those?’ and then proceeded to check out each ring and gem type,  Cin said ‘Wow, that has got to be the best thing I have seen you wear yet’ Rose said ‘Holy Crap’ and Julie said ‘Oh my goodness, some of those would be worth quite a lot of money, golly.. that’s a really neat idea but I could never wear anything like that’. The gold and mystery gem value seems to mean a lot people. Funny, value means next to nothing to me as I see them as ugly things that can be melted into something wonderful. They may as well be $2 shop rings for all I care. I guess if this brooch makes it to Handshake I would have to put a high price on it because of that value or else someone might buy it and make a huge profit by dismantling the brooch. Lucky them..  Or maybe they would actually like the rings and wear them as rings whilst still wearing the others as a brooch.

TEST RUN TWO: May the Forth opening of The Box Project at Masterworks

Well by golly I got so many positive comments about The Crown Jewels that I cant remember who said what, but I do remember Dave the Helicopter pilot and Lynsay both saying that they thought this was the best brooch I had ever made. I really should have been recording this test run so that I could play a video. Maybe next time. Yippee.

Thursday 14 April: The Octopus, the Shoes and the Geek Meet

This is the Octopus brooch I made in the glue workshop last week.  It is pretty wacky but a bit clean and pretty and poppy for my liking rather than grungey – but then I guess the floppy poppies are quite poppy. Notice how it matches my new DC skatey shoes.

Test Run: The Geek Meet at Raewyn’s House on Thursday 14 April:

The Octopus definitely caught each Geek by surprise and was a hit because of its initial brightness and cuteness, but I think it is just that really; too bright and cute. I am thinking that a bit of Sabotage is heading the way of the Octopus – maybe an oil sludge.

The Peg That Dictated Its Inclusion Into The Submerged Blobs got overwhelming attention actually. I put it on the table amongst the wine glasses and bowls of food so the Geeks discovered it one by one.  They agreed that it looks neenish tartish and a few declared their love of neenish tarts. Cath thinks it is so brilliant that I should enter it into Schmuck. She likes it that the cow is facing the rear of the brooch so that you only see a suggestion of a cow from the front.  I guess that ties into that hidden treasure context that jewellers seem to love so much. Funny how I think it is annoying and not enough for a mellow puff but others think it is wonderful.  That is the importance of show and tell I suppose.

A very good geek meet with Talente and Schmuck report by Rachel Bell, Manon van Kouswijk Melbourne workshop report by Renee Bevan and a fantastic show and tell session with lots of exciting new Geek work happening.

Wednesday 13 April 2011: Too many other ordinary things going on, so Sabotage and Addendum A kicked in

After my initial  ‘submerge’ experiments I progressively added layers to them each time I made something else.

The peg that dictated its inclusion in the submerged blobs was rather pasty white and uninteresting so I dipped it in red house paint.  It just looks neenish tartish now.  I dont know if it is worth pursuing, but may wear it once to see what happens.

The other two covers were growing quite nicely until I Sabotaged them.  One of them was looking particularly Pauaish because on a whim I decided to apply Lisa Walker’s one glue stick after another trick with some leftover purple, yellow, glow in the dark white and blue goo all piled into one syringe.  Lovely, but: before that had had a chance to set I accidentally splashed it with some liquid urethane and thought oh well, how about a bit more liquid urethane.  Dumb idea.

Sabotage makes some things ugly.  Also, I have discovered that silicone does not set properly when in the proximity of fresh urethane.

I did a glue workshop with my students this week and got rather into hot melt glue. Made a lovely brooch spider/octopus with orange ping pong ball, googley eyes, pompoms and pipe cleaners. And an alien called Matias out of half a plastic golfball, cable ties, pompom and googley eyes.  Forgot to take a photo of them, so drew a picture instead. Also made some legs for Renee’s Giraffe Pear.

Hot melt glue is so fast and satisfying!

This is where Addendum A kicks in:

The original plan dictated that I was borrowing LW processes and doing them with and by my own materials. Hot Melt glue is definitely not one of my normal materials, so this experiment is jumping off the plan somewhat.  But hey, why not….  Making SF things with LW materials.

Having noticed a few weeks ago that glue sticks are kind of floppy, I decided to make an oversized floppy poppy with glue sticks and the tops off Dick Frizzell Pinot Noir bottles because they are lovely and red and solid.  Problem is that I still have 4 bottles in the wine rack to get through before I can use their tops, so in order to complete this experiment I grabbed malibu, gin, wolf blas and bubbly water bottle tops from the recycling bin.  Added semantics??

Same same but different.  Ridiculously oversized and unwearable, but quite lovely I think. Used a cold riveting peak a boo glue method to hold the glue and silicone layers together followed by some silicone to glue the silicone layers together. In a moment of stupid wisdom, I made a glue fence to keep the silicone from sneaking out between the layers which could have worked, but failed miserably (i should have left it alone) – might have to work on that idea.

