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 finally being snapped by a photo-bot and then ushered out into the street. It felt like I’d been mugged, even though all my belongings were intact.

But a pleasant surprise was in store. When the card arrived, my portrait wasn’t the only ghostly presence on its surface. Amid the phantasmagorial holograms and reflective stripes I could discern the abstract outline of a plant form. Indeed, the accompanying letter informed me that the card was embedded with the image of a ‘common heath’, the official floral emblem of Victoria. I was quite touched that this connection with nature would survive the technocratic state.

High up in the information cloud, we are increasingly grateful for such signs of the world of here below. Traditionally, jewellery played an important role in forging the floral emblems that signify place. The development of this local language runs parallel with the emergence of a national identity. While much of the goldfields jewellery was styled after the cameos in transatlantic centrepieces, the late nineteenth century English Arts & Crafts movement turned our attention to local flora. European migrants like the Latvian Niina Ots played a major role in moulding a nationalist jewellery. From today’s perspective, such craft can often seem quite literal in its reliance on iconic Australian symbols. This nationalism was expressed through gems, such as opal and pearl, and fauna, particularly the kangaroo and emu.

From the 1970s, the influence of modernism liberated jewellers from their debt to tradition. The inherited understanding of nature was stripped back to reveal lived individual experience. A key figure in this modernist turn is Marian Hosking, who developed a unique language of silver in order to express a certain tactile experience of nature, beyond familiar motifs. This language is expressed largely through metal by piercing and casting. Such techniques present a nature immanent in touch.

While Vicki Mason also makes the connection between adornment and place, her work is unusual for at least two reasons.

First, she draws as much from the haberdashery as the foundry. She manipulates plastic like a fabric—cutting, folding and coiling it to create new textures. With these materials, she can create works of great colour intensity that at the same time continues the mission of contemporary jewellery to critique preciousness.

Her work has a particularly suburban feel. The power-coated brass, silver and copper presents an artificial sheen produced by chemical processes, rather than hand-filing and polishing. It evokes not just the blooming garden bed, but also the cast iron fence. Part of the effect of Mason’s jewellery is the alchemic capacity to transform such artificial materials into objects of organic beauty.

Second, she deals mostly with the symbolic meaning of flora, rather than her own experience. While this may make her work appear stereotypical, it also opens great potential for semiotic play. Her work creates historical resonances. Vicki Mason draws from past ornamental traditions, such as the mid-nineteenth century ceramics of Mason’s Ironstone China. But it also evokes the collective ritual of flowers.

The semiotic play in her work engages with traditions for arranging flowers. The works in this exhibition reflect the form of the bouquet—a cluster of flowers bound at the stem to be used as a handheld decoration. The bouquet is found in comic festivals, such as wedding ceremonies. In gathering a garden bounty, arrangements like the bouquet celebrate our natural world. Vicki Mason’s jewellery gives this seasonal display a more enduring presence.

Vicki Mason opens up the potential for exploration of other floral bundles. In our Asia Pacific region, the garland is popular way of honouring guests. Like the daisy chain, it is a series of flowers threaded sequentially, then bestowed on a visitor as a sign of welcome. More soberly, the wreath is a series of flowers woven around a circular structure to decorate a grave. Each particular constellation of flowers has a unique syntax that parallels different jewellery forms, like the ring and bracelet. In her handsome brooches, Vicki Mason joins jewellery with floristry.

As technology ‘smartens’ our lives, taking us out of ourselves, jewellers like Vicki Mason play an increasingly important role in finding our way back home. Welcome back.

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 at all? We assume that luck is something bestowed by fate. Like a shamrock, luck is found rather than made. Luck reflects all those factors that are out of our control, like bolts of lightning or random rolls of the dice. You can’t make it. It makes you. So it seems a paradox. How can you harness a force that must be out of our grasp?

