Cinderella Stories - Contemporary Jewellery from Western Australia
04 - 20 November 2011


Cinderella Stories - Fresh from London Design Week 2011, six Western Australian jewellers: Dorothy Erikson | Felicity Peters| Gillian Rainer| Brenda Ridgewell| Christel van der Laan| David Walker.

Gold and Silversmithing in Western Australia - A History, by Dorothy Erickson.

This Exhibition Accompanies the Sydney launch of "Gold and Silversmithing in Western Australia - A History", by Dorothy Erickson.

This exhibition showcasing the vibrant work of six internationally known artist jewellers has been arranged to coincide with the Sydney launch of the book Gold and Silversmithing in Western Australia: A History by Dorothy Erickson. The exhibiting jewellers, who are featured in the contemporary section of the book, are; Dorothy Erickson, Felicity Peters, Gillian Rainer, Brenda Ridgewell, Christel van der Laan and David Walker, each have had considerable success internationally, being collected by major art institutions in Europe, America and Asia.
Together their works make a strong statement about what it is to be a Western Australian jewellery artist practising in one of the most remote capital cities in the world.

Cinderella Stories derives from the colloquial name given to Western Australian during the discovery of gold in the 1880s – Cinderella of the South. Due to their remote location many of these exhibiting artists had to deal with the difficulties of having little manufacturing and technical support. This has engendered a sense of camaraderie among a group who are adaptable and self-reliant, most having been associated with Curtin University in its earlier incarnation as the Western Australian Institute of Technology and with the Western Australian chapter of the Jewellers and Metal smiths Group Australia.

The critic Ted Snell wrote in 2006:"Working away from the centres of Melbourne, Sydney, London and New York breeds self-reliance and resilience, characteristics that have resulted in a unique vision and a freshness of approach to problem solving. In tune with what is happening internationally and based locally, where fewer constraints makes everything seem possible, … a surprisingly large cohort of locally based practitioners have established themselves as significant figures in the international arena of contemporary jewellery."

"Living in Western Australia has exposed these artists to an environmental wonderland, but with the impact of global warming, conservation has become a common theme explore in much of their work. Despite the commonality within the artists’ works, each have crafted work unique to their own sense of place, with some dealing with their travels to distant places, and others showcasing a cerebral interpretation. "

Cinderella Stories - Contemporary Jewellery from Western Australia - Dorothy Erikson

Dorothy Erickson became entranced with steel cable in the late 1980s - when the wearer puts on the piece, the cable, weighted at the ends by either gold or semi-precious stones, sway and move kinetically in response to the movement of the body. Another Erickson theme is inspired by the Viennese painter,Gustav Klimt. These pieces feature multi-coloured sapphires and unusually cut stones set in 18ct gold. Additional pieces in this exhibition are based on Western Australia’s unique flora, in parts a response to her concern over global warming, remembrance of her mother, a noted botanist and historian, plus her personal involvement with Kings Park in Perth.

Cinderella Stories - Contemporary Jewellery from Western Australia - Gillian Rainer

Gillian Rainer is fascinated by metal and patination as well as Australia’s natural heritage. In recent years she has travelled overseas investigating ‘high tech’ instruments to assist in construction and immersed herself in a study of the unique flora of Western Australia and the amazing structure of its parts, making immaculately fabricated works of art, which can be seen in the exhibition.

Cinderella Stories - Contemporary Jewellery from Western Australia - David Walker

David Walker’s recent work addresses the interplay of structure and surface as a way of dealing with his experiences with the rural environment where he now lives together. Work for this exhibition is drawn from several themes. One is inspired by images of Thailand where fish traps and markets fascinated him and more recently he has created poignant works inspired by the tragic experience of bushfires and the hope with regeneration. His newest work reflects environmental concerns.

Cinderella Stories - Contemporary Jewellery from Western Australia - Brenda Ridgewell

Brenda Ridgewell’s work features articulated, three-dimensional jewellery that encloses space around parts of the body. It explores the theories of ‘Proxemics’ and is intricately fabricated from many small sections of sterling silver rod and steel wire highlighted at times by a hint of 9ct gold or cubic zirconia. Recently there has been more emphasis on grids. The constructed spaces may appear empty yet are designed to retain or contain memories of intimacy; others are designed to delineate her own ‘space’. Many have moving parts and shimmer gently on the moving body.

Cinderella Stories - Contemporary Jewellery from Western Australia - Christel van der Laan

Christel van der Laan, a relatively recent arrival on the international scene is an artist who has a fascination with ideas and structure. Her exquisite jewellery is fashioned from unlikely materials such as polypropylene price tags or ceramic soldering block combined with precious metals. She says; "Challenging notions of preciousness in conventional jewellery in a way that is gently humorous and sometimes ironic remains an enduring theme in my work".

Cinderella Stories - Contemporary Jewellery from Western Australia - Felicity Peters

Felicity Peters’ work often features Keum-boo, a Korean technique of fusing very thin 24 ct gold sheet to sterling silver, which she mastered in the 1990s. She says "the process is almost like meditating... Time slows and I immerse myself in this very old technique, adapting it to modern approaches." Her current work is inspired by the iconic Australian corrugated sheet, and her experiences in various cities round the world, particularly in Poland and Italy. Echoes of architectural details, landscape, or even personalities she has met can be seen in the work.

See opening of Exhibition in Antiques & Art NSW December 2011 - May 2012. page 6
Read Craft Australia Review:Colin Martin: Cinderella Jewellery - From Western Australia to the World
Read Exhibition Craft Arts International 83 2011 pages 2-3
Read Exhibition Article World of Antiques and Art 2011 Issue 81 pages 60-62
Read Craft Australia April 2011 - Interview: Dorothy Erickson
Inner West Courier - Around the Galleries