Sometimes, conservation-wise less is more Wednesday, Sep 17 2014 

With this centenary of WW1 many public orientated organisations are presenting mementoes of service. A group of nurses from the Royal Brisbane Women’s Hospital – (Museum of Nurses History) . . . called the studio seeking assistance with objects in their care. This wonderful steel chatelaine has an intimate story but also shows surface breakdown due to rust and the previous storage environment. We suggested minimal intervention, first a scalpel was used to cut away the surface growth and burnish away the rust then brass brushing, cleaning with gum turpentine + olive oil and hand rubbing to bring up the patination. To be collected today and into their display tomorrow . . .


I’m impressed, Barbara has bought two large A2 prints and Max has given me copies of his two books Monday, Sep 15 2014 

I spent the morning with Max amongst his orchids and ferns at Kangaroo Point, Brisbane. Then into his folders of illustrator and photoshop files and his earlier workbooks, diaries and hand drawings. His web site has two books for sale that most of my contacts will simply want to have at home to adorn their library’s garden section; ‘the enchanted orchid’ and ‘striptease – It’s all done with flowers’. Both are beautifully post produced and printed on quality stocks, both are trimmed to 250mm H x 210mm W.

With ‘the enchanted orchid’ Max has designed, photographed and written this picture book that cleverly covers his chosen category. 144 pages drawn on to a folded laminated cover, first published in Sydney in 1999. Max has now done a second imprint co-published with Vanity House and his Cooroy Gardens entity in 2003 with a small number remaining from a very respectable second run. It sells for A$40.00 + postage of A$15.00

His ‘striptease – It’s all done with flowers’ was co-published later in 2005 with Vanity House and Cooroy Gardens also and is really a peek-aboo at his own marvellous story and talents with some generous take-aways for those interested in illustration, those with a handle on the Latin names for the floral species and those just looking for a great gift and read. It sells for A$25.00 + postage of A$15.00

 Again, Max is selling his remaining copies on-line so get in touch better still post him a cheque today <Max Fulcher 101/193 Main Street Kangaroo Point QLD 4169 Australia> and don’t forget to add your postal address. Repost this to your own blogs also.


Unique France in Brunswick Street is to close and move back to Paris in November Friday, Oct 4 2013 

Everyone with taste has entered either their Milton store or this last incarnation in Fortitude Valley. As the partnership ends with both of my friends striking out in different directions, you have until the end of October 2013 to carry away a bargain. I have enjoyed learning from and repairing the few high class timepieces they have entrusted to me over the years. Here’s a shot taken on thursday as I swung through to wind the last two clocks remaining.

This imposing bust in painted terracotta represents Jean Baptiste Colbert, Ministry of Finance under Louis XIV and is finely carved in a ‘movement of drapes with attention to detail and proportion’. The large framed canvas in the mirror is by the young Italian master Carletto Calliari (1570–1596). The subject of the masterpiece is the circumcision of the baby Jesus and most likely comes from the Church of San Francisco in Treviso which lost all its paintings during the Napoleonic wars. Denis says that everything is reduced drastically, we will see . . . what remains to fill the homeward bound container? I will miss their fun and friendship.

Studio sale this coming Sat 8th and Sunday 9th December 2012 Monday, Dec 3 2012 

Wonderful feedback received so far, the printed invite we mailed to commission clients last week has resulted in post comments, emails and phone calls to the studio … lots of anticipation. Plus we managed to connect two old and dear friends in different continents. Jenny read through the list and emailed us to see if “young Alex” was in fact the daughter of Wendy, a client who resides in Hong Kong. So the client list is also a “friend finder” – I always knew that!  The .pdf is downloadable here.

The French cabinet was originally all-over gilt but as its c1870 – it has been painted on the exterior maybe 7 times over its lifetime.
Originally purchased in London by the Brisbane antique dealer – Michael Allen for his own house . . . it proved to be too large and then was a wee bit too small for his shop. So we managed to procure it for the Jeweller to the Lost studio. We are being forced to have more articles to show the clients who visit to arrange commissions these days although we refuse to retail from the studio. It will double as a larger studio sale showcase and joins the other three period French wall vitrines that came from South America and were sourced from Salvage, ages ago. Here is a wider pic.

