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Journal - Interviews, Profiles, Stories

Journal: Anna Davern

How did I get here?

I thought for these blog posts that I’d share with you a few things that inspired me in the early stages of my journey to becoming a jeweller. The wonderful folks at e.g.etal have handed me the mantle of guest blogger for four posts so I’ve managed to narrow it down to four things: one book, two artists and one writer.

It’s probably kind of embarrassing, but I got into making jewellery because I wanted to make pretty things for myself to wear! I was doing a short course in jewellery-making at Randwick TAFE in Sydney and I stumbled across this book…


The New Jewelry: Trends and Traditions by Peter Dormer and Ralph Turner

…and for me it opened up a whole new world of what jewellery can be.

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Rose by Gijs Bakker: Colour photograph in laminated plastic (1983)

It was first published in 1985 and is a comprehensive survey of the beginnings of the contemporary jewellery movement from the 1960s to the 1980s. While contemporary jewellery has come a long way in the last 25 years (and a discussion of the definition of the “contemporary jewellery movement” is much bigger and more complex than four blog posts) it presents work that still challenges current perceptions of what jewellery can be.

As a young jewellery student, this book taught me that jewellery didn’t need to be made from silver and gold…

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Necklace by Stirling Clark: pasta (1983)

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Paper neckpiece by David Watkins: paper spiral (1983)

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Bracelets by Caroline Broadhead: nylon (1981)

…and that jewellery can make you think…

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Necklace for Womba by David Poston: limestone, hemp, mild steel, cotton, bronze (1975)

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Armband with objects by Onno Boekhoudt: silver, copper, lead (1983)

This book also showed that jewellery could relate to the body in many different ways…

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Ladder piece by Julia Manheim: plastic tubing (1983)

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Brooches by Otto Kunzli: wallpaper, hardfoam (1983)

…and that jewellery can be theatre…

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161 Neckpiece, veil by Caroline Broadhead: nylon monofilament (1983)

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Shirt with Seven Sleeves and Shirt with Seven Necks by Caroline Broadhead (1983)

These last couple of works are by British artist Caroline Broadhead. It was a discussion of her work with my Northcity4 colleague Katherine Bowman, which inspired the theme of these four guest posts. And you’ll have to wait until next week to find out why…


P.S. I swear that it’s an absolute coincidence that 8 out of the 10 works that I chose to reproduce from this book were made in 1983. It just must have been a very good year for contemporary jewellery!

(All images photographed directly from the book.)

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