Sunday, February 20, 2011

Caring for Organic Jewellery

Everyone knows how to clean a piece of gold or silver jewellery, usually with harsh chemicals or impregnated cleaning cloths. Because our jewellery spends such a long time exposed to the elements, it can become dull or appear dirty quite easily. This is also somewhat true of organic materials like bone, horn and ivory. Because they are natural products, they contain beautiful fluctuations in colour and surface texture. Maintaining this natural aesthetic while bringing up a lovely clean shine is actually very easy and involves no chemicals or harsh treatments.

In the case of horn and ivory, wearing it against your skin is actually maintaining its quality. If the material dries out too much it becomes brittle and deep cracks will form along the grain and split through the material. The oils from your skin will help keep it shiny and rubbing your piece regularly with your fingers is a really great thing to do. Once a month, you can treat your piece of jewellery with a light coat of natural vegetable oil like almond or olive oil. This is also a nice thing to do to horn pieces occasionally. The only problem with this treatment on scrimshaw pieces is that the oil will sometimes make the ink run from the carved design. So its best to apply with caution to the inked areas.

A lovely trick I have picked up for my scrimshaw pieces that imbues a fresh shine while not removing any of the colour is an oil-based pastel. For horn pieces that are inked in white, rub a white oil pastel over the area with the carvings, rub it in with your finger and wipe off excess with a clean soft cloth. Same goes for bone pieces with a black oil pastel. The oil in the crayon will soak into the piece while the pigment will refresh the ink! You can do this anytime your piece is looking a little dull.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Packing and Posting

The first consignment of my new range has been packed up and posted! Designing and making packaging is always a fun part of the creative process. I like very simple things, like little white boxes. I think it is important to make work look professional, but the pieces should always be the focus. There's also some shots here of new whale ship bangles as well as some sweet little horn rose rings, brooches and love pendants. Interested in where all these lovely little trinkets were sent....??    

All of these pieces should be available very soon at The Curious Oyster Shoppe, 776 High Street Thornbury (Melbourne) This weekend is also their 1st Birthday, so lots of stock will be on sale!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Custom Pieces

I've been doing a few custom commission pieces lately. I just love doing this, its so satisfying making jewellery that is personal and special. I think everyone has a unique relationship to the things they wear, particularly jewellery. The closeness of the object to your body seems to foster some kind of special attachment. Organic materials like bone and horn link us to nature and remind us of inevitable transience and the importance of our special relationships. As a maker, seeing my artwork worn and treasured in new and personal ways by the wearer is the best thing! Here are some examples of the things I've been doing lately. I really love the horn beaded necklace with the roses!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


This year just keeps getting better and better! I was asked by the awesome tenmoregirls collective to join their 2011 exhibition! This year entitled, 'Ten Colours, Ten Girls'. I'm very excited about being a part of this show and will be blogging about the development of my work for the exhibition here, as well as through the tenmoregirls blog.

tenmoregirls are a collective of contemporary jewellery and object designer/makers that all studied Jewellery and Object at the Design Centre Enmore. Beginning in 2008 with 'Girls for Boys', each year the conceptual focus of the group changes. This year, each of the ten artists have been assigned a different colour to explore through our work. The gallery, yet to be announced, will look amazing with all these interpretations of colour.

In addition to making work for this show, all the contributing artists work as a team to put together the exhibition itself. Including writing grant applications, approaching sponsors, running promotions, photography, advertising, building, catering, PR, finance, mailing lists....etc etc.... It really is a big, exciting job and I can't wait to get into it!