Category Archives: Texts

What to make of 2014

Master batik artist Tony Dyer with a young Japanese textile student at the Semarang International Batik Festival in May 2013

Master batik artist Tony Dyer with a young Japanese textile student at the Semarang International Batik Festival in May 2013

One of the major events of 2014 will be the Golden Jubilee of the World Crafts Council, which will be held in Dongyan, China, 18-22 October. It will be very interesting to see how the Chinese presidency of WCC uses this unique occasion to promote local craftsmanship. One day ‘Made in China’ may be something that actually adds value to a product.

The China event will be an important occasion to present the Code of Practice for Partnerships in Craft & Design, which has been developed over the past three years of discussions that were part of Sangam: Australia India Design Platform. We’ll be developing a platform based around those standards to promote fair partnerships between producers and developers. This year, the network will extend to Indonesia, with a workshop at Kampoeng Semarang looking particularly at commissioning of batik artists.

One of the important elements that draws me to craft is the way it engages with tradition. While the modern world encourages freedom, it is hard to conceive of a meaningful life without responsibility. Custodianship gives meaning to our otherwise fleeting lives. And craft traditions require skill and imagination if that are to be something we can pass on to future generations. This involves interpreting traditions through current concerns. As they say, we make it new, again.

This is something quite evident to indigenous peoples, whose own culture is vulnerable to colonisation. Retaining language and custom gives purpose and honour to individual lives in indigenous communities.

By contrast, the dominant white Anglo world seems to require little from us in order to flourish. It runs increasingly on automatic, sustained by machines and global corporations. But there are still buried traditions that we can uncover and pass on. Colonisation involved removing the social value from objects, otherwise considered the primitive domain of fetish or idol. The challenge is to recover social objects such as charms, crowns, garlands and heirlooms that offer a hard currency of interconnection.

Amulets from the Sonara Market in Mexico City - how to turn objects of destruction into agents of good?

Amulets from the Sonara Market in Mexico City - how to turn objects of destruction into agents of good?

The project Joyaviva: Live Jewellery across the Pacific travels to Latin America this year. It will be very interesting to see how these audiences respond to the challenge of designing a modern amulet. Can folk traditions transcend their nostalgia and become relevant elements of contemporary life?

The broader questions associated with this will be played out in a series of roundtables as part of the South Ways  project. This will seek to identify creative practices that are unique to the South. The first one in Wellington will look at the relevance of the Maori ‘power object’, or taonga, to Western art practices such as relational jewellery.

Other projects will help tie these threads together. The performance work Kwality Chai will explore what an Indianised Australia might be like. This relates to the utopia of Neverland, in which Australia becomes a haven for cultures that have no home in the world, such as Sri Lankan Tamils.

Craft keeps us alive to the debt we owe to previous generations. I’m very pleased to be involved with Wendy Ger’s Taiwan Ceramics Biennale where many artists have mastered clay as a language for the unique expression of ideas and values.

So there’s much to be made of 2014. Let’s hope this includes a future for 2015 and beyond.

A spatial understanding of craft practice

The new publication Contemporary Jewelry in Perspective (Lark) helps realise the vision that Damian Skinner brought to his role as editor for Art Jewelry Forum (until 2012). As a New Zealander, Skinner has argued forcefully about the need to open contemporary jewellery up to perspectives from non-European cultures. According to his view, while the movement has its centre in Munich, its evolution in ‘peripheral’ regions such as Australasia and Latin America need not be seen simply as aspirations to European culture. The book includes contributions from Skinner himself (Australasia), Valeria Siemelink (Latin America) and Sarah Rhodes (Southern Africa) that identify the original contributions made from these regions to the broad global conversation about preciousness and adornment.

