Sunday, December 9, 2012

summer of love.

Zoe Brand - 2012
Pace Men (Three Neckpieces)
Three found hubcap attachment rings, laminated figures of Jeff Thompson, an unidentified umpire and Denis Lillee cut from the pages of ‘The Wisden Illustrated History of Cricket’ published 1988, aluminum and potbelly black paint.

Jewellers, in my experience, look at the world differently. It’s in our nature to think that almost everything ‘could be’ a piece of jewellery. Perhaps that bit of roadside detritus, already heavy with history, ‘could be’ a ready-made neckpiece. Pace Men is a nod to the work of luminary Dutch jeweller Gijs Bakker, and combines the jeweller’s ready-made with a jocular love of Australia’s summer religion; Cricket.

PS - jewellery, beer and cricket. happiness. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

in the news.

This is some work made for a recent traveling exhibition, 'Once More, With Love' for more info on this exhibition/project head along to the website. Pretty much the short of the long of it is, that 21 artist were sent a bag of questionable jewellery (that was donated by the public) and challenged to remake/remodel/recycle these bits into new pieces. This project has its foundation in the idea and education of ethical and sustainable jewellery/making. 

Why were you drawn to participate in Once More, With Love?
I'm often quite selective with my choice of materials, so I was excited by the challenge of being given something to work with that I hadn't chosen myself. It appears, in hindsight that it is much harder to form a connection with materials that have been bestowed to you rather that materials that have gone though your own vigorous selection process. This has most certainly been a challenge.

What was the most interesting/weirdest thing in your mystery bag?
There was some pretty awful stuff in my mystery bag, pieces of childlike trashy plastic buttons (a sun, a love heart and a frog), a diamante heart clasp, plastic bangles, beads, beads, beads! My first thought was to make something out of the packaging that this bag of beads, beads, beads came in, but thought, no, that’s silly. I struggled to make something, anything that would sit right with how I make, and what I wanted to say. It seems in the end that my initial gut reaction was just the ticket.

Zoe Brand - 2012
Craft Samples
used regular post satchel
Zoe Brand - 2012 
Between Sydney and Canberra 
used regular post satchel 

Zoe Brand - 2012 
Signed by a Famous Artist (100 times the price) 
used regular post satchel, signature of Simon Cottrell  

The Canberra Times doing its bit to promote the 'Once More, With Love' exhibition on at Bilk Gallery until the 16th November 2012. 

My work is mentioned in both articles.

'Zoe Brand, also based in Canberra, often works with lettering to create two-dimensional pieces. Her contribution was a set of necklaces made from the mystery bag itself rather than the contents.'

...'Other artists like Zoe Brand ducked out of the challenge and created their jewellery from the actual packaging - a witty, if safe, option."

Saturday, November 3, 2012

a piece of work.

Zoe Brand – 2012  
The Waltons (Department Store) Chain 
paper bag from Waltons with a receipt for cards/wrap totaling 
$1.84 purchased on 30/05/1983, laminate, glue, drawing pins. 

On the 30th May 1983, I was twelve months and 7 days away from being born.  On this day my grandmother was purchasing cards/wrap for the grand total of $1.84. In 1981 the infamous Alan Bond had purchased Waltons Ltd, a department store chain that had over 60 stores throughout Australia. By 1983 Waltons had become a financial disaster, losing $199 million, in 1987 Waltons was no more.  

Brandlandia does Beijing

My latest column for the New Zealand based jewellery newsletter 'Overview'. If you are not already on their mailing list, please drop them an e-mail and ask to be added ( 

Brandlandia does Beijing

Right now I am sitting on a roof top garden under an almost perfect blue sky (give or take some hazardous pollution) sipping on a local brew in a city with a population roughly that of Australia.  I’ve been in Beijing for a week and I’ve walked along the Great Wall, spun on the dance floor of an underground Russian nightclub, devoured some wonderful food, and changed a few diapers.  I’ve come to this amazing city to meet my super fresh five-week-old niece, Mia.

Coming from my new home, in the quite suburbs of Canberra, I expected the chaos, what I did not expect is the calm this city seems to exude. Sure there are the noises of bells, horns and jackhammers, but they quickly meld into the background. The cars, bikes, buses and people seem to dance, never stopping, just flowing and weaving around one another in an endless routine.

The weather is turning and Autumn is announcing its arrival, the clothes that I have brought with me seem no longer appropriate, it feels strange to be buying warmer clothes, as I know when I arrive home the weather will be moving in the opposite direction. However the days are pleasant, and the shopping is thrilling!

