Still Life with Jug – Handmade brooch


I’m sure the hospital-green piece of tile that I’ve used as the mount for this brooch had been at the base of Black Mountain in Canberra for many, many years. It had obviously been dumped along with lots of other waste materials, as they were all broken or rusted and overgrown with weeds. With ‘old-fashioned’ in mind, the idea for this still life came to me. The ‘jug’ set the tone, to which I added the beaded flowers. A Dutch Old Master it isn’t, but nonetheless, I find it quite in keeping with that tradition.

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I created this one-of-a-kind handmade brooch called Still Life with Jug from oddly shaped pieces of metal that became a ‘jug’ and ‘table’, and three beads that transformed into flowers. It’s mounted on a parallelogram-shaped, hospital green piece of tile that I found on Black Mountain near the base where there used to be a rubbish dump. I found all the bits and bobs for this brooch 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.

Where my brooches have been featured

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 December 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 are back at the Australian National Brooch Show in the Fitzroy Library, and at the Belconnen Arts Centre shop in Canberra in conjunction with my exhibition Zero Waste: Doing it Imperfectly.

Where you can find my brooches

My brooches are always available through Incube8r Gallery, in the Fitzroy shop and online. This one is now available from the Belconnen Arts Centre shop in Canberra, either in person or online.