I was part of a roundtable in Seattle that Skinner convened with curator Mònica Gaspar, Benjamin Lignel (current editor of AJF) and Namita Wiggers (Director, Museum of Contemporary Craft, Portland. The task was to develop a critical framework for contemporary jewellery. After much discussion, we settled on a spatial analysis that looked at the way the object circulates between bench (workshop), plinth (gallery), drawer (collection), page (book), body (desire), street (fashion) and world (ethics). Each space has its own set of critical values for judging the worth of the object. What this enabled us to do is to situate arguments within the field as forms of contest between spaces. It was possible thus to say that the relational push in recent jewellery practice champions the street as the authentic scene for jewellery, where the meaning of works is realised through use rather than limited purely to the intentions of the maker (bench). This helps clearly identify the interests at play in these arguments. In particular, it offers an alternative to the simple linear progress of ideas that seems the implicit understanding of conventional art history.

Clearly, we had to be quite selective about the spaces that were included. There were some, such as bin (thingness) that could not be included (ironically in this case). But we did hope that the book might trigger discussions about spaces that we had left out, or wrongly included.

But interestingly there is the potential to apply this kind of spatial analysis to other media. Namita has already used this framework to look at ceramics (playfully including the tent as a space). This offers a potentially engaging and challenging review of craft theory, beginning by spatialising the art object within individual fields, then attempting to look at broad patterns that connect them together. While the life of the art object is predominantly on the plinth, the craft object seems distinguished by its potential to travel into other modes of existence.

It is to be hoped that this yellow slab of a book sits loudly on the library shelf and in the gallery bookcase testifying to the liveliness of contemporary jewellery as a field of creative and intellectual endeavour. Future companions would be most welcome.

Time to put Australian craft production back on the plate

Series of hand-thrown bowls by Andrew Widdis

Series of hand-thrown bowls by Andrew Widdis

Senator’s John Madigan and Nick Xenophon recently purchased a range of tableware made in Australia, by Robert Gordon Australia, for the Australian Parliament. “The situation is so dire that in order to get Australian-made goods into our Federal Parliament, Nick and I had to buy them ourselves.”[i] Though it may not be long before Robert Gordon Australia goes completely off shore “some now outsourced to China”[ii]

We fulfil large scale ceramics orders in Australia, at a somewhat competitive price, but we need to raise the Australian consumers attention to what they are buying to make this viable, the federal Government needs to support small business’ that have the ability, but not necessarily the finances to invest on a risky proposition in the current market.

As with Robert Gordon Australia, manufacturers of Australian ceramics don’t seem to survive long solely manufacturing in Australia, but they might find it a little easier if an educated market sought them out because they understood what it takes to make locally. Perhaps one of the easiest and most immediate ways would be in raising awareness and education of the “Australian Made”[iii] logo” by promotion from the various levels of government. This seems to be the easiest way to give some market share back (also removing the need to have a magnifying glass when shopping).

Recent manufacturers in Australia that should have been able to up-scale and compete with imports are perhaps: Elliot Golightly[iv] and Bison Home[v]. I worked for Elliot Golightly in Nth Melbourne; they were going well for a couple of years. They even had a big order from U.S.A. while I was there, but China started copying them and they slowly lost market share and ended up selling the main designs to a tile company in Ballarat. Unfortunately, I don’t think the tile company made much of it.

Bison Home was proudly hand made in Canberra. With orders from Australia’s big retailers, such as Myers, Bison Home have recently started sourcing from O/S, and I assume they make very little in Australia now, if any. Although Brian Tunks’ (owner of Bison Home) health is given as the main reason[vi], he should have had access to change his process in Australia.

So if these people tried to make solely in Australia and failed, it’s not likely that any other manufacturer is going to succeed in Australia. Only small studio/artist set-ups seem to be the go; usually because it is more a ‘lifestyle” than a financially viable proposition.

Anyone with enough money to buy the efficient equipment that would enable them to compete with Asia are more likely to take the safer option of investing that start-up money in importing the product. We simply don’t have a market that cares where a product is made, as long as it’s cheap, is the mentality here. So why take the risk. I’d love to manufacture a commercial range in Australia, and particularly in Regional Victoria (I live in Bendigo, where we have some history in tableware manufacture), but until I feel supported I’m not about to risk it (I started down the road of starting a commercial production, but soon realised it was going to be a losing proposition (I still have a 3 phase pot press if you want to give it a go)). I have no issue with importing generic white-ware from China, it has given everyone access to a cheap strong hygienic product, and it has given a higher income to many throughout Asia; it does not take market share from local studio potters.