Last year, a woman accidentally drove her car off a six storey car park in Melbourne’s CBD. That she survived was described an amazing stroke of luck. But if we were to subject the scene to scientific analysis, nothing occurred that could not be accounted for by the laws of physics. Yet somehow, we are drawn to the idea of luck as a guiding force. Why? Why do we persist in saying ‘good luck’ to friends when we no longer believe in any supernatural forces?

Perhaps more than just wishing someone good fortune in their affairs, we are also making a space where luck can happen. Luck is saying ‘good luck’. It says that someone’s future is going to be subject to unknown factors. This is when stories happen. There’s no story to tell about a perfectly predicable and expected course of events, like breakfast. Saying ‘good luck’ expresses an interest in what will happen, and invites a story in return. It’s a space for expressing the gamut of feelings, from hope to fear. Luck is the deus ex machina that moves the narrative along.

Objects can play an important role in marking this space. Unlike abstractions, things are subject to the whims of fortune. They can be lost, found, broken or repaired. Their presence acts as a witness to a course of events, in the way that a wedding ring provides a physical continuity through the ups and downs of marriage.

As the originary forms of jewellery, charms, amulets and talismans have helped deal with the uncertainty that accompanies a life. In the modern era, they were largely abandoned in the belief that science and technology would eventually enable us to control our world. The charm then became nothing more than a fashion accessory, like the Pandora brand today.

Technology has certainly achieved miracles in the modern era, but we are increasingly aware of its limits in controlling our world. The spate of recent disasters—floods in Australia and earthquakes around the Pacific—make us realise that seemingly random factors can still determine whether we live or die, no matter how thorough our preparation.

But this is not necessarily a problem. Regardless of risk, we need the concept of luck in order to find commonality with others. Our shared vulnerability becomes the point of empathy that connects us to others. If it all comes down to technology, then the world is inevitably divided between those who have and those who don’t. On the other hand, luck is universal. It assumes we begin together at the same starting line. That some succeed more than others is due to life circumstances—which side of the track you were born on, even the genes you were given.

To restore this space to our world requires objects in which we can invest our belief. The Pieces of Fate exhibition contains intriguing contemporary charms that seek to exert power through their sheer aesthetic force. They are deftly crafted enigmas.

Pieces of Fate is among other things a celebration of the pendant. The charm makes the most of the double-sided nature of the pendant. It is a private object that rests close to our chest. Through contact against our skin, we are always reminded of its power. But it is also a public object, to be presented to others as a prop for an intriguing story. One way of reading the pendants is to imagine how they are manipulated in the act of story-telling, even inviting the listener to finger its shape.

The talisman has been a subject of growing interest in contemporary jewellery world. Ruudt Peters’ recent exhibition Lingam included interpretations of the fertility charm by 122 artists. The challenge ahead is to go beyond the purely symbolic association with jewellery traditions and to attempt to restore their actual power. This involves thinking more about the experience of the wearer, even giving over some meaning for the wearer to activate.

Those fortunate to acquire one of the Pieces of Fate will receive an ‘activation’ from the jeweller in the form of a short statement. These incantations represent an important step forward in the restoration of jewellery power. They’re more than reflections on the personal inspiration of the jeweller. They also anticipate how the pendants will be experienced by the wearer. Some of them even have directions for use.

And as the Yiddish expression goes, ‘Better an ounce of luck than a pound of gold.’ The artists in Pieces of Fate have recovered one of our enduring precious materials. Unlike gold, it is renewable, free, and available to all. But like gold, it demands the utmost skill to make the most of the little we can find.

This essay was written for the exhibition ‘Pieces of Fact’ at the gallery Pieces of Eight. Kevin Murray’s writing about luck in jewellery has been supported by an Australia Council New Work grant.

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 the American colonies left the empire short of wood for its ships, so explorations were ordered far afield to secure new supplies. But by the time the continent of terra Australis was identified as an outpost of the British Empire, a more pressing need had emerged—the disposal of the growing criminal class. So Australia’s birth as a British colony began at the opposite end of the imperial spectrum to India—from the jewel in the crown to the bottom of the pile. Hopefully, we’ve come a little closer over the past two hundred years.

