Monday 28 July 2014

Recent Fine Ounce exhibitions gather media presence

Two recent exhibitions of the Fine Ounce Goldsmiths' Collective gathered quite some media presence.

The first of the two shows, held at Imbizo Gallery in Durban, constituted a mixed group presentation and Fine Ounce participated with various pieces. The opening was quite an event with a lavish evening, including a fashion show. The show ends on 31 July 2014.

Article from Life and Lifestyle

The second show was a solo show at the Omba Gallery in Windhoek, Namibia, running from 30 June to 9 July 2014. The venue (a beautifully restored and rustic industrial warehouse) was aptly suited to present the 120 pieces on display - all relating specifically to the theme Between the Lines. The exhibition drew many, many visitors (including the wife of the German ambassador to Namibia) and resulted in quite an interest from various media houses. Two of the Fine Ounce members (Frieda Lühl and Angela Tölken) gave 3 radio interviews between the two of them, one of them an hour long at the German radio station.
Newspapers also brought some clippings, and Angela was featured in a longer expose in the German daily newspaper.

Article from Die Republikein, 3 July 2014

Article from Die Allgemeine Zeitung, 4 July 2014

Full page expose on Angela Tölken. Header from the article, Die Allgemeine Zeitung, 18 July 2014

Body text from the expose, Die Allgemeine Zeitung, 18 July 2014

The show in Windhoek has been the most successful Fine Ounce exhibition yet, and it is scheduled to travel to Johannesburg where it will be on display at the Liz Loubser Gallery from 23 August to early September. For the Fine Ounce fans in Gauteng this will be an unique opportunity to view the widely varied, once-off pieces from the 8 members of the collective.

Tuesday 1 October 2013

Two Days To Go!

We all spent last Saturday at the Barbier Mueller Gold of Africa Museum to set up the stage for our new exhibition: BETWEEN THE LINES.
We measured, drilled, strung, knotted, lined up, readjusted, cut, laughed, cut again, and readjusted again...and again.... and slowly the backdrop to our exhibition took shape.

Come and join us for the opening of " between the lines" at the Barbier Mueller Gold of Africa Museum
this Thursday from 6.30pm, sip on a glass of wine while you listen to what inspired 8 South African goldsmiths to create this range of beautiful and wearable art, see it , feel it and meet the artists.

Hope to see you there! :-)

Adi, Jubi, Jane, Meagan, Gela, Giselle, Frieda and Maike

Tuesday 24 September 2013

Between the Lines...

By: Adeline Jubi Heyns

It was a dark and stormy night.... and all the Fine Ouncers were spending time in front of their jewellery benches. The time is drawing closer, the sands are falling through the hour glass... (enough of that!)

On the 3rd of October 2013, our new and much anticipated show... "BETWEEN THE LINES" will open at the Gold of Africa Barbier Mueller Museum in Strand Street, Cape Town.

 It  falls on the first Thursday of the month to tie in with Cape Town's First Thursdays Art Walk . For those of you not familiar with First Thursdays, it is a worldwide free event for art lovers to explore Galleries and Museums on foot, by night. Please join us at the Gold Museum for a glass of wine (also free) and a fabulous show.

Between the Lines will also travel far and wide later in the year and next year. It will go to IS ART Gallery in Franschhoek, Kalk Bay Modern Gallery, Imbizo Gallery in Ballito Bay (KZN), Ohmba Gallery in Windhoek (Namibia), Liz Loubser Gallery in Johannesburg and might even take a detour to Delhi in India with Adi.

The show will be opened by the wonderful John Skotnes. It will run till the 17th of October,  in case you can't make the opening night. Our poster was once again designed by the equally wonderful Tertius Heyns and here it is...

Tuesday 10 September 2013

Moving home

By Frieda Lühl

As many of you know but some don't I had some big changes in the last eight month. I moved back to my home country Namibia after spending nine amazing years in CT. 
Back in Windhoek I was lucky to find a beautiful old house, like a Farmhouse, in the middle of town.  It had a big but still bare garden which finally allowed me to get a little friend. My little Idefix grew big in no time and my garden efforts are often literally undermined. 

