Artists craft personality into earrings

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“Pillars Earrings” by Adelaide designer-jeweller Simon Williams

craft / “What is it with Earrings?” Bilk, until June 7. Reviewed by MEREDITH HINCHLIFFE.

THE title of the current exhibition at Bilk, “What is it with Earrings?” says it all. Some people would not leave the house without them, whether it’s ear ornaments, ear-clips, ear-loops, ear-flares. They all adorn our ears and have done so since early times.

They were once made of precious metals, but these days are made of every conceivable material. Generally the wire loops or clips and screws are made of silver, gold or surgical stainless steel as many wearers have an allergy to nickel. Earrings are made – and being exhibited – in all sizes, in a great variety of shapes and styles.

Many artists are showing in “What is it with earrings?” and using a range of materials including patinated bronze and copper, silver, PVC, carved wood, left-over packaging (commercially produced tin cans), titanium, and 3D printed nylon.

Many are whimsical, most are elegant and all are skillfully made.

Dan Dicaprio is showing several pairs, delicately carved in pale cream holly, which are feathery and seemingly simple. His silver funnel earrings are in African Blackwood with silver loops, which are finely carved, refined and unusual.

Directors Helen Aitken-Kuhnen and Mio Kuhnen are exhibiting, along with Johannes Kuhnen. Helen Aitken-Kuhnen is an award-winning artist working in enamels and silver. Her works are in the luscious colours obtained with enamels.

David Walker, a senior Australian artist, is exhibiting whimsical and animated earrings. Using Black patinated bronze and silver, his earrings cascade like water from the ear. Two pairs are titled “Lightening” and are adjustable. They can be made shorter or longer as desired.

Many artists who exhibit regularly with Bilk have responded with enthusiasm to this exhibition. Lara Nott is exhibiting several folded titanium works in bright colours, including turquoise, purple, peacock and a more subdued grey.

First time exhibitor, Adelaide-based designer and jeweller Simon Williams, is showing three pairs of “Pillars Earrings” in oxidised white gold set with precious and semi-precious stones. They are sophisticated and elegant and perhaps the most traditional on exhibit.

There is a real sense of fun in this colourful exhibition and is a good antidote to the coming cold months.


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