My purpose in setting this scene is not to reflect on alternate national trajectories, but to place what we know today as contemporary jewellery into an historical perspective. In its time, royal jewellery constituted a symbol of national identity, even if it was the wealth of the few. It fostered innovation in the jewellery craft and produced works that stood alone as rare works of art.

Clearly, there have been radical changes between the time of the royal court and today. It hardly needs saying in this, the world’s largest democracy, that people power has provided a driving force in modern history. We only need to look today at what’s happening Egypt to realise that the force of democracy in history is far from over.

Democracy is more than the formal procedure of marking a piece of paper every few years. It is also something we try to realise in our everyday lives. The imperial framework still reaches deep into our way of thinking, such as the celebrity cults in popular culture. There is still work to be done in liberating ourselves from the feudal thinking.

But there are dangers. One image evoked by democracy is that of an unruly mob storming the royal palace, looting and destroying national treasures. Democracy can be a destructive force. One of the challenges of art in our age is to realise a creative dimension to democracy, to create new values.

We see this in contemporary art—dramatically in the work of the British artist Anthony Gormley. Asian Field was produced by 347 inhabitants of the Chinese city of Xiangshan, aged between 7 and 70 years. Their brief was to produce clay figures that were the palm-sized, could stand upright, and have two holes for eyes. Gormley had planned to include 100,000 figures, but total ended up being 192,000, made over a five day period. While the kudos does still return to Gormley as the head artist, Asian Field does help us envisage what democracy might look like if it reached the world’s most populous nation, China. This work reflects the force of the democratic ideal in contemporary art through both its subject matter and process of production.

Does jewellery have a role to play in this? Given its natural association with prestige, one might think that it has little part to play in growing egalitarianism. But it is its very elitism that provides people power with a creative challenge.

Part Two – The Contemporary Jewellery Movement

Contemporary jewellery is defined by its small but significant role in democratic thinking. In post-war Europe, contemporary jewellery adopted a critical position to preciousness. In particular, it confronted the modern tendency to reduce ornament , along with most other cultural practices, to its economic value. The exclusive emphasis on precious metals and rare stones was seen to transform jewellery into a form of hard currency. Why bother being creative with jewellery when it is nothing more than a bank account?

At first, this involved the replacement of gold and silver with much cheaper materials, such as the use of nylon thread in the work of English jeweller Caroline Broadhead. Here the value of the work could not be reduced to its materials, but lay clearly in the original vision and innovative techniques of its creator. From this developed a movement that took contemporary jewellery into new experimental domains. With the introduction of new materials, contemporary jewellery engaged in a more conceptual exploration of jewellery beyond the everyday use of personal ornament. In the early 1980s, Caroline Broadhead extended her use of nylon into neckpieces the enveloped the entire head in a way that could only be viewed within an artistic context. At an even further extreme, Peter Degan would envelop the entire body in a jewellery contraption purely as a form of artistic performance. To a degree, the English approach to the critique of preciousness can be seen as enabling an empirical approach to jewellery—viewing it in terms of the experience of the body rather than an object in itself.

My core thesis today is that while the project of contemporary jewellery brings artists together on a shared democratic platform, the critique of preciousness does allow for a broad variety of individual expression. While the gold standard is the same for all, our own commonness is unique. Thus the critique of preciousness in jewellery has taken different forms in other cultures.

The contemporary jewellery movement began in Australia with the migration of European gold and silversmiths from northern Europe after the Second World War. They arrived at a time when our tertiary education sector was expanding rapidly, providing opportunities to pass on their skills to a new generation of students. In Australia, our critique of preciousness focused particularly on recovering value from what gets left behind. We see this in one of our most innovative jewellers, Roseanne Bartley, who attempts to make elegant necklaces from materials such as ice cream sticks that are left on the street. The Queensland jeweller Mark Verwerk has developed the remarkable technique of spinning plastic bags to create material for rings. And in Welcome Signs we see the work of Katheryn Leopoldseder making a splendid necklace out of communion cups discarded after religious service.

