Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Kitsch is considered as something tasteless or a worthless copy of something valuable. It is associated with aesthetically deficiency (whatever that is, these days) and often associated with excessive sentimentality.

Wikipedia tells me that the term originated  in the 1870's in Munich and referred to cheap, popular and marketable pictures.

As we move further ahead in time, there is a greater distance between those cultural objects that had worth and how we perceive them. Their worth is now shifted from parodies and useless copies into icons specific to a lost time and culture.  This is,  I guess a type of sentimentality.

What I love is kitsch objects are made by non celebrity craftsmen and women and operate as reminders of simpler and more innocent living.  Also kitsch objects worked in their day by making fun  about high art and high culture.

I am drawn to kitsch objects from the past because this humour continues to please and this is perhaps even more relevant and needed in our current age of high art, culture and political correctness. Long live kitsch!


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Pass the nuts, Delores!

A strange folk art appeared in the 1950's in America. These figurines were either male or female and  made of wood with bottle caps for arms and legs and matching ashtrays or bowls attached atop their head and the other in front; loop earrings, period tacks for nose, eyes and buttons. Produced in quantity and, with a few exceptions, anonymously, the most common figures are about a foot high, their wood-block bodies decorated with a grid of incised lines, and sometimes glitter. 

As kitsch objects, they belong to the folk art universe that nods to both a world of mass production and consumption and the folk-art universe of hand- built, one-of-a-kind works by untrained, usually unknown, creators. They have increasingly become collector items as we hurtle in time further and further away from the simplicity of folk art creativity of the 1950s. Here's your chance to start up a collection or add to it.
My fellow, (who is as old as me!) caught my eye across a crowded room. I love his intensity of purpose. As always things that make me smile are always catching my eye. He waits for you in my shop. Pass the nuts, Delores....

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Why be Unlucky?

Luck is a means of understanding some personal event. I found this beautiful horse shoe pendant and it got me thinking about the concept of luck and why it is so important to us. As an artist, I rely greatly on intuition and in my collection of materials and objects, luck has a great deal to do with the materials I find and use. 

Wikipedia tells me that luck is something that is either good or bad, it happens to people and it is unexpected. Talismans like the horse shoe are part of a superstitious belief that somehow we can influence things beyond our control. Its a kind of insurance. I think that the actual belief that something good will happen perhaps has the most influence over what happens and how we conduct ourselves than the actual talisman. But talismans give us a focus for those beliefs which is why things like crosses and horseshoes continue to fascinate us. Everybody likes to think there is a little magic somewhere, even those of us who are very rational about the world. Mystery gives us a depth and an element of richness to how we make meaning of our experiences. You can never have too much luck!
These pieces are available now in my etsy shop. I would love to know your thoughts about the concept of luck.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


 A psychologist called Robert Romanyshyn said once that we can only be truly present when we are not useful. The state of reverie that comes with being creative is an example, I believe of that state. When I look at a vintage piece - it tells me its story and I try to create that story in my final piece. Like all creative processes - and those of you who are creative will recognize this - there is a point at which the work somehow takes over. This is the kind of non useful reverie that I love to be in. 

The latest pieces took ages to come together for this reason. I would look at them each day and fiddle around until something magically happens in my head. The blue pendant - its origins, vintage and materials were intriguing and it took three weeks before I found something that immediately belonged to it - there was no question in my head when the spoon jumped out at me in a flea market.

The single red cufflink - begged to be a ring and my grannie's brooch made sat on my finger like it had always belonged there.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The symbolism of birds

In the process of making my jewelry I have noticed a number of recurring themes. I am attracted to birds for example. I love nature, but not inclined to wear pictures of platypus or lizards although I know some people who do. Moose and deer are another icon I am drawn to but that is for another time. I have made a number of bird pieces - tuans and kiwis, from New Zealand, parrots and lorikeets from Australia and robins from the north.  I recently made a simple brass necklace with three different swallows. It sold within moments of hitting the screen. So I guess I am not the only one with this fetish! 

Yesterday I finally finished what I consider my loveliest pieces which are earrings of green budgerigars flying over the red desert of Australia, with dark smooth hematite rock drops descending towards the earth where they came from. Although quintessesentially Australian in iconography, the budgerigar symbol is really me thinking out loud. I take this idea from Jung.

Carl Jung said that birds represent thoughts while birds in flight symbolize moving and changing thoughts. Birds are generally associated with freedom and abandon. In old dream interpretation books, birds are considered lucky omens (except for blackbirds, which are generally negative). Doves and eagles are generally spiritual symbols.  Wearing something with a bird on it perhaps encapsulates the very exciting prospect of growth and thinking.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Making a Statement

So getting noticed is what it is all about...

According to the experts, making an unforgettable entrance is central to the top jewelry trends for 2011.

This means not only big and blingy but unusual and off the mainstream. Variegated textures, unusual combinations, quirkiness, layering and mixing up different eras fits very well into what I do.

I love the mixing of eras and am now starting to collect vintage jewelry pieces pull them apart and incorporate them into new and interesting combinations. This means that every piece is truly unique and always real vintage - not pieces bought from wholesalers.

My latest is a truly international mix - a little bit of vintage Turkey, Australia, India and England from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. This process of putting together and composing pieces could get addictive - stay tuned!