Frank McBride did me an enormous service, as the Director of the Brisbane City Gallery – Brisbane City Hall he initiated the first real review of my commissioning work – the talented jeweller and curator; Kirsten Fitzpatric was responsible for the show’s content. Malcolm Enright worked with us to create the most simple and elegantly visual hang for the show along and with Jeremy Glover who assisted with all the background renderings. This was early days for the web, and as the show was un-able to tour Mal created a frames web site that is still viewable today. Here’s one commission detail:
21 Ladder Ring
The ring . . . the first and archetypal piece of jewellery?
More essential than the necklace, brooch or bracelet?
The ring is the most closed form thinkable.
Any other piece of jewellery may become exaggerated, ‘over the top’ concerning its size and character. However with a ring, discipline is unavoidable (otherwise it would become unwearable). In this way a ring is related to the body in a particular way and because it is seldom necessary to take it off, soon a very intimate relationship develops. Thus it leads to loyalty but also to habit – often it accompanies us into death. *
*Klaus Jürgen Sembach, Art Aurea
The ladder. . . the archetypal symbol of progression or journey, either fuelled by ambition or the search for self-knowledge. The curved ladder expresses the paradox of the upward journey that every step forward/upward takes the seeker further back into himself. The creative process is self-revealing, positive and extending.*
*Anna Burch, Jewellery: Australia now
The text . . .
the brief – a friendship ring. From me to him. As is the case in ‘domestic’ commissions (when commissioner and commissionee are mates) neither can remember the occasion…….perhaps a palliative token was required or simply an imprint of affection. (I expect a jeweller’s partner is the recipient of those objects you wish to make but never get asked to.)
the process – start with gold wire 4 x 4mm square, platinum wire 4 x 4mm square. Roll the gold to fit half-round draw plate -then draw down to dimensions 5 x 2.5 x 65mm. Roll then draw the platinum to 1.5mm round wire. Shape the half-round gold, with the curved edge innermost, to form a ring. Join the ends and solder. Shape the ring on a mandrel using a wooden mallet until perfectly circular. Mark nine points around the side of the ring, drill 9 x1.5mm holes. Cut the ring in half around its circumference. File, emery and polish the surfaces of the ring. Straighten, cut to length and fit the platinum rods through the 9 holes and solder. Trim the ends and polish the ring.
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