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Friday, 22 March 2019 05:48 am

NZ jewellers shake hands with overseas idols

WELLINGTON contemporary jewellery is expanding, with an increasingly popular mentoring project exhibiting at Michael Fowler Centre from Friday to Sunday.

Wellington’s National Jewellery Show will be the second exhibition in a series of nine confirmed.

It follows on from one at Sydney’s Studio 20/17, which will host the last exhibition due to the success of the first, organiser Peter Deckers (above) says.

The mentoring project, called HandShake, connects 12 recent Wellington jewellery graduates with the industry hero of their choice for more than two years.

Mr Deckers says the contemporary jewellery scene has become extremely active in New Zealand over the past couple of years and is a little jealous of the experience these kiwi graduates are getting.

“They pinch themselves, they can’t believe it.”

BRACELET BLACK: Work by Sam Kelly.

He gambled that advances of technology and more equal relationships between apprentice and master would make these artistic heroes accessible.

The gamble paid off, with nine of the 12 potential mentors accepting immediately.

The three who declined said they were too busy, but might be interested in future.

RING QUIRKS: Becky Bliss.

“Artistic collaboration is quite a sexy thing and this gives them incentive too, so I guess that’s why [most people] said yes,” he says.

Some other European jewellers who heard about the project have put their names forward to be mentors.

“I was approached by some quite big names who said: ‘I’m very interested in this, and if they want to choose me that would be fine’.”

Each protégé has blogged about the experience on the HandShake website, which has had more than 11,000 hits since its February inception.

Creative NZ has reviewed the project and decided to fund the mentors and mentees, but Mr Deckers says all participants took the project on without any promise of cash.

Prominent ceramic artist and writer Moyra Elliott was on the board that approved the funding, and has taken an interest in the project.

“I just think it’s a really good idea for students, and I have good international contacts. I think it could work really well in New Zealand.”


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