With the devastation caused by the “financial crisis[vii] in U.S.A. and Europe; England and U.S.A. have taken steps to begin “reshoring”[viii]. In the U.S.A. American Mug & Stein Co.[ix] have been making the “Indivisible” mug for Starbucks, in Ohio, U.S.A.. It is seen as a sense of pride to support locally made product (you can visit the maker, you can see how it’s made and see the working conditions, etc. Perhaps it’s a logical progression of “slow food.”).

Labour costs are not necessarily an issue. Ceramics manufacture can be highly automated[x] using pot pressing[xi] rather than the conventional factory set up of slip-casting[xii], pot press methods can be completely automated (no need for a person to pour and remove the casting) and they are highly efficient at minimising waste, the clay trimmings are even automatically recycled with some of the latest equipment. With turnkey hand-over solutions available from German industry[xii] providing the latest automated machinery and conveyor belt systems for the ceramic industry. Pressing lines for clay pots/bowls/plates picked up and placed on conveyor belts to the next process step; but it’s a lot of money, and as I suggested, anyone with that money would see the safer option of having to only buy the end product from Asia.

Bendigo Pottery[xiii] continue to make a small quantity in Australia, but its days may be numbered. Last year a quarter of the factory space was turned into an antique stall holders set-up. If that ‘ain’t the writing on the wall…

I have a set of flat plates that have been in service for over 20 years, manufactured in Australia by “Australian Fine China”[xiv]; unfortunately they are now sourced from South East Asia. Previously known as “Bristile crockery” they manufactured vitrified white crockery (made in Western Australia), and often ‘badged’ for Government Departments and other institutions.[xv] So the Australian Parliament did once have more than enough Australian made crockery.

In England the traditional pottery area of Stoke on Trent is a prime example of how a once devastated industry can be turned around, indeed flourish, against the once perceived unbeatable Asia, home of cheap ceramics production. An example of a successful manufacturer in a “high wage country” is Dudson[xvi] using efficient equipment and best work practices including promoting environmental and carbon awareness along with showing pride in a local product by labelling with “Made in England” and having the British Standard 4034 Kitemark for assurance of quality[xvii]. Along with a supportive ethic for local manufacture “Our leading production facilities in Stoke-on-Trent embody a strong commitment to England, sourcing locally wherever possible and nurturing local skills and expertise”[xviii]. Dudson has found strong support from the likes of “Avril Gayne, Hospitality Services and Control Manager at the Eden Project[xix], commented, “It’s not just the origins of our food and the impact on the environment that we are passionate about. What excites us about Evolution” (Dudson’ ceramic hospitality tableware) “is the fact that, like our menus, ingredients are sourced locally whenever possible, supporting the community and keeping carbon production to a minimum.””[xx]

I’m sure we can make a viable “green” tableware product in Australia. The Dudson “Evolution” range is available in Australia; and it seems to be a price that local cafe’ happily pay. I recently had lunch with family members at a new (small) cafe in Surrey Hills (Cocco Latte, 111-113 Union Road, Surrey Hills, VIC. 3127) My Mother commented on the interesting tableware, so I picked a plate up to look at the base (to see who made it), I was surprised/impressed that it said “Dudson” “Made in England”. So if we’re buying a “green” product, but reloading it with carbon by shipping it from further away than Asia; why are we unable to find a way to make a similar product here? An Australian distributor of Dudson proclaims “Evolution has been developed with the prime objective of reducing the carbon footprint created during manufacture”[xxi]

There are many good reasons to start manufacturing ceramics in Australia. Firstly the issue of inefficiencies in getting it here from overseas; energy wasted in trucking/shipping/trucking to your local High Street.

