Button Up – Handmade brooch


This brooch, as are all my brooches, is made from bits and bobs found on the streets. Called Button Up, it is an experiment. My friend Deidre came to the studio and brought her paints for me to use, and in return, she used some of my found objects in her small artworks. So unlike my other brooches that only use materials ‘as found’ (except for cleaning them, of course), I painted the three wires. In this case, I think the coloured wires really do justice to the lovely flower button.

I created this one-of-a-kind handmade brooch called Button Up from a white, 5-sided piece of plastic; three bent wires painted yellow, orange and red;  a wooden button with flowers, and a broken zip. I found the bits and bobs needed to make it on the streets during my daily walks.

Normally I create wall sculptures and 3D sculptures from the wood, metal and tiles I find on the streets of Melbourne. However, through Instagram I met handmade jewellery designer Lynn Powers from New Orleans. She encouraged me to try making jewellery from the objects I found on the street, but I never had.

How I became a brooch designer

Then in 2019, I saw that the Contemporary Art Society of Victoria was holding its Australian National Brooch Show at the Fitzroy and Eltham public libraries. I displayed five of my brooches–and found that making them is great fun. In 2020, my brooches were in Wearable Art at The Old Auction House in Kyneton. They were also online in Survival Kit at the University of Melbourne George Paton Gallery.

In 2021, as part of Geelong and Melbourne Design Weeks, my brooches were featured in exhibitions at The Reimaginarium in Geelong and again at The Old Auction House in Kyneton. A special series using handmade 19th-Century nails from a friend’s roof were in the 2021 Australian National Brooch Show from May to October at the Fitzroy and Eltham Public Libraries. An even wider range of my brooches was at CoLab Arts in the Park in The Pavilion at Fitzroy Gardens from July to September 2021.

In 2022, my brooches were featured in the exhibition Gold Rush at The Old Auction House and again in the Australian National Brooch Show. They were also in Covid-Themed Jewelry, an international online exhibition organised by the Art Jewelry Forum in San Antonio, Texas. And in 2023, they were back at the Australian National Brooch Show in the Fitzroy Library, and at the Belconnen Arts Centre shop in Canberra.

Where you can find my brooches

And, of course, my brooches are always available through Incube8r Gallery @incube8r in Fitzroy and Dimora Designs @dimora_designs at Fyansford Paper Mill in Geelong, as well as online.