Connectivity and communication through jewellery

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Kath Ingliss, “Griffithsia + Coraline Epiphytes”, 2021. Photo: Grant Hancock.

Craft / “Small Connections”, Craft ACT Craft + Design Centre, until July 17. Reviewed by MEREDITH HINCHLIFFE.

THE works in this exhibition from the JamFactory in Adelaide are created by staff, tenants and associates in the Metal Studios. 

The exhibition is centred around the concept of connectivity and communication that jewellery offers the giver, receiver and wearer.

Jewellery, unlike any other art form, has a singular relationship with the wearer and the viewer. In the past, jewellery could be seen as “wearable wealth” – precious metals and stones made into pieces to be worn, to remind viewers that the wearer’s family had power.

This evokes early reasons that people wore decorations on their body – to show that the wearer was powerful and should be shown due respect.

The works on display were mostly made at the beginning of 2021, and some are a visceral response to the pandemic. Others offer a critique of the world’s climate mess.

Several artists are known to Canberrans. Viewers will be familiar with Kath Inglis’ pieces made from heat-treated PVC. She is showing five brooches in clear, bright colours. Inglis uses PVC in inventive ways and in this show is combining them with other materials. The brooches evoke pieces of translucent coral: Inglis reminds us that such corals appear to have a limited life span.

Katherine Grocott’s design processes are influenced by her commitment to environmental sustainability, and she frequently uses recycled and found objects. She is showing five necklaces, all titled “1.5M”, in different colours. The 1.5m refers to the social distance we’re required to observe. Each of the works is a different length and all are intriguing.

Gretal Ferguson, “Stitched”, 2021. Photo: Grant Hancock.

Referring to the sacrifices many have had to make during covid, Emma Cuppleditch is showing necklaces and earrings all titled “Its (sic) My Party (And I’ll Cry If I Want To)”. She has encased unused tinsel in resin, reminding us of all the celebrations that could not go ahead. Their gaiety belies the sorrow they represent.

Gretal Ferguson is showing five powder-coated copper vessels laced with silk thread. The gently rounded forms balance on a flat surface, their soft, creamy white exterior highlighted by the red/brown silk used for stitching.

This thoughtful exhibition is quite large, and many works provoke viewers to consider several issues society is currently grappling with.

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