It is perhaps not surprising, given that the nation of Australia was founded by people who were thrown out as social waste, that we attempt to find ways of making precious the common. In doing so, we provide a test of creative ability. This involves an alchemic transformation—not lead into gold, but waste into splendour. Other countries of the South explore this in their own ways. In South Africa, jewellers like Beverley Price also use recycled materials, though this is less a modernist exercise and more a celebration of popular culture than in Australia.

In New Zealand, contemporary jewellery challenged the kitsch associations of materials like paua shell. Jewellers such as Alan Preston employed paua in the design of serious modernist works. This use of local indigenous materials was officially recognised in the 1988 exhibition Stone, Bone and Shell.

Across the Pacific in Chile, the other tourist craft of crin (weaving with horsehair) has recently become a focus of work by the emerging scene of contemporary jewellers, such as the work by WALKA studio, including Claudia Betancourt and Ricardo Pulgar.

So you could say that the critique of preciousness is a global project. While there is the universal gold standard of value that all countries share, now there is a shared project where each culture can contribute its own national commonness to the celebration of preciousness.

Part Three – A new horizon – ‘power’ jewellery

But there are other ways in which this movement operates to bring us together. Jewellery has a very important non-commercial function in making important social rituals. The Welcome Signs exhibition brings jewellers together from across the Asia Pacific in celebration of the shared heritage of the garland, or malaa, by which hospitality is marked. So we have the silver wreath by Marian Hosking, one of two Australian ‘living treasures’ in the exhibition, which reflects the subtle and dry floral forms that bedeck the Australian bush, by contrast by the bright lush flora of tropical southern climes. We see now a new contemporary jewellery scene emerging from countries such as Indonesia and Thailand, exploring connections with social networks.

Another project with a similar premise is Southern Charms, which will open in Melbourne early next year and brings together jewellers from Australasia and Latin America. Here we look to the traditional associations of jewellery with luck, to explore how new forms of charms can be designed to reflect the challenges we face now, such as climate change. While there are traditions such as the charm bracelet, contemporary jewellers like Warwick Freeman have been designing new symbolic jewels, such as his Earth Ring. By liberating ourselves from the gold standard of preciousness we can return to the power of jewellery to affect the shape of our lives.

Part Four – A new horizon – ‘ethical’ jewellery

The final horizon can be found behind the scenes in jewellery. This pertains to democracy not just in the symbolic elevation of common materials, but also in the social relations by which jewellery is produced. One hierarchy that persists in our work is between the idea and its realisation. In the case of crafts, this often pans out in the greater value given to design rather than its production, particularly when using craft skills.

At this point, we can recall the oft-quoted words of Indira Gandhi: ‘My grandfather once told me that there were two kinds of people: those who do the work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was much less competition. ‘

We see the new relevance of production in the work of German jeweller Martina Dempf, who worked with basketmakers in Rwanda to develop a form of jewellery that would provide a sustainable basis for their craft skills. She continues to source woven grass components from the Rwandan women for her silver jewellery, but they in the meantime have set up their own enterprise selling grass jewellery.

Jewellery plays an increasingly important role in world craft upliftment, enabling languishing crafts like basketmaking to take on a new life. In the case of Martina Dempf, her work has two sources of value. In one, the work stands on its own in beauty and craftsmanship. But in the other, it also has an ethical value in the impact this jewellery has on the world. We see increasingly now in jewellery, as in other forms of consumption, a growing value that is accorded to the way objects are produced. This is especially so in jewellery, which is something we like to wear with pride. This can be compromised when the brilliant diamond we display become associated with a bloody civil war in Africa.

For the last two years, the Two Hands Project has been exploring the logic of this craft-design hierarchy, and to consider alternatives, such as the film industry where the relation between director and actor is more even. This tag cloud, or mandala, has been developed to allow meditation on this relation, and see it in other ways.