I am feeling really naughty using this glue, but having lots of fun and making lots of quick and fast things.  Just like being back at art school.

Speaking of art school, I was teaching myself how to turtle set a couple of weeks ago because I have to do a turtle setting workshop on Friday.  I decided to set a rock that I was asked to do something with last year.

I am inherently lazy when it comes to soldering and generally try to avoid it, therefore while I was cutting the turtle out and spewing about what kind of brooch back to stick on it, I had a lightbulb moment and invented the turtle brooch back.  This is so simple and easy that surely someone has thought of it before..? Who knows.  I am going to use it lots from now on, especially for quick and playful experiments.

I love inventing processes. I have invented a few since this project started.  Including how to join a stick and a granule by fusion rather than solder so that I am 100% sure it is not going to jump off. Super.

Today I am wearing this:

Wilson's owl

Caryline found an owl in the staffroom and took 2 photocopies of it.  She gave one to me which Wilson wanted to wear.  The Owl and the Wombat were keeping their distance but never the less having riveting conversations. I have never worn an A4 piece of paper before.  Quite an interesting bunch of weird look responses.

Test Drive: Deborah Crowe, Show Details artist talk at Objectspace 13 March

Arrived late and did a really bad parallel park in front of the bar next door, looked over to see the punters looking at me – one of them was my ex-flatmate. Shame. Quickly got out of the car and walked to Objectspace pretending I hadnt seen him. They must have said something about my piece of paper because I heard Simon say ‘it’s jewellery’.

The fabric oriented audience at Objectspace were a little bemused by my brooch – most probably thinking it was there by mistake.  The jewellers in the audience mostly looked and smiled – this is the third time I have worn something ridiculous to Objectspace, so I think they are getting used to it (one rather phallic purple plastic bag and a flying spaceship). Katherine wanted to touch it but stopped because she thought a fondle might be inappropriate. Philip said oh this is nice… in a sarcastic tone.  Lynsay thought it was great.  I found that I had to explain the story of the brooch a lot.

I got home and Joey didnt bat an eyelid. I discovered that this handy brooch also doubled as a napkin whilst eating my dinner.  I eventually had to whisper to her that Wilson was offended that she hadnt commented on his new Owl friend (Wilson is her brooch). Nothing I wear shocks her anymore.

Friday 18 March 2011. From Details 31, pg13-14 Lisa Walker as 2nd Year Otago Polytechnic Student, 1989:

“I’d been making jewellery for years out of bits and pieces. Once I sold painted plastic soldiers bodies and blinking dolls eyes (glued precariously together – several came back unstuck!) outside “The Residents” concert in Auckland a few years ago. I sold the lot in 20 minutes and had a merry, rather wasted night!!”

Where was I?: 1989..  morrinsville college, fifth form; smoking, drinking, learning to drive, I cant remember what jewellery I was wearing – probably something boganish or hippy because I spent that period of my life pretending to be normal(straight).  I dont think I was making jewellery at that stage..  just doing a few repairs.

Tuesday 08 March – more covers and some new words

I did a few more ‘covers’ on Tuesday, but more like ‘submerge’ than cover to try to get more goo over the objects.  Messy. Black on white fiddlesticks looks nice but kind of ‘more-of-the-same’. The back is yummy. White on silicone lines and little blobs is nice – colours jump through – I know that the lines will jump out if touched and I naturally think this is a bad thing – but is it? I sabotaged it with some black drips left over in the pot. 14 little grey blobs in white was a bit of a disappointment apart from the fact that it grabbed onto a peg that I was using to hold the tracing paper into a bowl – you could say that the peg dictated the attachment method [sic ish].

Perhaps my own words/actions can come from this:

Submerge, Sabotage, …  I am paying attention to By Products as well, like ice block sticks and the little plastic pots after they have held a few colour batches.

I definitely have to jump from the plan sometimes – in fact, I am going to write that into the plan now (Addendum A).

EXPERIMENT ONE: Cover – Tuesday 01 March 2011

Sometimes Lisa builds up a surface by repeating one ingredient and then completely covers it with glitter or paint so that the things underneath are hard to recognise. Like this:

Method: I assembled a bunch of bung fiddlesticks and poured yellow urethane on top.

I really like it. I am happy that I can see the original colours underneath.  Lisa would normally cover something completely but I dont feel the need too, the yellow seems serendipitously vacant in places. I would never be able to match the colour again anyway. The back is interesting too. Almost more interesting in a different way.

It looks like something I would make. It looks custardy.

Urethane, pigments, vintage Aunty Win embroidery thread. 40 x 16 x 3 cms.

The object dictated a simple attachment method so the back remains visible. Felt an urge to use a loopy knot near the pendant rather than tassely knot behind the neck, so went with it. Using the Mel Young twisty cord method with power tool amendment.

I realise I have consciously been making minimal intervention decisions which I think is coming from my discussions with Warwick at Bootcamp.