When I travel I only wear one piece of jewellery: a pendant of Mary on a long blacked silver chain. I have no religious tendencies and I do not take the iconography of ‘Mary’ on this pendant to for its literal sense. This piece made by contemporary jeweller and good mate Lisa Furno, is from a series she made a few years ago called ‘Madonna’. It is one of a cast of a cast of a cast of the gold pendant of Mary that her grandmother wore. By casting the cast Furno, not only moves literally away from the sharpness and detail of the original pendant, but also blurs its initial meaning, allowing new ideas, emotions and memories to be instilled in it by its new wearer. Lisa is one sassy, fearless, fun, relentless, surprising, cheeky, challenging, joyous and brave little lady. When I travel, I wear this pendant as a talisman and use it as a ‘WWLD (what would Lisa do)’ in situations that often arise in unknown countries. As I move though my twenties I notice myself becoming quite suppositious, which of course I find rather ridiculous, but irrationality runs in my blood. My ‘Mary’ or rather my ‘Lisa’ is the voice inside egging me on, ‘as if you’re NOT going to toboggan down the Great Wall of China’ but also cautioning me not to ride my bike home though the Beijing traffic after too many turns on the dance floor.

Image Details:
Lisa Furno, Madonna, pendant, 925 silver, 2009
Photo: Emma Furno

Unnatural Tendencies

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of being asked to open an exhibition for two of my most favorite jewellers, Melinda Young and Lauren Simeoni! There is Unnatural Tendencies as well as a show that Mel and Lauren have curated, Unnatural Acts which also has a bucket load of great jewellers in it! Get along to Craft  to see not only these super shows but also two other most excellent exhibitions.

Below is a copy of my very short speech!

Unnatural Acts Opening Speech at CRAFT 18/10/2012

Instead of opening this show with interpretive dance
as was suggested to me, I though I would borrow some wise words from

Hey, you know what paradise is?
It's a lie, a fantasy we create about people and places as we'd like them to be.

But you know what truth is?
Its these artists standing here,
asking you to question how and why,
and hoping you will discuss it over dinner tonight,
thats truth, thats love.

Now while Charlene sings 'I've been to paradise, but I've never been to me',
it seems that over the last four years Melinda Young and Lauren Simeoni,
have been grafting their own paradise onto the outside world.
I has been my privilege to have have seen this project morph and grow,
to watch how these artists works have truly become not only a collaborative endeavour
and but also an indistinguishable aesthetic.

Last year Melinda and Lauren opened their gardens gates and
invited eight jewellers to share in their plastic paradise.
Each given a bag of the same materials, (which you see here in the middle of the display)
were to used or be inspired by, to create their works.

These jewellers are asking you to question, to wonder where each piece will be placed on the body. They want you to take joy in their creations, but also to dig a little deeper,
because not all is well in the Garden of Eden, but not all paradise is lost.  

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


I've recently begun to contribute a regular column in the totally amazing New Zealand based jewellery newsletter 'Overview' edited by the delightful ladies behind the Jewellers Guild of Greater Sandringham. If you are not already on their mailing list, please drop them an e-mail and ask to be added, I promise you won't be disappointed ( 

This was my latest musing from OVERVIEW issue #8 August 2012 

Right now I am in the process of packing up 8 years of life in Sydney, 5 of those in my current 
abode Club Brand (infamously named after a period of Thursday nights when the living room 
transformed into a dance floor until the wee hours of the morning). 5 years is a long time in your 
mid-twenties to have lived in a single dwelling, and it seems I have accumulated more things than 
I know how to deal with. Some of my possessions have 5 years worth of train/airplane/car/city 
dust on them, however, that probably says more about my cleaning habits than anything. The first 
‘things’ I have decided to deal with are my books; I need to downsize my library and keep only what 
is relevant and important to me, so I guess it’s safe to say that my childhood copy of ‘How a baby 
is made’ should probably hit the sidewalk collection. 

Filmmaker and bibliophile John Waters famously wrote  “… If you go home with somebody and 
they don’t have books, don’t fuck them.” To be honest, I couldn’t agree more! Now, I must admit 
my library is a modest few hundred compared to Waters supposed 8,000 plus books, but I still 
whole heartily agree with his sentiment, I couldn’t live without my books and I wouldn’t knock 
boots someone who could. The Internet informs me that Walters also wrote words along the lines 
of ‘…there is nothing as important as an unread library’. So it is with this, that I must confess that 
some of my most prized belongings, my jewellery books, have barely been given any more love 
(since they came into my possession) other than a quick finger though on a rainy day. 