Veronique White saw Barbara’s 2005 show at the QAG, bought the catalogue and years later made a weekend visit from Sydney to the studio in Brisbane Thursday, Oct 25 2012 

. . . the rest is now building her own client page in our studio history. We both spent the entire morning showing Veronique the studio gem collection, the ring design options – the studio stock, the bronze door handles in storage and ended up at Paddington having lunch and a Pinot Grigio.

Gem sales made for the ring below, an 18ct yellow gold and gem ‘birdy’ brooch for her Mum, bronze door handles for her favourite cupboard and a cast made from her own seal and made into an 18ct yellow gold  pendant. Veronique is also studying year 2 ‘gemmology’, interested in travel, organic food and like us – animal welfare.

Commissioned Ring Gem Stack / Double Shank © Bh Textured 18ct White Gold with x5 gem parcel: 1) Aqua RBC 1=0.05ct  2) White Diamond RBC F-G VS 1=0.03ct  3) Brown Diamond RBC 1=0.12ct  4) Star Ceylon Sapphire Cabochon 1=0.92ct  5) Diamond Crystal 1=0.83ct


This commissioned baby rattle was delivered last Saturday and young Lucie didn’t want to give it up Monday, Feb 13 2012 

Michael Allen and Vanessa Roche have many special objects, some were gathered together, more pieces were added and the studio made this baby rattle for their most special valuable – Lucinda Rose Allen. The bone pieces were already held with the silver riveted jump rings, Juan made the large textured ring and two of Barbara’s loaded symbols were employed for the piece – an ‘infinity symbol’ and the seal symbol ‘carpe diem’ + a hand-stamped date reminder, all fastened with similar riveted jump rings.

We delivered this to him this morning and its on her finger this afternoon Wednesday, Jan 25 2012 

What a delight, Mary has her commissioned ‘pinky’ ring and now this one re-worked by Barbara and Juan-Luis in the studio. Robert & Mary turned up on the last day of our studio sale with a bottle of pink champagne and a few sparkles she doesn’t wear anymore . . . looking for a rejig (maybe). Barb said “I could simply cut the setting off the top of that ring, make a new wider band and laser weld it together” and they did.

1990 Signature Bracelet back to the studio for changes and a check-up, notice the older BH makers mark on the ring clasp? Friday, Jan 13 2012 

Wonderful Melbourne client who has purchased multiple items from Makers Mark, QAG Gallery Store and Handmark Gallery in Tasmania dropped her © Bh Signature Bracelet on the bathroom floor shattering the Snowflake Obsidian Pi Disc element. The original  jade disc in the piece was replaced with the Obsidian so this was a cherished attachment, nothing in the studio gem and shell collection was deemed suitable so we searched overseas for a replacement. Got to tell you – no supplier in the USA would send one piece to Australia (too much of a hassle, it seemed).

The studio set about making an oxidised  lace work replacement and cleaned and serviced the other components, which I must say have travelled beautifully on Judy’s right hand – hardly a scratch or dint was evident. Dispatched last night it was the second job away to interstate clients this week.

The latest clock restoration – a circa 1820 French ‘Empire’ (portico) regulator by Le Roy a Paris Thursday, Dec 15 2011 

An earlier post detailed the before and after shots of the damaged dial, I enlisted four friends to assist with the recovery of this beast over the past four months and I have just completed bringing the movement to correct time. The case work had to have two elements turned (well completely remade in similar aged timber). This work was done by Allan Roberts, a machining genius who is the in-coming President of our local Chapter 104 NAWCC clock club here in Brisbane. The job then fell to me to clean and complete the assembly of the case work and finish the re-polishing with tinted waxes. The deadbeat escapement, the movement and both barrels was done by my mentor (92 year old master watchmaker), Alan Clauson who also worked with me to re-assemble the entire suspension from scratch (it was completely missing), the block, the chops and the pendulum rod to correct length. Further more, these antique cases are so flimsy and it fell to Allan Clauson to secure in the bezel and movement for me when I became so busy due to the end of the year sale preparation. I finished all the gilt metal cleaning and steel polishing, the reassemble and the fine tuning of the crutch and timing. The scan of what was left on the dial was taken into Illustrator and the vector artwork prepared, this was exported to film and Chris Fry did the silk screen work. The dial itself was cleaned to remove all the paint and the organics, the sunburst pattern was bead blasted and plated with 10 mircons of silver by another retired mate, Bob Flemming. Money can’t but this kind of dedicated work, it doesn’t pay anyone who charges by the hour (with business overheads), this is for the people with passion. Additional pics (1) and (2).