Two month later I got even luckier when the flat next  to me opened which I could then use as a spacious workshop. My new workshop was renovated from the inside but the outside needed some serious work.

Another two month later I finally had my studio opening on a warm Namibian winters day. 

My new studio is, as mentioned, quite spacious and allows me to teach evening classes(as I did together with the Firepetals in Cape Town) as well as other workshops. 

In May we had our first Print-Play-Weekend which will soon be followed by a follow up weekend. It was a weekend with good food, lots of drawing, even more experimenting, enthusiasm and fun. 

At the moment I'm working long hours on my third solo exhibition 'Riveting' .  This technique caught my attention during my six week residency in Liverpool in 2011. Here many goldsmiths working from home are not able to have gas in their homes and have to look for other solutions to join metals than soldering. So for the last few months I tried out many different varieties of riveting and have saved a lot of gas in the mean time. 

The exhibition will show for two weeks in Windhoek and afterwards for a few days in Santa Fe in December. After that I guess I will have some well deserved holidays with my family in Mexico. 

Planed for next year July is our first Fine Ounce exhibition outside South Africa at the Omba Gallery in Windhoek , Namibia. I'm looking forward to have some Fine Ounce members around and show them my new(old) Home. 

Also planned for next year is the opening of the Gallery 'The Project Room' which will kick of with an exhibition of lights from recycled materials by Stefan Eins in February 2014. 

So this is it in a nut shell. If you happen to be in Namibia let me know I would be looking forward to show you some amazing Windhoek things.

Friday 5 July 2013

Ruby July

By Adeline Jubi

Star Ruby Egyptian style Ring with Rose gold and engraving (Firepetals 2013)

It is July again and the birthstone month of Ruby. Rubies are ten times more valuable than colourless diamonds of  equal weight. Traditionally it is the stone of love, loyalty and courage and is meant to promote wealth and health to its wearer.  The name Ruby comes from the Latin “Ruber”, meaning Red. Ruby forms part of the mineral variety or family Corundum (aluminium oxide). The other member of the Corundum family is Sapphire. It is generally believed that red corundum is Ruby and any other colour corundum, sapphire. The red colour is due to the presence of Chromium in the mineral. Rubies are quite hard, they are a 9 on Moh’s Scale of Hardness, only diamonds are harder (a 10).
The best quality rubies traditionally come from Myanmar (formerly Burma),and specifically the Magok area deep in the jungle. Burmese rubies are sometimes a bright red colour or pigeon blood colour that are the most desirable. Rubies have been mined in the Magok area in open pits for over 1000 years. Mining could only take place during the dry season and was difficult and often treacherous. The biggest natural (not heat treated) Burmese ruby found, weighs 42.98cts and has a beautiful saturated even pigeon blood red colour.
Other regions that produce fine Rubies are Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Thailand (Siam). Siamese Rubies are usually a browner red colour due to the presence of iron. Thermal or Heat treatment is sometimes used to reduce the iron content and intensify the red colour. Kenya, Afghanistan and Madagascar also have Ruby mines.
Rubies are often heat treated (literally cooked in a furnace) to enhance its colour and burn out inclusions in the stone. Thermal treatment is generally accepted in the Gem market, but natural stones with a vivid red colour and few inclusions will always fetch a higher price.
Due to rubies having a hexagonal structure, Rubies often  show a six point star effect  or asterism under a single source of light when cut into a cabochon (flat back and domed top). These are called star rubies.
Famous Rubies or Ruby jewellery:
1. One of the most famous Rubies is the “Black Prince Ruby” documented back to 1366.King Henry V wore it in his helmet as he fought the French at Agincourt in 1415. Later it was discovered that this Ballast Ruby is actually a red Spinel. Today it is mounted on the front of the British Imperial State crown with the Cullinan II diamond and “Stuart sapphire” and can be seen at the Tower of London

The "Black prince Ruby" a Spinel in the Imperial Crown; Graff Ruby (middle); The Mogok or Alan Caplan Ruby.