We have all the natural minerals required for the finest porcelains here in Australia, and relevant to me we have them all here in Victoria. Natural gas (we ship it to Asia) etc. Porcelain is made of mainly Kaolin[xxii], with some silica[xxiii] and then feldspar[xxiv] to bring the vitrification point down to a commercially viable temperature (1280°C). I’ve formulated my own porcelain[xxv] and glazes[xxvi] over many years, and I’ve made pure white porcelain from Australian minerals, though I don’t usually use the purest kaolin it can be sourced from a Victorian quarry; the whitest export grade kaolin (mined near Ballarat) is used mainly for coating glossy magazines. It is somewhat upsetting to a potter that these pure white kaolins are not used for a more lasting product.

With the latest equipment from industrially savvy counties like Germany, and making fine white porcelain tableware locally we can value add to our own resources, while at the same time reducing carbon.

Even more efficient equipment than pot press’ are now available. Isostatic press'[xxvi] a technology that requires minimal water in the clay, no hydraulics to ram the die down and no 3 phase motors to spin the dies during compression. This is another massive saving in energy resources.

As well as putting solar panels on roofs and vast arrays in the deserts and clearing bush to make solar parks[xxvii]; putting turbines wherever there’s no danger posed to budgies, why aren’t we also investing in efficient manufacture that use our local resources. Instead of throwing millions of dollars[xxviii] at American cars that guzzle resources, can’t we send some to a production that vitrifies it.






























Some further reading:

Reshoring manufacturing jobs in spotlight at Northern California summit
By John Guenther

‘Half chips, half rice’ approach to reshoring
By Andrew Bounds

US manufacturing and the troubled promise of reshoring
By Mubin S Khan

New Tax Protects Britain Against Cheap Chinese Imports

Jewellery in the bigger picture

Once more with Love gathering at North City 4

Once more with Love gathering at North City 4

As the Melbourne post-industrial suburb baked on a hot February afternoon, a gathering of 40 or so contemporary jewellers talked about the ethical nature of materials they use. The forum preceded the launch of Once More with Love, a touring show of jewellery resulting from a recycling challenge. The organisers Suse Scholem and Simon Cottrell introduced the issue in their own distinct ways. Suse spoke of the need to build a body of research that could help inform jewellers about the choices they make in materials. More generally, she advocated for a kind of ‘artivism’ that linked creative output to good causes. Simon gave a more personal talk reflecting on ethics as a subject of contemporary jewellery. He mentioned a work by Johannes Kuhnen that exhibited a gold wedding ring along with the 35 tons of ore produced to mine the metal.

Despite the energy sapping heat, the audience was quite vocal throughout the day. There were ‘real world’ considerations, such as Caz Guiney’s point that a couple commissioning a wedding ring will normally presume it is virgin gold, as it is seen to symbolise a new relationship. But sometimes frustrations erupted. At one point, a woman broke down in tears when describing the environmental devastation from mining, implying that talk was useless. Roseanne Bartley, who had previously warned that certain talk about ethics was ‘middle class’, defended jewellery as a form of knowledge that can make a difference.

The call to action was well captured by Ali Limb and Anna Davern who set up a whiteboard to gather suggestions for making a difference. One suggestion that seemed to get traction was the use of celebrities to champion ethical jewellery.

This discussion certainly brought people together in a common cause. The obvious challenge was to find a platform to carry this work further. Once More With Love as the prime mover will be critical, but this is a project rather than an organisation. There was talk of raising this issue at the next JMGA conference in Brisbane, but the scope of that organisation is much broader than ethics. One possibility to consider is the formalisation of a link with the USA based organisation Ethical Metalsmiths, whose project Radical Jewelry Makeover had been the catalyst for this issue in Australia. Does that mean setting up an Australian chapter? Would it operate under the main board in the USA? Do jewellers in the USA and Australia face the same ethical issues?

Sitting lightly alongside the pragmatic discussion was a more speculative conversation about the various interests at play in jewellery. Vicky Shukuroglou demonstrated the creativity of children in responding to artistic challenges. Catherine Truman focused in on the body as the site of the experience of making. While not strictly relevant to mining, their talks did serve to open up jewellery as a space of different interests.

