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 is possible for Australians and New Zealanders to display a complex and engaged relationship to place.
The aim of this book is to both provide an archive of information about recent history in facts and images, and engage jewellery in a broader argument about sense of place.
This book will recount the development of the contemporary jewellery scene in Australia and New Zealand from the 1960s. The two scenes run alongside each other, at times parallel, other times crossing and sometimes divergent. Both scenes can be read as attempts to make sense of what it is to live on the other side of the world to the cultural centres. In this quest, they have both been influenced by German modernism, particularly with visits from Hermann Junger and Otto Künzli. While in New Zealand the language of local materials has been much contested as a means of Pakeha expression, in Australia there has been a divergent tension between the immediacy of found materials and the excess of ornament.