Monday, February 27, 2012

Q&A with Jewellery Designer/Maker Anna Davern

Anna Davern recently participated in a Group Artist Talk held at The JamFactory where she presented along with Roseanne Bartley (featured in last week's blog) and Melbourne based artist Penny Byrne. Both Anna and Roseanne have works on display in the touring exhibition, Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor, while Penny Byrne's Art of the Possible is also showing at The JamFactory. The three of them together made for a very interesting and enjoyable afternoon. Anna answered a few questions for us regarding her art and her practice.

Tell us about yourself, how did you become a jeweller?

I’ve been practicing as a jeweller for over 15 years now and so many different choices have led me along the path I have travelled. When I was at school, I was good at science and maths and so when I went to uni I thought this was the direction in which I should go. But after 3 years of study and no achievement of a degree I realised that that path wasn’t for me.

I did some short courses in life drawing and jewellery making while attempting to pursue a career in film and television and pretty soon worked out that my desire to make ‘things’ outweighed my desire to make films, although an element of story telling still informs my practice.

I did my undergraduate degree at Sydney College of the Arts in Jewellery and Object Design and then completed my postgraduate studies at RMIT in Melbourne.

Which jeweller, craftspeople, writers, artists, musicians, anyone do you find particularly inspiring and how have they influenced your approach to making?

My teachers and mentors over the years have been very inspiring to me: Margaret West, Rowena Gough, Carlier Makigawa, Robert Baines, Louise Weaver, Manuel Vilhena… They taught me to think about jewellery in different ways, they taught me to enjoy making and they taught me about how art and jewellery can communicate.

Are there any specific collections, museums that you have found inspiring and why?

I loved the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg. They have this incredible collection and I was there in late winter so there was hardly anyone there and you can get really close to these artworks that you’ve been looking at in books for years. When I was there, I was lucky enough to stumble upon a contemporary jewellery exhibition and got to see some jewellery that I’ve been looking at in books for years.

Welcome us to your studio - where is it?

I’ve recently been involved in setting up a new project in Melbourne called Northcity4. We’ve rented a large warehouse in Brunswick and have spaces available for permanent tenants as well as an access workshop and spaces that artists can rent for short term projects. We are also setting up a school where we will run classes and workshops for beginners as well as masterclasses for established makers. We will also run a series of seminars and artist talks and provide resources for Melbourne’s jewellery community. It’s very exciting and it’s starting to get busy with the tenancies filling up. You can check out our fabulous new website here.

Anna Davern, Brooch For Madame Brussels, 2011

The work for the exhibition: Can you describe the specific themes reflected in this body of work?

This is my artist statement for the Madame Brussels brooch:

"Imagine life as a woman in late 19th Century Melbourne. Do you do as is expected of you and follow your husband to become a policeman’s wife in isolated rural Victoria? Or do you see an opportunity… take a risk… go it alone… perhaps call in a favour or two… and find your independence as a successful business owner in the only business that is available to you as a woman.

What would I have done? Was she brave? Or was she desperate? Was she Machiavellian? Or was she fair and honorable in her enterprise? It’s not possible to answer these questions but one thing is certain, her choice gave her a level of independence that was not afforded to her female contemporaries."

Describe your method of production in this current work?

The Madame Brussels brooch is constructed from collaged sublimate printed steel with a copper backing. Sublimation printing is a very simple technique of transferring dye to plastic using heat. In this work, electronic files of images were printed and then transferred to plastic coated sheet metal using a heat press. The images are then cut out and connected using traditional jewellery techniques.

Anna's Brooch for Madame Brussels can currently be seen at The JamFactory as part of the Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor Exhibition.

You can visit her website at
Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor runs at The JamFactory until 14 April.

An accompanying symposium featuring Leading Women of South Australia will be held Saturday 31 March at Nexus Multicultural  Arts Centre to be followed with drinks and nibbles in GalleryOne at The JamFactory. Entry to this event is free. Come along and celebrate 100 years of International Women's Day. Visit our website for details.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Q&A with Jeweller Rosanne Bartley

Roseanne Bartley will be exhibiting alongside 100Australian Jewellers who have created 100 brooches to represent 100 extraordinary Australian Women at Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor, which will show at the JamFactory GalleryOne from 24 February - 4 April.

Roseanne will also speak at the Group Artist Talk: Reconsidered, Saturday 25 February, 2:00 pm, GalleryOne, JamFactory.
We asked Roseanne a few questions about herself and her work:

Tell us about yourself, how did you become a jeweller?
I began with a short course taught by Danial Clasby in the 1980’s and began renting a space in his access studio, which was located in Auckland, New Zealand. This was during a period in New Zealand jewellery recently defined as the Bone Stone and Shell movement.
Which jeweller, craftspeople, writers, artists, musicians, anyone do you find particularly inspiring and how have they influenced your approach to making?
Hmmm too many to mention, I love looking at art and hearing people talk about what they do – so anyone who is passionate with an interesting outlook on life. I read broadly, philosophy and theory, of craft, art, anthropology, etc especially while I am camping – reading outdoors around a campfire is both favoured and savoured.
Are there any specific quotes, ideas, places that influence this current body of work?
The material I work with is mostly collected from around my neighbourhood, and I am interested in exploring the idea of what locates us in place and time. Although I made the work for this exhibition in my studio, I also create work outdoors and involve other people in my process.
Are there any specific collections, museums that you have found inspiring and why?
Even though I have been fortunate in travel and visited a few museums I wouldn’t say any have directly inspired me. Although I have a current fascination with the earliest form of jewellery discovered, a series of perforated cowrie shells, which would have been threaded on a string.

Welcome us to your studio - where is it?
My studio is a bessa brick shed in my back-yard, I tend to keep it a private space as it’s often an organized mess, so I probably wouldn’t invite you in, sorry. I am also working on projects outdoors, so am more likely to arrange to meet you on the street and invite you to participate in one of my projects. If you are interested in finding out more you might like to look up
The work for the exhibition: Can you describe the specific themes reflected in this body of work?
I wanted to convey a sense of time and place, a representation of Australia ‘now’.
This work was created in response to the criteria Miles Franklin established for the literary award in her name “the highest literary merit and which must present Australian life in any of its phases”. I am not sure what Ms Miles would have made of Australian cultural life in its current phase, I view it as the best of times  and… …..
M is For, 2011. Found Plastic,925 silver and stainless steel. Part of  Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor Exhibition.

Describe your method of production in this current work?
I have been exploring different methods to represent mass or amassing and for this work I bound together a number of takeaway plastic remnants and fused them together using my iron. Once bonded together they were set with a plastic lid that had been cut and heat formed.

Be sure and see:
Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor at the JamFactory, 24 February - 4 April
Group Artist Talk: Reconsidered with Artist Penny Byrne(The Art of the Possible), Anna Davern, and Roseanne Bartley (Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor).
Symposium: Leading Women, Saturday 31 March, 2:00 - 5:00pm at Nexus Multicultural Arts Centre, Cabaret. Join a diverse group of South Australian women who are leaders in their field. Speakers include artist Sue Lorraine, Leaders Institute of SA Niki Vincent, Kojo CEO Loewn Steel, Professor Emirata of Gender Studies Margaret Allen and fashion designer Liza Emanuele