Lisa Higgins and Cal Lane

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About Lisa    About Cal



{THE END}                     THE BEGINNING…




Five of Seven (Rectangle) 2015 – Shared Memories


Seven of Seven (Rectangle) 2015 – Shared Memories


United (Oval) 2015 – Shared Memories


Shared Memories 2015 Pah Homestead Auckland NZ


EXHIBITED @ R.A.W (Reactions After Wunderruma curated  by Jo fisher):

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LABEL DEBATE (final HS2 exhibition):


This work is conceptually driven sitting somewhere between object and jewellery capturing that which is unseen.


The blurring of labels and ultimately function is paramount to the work. I’d rather not say what they are although it will be obvious (perhaps-I hope) what they could be or what they represent.


I want them to be seen as more than merely a pendant, brooch etc… the ‘What it is’ is not important. Perhaps these snippets of conversation will help make sense of what I’m trying to convey. Sometimes labels can diminish/dilute what the work is trying to say. Normally I don’t mind identifying how a piece can be worn but in this instance it feels unnecessary/limiting.

‘I find when an object stands alone as a non-functional object then its only reason for existing is the dialogue it has with itself and its surroundings. It becomes in a sense about the poetry of the piece.’  Cal

‘If something is something or meant to be something do we stop seeing… cease to engage?’  Lisa

My intention is to encourage dialogue by giving just enough but not too much information. I’ve added NB: Cord available on request to the work list as a nod towards its wearability.


YES and its important that they’re seen as such or at least seen to be referencing it.


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SHARED MEMORIES 2015 – Cinefoil, oxidised brass/plated steel:

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Exploring multiples/limited editions/one off/sentiment/tradition/that which transcends material value/object verses jewellery/preciousness/distortion of the familiar…

Cinefoil is a black matte aluminium foil used predominately in photography and film to block out light. Nothing has been reinforced so the pieces will distort/deteriorate if not handled with care – ref: memories/bond/relationships. Inspired by the best friend necklace/memento mori/photo albums and heirlooms… They all have their own thin brass frame that works like the tabs in a photo album to hold the piece in place?!… As well as making them wearable?! The frames are not strong (can be easily bent) but perhaps give the illusion of something more permanent/preserved.

How do we behave around jewellery that is loaded with history/sentiment? Is it awkward/uncomfortable to go about our daily lives for fear of losing or damaging it or does it can make us feel empowered… connected to something or someone that has gone/part of something bigger? Or none of the above?



A number of factors have contributed to Plan A being put on hold not least the intended venue which is perfect for an idea that’s been bobbing around in my head for a while – spot nabbed above the fireplace!!

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…some hate to hold on but for others the fear is in letting go.








‘Shadows are not part of the real world, but the appearance of a shadow testifies to the solidity of an object, for what casts a shadow must be real.’

H. Gombrich, 1995

‘The difference between false memories and true ones is the same as for jewels:
it is always the false ones that look the most real, the most brilliant.’

Salvador Dalí




GOLDEN SEAMS: The Japanese Art of Mending Ceramics


“When I look at the bowl, I don’t see damage. The break and repair have made it more beautiful. It looks to me like an artist has riffed on a Japanese poem of a moon entangled in the branches of a tree, and etched it onto the bowl.”

Howard Kaplan, Freer Gallery on Tea bowl, possibly Satsuma ware; possibly Kagoshima prefecture, Japan, Edo period, 17th century; stoneware with clear, crackled glaze, stained by ink; gold lacquer repairs; Gift of Charles Lang Freer.



KINTSUGI (the art of broken pieces):

Email from me to Cal mid collaborative brain storming (Shhh!)

Fabulous email… so excited by what this collaboration could be. I agree ‘Jewellery for Giants’ nah!! It was a rushed off-the-cuff suggestion but it made me chuckle that it’s used in the sculpture world for something bad/decorative… one in the same? Maybe there’s something in that?!

I would be honoured to see some of your half finished work (I hope that wasn’t the wine talking) and of course it goes without saying that I’d keep it between ourselves. I haven’t mentioned it before but I was wondering if you’d consider working or have ever worked with different materials – clearly the answer is YES! I mean other than your Ephemeral work which I’ve just been revisiting and the canvases from your last show… can’t believe one turned up in an auction!!?

The use of labels is a difficult/interesting one but a something that would be fun to mess with!!

I’m intrigued by your friends work and would love to hear/see more… website/images. This is what I want something really different that pushes my learning and is something we can both get excited about. And this is the perfect venue… they don’t sell work purely exhibit.

I’m sure you’ve heard of this before but it’s something that I discovered a few years ago and seems appropriate to revisit considering our conversations:



Email from Cal to me…

Nice letter thanks Lisa,

Yes, let’s collaborate. Though I am not fond of the Jewellery for Giants title, you know I have an issue with jewellery as something with impact. Sorry. I’ll confess we; as sculptors (which I have issues with as a category as well) would say when a sculpture was bad and just decorative we would call it jewellery for giants. I guess I come from the other side, perhaps the dark side I don’t know but I want to see your work as sculpture or body objects, psychical body sculptures… though I wouldn’t want to limit the category to sculpture either.  

