Four x Four (Part one)
First Four in a small series Canberra Contemporary Jewellers Canberra has a small population, but boy do we punch above our weight when it comes to the number of practising artists in the area vs population size. This is the first article on a small series showcasing contemporary jewellers we call our very own.
I met Katie when I started working at KIN gallery in Braddon and I now have the delightful privilege of not only calling her a colleague but also a dear friend. When I look at Shanahan’s beautiful work, I can’t help but think – new age goddess vibes. Shanahan completed honours at the ANU school of art in 2007, and since then she has been continually creating special gold and silver one-off pieces for the Canberra community. She takes inspiration from the beauty and diversity of gemstones and celebrates these earthly creations through softly elegant, highly wearable rings, earrings and pendants.
I first met Phoebe Porter while I was a student of the Gold & Silversmithing workshop at the ANU, School of Art & Design. We were lucky to have visiting artists regularly present on their practice during our weekly studio crit sessions. Porter graduated from the ANU workshop with honours in 2001. Since then, I have been enamoured by her crisp, concise and mechanical works. Porter draws on the Bauhaus and Constructivist movements and seeks to create pieces that strive for order and balance – “seeking to reduce each piece to its necessary elements.” Her continually evolving range of unique engagement pieces embody these principles and adorn the hands of many.
Before I started at the School of Art, it was suggested to me by then head of workshop Johannes Kuhnen, to give jewellery making a go before I committed to a 3 year + degree. I took a short five week class and began my very first endeavours in metal work with Alison Jackson at her studio in Queanbeyan. Alison Jackson is one of the most recognisable names in the Canberra design scene. Her and partner, Dan Lorrimer create accessible and easy to wear contemporary jewellery and tableware and have been featured in many a magazine for their endeavours. There aren’t many contemporary silversmith (makers of vessels + holloware) in Australia but we’re proud to have her here in Canberra.
Nyx Mathews and I went through the gold and silvermithing workshop, and over cups of tea, salad club and desks opposite each other have become the closest of friends where we now also share a house and a workspace at KIN Gallery. Mathews is an early-career sculptor who sometimes delves into jewellery, mostly to make one-off pieces. Her work explores anthropogenic environments and their impact on human beings. Mathews borrows freely from the familiar forms of a western, industrialised landscape, using architectonic shapes and materials to make small-scale sculptures and immersive installations. Her pieces are speculative, materially ambiguous, often experimental – truly incredible.