Do we need a gallery for Contemporary Jewellery?

At the ‘Driven to Adorn’ forum jeweller and gallery director Katherine Kalaf shared her journey as she sought to promote contemporary jewellers in Australia. Setting herself a challenge, Katherine opened the first dedicated gallery in Perth to showcase studio jewellers – in Cottesloe. Now closed since 2007, it has left a hole that has not yet been filled.

When Katherine entered the conversation at the forum, everyone wanted her to start another gallery!

Buying a retail space in Cottesloe was altogether a risk of a different proportion. The financial responsibility and emotional commitment were considerable. At times I had enormous self-doubt. My instincts have always pulled me to go that next step – to see what is there. Looking back with every new venture there was risk but without risk without going into the unknown, nothing changes in your own life and in society at large.

If you missed Katherine’s talk, she has generously shared the text with you here. 

The Driven to Adorn forum took place at the City of Joondalup on Sunday 24 March 2019.

Invitation to Launch Katherine Kalaf Gallery

Katherine Kalaf Gallery promo image

Vogue Australia 1989 Vogue Australia March 1989 Elle Australia 1990

Why we run workshops

At Maker&Smith we set out to inject energy into the craft sector, here, in Western Australia. As well as bringing in skilled makers from overseas to share techniques and networks, we also run workshops and talks delivered by local makers and smiths.
We’ve spent quite a bit of time lately with the good people of Joondalup (a suburb in the north of Perth, WA), thanks to the ‘Adorn program‘, which we contributed to. As we developed a short program of talks and workshops to complement an exhibition of the members of the Jewellers & Metalsmiths Group of WA, we had the good fortune of getting to know local studio jewellers and smiths. So much so that I’m confident we can say many are now our best friends!
[Image above left to right: Claire Townsend, Katherine Kalaf, Sarah Elson, Alister Yiap, Susannah Kings-Lynne,  Melissa Cameron, Bethamy Linton.]

Adorn Workshops

Last weekend Claire Townsend and Sarah Elson delivered workshops on Enamelling and Cuttlebone Casting. We feel very strongly about the power of workshops like these to instil an appreciation and understanding of what it takes to be a skilled maker.

Years in the Making

Years in the making, these artisans are artists as well as makers and teachers – their design training, creative concepts and personal narratives combine with their knowledge of materials and techniques to take their work to a high level. It becomes apparent as participants delve into the basics of these techniques in a 6-hour workshop how hard it is to perfect skills and also the endless possibilities of materials, and their limitations. Making mistakes and failing repeatedly make for good learning. In that short time you realise the long hours, dedication and resilience it must take to be an accomplished maker.
Both Claire and Sarah are also professional teachers. Beyond their art, craft & design training, they’ve been teaching at a tertiary level for over 25 years, each. They have also perfected how best to impart the basics in 6 hours! Not everyone can do this; we get that.

Sadly, the degree and certificate courses that Claire & Sarah taught are gradually being cut from our education systems. The times are changing. The depth and rigour of the design, creative and technical skills that we once had access to, are becoming hard to find in the institutions. We watch and wait to see how this will affect the quality of skills and products in our region. (More on this at our Craft Conversations.)

Rigorous Education

Sadly, the degree and certificate courses that Claire & Sarah taught are gradually being cut from our education systems. The times are changing. The depth and rigour of the design, creative and technical skills that we once had access to, are becoming hard to find in the institutions. We watch and wait to see how this will affect the quality of skills and products in our region. (More on this at our Craft Conversations.)

Our Pledge to You

As well as workshops – we know the power of films, talks, demonstrations and open studios too (… to promote a wider understanding of the many years it takes to not only be proficient but to be an outstanding maker.)

We pledge to do our best to engage experienced teachers and accomplished makers. And we hope that in this small way we can generate better skills and greater appreciation of craftspeople.
We are so full of ideas for our program! If only time and budgets can make it all possible.
Soon we will announce our Winter Program – which we are certainly excited about and we hope you will be too.
We love to hear from you about your ideas, so talk to us.