2. The Alan Caplan Ruby or the Mogok Ruby is a 15.97-carat untreated Burmese stone cut in a cushion cut. It is virtually eye clean and has an intense red colour approaching the bench mark “pigeon blood “colour.Caplan bought it in Burma and had it cut and polished.In 1988, the ruby was sold to the famous London Jeweller, Laurence Graff on auction at Sotherby's (New York). He paid a record price of $3,630 000 ($227.301 per carat) for it, the highest price ever paid per carat for a Ruby at that time. He mounted the stone in a diamond engagement ring, which was purchased by the Sultan of Brunei for one of his wives.   

3. It was Laurence Graff again who broke the next record for the highest price paid for a ruby in 2006, USD 3,637,480.00 setting a new record price per carat of USD 421,981.43. This ruby is called the Graff Ruby and weighs 8.62ct, a beautiful cushion cut Burmese ruby set in a ring with baguette diamonds.

Magnificent Star Ruby (left) ; The Hope or Lily Safra Ruby Ring (right)

4. The Lily Safra Ruby or the “The Hope Ruby” , a 32.04ct, cushion cut, Burmese Ruby belonged to the philanthropist and billionaire, Lily Saffra. It was set in a ring flanked by diamonds and designed by Chaumet. The ring was sold for $6.7million at Christies, the record for the highest price at an auction for a Ruby ever. The money was donated to charity.

5. The Liberty Bell Ruby is a ruby sculpture shaped like the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia USA with 50 diamonds. It is the largest mined ruby in the world, but is not fine gem quality. Found in East Africa, this 8500ct stone was stolen in 2011 from a jewellery shop in Delaware. The FBI is still looking for it.
6. The Carmen Lúcia Ruby is a 23.1-carat Burmese ruby, set in a platinum ring and flanked by 2 trillion diamonds. The stone was mined from the fabled Mogok region of Myanmar (Burma) in the 1930s. It was donated in her memory to the Smithsonian Institute by her husband, Peter Buck.

7. Another famous Ruby Jewellery piece must be The Queen's Burmese Ruby Tiara. She received 96 rubies as a wedding gift from the people of Burma (Myanmar). The number 96 is quite significant as the Burmese people believed that there are 96 diseases that can harm the human body and the 96 Rubies will protect her from all ills. Maybe this is why she has reached such a ripe old age? She commissioned this diamond and ruby tiara in 1973 and the rubies had to resemble the English rose.

Libert Bell Ruby Sculpture (left); The Burmese Ruby Tiara (centre); The Carmen Lucia Ruby Ring (right)

8. Real Ruby Slippers were created by Ronald, the son of Harry Winston to commemorate the 50th anniversary of ‘The Wizard of Oz’. The original pair worn by Judy Garland in the film was made of sequins; these ones are made of 4,600 real rubies totaling 1,350 carats and must be one of the most expensive pairs of shoes ever.

Elizabeth Taylor's famous Ruby Collection ; Ruby Slippers by Ronald Winston and Judy Garland in Wizard of Oz.

The Surrealist artist, Salvador Dali designed a few famous jewellery pieces as a sideline. The most famous was probably his “Ruby Lips”, a gold brooch with lips pave set with rubies and pearl teeth. This brooch was created in 1949 and was made by Charles Valliant of New York’s Valliant and Devere. It is the primavera Gallery in New York’s collection, today.
Another Dali Ruby piece is the “Etoile de Mer” or Starfish Brooch.
Salvador Dali's "Ruby Lips" with pearl teeth (left); Original design for Starfish Brooch (centre); "Etoile de Mer" finished piece (right)
Ruby and White Gold Ring; Garnet and star Ruby pendant in 22ct gold; Diamond and Ruby wedding ring with rose gold detail - All by Firepetals

Tuesday 11 June 2013

Fire and light



 jane mcilleron

One of the media available to jewellers is vitreous enamel. 

