Monday, March 21, 2011


In 2009, after attending the MITRA conference in Sydney and listening to a Buddhist nun talk about women and consumerism, I decided to do something.

Great at starting things, but not so good at finishing them, I founded the Ladies Association for Mindful Informed Consumption. Haha. Catchy right? I then started my blog, posted THREE times and got distracted by something else.

Terrible. I know.

This lovely little seed of an idea now sits lonely inside the internet, neglected. Visiting the site this morning made me a little sad that I didn't push it further. I guess it will just sit there waiting for me to have some extra time and energy. I get some consolation from the fact that I do still very much live my life the way I advocated through LAMIC.

I thought I'd share the first blog post I wrote over there, because re-reading it now, makes me feel inspired. Enjoy.

TE x

When I grow up, I want to be a designer. I'm trying already, actually. To both grow up as well as be a designer. I studied jewellery and object design, where I learnt how to technically and conceptually transform an idea sucessfully into being. To transform raw creativity and a flippant thought into a usable, wearable, tactile object. I learnt how to hustle my wares. Where, how, using what marketing techniques and when. People will buy anything if it is packaged in the right way. There is a market for everything. Whatever crap you are merchandising, if you stick it in the right place and use the right type-face on your labels, someone will spend their money and take said crap home with them.

A jewellery making colleague of mine once came to me in a very distressed state. In a manic fit of bedroom organisation she hit the wall of stuff she had collected over the years with a realisation of the precarious relationship between her sanity and things. "What are we doing?" she lamented, "our lives are spent making more and more of these things, these trinkets, these items, these objects, this stuff. Sorting through them, and throwing them away." And we, as designers get some kind of pleasure out of infilltrating and adding to the glut of paraphernalia that people call their belongings. Thats fucked up.

What is this compulsion? To buy stuff, to make stuff, to create stuff out of nothing? This blog is basically an investigation into the hazardous relationship we humans have with the objects around us. As tumultous as it is however, the link we have with the things we wear, adorn ourselves with and keep close to us, doesn't have to be a negative one. There must be a positive way of buying, consuming and creating mindfully.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

It all starts with a concept... Exhibition work PART 1

I blogged recently about how excited I was to be included in the tenmoregirls collective exhibition this year. Tenmoregirls are a Sydney based group of ten female contemporary jewellers who all studied Jewellery at the Design Centre Enmore. Since 2008, they have been producing annual exhibitions of stunning concept based objects and wearables. Each year, a different theme is chosen. For 2011, each of the artists randomly selected a different colour to inspire their work. The show will be called ‘Ten Girls. Ten Colours.’
I have selected the colour Yellow.

Yellow. At first, I felt a little apprehensive about this. I surely would feel more comfortable exploring black, red or white. These are the shades that usually resonate in my work. Exhibition work though, is about pushing yourself to think differently. For me, concept based work is also an opportunity to disregard all of those constraints that usually inform my production jewellery. It doesn’t have to be pleasurable, marketable, wearable, fashionable or even liked by your audience. Your work, in a gallery setting, can say whatever you want it to. How exciting is that?!

Yellow. Instantly I imagine gardens of flowers, bees, sunlight, corn fields and summer. BORING. In some ways it is easier to design pleasurable things. This is imagery that has become an aesthetic cliché for happiness. This is nice, but honestly, I could make lovely pretty happy things anytime. In a gallery, I like to challenge people and make them feel something they wouldn’t ordinarily feel. Make them think a little or experience some discomfort.

So, yellow.... Sickness, jaundice, decay. Yellow is the colour that our skin, teeth and nails turn when we grow old. It is the colour of our bones as we decay. It is also the mark of age on the domestic objects we keep. Books, fabric, clothing and paper all turn yellow as they deteriorate. Yellow is actually a verb. To ‘yellow’ is to show the patina of age. This is a more productive thought train! The objects we own and treasure all decay in the same way our bodies do.

I then start thinking about the work of one of my favourite artists, Eva Hesse. Her sculptures reference the body and its functions in a very abstract but visceral way. She uses tactile materials like latex, string, cheesecloth, resin, rope and fibreglass to construct objects that are sensual but disquieting and are often, very yellow. 

What do I find successful in Hesse's work? Is it material or form that I am drawn to? And how will this influence my work? 

This is Part 1 of a series of posts about my concept development and creation of work for Ten Girls. Ten Colours. a tenmoregirls exhibition. I will be posting updates, photographs and images of the progression of my work as well as the planning of the event itself.         

Image: Eva Hesse Studiowork, 1968, Courtesy of University of California, Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive, gift of Helen Hesse Charash, 1979 Photograph by Abby Robinson, Photograph: Abby Robinson/Courtesy of the Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh       

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Custom Work

I've had so many requests for custom work and commissions lately that I've started to think about the strengths of my work. I have always known that a special quality of my work is its uniqueness. Working with organic materials and a very hand-made process means that my pieces each have an individuality before even being worn. Before I have even started crafting them, the materials I use often seem to have a story of their own. Whether it is in the swirling caramel variations in the surface of horn or the fine mottled grain within a piece of bone, these materials have a history. This is part of the reason I love working with them so much.

From the feedback I've had so far, I'm not the only one who senses this. The organic nature of my materials makes them a perfect base for a special gift or personal treasured item. Bone and horn have been used in jewellery since its inception and are beautifully strong, yet warm materials. I've had customers ask for the names of their loved ones or other meaningful images and words carved into jewellery. These requests make my job as an artist and jeweller so much more meaningful and I would really love to get more of them. 

Thinking about this, I began to draw some parallels between my commission work and the work of a contemporary custom tattoo artist. You choose the images and words of a tattoo in a very meaningful and personal way. You approach an artist, who then transforms your thoughts into a workable design and etches it into your skin. The difference of course, is that I etch designs into bone and horn, and not into skin! 

Although, I could just be making these analogies because I have also been playing around with a tattoo machine at home lately... hmmm. :)

In any case, I do very much welcome and enjoy receiving requests for custom pieces. I have various types of organic materials; bone, horn in a few colours, mammoth ivory, and can combine these with sterling silver, gold, or other metals. I can make pendants, brooches, earrings, bangles, rings.... Have a look around this site for some ideas. You can contact me via if you'd like to talk to me about something you may have in mind for yourself or a gift for a loved one. 

TE x


Friday, March 4, 2011

My very first Give-away!

I'm giving away this one-off buffalo horn scrimshaw rose pendant to one of my facebook followers when I get to 50!

I've only made one of these, and I won't be making any more so its a completely original one-off handmade piece. Very special. :)

Its made of black buffalo horn with a hand-carved scrimshaw rose design.

I know it seems a little silly to celebrate only 50 followers. But to me, this is a big milestone! I am at the very exciting beginning of my new label and want to share the happiness a little. And just think, it will never be this easy again to win a piece of eels scrimshaw! Because hopefully it will just keep getting bigger. :) 

So head over to my facebook page and help me share the love. <3