Labels, categories are both limiting, too specific and control how people see but on a positive note labels can also direct and give context make something more layered and complicated 

I would almost prefer to label our work as something that it isn’t not so the viewer sees it with open eyes or at least wonders why the title makes no sense.

I have a lot of work that is half finished that is likely more up your alley, (I will apologize ahead of time, I am in a lovely bar drinking wine so I may start to slur or be too bold) but I will send you images of my ******  work but don’t show anyone else I don’t like to show work that isn’t finished.

Yes, lets Skype soon about the collaboration.

I love the idea of the deteriorating piece. I often think of this piece a friend of mine made years ago that I loved. She made a series of ceramic vases, ceramic vases that were made of profile faces. Each vase was on a shelf in a gallery held up by a block of ice. As the ice melted the vase would fall and break she would come in and glue it back together and put it back on a new block of ice. The show lasted a month and was so thoughtful to see, it was a pleasure to watch the transformation, the humanity, the fragility of it. I loved the uselessness of the process how she created work for herself, it felt sad and beautiful, thoughtful and destructive. I’ll send you her website, I think she has one. I will say and I preface by saying I don’t mean to sound disappointed but I think I am. She got married and had a kid so hasn’t made much in the past few years. Urg, It’s partly my fault since I introduced her to her guy. (Not that they aren’t a great family). She used to make a lot of interesting things with extension cords and such I think you will like her work.

Anyhow, yes, I love your idea, especially as a jewellery piece. I would love to see it even pushed further like make a piece that lasts 24hrs or something, jewellery out of ice? mold? cigarettes?

That feels more urgent, tragic, and thoughtful somehow. It’s like how you feel about someone who just died, you have so many thoughts, doubts, wishes, could haves… seems more impactful?….. I will continue this tomorrow…. 



Mister Clarke (aka David) and I have more in common than I thought…

IMAGE BELOW: Jugs are wrapped in foil then removed and the foil ‘skin’ cast in Pewter. Holding on to what is no longer there – warped version of the original – distortion of the familiar.

Foil Jugs David Clarke

NEW PROJECT: Casting the space between stacked plates (first in plaster then Pewter). Negative space castings – making the invisible visible.




Collaboration: the action of working with someone to produce something.



Not Too Precious – a film by Shannon Tofts
Local people were invited to wear and respond to items of jewellery made by some of the makers whose work is included in the exhibition Not Too Precious 2015 and conversations with jewellery graduates about their choice of materials.





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Ephemeral: Cal Lane Work in Progress 22/8/2013 

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Images from the Design Centre in Copenhagen – ‘objects that made me think of you.’




Email from me to Cal (Edited)…

I started 3 bodies of work in lieu of the exhibition but in the end decided to follow through with this one. I needed to make this fun rather than laborious, reignite my excitement in the exploration of the unknown/unexpected… I needed to relinquish full control of the outcome and to make this part of the finished piece.

Each piece has been constructed with black rubber o rings and dipped in white liquid rubber. Each consists of oversized, oxidised and waxed silver claws which join the rubber components to a frame or cord enabling them to be worn… I’m enjoying the contrast of these two materials and the way in which they appear to reflect something of the other.

Semi exposed structures and the fusion of multiple parts – abstraction of familiar forms.

This is not so much about preserving as acknowledging/celebrating…  the similarities and differences in all of us. The things we can change and the things we can’t. This was about letting go of control and accepting change… stripping back to the very core of our being exposing strength and fragility and simply exploring the order of things. 

 Statement: see below

I have no idea how these will age… they are solid and well made but their reference to the human body is more than conceptual. I’ve taken on board your idea re: the preciousness of things that don’t last but I’m also acutely aware of the fine line between poor technical/design skills in relation to object making and the construction of things that embrace the beauty and preciousness of the ephemeral… there has to be a very real reason WHY?

Inspired by a previous body of work and subsequent conversations I talk about embracing the idea of decay in a future work where the exhibition would be the documentation of the process – the evolution:

They would be buying into an experience rather than simply acquiring a piece of jewellery and would need to be open to whatever happens as this is more about what the piece could be than what it is now. It would evolve over time (as we all do) acquiring/loosing/changing until it no longer bears any resemblance to how it was before… every piece haven been reworked or replaced until it becomes something else entirely.

I also talk about the power of jewellery/the fear of hanging on verses letting go and perception as:

 …everything and nothing based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes or opinions. Fluid/intangible/invisible but made real by what we tell ourselves.

I talk about HS3 – deadlines/expectations and ideas for collaboration AND the next HS2 exhibition exploring jewellery’s emotional weight or materials (masculine/feminine crossover) or all or none of the above.

I make an off the cuff suggestion… What about ‘Jewellery for Giants’…?!



  • It’s simply the order in which we’re arranged that differs among individuals.
  • The order in which individuals are arranged simply differs.
  • Individuals simply differ in the order we’re arranged.



Unfortunately Cal’s in Denmark so I’ll be flying solo.