More practically, the Code of Practice for Creative Collaborations, endorsed by UNESCO and the World Craft Council in Hangzhou, begins now to gather perspectives from all participants. This is being administered by the recently established New Traditions Foundation in conjunction with the Ethical Design Laboratory, especially created for this purpose at RMIT University Centre for Design.

The first step naturally begins here, in India, where there is not only the greatest concentration of craft but also such considerable thought reaching back to Gandhi about the continuing relevance of the handmade in our modern world. We are pleased to work with local partners such as the Craft Revival Trust on a seminar workshop this October to gather thinking on this matter.


Jewellery does not command the same profile in our museums as other art forms, like painting or sculpture. But nor do those art forms have nearly the same penetration into our everyday life as the objects we use to adorn our bodies. In this way, jewellery has great potential to affect our relations with each other. We have seen how the splendours of royal jewellery help consolidate the power of the monarch. Our challenge in a period of growing democracy is to work out how we now mark our relations with each other. Do we all try to be kings and queens, wearing diamonds and pearls?

We must admit that this aspiration is still the dominant paradigm for jewellery in our democracies. It certainly is the economic logic that drives our industry. But this is where the contemporary jewellery movement can provide an alternative perspective. Rather than each of us trying to elevate ourselves above others, we can use jewellery as a means of upliftment for all. This is a key message in an age of global warming, where the individual quest for consumer goods has led to the depletion of our common environment.

Materials that are devalued for their very commonness, seen as ubiquitous rubbish or tourist kitsch, can be elevated through jewellery as proud symbols of our cultural identity. It’s doubtful whether this form of contemporary jewellery will ever displace the mainstream global economy of precious gems and metals, but creative jewellers play an important role in keeping this idea alive.

And at this moment, the eyes of the contemporary jewellery movement look to India. What will India’s contribution to the project of non-preciousness be? We are certainly familiar with the splendour of jewellery from the Moghuls, but what does Indian jewellery have to say about its current and future identity? How can this reflect the wealth of skill amongst its artisan population and the energy emerging from the new generation of designers? India has the potential to re-vitalise a movement that has largely played its course in other countries.

Contemporary jewellers help us sustain the dream of a common wealth—not in the rare treasures of the few, but in the precious wealth of the common.

This paper was presented at the Abhushan Jewellery Summit, 6 February 2011, organised by the World Craft Council. The writing of this paper is supported by the Australia Council of the Arts, as part of a New Work grant of the Visual Arts Board.

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 little way off…

D. H. Lawrence, Kangaroo.

Installation from Marian Hosking Beyond Flora

Over more than forty years of practice, Marian Hosking has continually found new ways to distil into ornament the ‘wide brown land’ on which she lives. As a contemporary Australian jeweller, she inherited a decorative arts tradition that celebrated the graphic images of local flora, particularly in textiles and ceramics. The particular challenge of jewellery is to give this seasonal organic life a timeless sense of preciousness when cast in metal. One of Hosking’s significant achievements is to forge a link between the showy nationalism at the birth of Australian federation and the fractured connection to the land sustained into the 21st century. At a time of heightened urbanisation and increasing remoteness from nature, Hosking helps us re-connect where we are with where we have come from.

Early in the 20th century, Australian jewellers such as Rhoda Wager borrowed the English style of foliation to celebrate verdancy in nature. This lens identified aspects of Australian nature that were familiar to the English eye, particularly green ivy-like forms. Rather than reproducing traditional styles, Hosking has been able to create her own language of place through individualised techniques of drilling, sawing and casting silver. She has forged a style appropriate to the dry southern continent.

In her career, Hosking has been able to apply this technique to extreme ends of the scale of representation. With the Tall Tree Project, she celebrated the epic scale of Australian bush. The monumental silver ring for the Errinunga Shining Gum travelled Australia with her Living Treasure touring exhibition. With the works in Beyond Flora, Hosking zooms in to the opposite limit of representation in the fine detail of our world.