The few jewellers I have spoken with about this very topic have sighed with relief knowing that it 
wasn’t just them with a stack of books (often located bedside) waiting eternally to be read. Over a 
beer I ponder why I haven’t read these books; I am I intimidated by what I might find within the 
covers, will they prove that I am just as mediocre as I think I am? Will they cement the fact that there 
is still SO MUCH that I don’t know or, is it simply that I just haven’t found the time and brainpower 
required to fully absorb all that information? With Saturn’s return and big changes occurring in my 
life, what better time than any to vow never to let the dust settle (again) on these books until I have 
read each of them from cover to cover! To be fair, they are doing their job perfectly, making me 
look good to prospective lovers, the very least I could do is learn a few pearls of their wisdom.  

- Zoe Brand 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

perfect packing.

I'm moving to Canberra.
Stay tuned.
Updates pending.

Monday, July 2, 2012

old work.

This piece was made for the exhibition The Final Frontier 

Zoe Brand 2011
“Time has fallen asleep in the afternoon sunshine”
Pages from a 1970's Penguin publication of George Orwell's 'Nineteen Eighty-Four', ink

Inspired by the film:

As the saying goes, ‘the movie is never as good as the book’. There is just something about the written word that allows such personal interpretation and makes it so powerfully evocative. Not surprisingly, the film Fahrenheit 451 is not as good as the dystopian novel by Ray Bradbury upon which it is based. Ironically, there is something quite apt about this. The movie presents a future where a literate populace poses a threat to the prevailing order and Firemen are employed to burn all books. Montag, the main protagonist, is one such Fireman, and his encounter with a condemned book hoarder, an old lady who would rather burn with her books than live without them, leads him to question the idea of book burning. Interestingly, the title refers to the supposed temperature at which books burn.
I have quite a penchant for text and the written word, and this is often reflected in my work. Needless to say, I thought this film was a rather appropriate choice.
Zoe Brand

Saturday, June 30, 2012

things and stuff and things.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Very Simple Proofs, The Trivial Ring.

Zoe Brand 2012
Sometimes there really is nothing to 'get' and the King is simply naked.
Fancy ring boxes and plastic price tags (actual)
18k gold, Diamonds, Sterling Silver, Emerald and 9k Rose gold (imagined)
$7350.00 (total)

From the exhibition Very Simple Proofs, The Trivial Ring  
at Studio 20/17 until the 2nd of June 2012

brandbrand is a go.

I believe this is what you call a 'soft launch'. If you see anything you like please feel free to purchase. All proceeds go towards feeding a starving emerging jeweller.


Friday, May 4, 2012

Day 4 - failing miserably.

Yep. Today I took down my christmas decorations. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Day 3 - So, this is going well....

This was the view from my kitchen window this morning, when I had intended to post..... 

It looks a bit more like this now. 

Day 3 - So yeah, this is going well. whoops! 

Ok so where did I leave of yesterday?! Thats right nattering about places I visited in Melbourne on my Whirlwind Jewellery Safari (are you bored yet? - I think I might be... mmmm)

By the time I reached Pieces of Eight, I was feeling pretty tired. I had been up since about 4:30am and it was getting close to about 2pm without so much as a break for a sandwich or beer, sadly neither I could afford....

oh shit hang on... I'm totally getting a head of myself... rewind..... (Yes, I think blogging in the morning is a much better idea - and for those of you who think i've been drinking, and I know there will be a few, I haven't touched a drop, I may have stolen someones ice-cream out of the freezer, but not a drop of liquor has passed these here lips tonight.... although, this maybe way more on point, or at least much funnier if I had... come on now keep up..) 

After e.g.etal, I made a beeline for Craft VIC, where I was very very happy to have made it to see, in its final hours no less, Nicholas Bastin's exhibition The Sleepless Hero. (Melbourne Jeweller did a little review - link). This was an incredibly considered show, and those of you who are keeping score will know how I love a good exhibition design, it is a very very fine balance between supporting the work and overpowering it entirely. If you follow that link to Melbourne Jeweller's blog, you'll see what I mean. Take note kids, because that's how you do it! Bastin has very cleverly given the audience just enough information and has left the right amount of space for you to create your own stories about these faceless (70% grey?) forms and come to your own conclusions about how the work ended up on the walls of the gallery. So who is this 'sleepless hero'?  I'm taking bets it could Bastin!? Being creative can be (but not all ways) a pretty thankless and often sleepless pursuit right!?

yeah..... thats it. Time for bed. 

