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.