Humphrey’s tool of the week is a piece of equipment that, if you were using it, would require the use of both of the items of PPE presented over the last two weeks. May he present… the polishing motor! It can harm, it can maim but it can also make your jewellery shiny. Or matt. It has a spindle on either side to which you attach different ‘mops’. In the picture the mop on the left is soft and you put a bit of polishing compound (like brasso but better) on it and it makes shine. The mop on the right is made of scotchbrite and it makes matt (and it’s not as scary as this post might make it sound).
Our May newsletter will be in your mailboxes tomorrow but we thought we’d give you a heads up about our next workshop because we’re really excited about it and places are filling fast and we want to give you – our faithful readers – a chance to get in before it sells out!
Adventure into the world of HOT GLASS! Create one-off glass pieces, miniature artworks that others will marvel at. No jewellery making or glass working experience is required and Kathryn will send you home with the skills to continue the technique in your own studios!
We grilled Kathryn about her practice and how she became interested in working with glass in her jewellery making…
1. Can you tell us a little about your background? What path lead you to Gold and Silversmithing?
Playing with beads as a young girl started my interest in adornment. As a high school student I leant how to make silver jewellery at one-on-one classes with a master German jeweler. After high school I went to university for 7 years and studied Fine Art, majoring in gold and silversmithing. I thoroughly enjoy every aspect of the creative process and I have continuously made art jewellery pieces in metal and glass for 22 years.
2. Where did your interest in glass come from? What are the main processes involved?
I have always been drawn to glass as a material and its vibrant colours. It is a fascinating material with so many technical and creative possibilities. I began exploring the use of glass in leadlight windows, glass casting, fusing and slumping. It was when I tried flame worked glass that I knew exactly how I wanted to work glass. Glass has long history in jewellery, it was a perfect material to combine with my metal working skills, I want to continue the use of glass in adornment, hopefully expanding the possibilities. The main process that I use to create my glass work is flame working, which is melting glass rods over a gas and oxygen fueled torch, and I hand make each glass element. Some pieces are contain over 400 separate glass pieces each made individually over the flame.
3. Working across two disciplines, do you preference one above the other?
The two materials are both equally attractive and challenging to me. It is the marriage of these two materials that has been my jewellery research topic for more than 10 years. I endeavor to combine the materials in new ways resulting in desirable, wearable body adornment. Each material requires a different set of tools and ways of working. I enjoy being able to spend time alternating.
4. Where do you go to for inspiration?
It’s been said a thousand times, but it’s going to be said once more — nature is a great source for design inspiration. I enjoy swimming, snorkeling and now I have my open water scuba certification I am spending lots of time in the sea. I am loosely inspired by the forms and colours in nature and I seem to have dominant forms that I repeatedly explore in my pieces. The two materials, when worked are also very suggestive of natural forms. Each piece inspires the next, much of my work is made in series, for example the “Turning over a new leaf” series made in Sept 2012 were created after I was assigned author May Gibbs for a touring curated brooch exhibition.
5. What are you most proud of professionally?
I am proud that I still making and enthusiastic about my work after so many years. I have been very happy to be included in several exhibitions, publications and sold in several retail outlets for many years. These achievements have been really rewarding and I hope for many more years of successful making, teaching and selling my pieces.
Thanks Kathryn and we look forward to seeing the results of your workshop.
Emma Grace is working hard and having fun at her Northcity4 studio – the place is a buzz and we want to share the developments that YOU, our Pozible supporters, made possible!
Emma Grace – New Jewellery Collection
While developing her new designs, Emma has made some great progress in researching what a sustainable collection of jewellery will look like, in terms of both materials and processes.
So far Emma has:
- Researched materials – precious and non-precious
- Researched production methods – both hand and machine
- Developed prototypes for new collection – playing with colour & form
- Moved into Northcity4 as a permanent tenant! (This was not part of the Pozible campaign but well worth celebrating!)
This new collection of jewellery will be made from recycled silver and gold, as well as industrial off-cuts, reclaimed jewellery and textiles, among other things.
To give you a taste of what’s to come here is an insight into the development of this new work.
Special request – jewellery recycling call-out
Emma would like to take this opportunity to put a call out for silver jewellery so she can refine it to be used in this collection. If you have any old jewellery that is broken, damaged or just plain ugly, and you would like to give it a new life, Emma will gratefully accept your donations. Please send it to: Emma Grace, 61 Weston Street, Brunswick, VIC 3056. Email Emma if you would like her to send you a self-addressed post pack, otherwise if you are in Melbourne she’s happy to collect it.
