I [AM] MUCH LESS INTERESTED IN PLEASING THE WORLD OR TRYING TO GET THE WORLD TO ACKNOWLEDGE ME, AND MUCH MORE INTERESTED IN HOW I CAN MAKE A CONTRIBUTION THAT FULFILS ME.
- Said Cheryl Swannack, said me
There is a sense of calm and sophistication in Sim Luttin's work: the delicacy of the forms and the attention to detail created in her signature silver and black colour scheme. Her distinctive aesthetic embraces her love of oxidised sterling silver, along with the carefully considered additions of alternative materials, such as wood, graphite, porcelain, hematite and elements of plastic plants.
She transforms the materials she works with into creative, poetic and sensitive pieces. Since 2013, Sim has expanded her object-based practice to include photography, which she gathers and archives into monochromatic collections of ordinary moments captured day-to-day. These are carefully cropped, curated and archived, forming a rich source of research material to inform the development and creation of contemporary jewellery objects inspired by the often ubiquitous imagery.
Nostalgia and melancholy imbue Sim's work. She delves into the nuances of the every day and results in reflections that are conceptually engaging and beautiful. Sim challenges her self-imposed paradigms through her work by physically recording and recreating her daily experiences and environment, allowing her time to reflect on aspects of the human condition.
Sim has exhibited extensively in group exhibitions nationally and internationally, including Powerhouse Museum, Sydney; Latrobe Regional Gallery, Victoria; Museum Bellerive, Zurich; Galerie Marzee, Netherlands; Museum voor Moderne Kunst, Arnhem; Museum of Arts + Crafts, Itami; Velvet da Vinci, San Francisco; SoFA New York and Chicago with Charon Kransen Arts. She has presented seven solo shows in Australia and the USA. She has work in the collections of the Art Gallery of South Australia, Bundoora Homestead Art Centre, Melbourne, and Gallerie Marzee in the Netherlands.
Sim lives and works in Melbourne as a contemporary jeweller, craftsperson, and artist while also working as the gallery manager and curator at Arts Project Australia and a practitioner Board Member at Craft. Sim has over 25 years of experience as a maker and curator, and she finds her inspiration in nature and objects located in everyday life. Until recently, she was represented by Pieces of Eight, Melbourne, and Charon Kransen Arts, New York.
In 2003, Sim graduated with a BFA with Distinction in Gold and Silversmithing from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) in Melbourne after four-and-a-half years of undergraduate study under Associate Professor Dr Robert Baines. Immediately after graduating, Sim moved to Adelaide in South Australia to undertake a Metals Associateship in the Career Development Scheme at JamFactory: Contemporary Craft and Design.
In 2005, Sim completed a Graduate Diploma in Arts Management from the University of South Australia. The same year, she completed her Metals Associateship at JamFactory: Contemporary Craft and Design after working for two years in a collaborative environment, public art and commission projects, as well as expanding her jewellery practice under the tutelage of Creative Director Sue Lorraine. She also undertook an Internship at Craft South.
In 2006, Sim received a full scholarship to study her Master of Fine Arts in Metalsmithing and Jewelry Design at the School of Fine Arts at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, where she lived and worked for three years. During that time, Sim was awarded a Women’s Jewelry Association Student Scholarship, an Alma Eikerman Award for metalsmithing, as well as a Technical Assistant Scholarship at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Maine to assist internationally recognised contemporary Australian jeweller Julie Blyfield.
In 2008, after presenting her solo exhibition The Temporary Nature of Things at Grunwald Gallery at Indiana University, Sim graduated with a Master of Fine Arts in Metalsmithing and Jewelry Design under the tutelage of Professor Randy Long and Assistant Professor Dr Nicole Jacquard.
In May 2008, Sim moved back to Melbourne, Australia, after receiving an Australia Council Emerging Artist Grant to develop new work. She exhibited the collection alongside her Master's work in her solo exhibitions The Temporary Nature of Things at Pieces of Eight Gallery in Melbourne and Hint of a Memory at Metalab Gallery in Sydney, Australia.
In 2011, Sim earned an Australia Council ArtStart Grant to develop her art practice. This included developing a new website (Jan 2012- Sep 2014) and assisting in setting up an external studio space in High St, Northcote (2011-2013). She then moved to a warehouse studio and started Studio 184 with a digital artist and printmaker in Christmas St, Fairfield (2013-2015).