I have done very little enamelling, but it appeals to me: the possibilities for layering, and for variations in translucency, with completely transparent enamel allowing light to reflect off the metal underneath, and opaque obscuring it entirely.
Like any medium, it is as open to use in a multitude of ways, and I don't think there can be anyone who likes them all.

Enamel is glass that is fused onto metal by melting (firing) it. It may be opaque or transparent, or somewhere in between (opalescent). It is coloured by the addition of minute amounts of elements and compounds in careful combinations. The melting point of the glass has to be lower than that of the metal, and the relative melting points of the various enamels have to be taken into consideration when using more than one. The rate and extent at which the glass contracts as it cools has to be as close as possible to that of the metal it is fused to.

It is quite a demanding medium. It is relatively easy to enamel something flat in one colour, but every variation after that makes it more difficult. Most enamels are built up of numerous layers, each fired before the next is added.

Details of Japanese enameled vessels from the collection of Stephen W.Fischer.

 Enameling started many centuries ago, and examples are found from Mycenae and Egypt. In the last few decades of the 19th century and the first few of the 20th centuty Japan produced enamelled objects, mostly vessels, of extraordinary virtuosity, and at about the same time Art Nouveau and Art Deco jewellers in the West used it widely and with great skill. One the most famous artists from this time was Rene Lalique, in France.
Two of Lalique's magnificent pieces

Fetish pin by William Harper
Pendant by William Harper
A contemporary artist well known in the USA for his work in enamel is William Harper. He uses brilliant and complex arrangements of colour and texture, and incorporates stones, pearls and other materials in very interesting ways. His work is evocative of artifacts with esoteric purposes.

Pin by Jamie Bennet
Another prominent American in the field is Jamie Bennet, whose experimental enameling on three dimensional electroformed shapes attracted much attention.

Pin by Jamie Bennet

Although vitreous enamel is increasingly being replaced by "cold enamel" (actually epoxy resin) in commercial jewellery, because it is so much easier and less risky, contemporary enamel seems to be thriving in Europe and the USA.

Rattle Brooch by Angela Gerhard

Jessica Calderwood

Montse Basora

Ruth Ball Design

Sandra Zilker

Appreciation of it in South Africa appears to be limited at present, but with growing awareness of art and design, that could change.

Sunday 26 May 2013

inside my jewellery box

Stories of stones & jewels & maybe a ballerina  
by Adi Cloete

Remember the excitement you felt when you got the chance to look inside your mother or granny's jewellery box? Feeling like you found treasure!
And your jewellery box that played music while a ballerina would spin around and around. Magical childhood memories getting lost somewhere between the ballerina and the little objects of intrigue.

Well, it's still exciting to peek into people's jewellery boxes.Especially when the jewellery box belongs to someone with a passionate jewellery heart. 

My quest takes me to visit Karin in District Six on a very windy afternoon. In the lounge we unpack all the little boxes and discover a collection of necklaces, rings and earrings, which she had collected since all her jewellery was stolen in 2007.
Apart from the jewellery that she wore on the day of the break-in, and a few odds and ends they didn't notice, her entire jewellery collection was stolen. 

About 5 years after that she was in a shop in Long Street browsing with a friend, when she looked down and there was a ring of hers in the showcase! 
It was the very first ring that she had commissioned for herself in 1994. An amethyst ring made by Mike Cope. The stone was given to her by an old friend and comes from Rio. She had carried it around in her purse for about 10 years(!) before having a ring made. She immediately told Honest John, the shop owner, that that ring belonged to her. After explaining when and how she had lost it, he returned her ring to her.
The ring that came home :)
Karin's first commissioned ring ever, by Mike Cope

Here are some of the pieces that emerged from Karin's treasure boxes. 

flowers for the ears
left: silver quartet of Sedum bloom earrings bought on etsy made by Karena of Tundra Dear, with silver clay  and Tourmalines. 
middle: Silver protea flower earrings by Liz Dunstan (Paarl)

right: silver and Peridot flower earrings by Jane Eppel (Cape Town)

turquoise bird collection
The turquoise comes from the Royston mine in Nevada and was bought online from davidjamescabs on etsy.  Mike Cope was then commissioned to make the pendant and the small stones were added to the earrings which had been bought years earlier from him.