Feature on our Tunbridge house in the Hobart Mercury’s Weekend Magazine May 7, 2011 Monday, May 9 2011 

Barbara stayed down an extra day on her recent trip to co-ordinate a house visit with the two Mercury staffers who created the article. Set up by Handmark Gallery to support our recent ‘Launch into Tasmania’, this is the continuation of the press and media coverage achieved for the jewellery show. Running to 5 pages – wow! We were up installing our show in Noosa last Friday when Tim Martain called to alert us to the publication, we kept it up our sleeve to see who called. Warwick noticed it in the shop at coffee time
and promptly secured two issues and has posted them up to us. Lil texted us the photos snapped and texted up from her friends, (and our clients) Emma & Ray who are living in Hobart now. Joe Leary telephoned after scanning these pages and emailed them up to us. David Kernke from Shene called to chat about ‘who said what’ and finally we talked to our project managers, Allan & Linda Cooper about the excellent coverage. I’ll post the text in its entirety when I manage to OCR the article as the Mercury only goes digital with the news headlines.

UPDATE: 12-5-2011 Annie sent us up the magazine also, it arrived in the post today, thanks!

UPDATE: 13-5-2011 Warwick’s x2 parcels arrived the same day as rescued images from Barbara’s Overland Track walk, thanks to Chris Escott and Warwick Oakman.