Don't worry, you're guaranteed more ramblings tomorrow! It's good thing you're not actually forced to read this, I feel it might be considered torture in some states or territories, poor Karin and BK are probably cringing at all my punctuation and grammatical errors. sorry.


- Z

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

day 2 - Good Morning Sunshine!

This is the view from my balcony at 8:30am on Wednesday 2nd May 2012  
What a delightful Sydney Autumn day. 

So I've been thinking, that perhaps I'm going to leave the rest of my 'Unexpected Pleasures' report until I have seen it again and once I have the catalogue. There are a few works in the show I would very much like to discuss, and would like to know a bit more about them before I delve into that again. 

To continue from yesterdays Melbourne Jewellery Whirlwind Safari.... 

Next Stop - Lord Coconut:

This little shop is starting to get its legs, this is the second time I have visited and was pleasantly surprised at the amount of work/jewellers it is amassing into its collection. I like that this shop/gallery is serious, but I have a feeling it also has its tongue set very firmly in its cheek, not only when it comes to the work they sell, but also the design of the store and the history of its namesake. I certainly have a bit of a soft spot for Lord Coconut, it teeters on the cross roads of the serious, the strange, the humorous and the downright miscellaneous. Always a pleasure visiting. 

Off up the road to Alice Euphemia:

This shop has just had a serious makeover. They now have a set of stairs that walk all the way to the ceiling. Cool huh?! Well I thought it was a lovely solution to space/storage/display! I digress, they do have a pretty decent armory of some pretty excellent jewellers, Peta Kruger, Nina Oikawa, Karla Way, Julia Deville and Claire McArdle just to name a few. This isn't a jewellery gallery, it is a fashion store and they have their finger firmly on the pulse of independent local designers, and I wouldn't be surprised if their stocked jewellers do very there, perhaps better than in a gallery context?! Something I should look into. 

Toot Toot - Next stop e.g.etal

Wow. This gallery looked a MILLION BUCKS (the irony of that is that it is probably worth a lot more, but you know what I mean)!!! I haven't seen this store look this good, for quite some time! They had 3 staff on hand, all serving customers when I was poking my nose about, that's surely a good sign. Their glass cabinets were full to the brim, lit well, the stock was shinny and it was almost as if every jeweled morsel was up on its own pedestal calling out 'pick me pick me'. Ok I might be getting a bit carried away here, but I was seriously impressed. Perhaps you might be able to class what e.g.etal do as 'high end contemporary jewellery', almost everything was made from metal, and lots of sparkly gems/diamonds, but interesting, well made and accessible to a general public. Go, be delighted and enticed. 

Oh bugger, I'm totally out of time today........ don't want to be late for work. 

More Melbourne tomorrow.. 

- Z

It's A Blog Bonanza!

Well Hiya! 

Sorry it's been a while, it may have totally slipped my mind that I have a blog. whoops! Anywho...

So this year is all about doing things/everything better, faster, slower and harder. I gave up my full time job to work on my practice, my writing, and I am determined to make a living out of what I live so much for, jewellery. I often joke that I live in a jewellery snow-dome. I live, work and socialize with, jewellers sometimes it's a little bit scary, other times it's damn pretty great. 

So in light of this I have set myself a challenge, I'm going to blog every day for the month of MAY (and hopefully the habit sticks and I keep going)! I need to desperately work on my writing, and getting over my ulcer inducing fear of putting words down on a page. People are often surprised when I tell them how much it terrifies me to write something, but this year I am determined to get over that, practice makes perfect, well, at least a bit easier, RIGHT?! 


1st of MAY 2012 - I think I should probably tell you a little bit about my Melbourne Whirlwind Jewellery Safari: 

A few weeks ago, I was kindly sponsored (thanks mum) a flight to Melbourne to hear a talk at the NGV that corresponded with the opening of  'UNEXPECTED PLEASURES', a survey show of contemporary jewellery and the collaborative project between Susan Cohn and The Design Museum in London. 

So very early on Friday morning I boarded a flight with nothing but $20 bucks in my pocket and a smile on my face! Once I had arrived I was very very very kindly picked up at the airport by the (totes) delightful Karen from the Melbourne Jeweller blog. It was great to catch up, and tour around the Melbourne suburbs (thanks Karen). She kindly dropped me off into the awaiting arms of NORTHCITY4 , the lovely Anna Davern and Romani Benjamin (who co-chair the board with 3 other fabulous ladies Ali Limb, Caz Guiney and Katherine Bowman) showed me around their new space and explained all about their exciting new venture. Please please check out their website, not only is it amazing, but it is full to the brim of all the exciting and wonderful things they are getting up to. 

