My sister tells me that I have very particular tastes when it comes to jewellery. She's right. I like jewellery that has something to say for itself and I like jewellery that is a bit unusual. That being said though, I still think that jewellery needs to be wearable. I'm not a fan of the dominant trend in jewellery production in recent years, which favours the sculptural over the wearable, and makes use of found items, often rubbish, as the primary material. Uncharitably perhaps, I call this sort of jewellery 'crap made from crap.'
I gave a lot of thought to how I was going to spend my small art budget for 2014 and I decided to buy an electroformed yellow balloon pendant by New Zealand jeweller Renee Bevan. The deflated balloon cast in metal and then painted is called Lighthearted and I love it.
For one thing, I like the idea that a human breath is trapped forever inside the balloon and I also like the pathos of this deflated little heart shaped piece. There's something a little bit sad about it, but also something hopeful.
In addition, Renee is one of the sweetest and most refreshing people I've had the pleasure of meeting in recent years. The photograph of Renee above is from the cover of her exhibition catalogue published by Christchurch jewellery and object gallery The National in 2012. In the image you can see the way that the necklace she is wearing touches the pavement. She calls this piece the world is a giant pearl so you imagine the whole round world as a pearl connected to the end of her necklace. How gorgeous is that!
Parting Breath (2012)
I'm sure that when I wear the yellow balloon I will receive the same kind of smart-arse comments that I get when I wear my Sharon Fitness Blob necklace or my Rachel Bell Willow Spoon, but I'll shrug them off as I always do. It's a mighty good thing to support the work of young artists in this country, and the galleries that represent them. The best way to do this is to invest in their jewellery and wear their work out and about with confidence and pride.