Northcity4 – Studio project
Ali and Emma have also been working on actions and initiatives to make Northcity4 a more sustainable studio and will soon be collating all the information into a report.
So far they have:
- Developed an Environmental Policy
- Conducted a studio waste audit
- Developed a Green Procurement Policy
- Begun research into our supply chain.
With so much happening, the time has positively flown! So much so that they have decided to extend the project by one month until the end of May.
It has been such a wonderful learning journey for Emma and Ali over the past 6 months and this would not have been possible if it weren’t for our wonderful Pozible supporters!
SEWING CLASSES FOR A SPECAL GROUP OF GIRLS
Last week we had an amazing 2 day workshop at Northcity4. It involved inviting several young girls to come and learn how to sew….. here’s more from Romani -
ReProject is a creative initiative that brings together the Moreland community, local artists, artistic spaces and the revitalisation of pre-loved goods.
ReProject centres on three key elements: participants, artists and the object. Participants re-examine their role in the consumer-producer cycle, and are encouraged to gain new perspectives and skills in production. Artists are invited to bring their experience and perspective to facilitate the participants’ engagement in ReProject. Together, the participants and the artists are given the opportunity to conceptually redefine their object.
ReProject works through three themes: fashion (ReStitch), garden landscape (ReGrow) and industry (ReBuild).
The brainchild of Mayssam Latif and supported by the City of Moreland and RMIT Arts Link, ReProject workshops run throughout 2013.
In April 2013, ReProject workshops brought together newly arrived female refugees and local artists in a four-day creative fashion workshop, ReStitch. Hosted by NorthCity4 art space, the participants were matched with Fashion and Textiles students from RMIT. With the guidance of lead facilitator, Britney Malpeli, ReStitch invited the young women to revitalise and redesign otherwise unwanted items from their wardrobes. Old jeans were converted into jackets, skirts into handbags, and pencil cases and left over scraps into jewellery pieces. The workshops provided a platform for cultural exchange, helping to explore both the participants’ and artists creative abilities and their perspective on the use of new and used objects and pre-loved goods.
all photos by Olga Gryniewicz
Craft bloggers Beck Jobson and Ramona Barry are the forces behind the inspiring and generous blog, Handmadelife. We think that Handmadelife is a shining light in the world of craft and creativity and so we’re really excited to be able to present the seminar It’s All About You with Beck and Ramona this Thursday night. If you tried to buy tickets and found that it was sold out, NEVER FEAR! We found 15 more chairs and so there are 15 more tickets available to purchase for the very reasonable price of $20. Come along and find out How to write, talk and present yourself to media, retailers, galleries and collectors without being a marketing expert.
We caught up with Beck and Ramona this week to gain some insight into the working process behind their successful blog.
1. Can you tell us how Handmadelife came about? How long has it been going?
Ramona: Way back in 2006 we were both at the front desk of Craft Victoria, Beck as Retail Manager, and I as Front of House and Admin. We were instant friends and had a shared passion in craft, design, art, cooking, anything that involved the handmade. When I left Craft Victoria we wanted a way of continuing the conversation and blogs were just starting to become a big part of the craft world so we jumped on board. Beck named it handmadelife and we have been collaborating ever since.
Beck: I remember that within the first five minutes of meeting Ramona we discovered our mutual love for Craft, Buffy, obscure 70’s martial art movies and The ghost and Mrs Muir… and I knew we’d be friends for life. After we started working together side by side at Craft Vic it became a natural fit for us to want to collaborate further outside the office. We both had a background in publishing, loved talking about and making stuff and are both ‘early adopters’ so when Ramona finished up working at Craft Vic writing a craft blog together seemed an obvious fit.
2. Ramona and Beck, you both have strong individual voices in your blog, do you have clear roles in the creation of content? Or is your process more fluid?
Ramona: We both lead really complicated lives, juggling, family, work, and friends. We used to try and approach it in a planned manner but find that it has to be more fluid for it to work for us and not be a burden. We do try and start the week highlighting an exhibition so we have a chance to share and promote makers we think are amazing. But you can’t tell one week from the next what we’ll have on there. Our voices are different and we do bring our own ideas to HML – but our passion for the handmade knits it all together.