Project built with love - They bought it on a whim. Now it's a long-
distance renovation and it doesn't matter how long it takes.
BRISBANE jeweller Barbara Heath admitted there was not an ounce of logic involved in her decision to buy and renovate a historic sandstone property in Tasmania's Midlands.
She said it was a motivation that came straight from the heart.
"My sister and I did the Freycinet Friendly Beaches walk about six years ago and my husband, Mal, stayed with a friend of his and picked us up after the walk," she said.
"He was so excited, saying there were so many nice places here. A friend of ours in Campbell Town said we should go and have a look at this place in Tunbridge and he set it all up for us".
"As soon as I saw it I knew I loved it." But, of course, love can be blind.
"There were all these birds flying around and it looked so beautiful- later on we realised they were starlings that were nesting in the roof."
That was 2005.
Heath and her husband, graphic designer Malcolm Enright, are still living in Brisbane where they work from a home studio. But they have spent about four months of every year at their property at Tunbridge, restoring and renovating it in bite-sized pieces each time they visit. 'They plan to eventually move in full time, converting the old stables out back into their now studio.
The former Tunbridge general store, built in the 1850s, is still a long way from fully restored but it is habitable. Heath and Enright love visiting the town so much that they are happy to potter away on their pet project for as long as it takes.
"I just love the light here, it's wonderful, and such a beautiful landscape - we sort of drop in as outsiders and see it in that abstract way," Heath said.
"I'd say it's an inspiring landscape for me, visually, I just enjoy the light and the hills and the sky here in the Midlands, it's got these cloud patterns that are so dramatic and unfamiliar to us.
"And that extreme contrast to Brisbane, which is so lush and green and vegetation everywhere, and this is completely different."
The general store ceased operating in 2O00 but the building, with its long front verandah, still bears the markings of its former trade such as chewing gum and cigarette ads on the windows and faded lettering above the awning. In times past it would have been a busy trading post for trappers selling possum pelts and bushmen buying supplies of tea and flour, as well as catering to the travellers who stopped for a rest at the halfway point between Launceston and Hobart.
One of the front rooms - which is now a sitting room furnished in period style - once served as a waiting room for patients visiting the doctor during his occasional visits to the country town.
The last couple to operate the general store still live next door and Heath said they had been a rich source of knowledge about the building's history.
"I think the locals might have been hoping for a buyer to open a shop and keep that tradition going but people tend to go to Oatlands or Campbell Town now so I don't know if it would have been a sustainable business," Heath said.
"But we're certainly very conscious that we've bought a building that a lot of the town has an emotional investment in still.
"We've had so much information from the locals about the history of the place just within living memory.
"It was built by a fellow named Solomon who built a number of stone buildings around the 1850s, commercial properties that he then leased or sold.
"The Rothwell family owned it for quite a while and sometimes relatives of the old families will knock on the door and tell us about their ancestors when they had something to do with the shop."
And occasionally the oral history can be a little surprising. "One of the guys who used to live here, he told us he was born in that room up there. And I had my first root up there as well'."
The main room, once the storefront, it mostly empty now, with the richly coloured sandstone walls exposed and freshly repointed.
Heath said it might one day make a nice gallery to show the work produced in their studio but for now she, simply enjoys sitting in the uncluttered space and enjoying the light and the view.
The floorboards are original, complete with square-headed convict-made nails and tin patches covering knotholes in the wood.
Heath & Enright have wallpapered the kitchen with old newspaper they found under the old lino, dating back to the 1940s.
"It's fascinating to look back at the stories from that wartime period and even the ads are fun to read," Heath said.
It is the discovery of the mundane little things that have proven to be the most fascinating during the renovation process, such as two old-fashioned pegs found under the floorboards.
"They were handmade by a local tinker named Ma Brown, the local kids were a bit scared of her but people still remember her," Heath said.
"She had a horse and cart and used to make pegs from the willows beside the Blackman River and bits of tin scavenged from various places."
Nobody is more aware of the immense significance attached to small, ordinary items than Heath, who has had her own jewellery practice in Brisbane for 30 years.
"I do a lot of commission work. I like the collaborative aspect of that,: she said.
"A lot of artists have problems doing commissions because they think their voice is going to be diluted but I really enjoy the process. I often find I'm doing new work like that.
"And very often people will bring something they have inherited or pieces that are really sentimentally loaded and you have to capture that. Often what they want is something that can express those stories.
"Jewellery is something that has that link with generations past and handing it down to the future."
As a teenager in Melbourne, she could not wait to get out of school and making jewellery seemed to fit her needs for a vacation.
"I used to spend a lot of time with Dad in his workshop and I've always liked manual skills and making things," she said.
"I thought about architecture but I wasn't committed to long study so I got an apprenticeship with a traditional Hungarian diamond jeweller called Laszlo Puzsar in Little Collins Street when I was 17 and took it from there."
Heath now exhibits her work at Hobart's Handmark Gallery and hopes to build a local practice and network of contacts before eventually moving to Tasmania full time.
"At the moment, we live and work from our home studio in Brisbane and we have a very busy practice, so the time that we come here is an escape from that," she said.
"We spend two months here every summer and then a couple more trips throughout the year, we work on the building but we're also taking a break. We love just exploring Tassie and we have made some great friends.
"It might just be for our retirement, we want to take a step back from that and my mother came from Tasmania so I have family here too.
"My cousin said 'TUNBRIDGE'- what were you thinking? but we can connect with Hobart and Launceston, we have friend in both cities, the travelling doesn't seem like much to us. It would take you an hour to drive from one end of Brisbane to the other."
They still have a lot of work to do, most notably removing a more modern staircase from a back room and replacing it with a traditional Georgian-style staircase in its original location in the main shop front room.
"The new staircase has spoiled that room and it's spoiled the roofline at the back where they had to change it to fit," Heath said.
They have already left their own mark on the place by tracing and painting their own shadows onto the garden shed out back to immortalise their efforts taming the overgrown yard.
And when they create their new studio in the old stables, they are considering a tribute to Tunbridge's horse racing history.
"There was a famous pacer born here called Golden Alley, he was a national winner, so calling the studio Golden Alley could be nice," Heath said.
Saturday Magazine - The mercury, May 2 2011

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