Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tinker Tailor Soldier exhibition

 image by artisan

‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor’ is an exhibition on at the moment at  artisan in Queensland. It opened last month in Brisbane and is a touring exhibition - until 2013! 
The exhibition was curated by Kirsten Fitzpatrick
This exhibition contains 100 brooches by 100 Australian jewellers, celebrating the lives of 100 significant women in this country’s history. 

Above is an image of my brooch that I made for this exhibition.
The woman that I was given was Agnes Buntine (1822 - 1896)

artisan asked a number of questions in relation to the brooch produced. Here are my responses:

How did you respond to your significant Australian woman / explain the concept behind your brooch

The Australian woman I had was Agnes Buntine c.1822-1896, a pastoralist and bullocky. After researching her history I initially thought that the best way to represent her was with quite a large brooch, very simple and graphic. The more I thought about her, the more my initial design concept changed. I felt that the easy interpretation of this strong and unconventional woman would be to use industrial/raw materials such as steel and wood, in a big bold brooch.
Then I thought that even though Agnes led an unconventional life, she was born in Scotland in the 1800s and would have been raised with all the expectations that a woman was to have within that era. So even though she ended up running bullock teams and working within male dominated trades, she was still a woman of a particular era. 
I think that a woman such as Agnes Buntine would possibly have had small keepsakes that were precious to her. So my brooch design echoes Victorian jewellery, smaller in scale, with intricate details. The metal details on the side of the brooch reference early Australian gold jewellery which often had bouquets of local flowers.
I deliberately ' aged' the metal, parts are worn through, so that the brooch is not 'perfect'; that through wear the brooch may have changed. That there was a history to the brooch.

I have engraved scroll patterns around the frame of the brooch, again referencing the era that Agnes lived in. Around the bezel holding the wood, I engraved the warp and weft of fabric, a motif that I frequently used referring to the nature of materials to tell a story.

I wanted there to be a slight discomfort between the bezel holding the wood and the rest of the brooch as the different roles that Agnes Buntine would have had were often in conflict with each other; that as a wife and mother, a bullocky and pastoralist.

Explain any particular significance of materials used if applicable

I chose to use wood to reference Agnes Buntine’s profession as a bullocky. I cut the wood in a circle shape to echo that of a wheel.

I chose to set small citrines in the brooch to reference the fact that Agnes was born in Scotland. Citrines were frequently used in Scottish jewellery, especially in the Victorian era.

The hand painted detail references Victorian textiles and wallpaper, dense intricate details that were used in domestic interiors.

materials used in the brooch:

sterling silver, citrines, wood, enamel paint, wood, stainless steel

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor
30 September - 12 November 2011

381 Brunswick Street
Fortitude Valley, QLD