For this exhibition, Hosking draws on her recent expeditions, ranging from the far horizons of Ormiston Gorge in Alice Springs to the world at hand in generic suburban scrub. Despite these wide distances, Hosking settles on a humble ecology that is common to both coast and desert—heath. While characterised by poor soil and stunted growth, the variety of plants in heathland often lend a distinctive identity to their nation. We think of the moors in northern England, or the delicate fynbos of the Western Cape in South Africa. Not suitable for agriculture, these spaces are often preserved from development.

The dominant material, as always, is silver. Silver seems a particularly appropriate material for heath. Not only does it reflect the grey colour of its vegetation, it also occupies a secondary status to the more mercantile gold in the hierarchy of metals. Hosking’s silver works for Beyond Flora include a cast brooch, embossed rings, and her signature kinetic brooches. But this time she has also included stones in her work. She has combined cast silver with complementary stones in necklaces—ruby with boronia, black cubic zirconia with wattle, and carnelian with gum nuts and leaves.

Beyond Flora does something quite particular to our understanding of wattle as the national emblem. In Australian decorative arts, particularly the period inspired by Art Nouveau, the dominant feature of wattle has been its bright yellow blossom. This is particularly the case in the graphic designs on ceramics and textiles. Jewellery also attempted to capture the brilliant colour of wattle, such as the enamelled works of Deakin and Francis, Birmingham, produced for the Australian market in 1910.

Hosking takes a contrary approach to illustrative history of wattle decoration. Rather than reflect its distinct golden blossom, she renders the flower into grey metal. Avoidance of colour releases other dimensions of the blossom, particularly its delicate outline. To achieve this, Hosking has developed a method almost photographic in its capture of form. She impresses the specimen in silicon from which a wax form is cast. The wax impression is then sent to the casting foundry, Len Rose, in order to produce the silver form. By this means, Hosking has been able to produce an exceptionally precise silver version of the wattle flower.

This casting process has opened up a new dimension in Hosking’s work. The flower provides a motif that can be repeated, like the cotton baubles sometimes found on the base of curtains. Previously, Hosking has worked mostly with unique forms. By turning the blossom into a motif that can be reproduced, Hosking connects her work to the decorative art tradition, transforming nature into ornament.

The wattle was originally taken up in the late nineteenth century as a symbol of the native-born Australian. Previously, the bush had been a source of dismay, reflecting Adam Lindsay Gordon’s view of Australia as a land of ‘scentless blossoms’ and ‘songless birds’. Wattle became the focus for a new pride in the young nation. The value of the wattle as a national flora was buoyed by the dramatic events at the start of the twentieth century – Federation, the granting of Dominion Status and the First and Second World War. Wattle as a national emblem provided Australia with a proud motif in its coat of arms, and a symbol of its distinct identity alongside its commonwealth cousins, including the South African protea, the Canadian maple and the New Zealand silver fern.

But it was more than just an official emblem. At the beginning of the twentieth-century, wattle clubs were formed in all the state capitals. Since 1908, the first day of spring has been celebrated as national wattle day, as city folk venture forth into the countryside to enjoy the ‘golden-haired September.’ In 1912, the first ‘wattle train’ took 980 passengers from Melbourne to Hurstbridge to admire and often souvenir the bloom, sometimes to the chagrin of farmers.

Though the wattle lost popularity after the Second World War, there have been recent attempts to use it at times of national importance. In 1999, the Governor General Sir William Deane cast sprigs of wattle into the waters of the Swiss river gorge in memory of Australians who had lost their lives there in a recent accident.

The wattle has shown resilience in the face of globalisation. But in the turbulent waters of rapidly changing culture, it is critical that we find fresh ways of honouring the wattle. This is one of Hosking’s great achievements in Beyond Flora. Previous incarnations of wattle seem locked in nostalgia for naïve nationalism. Hosking’s more scientific method connects wattle to our time. In honouring our flora, we create a language to respect the lives that are spent here.

This is a catalogue essay for the exhibition by Marian Hosking Beyond Flora at Workshop Bilk, 2010

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 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.