Beck: Ramona’s right, at the start we were much more focused on thematic scheduling and role clarity, but as things in our lives have evolved with children, different jobs and outside projects our method has also evolved into a more organic process. I think the difference in our voices and interests enriches the blog – it’s much more conversational and we cover a lot more territory than we would otherwise – and it’s nice to surprise each other (and the audience) with new things coming from very different parts of the craftiverse.
3. One of the great things about HML is that it is open to all disciplines of making, from ceramics, painting, jewellery, textiles. Your readers have the luxury of being introduced to unique and diverse makers, all in the one forum. Do you have a preference for one discipline over the other?
Ramona: That is impossible to say. We both collect ceramics, I absolutely love jewellery and Beck, with her background, is passionate about textiles. As writers and commentators we like to dip into all areas to really understand the process of making. We both paint and draw and love skill building. This year alone has seen us bookbinding, printing, dye, crochet, concrete plaster casting, terrarium making, macramé and of course jewellery. We are also avid filmgoers, foodies and gardeners. What I can say is our preference is for makers. It’s the people that make things that really keep us engaged and interested.
Beck: I think as people we’re open to anything, I’m as fascinated by what inspires and compels people to make as I am about the finished project. As Ramona said, we’re both makers, collectors, observers and incessant commentators (sometimes to our families dismay!!!) and we’re both insatiably curious. I think it’s the combination of all of these things that draw us to other people who seem as hopelessly obsessed with thinking and making, irrespective of their material outcome.
4. Where do you both go to for inspiration?
Ramona: There are three layers to our inspiration cake. The first one obviously is online: blogs, Tumblr, and Pinterest - I think combined we have around 10,000 pins. Magazines used to feature heavily but with the advent of the Ipad not so much anymore but we certainly are still big fan of the book. Working on our own has made us revisit our collections (close to 500 books) to see what works and what doesn’t. It’s also really important to get out into the world and see what other people are doing. See shows, read the paper, listen to the radio and talk to each other – a lot. Many people complain of information overload but we are sponges for all of it. The beauty of collaboration is that it’s a shared experience; there is always a chance to debrief about what we’ve seen.
Beck : Everywhere. I’m a big believer in just opening your your eyes, ears, mouth and hands and seeing what falls into frame. Record shops, movies, the interwebs, libraries, shops, gardens, travel, people, mountains, beaches, galleries, just walking the streets. You name it, can inspire me… as my lumbering and overloaded instagram account will attest. I’m shamelessly curious by nature and I love nothing better than alone time in a café, tram or train to watch the world and the people in it doing their thing. I try to be an unobserved observer wherever possible.
5. Can you tell us a little about your upcoming book that will be published by Thames and Hudson? How did this come about? And by the way, congratulations on this amazing book deal.
Ramona: We certainly can’t take all the credit. It was an idea first proposed by our publisher, which we then developed. We can’t tell you much but we can say it is going to be like nothing seen before. It will thread all of our handmadelife philosophy together in one beautiful volume that hopefully will inspire, promote, educate, energise and articulate the relationship between professional and domestic craft, art and design. It is a dream for us to work with such an amazing publishing house and we can’t wait to share it all with you. We could not have imagined when we started handmadelife that this is where we’d end up and we couldn’t be more excited.
Beck: It’s an incredible offer that’s been made to us! And Ramona’s right we can’t take all the credit – our publisher is amazing and she had a pretty good idea that we were able to shape handmadelife style. After having self published “I make stuff “a few years ago to now have the opportunity to collaborate on a project with a real live publishing house is pretty mind-blowing and to be honest, at times a somewhat overwhelming proposition. We hope the new book it will build on the work we’ve done in handmadelife articulating the contemporary craft scene as an inspiring and inclusive arena, while still managing to throw people a few surprise curveballs.
Thanks Beck and Ramona and we look forward to seeing you on Thursday night!
It’s sharp, it’s noisy and it gets the job done fast. The drop saw is very useful for cutting up the building materials from the old office and transforming them into partitions and bookshelves.
This fabulous piece of equipment lives at Northcity4 but no-one quite knows where it came from. Was it yours? Did you donate it? Please let us know so that we can thank you appropriately!
Not one to sit on the sidelines while there’s work to be done (particularly when it comes to assisting in the kitchen) Humphrey enjoyed giving Robbie a paw during our recent renovations. He insisted on presenting his earmuffs as his tool this week (he says it’s because they were so useful when the power tools were in use, but we think it’s because he knows they make him look quite fetching!)