Above Images: NORTHCITY4

Anna and I went around the corner, past a real life, steel clad bikie club house, and had a coffee (my shout next time promise). It was so lovely to catch up with Anna, I really dig what she does and who she is, an incredibly generous, talented, fun and no bullshit kind of lady!

Next stop: NGV (National Gallery of Victoria)

After a quick tour of the NGV and having to ask the front desk where the 'Unexpected Pleasures' exhibition was (behind the potted plant, down the hall, past the toilets, opposite the lecture theater...) I made it to the threshold of the room, only to be greeted by a guard,

'Are you a Member, miss?' 
'No', I stutter
'Sorry, Members only today'. My heart sinks. 
Words start to stumble out of my mouth as my fight or flight response kicks in 'What. No. I've come all the way from Sydney, I've paid to go to the talk this evening. But. But. But. (don't you know who I am) wink, wink ......' 
A quick nod of the head and a 'go on then', with a sigh relief I quickly scampered into the room before someone told me to get out. 

My heart was racing a million miles an hour, my palms were sweaty, THIS WAS IT! An unexpected wave of emotion sweept over me and I very nearly cry. Ok Ok, I can hear you saying 'seriously, that's a bit pathetic'. But there I was in a room full of pieces I had only ever seen in books, on posters hung on my wall, or distorted on the screen in front of me in. The geek in me does swoon pretty easily over a Gijs Bakker, Otto Kunzli, Benjamin Lignel, Caroline Broadhead or Peter Tully piece, so it was wonderful to see the scale, texture, colour, and detail, that you just don't get from the facsimile. 

There is an incredible sensitivity about the space given to each work, the exhibition design/furniture allow you to ponder each selection without the usual crowding of pieces in a vitrine. The exhibition is separated into what I believe to be clear and accessible categories and which I think will help to guide a general public through, what might be for most, their first encounter with contemporary jewellery. 

I must admit I didn't spend much time reading the display labels. But I have heard comments that the text may have come straight out of the book/catalogue, this isn't necessarily a problem, unless it is written as though it is speaking to the already converted, which of course I am, so perhaps this is why I didn't take much notice. But I guess if we intend to educate the general public and share with them our world, which we must admit can be pretty confrontational or totally uninteresting to the uninitiated, shouldn't give them the tools, clear and simple to help them understand? But as I said, I really didn't spend much time on the labels, but I will be going back to see the show again soon, so I will most certainly take note and let you know what I think. 

I think Cohn ticked almost all the boxes when it comes to exhibiting jewellery. It is often noted/criticized that jewellery displayed in gallery spaces is shown without its context, the body. Here, Cohn cleverly projects onto the gallery wall, a life size room full of people having a glass of wine, adorned with jewellery, animated in silent conversations. I must say these people, do look a little uncomfortable and rather awkward at times, they clearly know where this video will end up, but it still it is pretty mesmerizing to see how the jewellery they are wearing may dictate the way their body moves and reacts to its restrictions/freedoms. As Cohn has been known to argue, jewellery is not 'activated' until it is worn the body, so I think this is a beautiful and pretty genius solution of putting jewellery back into context. 

..... ok well it seems this post took me most of my day to write.... mmmm epic fail.... and since I haven't really finished it, I think I'll keep the rest for tomorrow...... 

Hope you'll stick with me and help me keep going, if I miss a day please feel free to drop me an e-mail written in CAPITAL LETTERS giving me a good kick up the ass. 

until tomorrow, 
- Z

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

brandbrand sneak peek. eek.

'Worth A Carrot or Two.'

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

living vicariously through others. part 1.

Slanted for Granted by Nicole Beck, Melanie Isverding, & Despo Sophocleous.
Photo taken by: Danae Natsis

So if you're like me and didn't manage to hock off all you belongings so you could travel to Schmuck this year, a good mate of mine Danae Natsis was deservedly awarded an ARTstart Grant so that she could do some much longed for traveling and professional development, She has just been in Munich and experienced the magic.

Follow the link to her blog for a nice run down on what we all missed.

Next year maybe we'll all be there! Fingers crossed!
- Z

Friday, March 23, 2012

Just a little more urgency!