Kevin Murray – Curator and Writer

What we make of our world

Hope’s arrow: The origins of East West Meet

I was in Isfahan for the General Assembly of the World Crafts Council, where I was representing my country of birth, Australia. I had to pay my own way, but I thought this was a unique opportunity to be shown around city claimed to be “half the world”. Looking at the press coverage during the […]

Bodies aren’t forever

I shouldn’t be writing this essay. The body as a theme in contemporary jewellery is essentially a feminist issue. All the artists and the curator of this exhibition are women. The patriarchal position of the writer is one that seeks to explain the work, rending its unnerving and rogue elements in rational form. In a […]

What to make of 2014

One of the major events of 2014 will be the Golden Jubilee of the World Crafts Council, which will be held in Dongyan, China, 18-22 October. It will be very interesting to see how the Chinese presidency of WCC uses this unique occasion to promote local craftsmanship. One day ‘Made in China’ may be something […]

Aesthetics versus Ethics: Judgement day for contemporary jewellery

The other day I found Benjamin Lignel’s recent post in Art Jewelry Forum, ‘Just what is it that makes today’s art galleries so different, so appealing?’ It was a teasing title. A quick Google revealed its source as a collage by Richard Hamilton, satirising 1950s consumerism. So what makes the art gallery so appealing for […]

From there to here, with a bouquet–Vicki Mason jewellery

Catalogue essay for the Vicki Mason exhibition Botanical Fictions, e.g.etal, Melbourne and Gallery Bilk, Queanbeyan, Australia, 2011 The other day I renewed my driver’s license. Uploading my identity into the matrix was a strangely disembodying experience. Accompanied by the clatter of scans and clicks, I made my way to the front of the queue before […]

Pieces Activate

Pieces of Fate is an exhibition of beautiful pendants. But it also taps into a very mysterious quality that once played such an important role in jewellery practice—luck. As the Germans say, ‘Jeder ist seines Glückes Schmied’—everyone makes their own luck. So how do you make luck? Or is it something that can be made […]

A Common Project: Where Craft and Design Meet in a Democratic World

Part One – The March of Democracy At the end of the eighteenth century, King George III had a lot on his plate. He particularly prized the gifts from India—certainly the precious diamonds from Bengal—which contributed to the splendour of the British crown. But it wasn’t only jewels that King George needed. The loss of […]

From Gold to Grey: Flora for the 21st century–exhibition by Marian Hosking

By the stream the mimosa was all gold, great gold bushes full of spring fire rising over your head, and the scent of the Australian spring, and the most ethereal of all golden bloom, the plumy, many-balled wattle, and the utter loneliness, the manlessness, the untouched blue sky overhead, the gaunt, lightless gum-trees rearing a […]

Contemporary jewellery in Australia and New Zealand

Contemporary Jewellery in Australia and New Zealand is a book project with New Zealand writer Damian Skinner Jewellery has a unique role to play in representing place. With the heritage of craft techniques and their own individual imaginations, jewellers are able to transform the world around them into wearable ornament. Thanks to their jewellers, it […]

The Low and High Road in Australian Jewellery

Humble beginnings Jewellery has played a role in Australia’s emergence as a nation. Inspired by the Arts & Crafts Movement, Australian flora began to appear in brooches and centrepieces. But much of this was still made in England. Until the 1960s, the Australian jeweller was mostly a tradesman equipped with technical knowledge and skill in […]

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