Test Run: Masterworks Gallery, Ponsonby, 06 March 2011

Wore to the opening of MOTH, Tatjana Panyoczki and John Parker. It was also the final Masterworks Broach of the Month swap, so a very big jewellery event for the Auckland Jewellery Geeks.

Raewyn pounced on it immediately. Renee liked it, Kristin liked it, Jenny felt it up. Rachel (who uses this urethane all the time) said what is it – she was surprised that the pigment hadnt made it bubble – need to be careful using too much colour apparently. Lynsay loves it and Cath and Eloise. Christine wondered if I had controlled the puddle (only slightly using iceblock sticks under the tracing paper). Tatjana was most interested. Liz said it was yummy. Joey said it was nice that it hadnt all gone to custard.

My conclusion: fantastically successful.

Lisa’s response:

She wants to see it in the flesh before commenting fully on it.  Other than that:

“I recognise the piece you made immediately.  It has an aesthetic and a language that I know very well not just from my work but from others.  What you should also know is that I am always challenging my own aesthetic, letting it grow, keeping the adventure fresh.  Do you feel you are doing this working so closely to my work?  I think it´s so important that you push yourself, challenge yourself.  You don´t have to stick to your plan either.  I think it´s fine to have a base to start from, but keep open to jumping off what the plan may dictate.  You´ll know when it´s time to come back to it, or not.”

And I am thinking:

Yes, I need to keep the adventure fresh and perhaps this is why I have been feeling that my work has gone stale because I had no experimental time for a year.  I think I will use these LWprocess experiments to kick start my making again and force me to be less precious about my materials.

I need to think more about this language and aesthetic – what are the things that make it work. It is certainly very eye catching.

Test Run Two: Manukau School of Visual Arts, 10 March 2011.

Mary walked past my office and said “Oh! show me what you are wearing” she really loves it.  Richard said “is that a wing nut in there?” yes i said, a plastic copy of a wingnut. Tessa Laird did a double take going out the staffroom door “wow, what is in there?” I told her about some of the components and about the project with Lisa Walker and the show in Sydney and the blog and she wants to read all about it. Mary commented again and said she really liked what was going on in there.  Strange that art school commentary is mostly about whats going on inside the blob apposed to gallery commentary being about the thing in general.

Graeme said “is it supposed to look like vomit? and i mean that in the nicest possible way…  it looks like some kid has eaten some bits of game and it didnt sit well, so bluaagh, you know”

IN THE BEGINNING – A Rough Project Guide to the Galaxy:

Given six months to play under the watchful eye of my super hero I have come up with the following plan to kickstart my making after a bit of a drought:

1 – Make things: allow myself enough time to make and experiment and evaluate.

2 – Alongside normal making, experiment with some of Lisa’s processes – covering, stripes, spots etc – with and by my usual materials of silicone and urethane. Document these experiments and reactions I get to wearing them on the blog.

3 – Establish loose and open communication channels between us: Lisa will comment, or not, on what I have been making, doing, thinking.

4 – Focus on building a more professional practice – remove those obstacles I have put in place that prevent me from being as efficient a I could be. eg, invent better making systems, take better photos, restock my galleries and computerize my accounting system.

5 – I will compare and contrast things I normally make to things I have been making with Lisa’s processes and document the changes I see emerging from this project.

6 – In the final month, consult with Lisa about works to be included in the HandSHAKE exhibition.

Addendum A: Jump off the plan on a regular basis (08MAR11)

Addendum B: Why not make everything that pops into my head (03MAY11)

Addendum C:  Follow your instincts and celebrate happy accidents (30NOV11)

Addendum D: Be both Serious and Not Serious (15JUL12)


8 Responses to Sharon and Lisa

  1. Lynsay says:

    Damn what is that piece second up on the right, is that a piece of signature silicone in there? I love these experiments, although I find myself searching for the floppy poppiness in them. How do you feel about wearing these pieces sitting hard against the body as opposed to flopping around the neck…. or does that not matter at the moment?
    mmm I do want to lick them….

  2. I think floppiness might come later. I dont think it matters at the moment. Yesterday I noticed how floppy gluesticks can be and wondered if i should investigate that.

    That piece is the pile of dribbles collected under the cookie cutter that holds my syringes when i pour goo in them. That’s about 3 years worth of dribbles so includes dead ants, dust and an icecream stick that it has latched onto.

  3. Diana Morgan says:

    love your work, Sharon. Love you to let me see what work you produce

  4. Cath Dearsley says:

    Dear Sharon,

    Did you do the ‘Polaroid’ ? – needs a brooch pin on it.


    • If only it was a real polaroid, that would in deed make a wonderful readymade brooch.
      How silly is it that they stopped making polaroid film. I bet hundreds of people have an unknown stash of polaroid film hiding in their long forgotten polaroid cameras that have been stuffed up the back of the bedroom closet. Long live Lo-Fi!

    • actually, i should credit for that polaroid, go make your own sign.. endless hours of entertainment

  5. Pingback: Reflecting | HandShake3

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