While mining was the most salient issue in the Once More with Love forum, the ethical domain invites other concerns into jewellery. Like much of modern ethics, the day’s discussion implied an extension of the franchise of ethical interests—not just to sub-groups like queer, but also to non-human actors, such as nature itself.

So the day presented two complementary platforms for ethical jewellery. One was a pragmatic focus on specific activist goals, such as reduction in mining through increased use of recycled metals. The other was a more speculative reflection on the kinds of interests at play in jewellery production and consumption. Ethics does often demand some imagination, particularly when the interests cannot speak for themselves, as in nature. As with most forms of action, it seems important to have reflective space for mapping your direction, to ensure you are on the right track.

One important issue in this speculation is the recent thinking about the agency of the object itself. The sentimental value of jewellery is premised on a contact between wearer and object. While humans enjoy the capacity of enjoyment in the world, we are fundamentally limited for four score or so years. On the other hand, as they say, diamonds are forever—along with other metals and stones. Our bodies are thus imperfect hosts for the kind of enduring connection we seek with others. Through the act of empowering objects to carry our affections, we do qualify objects themselves to have an interest.

This issue emerged several times during the discussion, particularly regarding recycling. Caz Guiney, for instance, questioned whether she should recycle her unsold exhibition work. In everyday life, parallel dilemmas arise when we question whether we should give a keepsake away—is it better to preserve its original message or pass it on to someone who will use it more?

This may seem an indulgent exercise, evocative of the more arcane versions of thing theory found in the academy these days. But these speculations can be useful for extending the ethical space of jewellery. It has potential power as counterweight to the consumerist paradigm that sees the world as reducible to human need. Indeed, the alternative model of custodianship has strong associations with Pacific notions of power in the object, such as taonga.

Dear jewellery, would you mind if….

Mariam al-Ghaith

Mariam Hamad Ali Habib Ghaith Al-Ghaith

Mariam Hamad Ali Habib Ghaith Al-Ghaith

Mariam al-Ghaith is an Interior Decorator at the National Council for Culture, Arts & Literature. She has gathered a remarkable series of skills in her training and education, including a B.Sc in interior design at the High Institute of Theatrical Arts, and diplomas in architectural drawing. Her work has involved both private and public commissions, including the Qurain Cultural Festival. In 2004, she won 2nd prize in the “Grass is Gold” competition held at Chennai-India, a precursor to Abhushan.

Mariam al-Ghaith, Golden Ivory/Millennium Wings, silver 995,cubic zircon, beads (plastic/glass)

Mariam al-Ghaith, Golden Ivory/Millennium Wings, silver 995,cubic zircon, beads (plastic/glass)

Mariam’s work for Welcome Signs is inspired by Native American body adornment. Mariam identifies across geography and culture with the artistic intentions of this work. While such ornament is not traditionally associated with welcome, the cultural exchange that it enacts, between the Middle East and north America, sets the scene for hospitality as a conduit for international cooperation.

Liz Williamson–a dark garland

 Liz Williamson, Loop Series, 2008, handwoven cotton and leather lacing, photo Ian Hobbs

Liz Williamson, Loop Series, 2008, handwoven cotton and leather lacing, photo Ian Hobbs

Liz Williamson is one of Australia’s most revered textile artists. The exhibition acknowledging her status as a ‘living treasure’ is currently touring across Australia. As a textile artist, Liz has produced innovate weaves that reflect a particularly Australian aesthetic. She is especially interested in the life of cloth, not just its fresh beauty straight off the loom, but the accumulated dignity that is gained over many years of care and repair. Liz has created an aesthetic around the act of darning.

Williamson’s work is represented in most major public collections in Australia including the National Gallery of Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria and the Powerhouse Museum. In 2008, following more than two decades of dedicated teaching at universities in Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney, Williamson was appointed as Head of the School of Design Studies at the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, Sydney.

For Liz, the principle form of her creative endeavour is the scarf. For Welcome Signs, she has in effect closed the scarf into a loop, creating an object that serves as jewellery, wrapped around the body.

