My lastest wearable artwork, Welcome / Un-welcome lei, is a reflection on the uninviting Australian border experience. Unlike other traditional handmade island garlands that are colourful and kind spirited—including the widely recognised Hawaiian lei where a wreath of flowers is presented upon arriving or leaving as a symbol of affection—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.
THERE ARE MILESTONES IN LIFE WORTH CELEBRATING, AND 2019 MARKS TWENTY YEARS SINCE MELBOURNE-BASED JEWELLERY ARTISTS LINDA HUGHES, SIM LUTTIN AND KATRINA TYLER MET, UNDERGROUND, IN THE RMIT UNIVERSITY GOLD AND SILVERSMITHING STUDIO IN MELBOURNE. TWO DECADES ON, THEIR STUDIO PRACTICES ARE THRIVING, AND THEY REMAIN CLOSE FRIENDS AND METALSMITHING CONFIDANTS.
Since starting at RMIT in 1999, art jewellers Linda, Sim and Katrina have worked hard and carved their own path, developing distinctive styles that are as individual as they are rich in creative ingenuity. To date, the collections by each maker have evolved year-to-year and are unique, refined, and–most importantly–recognisably their own. Each artist has built a national and international reputation and, while their work is diverse, the women are united in creating intimate objects that are abundant in creative integrity and dynamism.