In 2012, Sim launched her new website. She had work tour in various national and international exhibitions, including Unnatural Acts, Craft, Melbourne; InterGALACTIC, Dunedin Fine Art Center, Florida; Ontketend (Jewellery Unleashed!), Museum Bellerive, Zurich; and SoFA Chicago (represented by Charon Kransen), Chicago and New York.
In 2013, Sim exhibited work in Australia as well as internationally, including a solo exhibition, These Moments Existed at Grunwald Gallery, USA (self-curated); Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor at Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery (curated by Kirsten Fitzpatrick); I Do. ... Do I? at Fuller Gallery, Bloomington (curated by Dr Nicole Jacquard); and Unnatural Acts in New Zealand (curated by Lauren Simeoni and Melinda Young).
In 2014, Sim started a new piece-a-day project titled, It's Always Darkest Just Before Dawn, which she received an Australia Council Mid-Career New Work Grant to develop. The solo exhibition was presented at Gray Street Workshop, Adelaide, in March 2015 and later, in the same year, as part of Radiant Pavilion, Melbourne, in September.
In 2017, Sim began a new decade-long photo and jewellery project Memory Palace, which signalled the beginning of a new decade-long, piece-a-day project that is divided into ten chapters, each marking one year of a life lived. These curated observations don't attempt to capture the perfect moment in any day; they are an effort to pause, connect and reflect—even for the briefest moment. Sim began a new collection of work titled Momentarily Here, which plots a unique course across time—small traces captured on her phone between night and day, home and work, travelling from one place to another. The 2017 piece-a-day project collection informed new work that Sim created for a two-person show with painter Kirrily Hammond titled Keepsake presented at Bundoora Homestead in August 2017 as part of Radiant Pavilion.
In 2018, Sim created one artwork for the touring exhibition Island Welcome, curated by Belinda Newick. The group show explored contemporary jewellery as a gesture of greeting. Inspired by the welcome garland found in many traditional island cultures, the artists each made a neckpiece interpreting the theme of ‘welcome' in response to current Australian immigration and refugee policy. Welcome / Un-welcome lei is a reflection on the uninviting Australian border experience. Unlike other welcoming traditional handmade island garlands, this lei responds to the unwelcome reception visitors encounter as they enter our country. The word ‘welcome’ is engraved in different languages on the surface of the handmade blackened gum leaves threaded together, so the greeting is hidden. In this way, Welcome / Un-welcome garland is ominous rather than welcoming, devoid of celebratory ritual, emulating the current reality experienced by arrivals to our shores.
2019 marked twenty years since Melbourne-based jewellery artists Sim, Linda and Katrina met underground in the RMIT University Gold and Silversmithing studio in Melbourne. To mark the occasion, Sim invited Linda and Katrina to collaborate on a three-person exhibition, which became Full Circle. Programmed as part of Radiant Pavilion, Contemporary Jewellery & Object Biennial and supported by Sofitel Melbourne on Collins and Global Art Projects, Full Circle presented new work by each artist. For the exhibition, Sim created a new collection of work Moment(o)s of Disquiet and Beauty, inspired by the streets of New York City.
In 2020, life as we knew it flipped in its head, starting with Australia's most severe bushfires in living memory and followed soon after by COVID-19. Sim developed a new piece in January and began looking at the recent events, observing the fire and ash online for some hope for the future and decided to look to nature to inspire her and connect her to the earth: to this place and point in time. When COVID-19 hit, the only creativity for many months was her piece-a-day photography. The smallest of gestures documents a moment each day through isolation.
2021 saw the development of the project Transcend: a time-based photography and art jewellery installation that focused on nature's beauty as a counterbalance and provisional antidote to the impact of COVID-19 and other adverse local and global events. It was an online project presented through a contemporary craft lens that invited deep engagement and quiet repose.
In 2023, Sim created Moment(o)s of Fragility: Loss/ XO, an art jewellery project that reflected current personal and social challenges. The collection was created for Melbourne Now at the National Gallery of Victoria in March 2023.
2024 sees the development of a new collection of work titled Undone, which echoes the marked impact of our vulnerability and, in balance, our strength. Ultimately, the collection acknowledges that life and beauty can be found each day, rediscovered by pausing, observing, reflecting, and acting, reminding us that we can reconnect with our humanity through small yet meaningful interventions.