Liz Williamson, Pendent Loop Series, 2009, photo Ian Hobbes, handwoven cotton and leather lacing, 150 x 2cm

Liz Williamson, Pendent Loop Series, 2009, photo Ian Hobbes, handwoven cotton and leather lacing, 150 x 2cm


Strands of memory, cloth and the body are interlaced throughout Liz Williamson’s practice as she explores the connections between clothing and the body experimenting with different weave structures while exploring visual and conceptual territory.

Williamson’s recent textiles play on ideas of shelter and memory as notions of containment and bodily protection, ideas presented in woven and draped shaped textiles that evoke connections with enclosing, carrying and storage while creating a place for hiding, seclusion and security.

Her Loop series are neckpieces, a hybrid between a wrap and jewellery. They play on ideas of shelter and memory on a number of levels, as their circular shapes draping the body with the contained shape inviting enquiry, a desire to know what is contained within.

Edric Ong–a treasury of pandanus

Edric Ong

Edric Ong

Edric Ong combines the role of artist with designer, architect, curator, consultant and president. He works quite closely with UNESCO, advising on their Seal of Excellence for Crafts Program. He has convened the World Eco-Fiber and Textile (WEFT) forum since 1999. And has specialised particularly in the textile crafts of Malaysia, including Sarawak.

For Welcome Signs, he has designed a series of fibre-based jewellery drawing on the traditional craft of pandanus weaving. These draw on important elements of local material culture, such as wedding ceremonies and personal adornment.

Edric Ong, Pandanus pouch necklaces

Edric Ong, Pandanus pouch necklaces

Two string necklaces featuring blue glass beads and hand-crafted pouches made of dyed ‘pandanus’ leaves. These pouches are miniaturized from traditional dowry pouches made by the Malay women of Kota Samarahan , Sarawak, East Malaysia; and were presented during the ‘akad nikah’ or exchange of marriage vows ceremony.

Edric Ong, Pandanus open-plaited necklace and belt

Edric Ong, Pandanus open-plaited necklace and belt

Open plaited pandanus straps were made by the Orang Asli of Carey Island, Selangor, West Malaysia as part of their small pouches for keeping tobacco.

In the necklace and belt featured here, they have been made as components and strung into a cord (the necklace) or added to a rattan belt as accessories.

Artist Statement

This is a series of fashion accessories I developed as part of collection to introduce the use of more natural fibers such as tree-bark, rattan, and pandanus into my work. It started with using tree bark cloth as appliqué on cottons and silks; then using rattan straps as accessories, and then using the pliable pandanus as bustiers, capes and also as ornaments for necklaces and belts.

The pandanus components are made by two groups of craft artists: the Malay women of Kota Samarahan, Sarawak in East Malaysia; and the Orang Asli women of Carey Island, Selangor in West Malaysia.

I hope that these new designs and use of their traditional crafts will inspire them to create a new product line and so generate more income for them.

Original pandanus pouch

Original pandanus pouch

Sang Hee Yun–beware lacquer

Sang Hee Yun

Sang Hee Yun

Sang Hee Yun studied jewellery at Seoul National University, then specialised in The Dept. of Ottchil-Art at PaiChai University. Since then she has exhibited her work in a number of solo and group exhibitions.

Sang Hee Yun has extended the craft of Ottchil to create striking body ornament. Korean culture has developed the art of lacquer to extraordinary sophistication, and Sang Hee Yun demonstrates who it can also be used for artistic purposes.

Her work for Welcome Signs can seem contrary to the ethic of hospitality. It is designed to repel, rather than attract. But as something that offers protection, it indicates the broad range of meanings associated with neck wreaths in the Asia Pacific region.

Sang Hee Yun 'An attack by green horns' Wood, Ottchil, 925silver, gold-plating, gold-leaf, 572 × 249 × 74 mm, 2009

Sang Hee Yun 'An attack by green horns' Wood, Ottchil, 925silver, gold-plating, gold-leaf, 572 × 249 × 74 mm, 2009

Artist Statement

The main concept of this Ottchil Ornament is an image of attack and protection.

