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Saturday, 23 March 2019 04:09 am

Kiwi jeweller hand in hand with her hero

A NEW mentoring project is bringing the world of international contemporary jewellery to Wellington.

The HandShake project gives emerging contemporary jewellers the opportunity to be mentored by an internationally recognised jeweller of their choice.

The 12 recent jewellery graduates have kept in touch with their overseas heroes and each publishes a blog about the relationship and the jewellery produced as a result.

One of the New Zealanders taking part, Sarah Read, pictured right, says the project will benefit the whole jewellery community and overcome the distance between New Zealand and big-name European jewellers.

“It’s beyond my wildest dreams to be involved in something like this. It will inform the way I work or the sense of my work for the future.”

The first phase of the project is just finishing, with exhibitions in Sydney, Wellington and Auckland this year.

The four exhibitions showcase art by the mentees as curated by their mentor and each exhibition will build on the work and feedback of the last.

Read says people usually put jewellery in a ‘craft’ category but with contemporary jewellery the division between art and craft is artificial.

“What sets it apart is its intention, that even if you end up with something that is adornment it’s not the intention,” she says.

“I don’t know if I am a jeweller really, I fall into that category since I use the processes and techniques but my work isn’t really about adornment.”

The second phase of the project will take place over the next two to three years, culminating in another group of exhibitions which may include works or writing from the mentors.

Read has been working through long-distance communication with Netherlands-based mentor Iris Eichenberg for the past six months, and says it has been difficult due to the time difference.

She says she chose her mentor based on her respect for Eichenberg as a teacher and particularly a piece called two of the same kind keeping each other warm, pictured above.

“The first thing is that I was really pleased when she said yes, and it’s made me very careful to make sure my work doesn’t look like hers,” she says.

BROACH: An example of Sarah Read's work. PHOTO: Supplied

“But she’s basically given me lots and lots of questions and those questions are going to serve me for years. That seems to be her approach to teaching, questions rather than answers.”

Jewellery from the handshake project will be on display in Wellington from September 9 as part of the New Zealand Jewellery Show, at the Michael Fowler Centre.

An exhibition showing at Studio 20/17 in Sydney has just finished and another is due in December at Auckland’s Masterworks gallery followed by a final stage one exhibition at Toi Poneke next February.

Other participants include: Neke Moa and mentor Karl Fritsch; Nadene Carr and Lucy Sarneel; Jessica Winchcombe and Warwick Freeman; Becky Bliss and Fabrizio Tridenti; Lynsay Raine and Andrea Wagner; Debbie Adamson and Hanna Hedman; Gillian Deery and Estela Sàez Vilanova; Kristin D’Agostino and Judy Darragh; Jhana Millers and Suska Mackert; Sharon Fitness and Lisa Walker; Sam Kelly and Rian de Jong.

AT WORK: Sarah Read in her Aro Valley workshop.


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