2008 September

While the October batch of brooches are busy being worn I would like to reflect on the topics broached:

• I was delighted and surprised by the amount people had written in their ‘Brooch Journals'. The idea had originally been to allow the less binary dependant wearers a chance to reflect and share their brooch wearing experiences. It was also a parallel to the book club idea of swapping books and a little thank you from me. The group decided that we WOULD swap books with brooches to keep a log of the life of the brooch.

• There was an interesting discussion about the blog and how much ‘constructive criticism’ should be written for the general public to see as opposed to being recorded more privately in the brooch books, a very considerate point from the self-employed photographer, Rowena. My feeling is that while incidental interest/sales might come out of this project, the main function is to explore and record the experience of wearing. I also think that one person’s ‘critique’ might be very different from the next.

For instance, Pene found the colours in Tracy’s brooch very bold and hinted that they might have been slightly challenging for her to wear. In my dealing with the pictures of the brooches as a group, I thought that Tracy’s brooch was really sharp and sang in the collection of photographs, but alas I am not a wearer. (please see the full discussion under Tracy's brooch).

These two completely different takes might both be of interest to Tracy for different reasons. I am really interested in this project as a forum for makers to get feedback on their work that goes beyond just the technical aspects. Something similar to a writer’s workshop where stories are passed around, thought about and discussed. The only difference here is that the wearers take their brooches into the public sphere, on their bodies. And so, I say let the comments also be public.

- Pictured above is the second piece of Tracy's that Pene was referring to in her comments.

• It was mentioned a number of times that people were not asked ‘who made the brooch’. Bonyta commented that people were very surprised that Jaqcui’s brooch was made in New Zealand. They found it really unique and were pleasantly surprised.

• A very interesting comment regarding the physicality of wearing was made by Kate, she decides that “an object of clothing is destined to a brooch wearing life”.

• While not toppling it, we approached the idea of
cradle to cradle design, McDonough & Braungart's book about designing objects with contemplation about where the source materials come from, how they age, break down and become reused. Historically, the tradition of jewellery is very much in keeping with this ideology. Let your depression be swagged, dear Kate! Jewels over the centuries have been melted down and reformed to the point that historians actually have to refer to paintings to learn about jewellery. "as jewels pass from one generation to the next they are usually broken up so that stones can be reset in more up-tp-date styles. Most antique jewellery has therefore vanished..." 1 A modern take on these ideas would be a very interesting topic to bring up at the next wearer/maker meeting in November.

• Overall it has been a very exciting month for the brooches, they have travelled all over NZ, a Zarah bit was nearly lost and then re-found, and they seem to have made many friends at the various ‘offices’ of the wearers. Check out the comments on individual photos for more discussion, and see you in October.

1 - Scarisbrick, Diana. Tudor and Jacobean Jewellery. Tate Publishing, London 1995.