In order to manifest it, I took out its materials from nature, inducing a variety of formative experiments by applying Ottchil (Asian lacquer) with the material characteristics of outstanding durability and moth protection to jewelry.

The purpose of this Work is to attempt to provide the women alienated from the society under the extreme circumstances such as threatening situation, horror, and sorrow with power by making accessories to make a use of varnishing with lacquer that has an offensive character and a defensive function; to grope for the new try to search for beauty by giving the experimental characteristics to the positions on which accessories are put in the relationship between the body and accessories as well.

This work had been started from the process of utilizing varnishing with lacquer positively. I used varnishing with lacquer in making accessories not only because I could include an environment-friendly defensive concept along with its perpetuity that could keep accessories from decay and deformation after a long time, but also because the property of matter of varnishing with lacquer was accorded with my concept of making accessories in many ways.

The sizes and colors of accessories had been very important to deliver the offensive and defensive feeling, and so I could solve that with the production techniques of varnishing with lacquer to use light materials such as paper, wood, cloth, and etc.

My jewelry makes the wearers get the strong existential feeling and sexual power from the mutual communication with others through wearing action; desires them to restore their mental tranquility and subjectivity.

I aspire that this could be not only a means to exist as an individual whose own values are not penetrated and but also a cry that the weak existence wounded by the outside can express with his or her body within the diversity in the modern society.

Marian Hosking-a garland of the bush

Marian Hosking

Marian Hosking

Marian Hosking is a preeminent Australian jeweller, recently designated a ‘living treasure’ for her contribution to the national craft scene. Marian trained in the RMIT Gold & Silversmithing department and following that the Fachhochschule für Gestaltung, Pforzheim. She is currently head of the jewellery department at Monash University, where she is currently acting Head.

Marian’s work explores the artistic quality of silver, using a unique combination of casting and drilling. Using silver as a creative language, she is able to express quite rare forms of Australian nature. Her work attends to the fine detail of flora, rather than the large iconic forms.

Her work for the Welcome Signs exhibition uses the form of the garland to gather elements of Australian bush. For a recent essay about Marian’s work, go here.

Marian Hosking - two silver garlands (Mallee gum buds & Gum nuts chain)

Marian Hosking - two silver garlands (Mallee gum buds & Gum nuts chain)

Niki Hastings-McFall–the new Pacific art of welcome

Niki Hastings-McFall

Niki Hastings-McFall

Niki Hastings-McFall was born in Titirangi, West Auckland, NZ. Much of her work is inspired by her Samoan heritage, discovered when she first met her father in 1992. She trained as a jeweller, and has a degree in Visual Arts from the University of Auckland at Manukau School of Visual Arts.  Both her jewellery and her larger assemblage works directly  reference her urban environment whilst maintaining strong connections to Polynesian culture.
Much of her earlier work is a response to the stereotyping which so often surrounds the South Pacific. As a Pakehaa / Samoan she uses the iconic to question the myth as a  way of exploring the liminal space which both separates and unites the different cultures that represent her place within a contemporary Pacific context.

Niki Hastings-McFall Too Much Shushi Lei

Niki Hastings-McFall Too Much Shushi Lei

Aesthetically speaking some of the work she is presently engaged with is not necessarily overtly Polynesian. However it is still generated by her signature understanding of past and present Pacific material culture twinned with an urban sensibility of post colonial Aotearoa
Hastings- McFall has exhibited extensively during the 15 years of her practice both nationally and overseas in Australia, France,  the USA, South America  and the UK. Her work is held in public and private collections in NZ (Auckland Art Gallery,Te Papa Tongarewa, Auckland University,  Chartwell, Victoria University, Auckland Museum etc) and internationally (British Museum UK, Museum fur Volkekund Germany, Queensland Art Gallery Australia, Tjibaou Centre New Caledonia etc)

Niki Hastings-McFall’s work features in the exhibition Welcome Signs.