Kitty jewls! 
The lost-wax pendant was bought on ebay. We discovered that on the back there is an inscription 'ps relax'.
The silver "Cubist Cat" cloisonne earrings designed by Sue Coccia, were also bought on ebay.

a love of birds
This beautiful bracelet expresses Karin's love of birds and was commissioned by her as a special 50th birthday gift. The gold used was a golden chain gifted from her mother.
Liz Dunstan designed & made it and silver, gold and Amethyst was used.

birdies to adorn the hand 
by Firepetals with silver, bronze & a tourmaline.

Silver & opal watch bought from Alon Shina in the Waterfront.

pebbles, petals and moonstone
left: silver bangle bought from the Antique Market for a wonderful R300!

middle: Silver & Moonstone ring bought online.

right: Silver Pebble and Labradorite pendant by Giselle Petty (Cape Town)
Fab Flower
 Made by Liz Morell from East London, with silver and Tourmalinated quartz beads.

     pendants connected to other parts of the world
left: Silver cross pendant from sub-Saharan desert Tuareg tribe, traditionally used as a talisman against the evil eye and considered a powerful good luck charm
middle :Frida Kahlo picture frame pendant from Mexico, a gift sent from a friend in San Diego

right: Tuli Maori tribal symbol pendant made by Liz Dunstan, symbolizing 'The Bird Messenger'

locket ring
Karin bought this Tree of Life locket ring as a gift for her niece in New York...who still has to receive it :)
The ring was made by Giselle Petty with silver and 18ct gold detail.

lovely labradorite 
Bought from Monique Huppertz at Design Indaba in 2007.
This necklace is made with silver, carved ebony and beautiful large labradorite pebbles.

left: Karin bought this gecko brooch in Alice Springs on her first trip to Australia to visit her sisters. It is oxidized silver with yellow gold discs.
middle: another fabulous Mike Cope piece! a Buddha brooch with silver & paua shell inlay. The brooch was actually made for a friend of Karin who then left it in her care while she was traveling, and in the end gifted it to her.
right: a brooch that belonged to Karin's Grandmother, made with silver, onyx and marcasite. 
a favourite combo
These silver pin cushion earrings by Firepetals and silver circle pendant with fabric inlay from Liz Dunstan is often worn together and a firm favourite! And for the record: Karin bought the first pair of pin cushion earrings in this range.

Mike Cope: another favourite
Orb locket with a cabochon moonstone and radiant cut garnet.  
Karin commissioned Meagan Meredith to custom make a chain for this piece after seeing a beautiful chain on Meagan's Frog Prince necklace.
and more Mike...
2 double sided pendants.
Carved silver tree holding a magnificent Labradorite
 & a silver disc pendant with engraved patterns inspired by Aboriginal songlines or dreaming tracks. 
3 gorgeous Mike Cope rings - daisies from Papkuilsfontein on the left with silver and 18ct detail, a silver vine leaf design with oval garnet, and a stunning Lapis Lazuli from Afghanistan in an Egyptian inspired design.
a Phoenix pendant and Seraphinite pendant- a heart chakra gemstone - both also by Mike Cope

chrysocolla pendant
Karin bought this beautiful chrysocolla from Lorna  Quinton, one of the most talented gemstone cutters in Cape Town, and then asked Liz Dunstan to make the pendant of which the bail can clip open and closed.
It is worn mostly on a string of carved jet beads.

last but not the least
2 rings that Karin made! Organic silver signet rings with a lotus and a bird etched onto them.

And so: a glimpse of 37 pieces, as part of Karin's jewellery collection.
What stood out to me through discovering all the stories surrounding her jewellery, is her love, joy and excitement about jewellery. It's not just about collecting jewellery. It is also the story of each piece, the stones and the goldsmith that made it,that contributes to  the magic. It is all those layers that Karin values and treasures.    
I think the chances of seeing Karin un-bejewelled would be rare and completely out of character!