Master of Design (Research) examination exhibition
Ivan Dougherty Gallery
Art & Design UNSW, Sydney
10-14 February 2004
In some categories of jewellery, particularly those promulgated by the commercial jewellery trade, precious materials such as gold and diamonds equate monetary value with forms of sentiment and love, social status, wealth, prestige and exclusivity. In the commercial industry ‘value’ or ‘preciousness’ is commonly associated with the predominant use of precious materials in conjunction with customary forms and techniques for the production of 'ostentatiously impressive and expensive jewellery' (Dormer and Turner 1985, 7). Many contemporary jewellery practitioners, for whom jewellery possess the power to communicate beyond public declarations of wealth, challenge these ‘values’ by opting to employ humble, inexpensive materials as well as unconventional treatments of traditional materials.
The value of hand skills, extensive experimentation and incremental refinement as part of a process analogous to Alchemy are key areas in the research. In this context the concept of alchemy, borrowed from Amanda Game and Elizabeth Goring (1998), describes a magical transformation of materials considered worthless by mainstream society into objects of desire. The importance of these investigations is to affirm the value of the idea, of hand-work and of extensive and reflective design and making processes within contemporary jewellery practice. In broader terms though, the research aims to contribute towards an expansive and poetic vision for contemporary jewellery.
Zoë Veness, 2004
1. Dormer, Peter and Ralph Turner. 1985. The New Jewelry. London: Thames & Hudson, p. 7.
2. Game, Amanda and Elizabeth Goring. 1998. Jewellery moves – Ornament for the 21st Century. Edinburgh: NMS (National Museum of Scotland) Publishing.
Necklace I 2003. Paper, steel cable, sterling silver. Photo: Blue Murder Studio.
Necklace VI 2003. Paper, steel cable, 9 karat and 10 karat yellow gold. Photo: Blue Murder Studios.
Necklace IV 2003. Newspaper, steel cable, sterling silver. Photo: Blue Murder Studios.
Necklace III 2003. Newspaper, steel cable, sterling silver. Photo: Blue Murder Studios.
Necklace X 2003. Plastic, steel cable, sterling silver. Photo: Blue Murder Studios.
Necklace IX 2003. Paper, steel cable, sterling silver. Photo: Blue Murder Studios.