THINLY VEILED 2015 – Rubber, sterling silver (oxidized), stainless steel or cord

From left to right: HOURGLASS – PEAR – BANANA – APPLE – WEDGE

Group zoomed in

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WIP Thinly Veiled

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Extracts from Agnes Martin’s 1989 essay ‘BEAUTY IS THE MYSTERY OF LIFE’…

  • You must discover the art work that you like and realise the response that you make to it. You must especially know the response that you make to your own work. It is in this way that you discover your direction and the truth about yourself. If you do not discover your response to your own work you miss the reward. You must look at the work and know how it makes you feel. 
  • We make art work as something that we have to do not knowing how it will work out. When it is finished we have to see if it is effective. Even if we obey inspiration we cannot expect all the work to be successful. An artist is a person who can recognize failure.
  • Composition is an absolute mystery. It is dictated by the mind. The artist searches for certain sounds or lines that are acceptable to the mind and finally an arrangement of them that is acceptable. The acceptable compositions arouse certain feelings of appreciation in the observer. Some compositions appeal to some and some to others. 
  • Make happiness your goal. The way to discover the truth about this life is to discover yourself. Say to yourself: “What do I like and what do I want.” Find out exactly what you want in life. Ask your mind for inspiration about everything. 
  • To progress in life you must give up the things that you do not like. Give up doing the things that you do not like to do. You must find the things that you do like. The things that are acceptable to your mind. 


Full essay available @






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Negative space castings SYDNEY AUSTRALIA –






Email from me to Cal…

Hi Cal it’s lovely to hear from you… so sorry to hear you’ve not been well. Hope you’re feeling better? 4 months of west coast driving sounds soooo great right now!!

When you sent your email I was battling hard to make something… anything work. This whole process has been fraught to say the least. Needless to say my FEAR-LESS/PLAY-MORE goal for this year could be going better. I wish we’d been able to have this chat before though I’m not sure it would have changed anything as the decisions I’ve made along the way (for better or for worse) would still have been mine to make. That said you make some interesting points.

‘….I love casting. I love the idea and technique of it though I rarely like the object it produces.’

It’s fair to say I’ve battled with these pieces though I’m not entirely sure why. I too love the idea and the technique but as for the objects… I’m not sure. The need to complete these was less about how they looked than what they represented. A poor imitation of the original object, a warped view, distortion of the familiar… casting allowed me another means by which to …’capture the intangible and give voice to the space between the visible and the invisible, the real and the imagined’.

 The resin gives life to what otherwise would not have been seen.

I also like how on some, multiple elements are blended together to form something else entirely …far removed from their original form. This has popped up a few times in my work (Series: Beneath the Shadows…) and is definitely something I’m keen to explore further.

Casting a replica of the object and casting the space that they leave behind seem to me entirely different entities. The materials you use and what you do with them next also has huge implications on the perceived success or not of the work… It took me a long time to decide what these should be.

These pieces are so minimalist in their design that every small decision becomes huge. Every change intended or otherwise drastically alters how the piece looks/feels and is ultimately read… times this by 15 and the knowledge that you have no other work and a looming deadline… haha! Happy days! These have been incredibly time consuming but I needed to finish them to see if they worked. In view of the number of setbacks I’m not sure I would have seen them through to the end had it not been for the exhibition. Right up until the final hour it was touch and go as to whether I’d have anything to show…

What if the works not good enough/unable to be finished? What happens if you have an exhibition planned (especially in a gallery situation) and nothing to show? When do you stop pushing the work forward and change tact?

Have you ever been in this situation?

Do you pull out/show the work anyway (knowing it’s not great) or put in old work?? Or do you trust in the process and keep pushing forward (everything crossed).

Thankfully I did manage to pull it together… I was going for super glossy perfectly rendered/flawless objects but it seems my work had other ideas. Due to a catalogue of ‘oh no that doesn’t work’ and being given conflicting information I ended up spraying the resin casts with auto paint to achieve the high gloss I was looking for and had lost during the making process. The complete opposite happened and because I had to spray inside thanks to some very wet weather the end result was a matte white finish with tiny flecks of grey?!

FYI:  The backs were sprayed with dark grey auto paint which is partially visible when viewing the object from the front – man-made shadow! (The backs represent another iteration of the original form).

I think I like them. To be honest I can’t really see them objectively any more but I think they’re OK. They are what they are. I’ve worked on trying to make the forms as desirable as possible. They appear to have a history that is not their own, are visually solid and well made. They reference stone carving, cameos/mementos tinged with a touch of the absurd… “Why preserve this?  What is it?  What was it? Why? They invite speculation/curiosity… simple/honest/recognisable – completely, partially and not at all.

…have roots in history but look completely different.

To me they are objects first and foremost which is why I decided to ask that they be displayed unstrung. (See grid image – grouped to combat the smallness of the work and increase visual impact)

I get bored easily so doing the same thing over and over and nothing quite working as I envisaged was akin to pulling teeth. I’m also fairly anal about my work anyway so working on pieces that demand perfection and leave little room for error has been challenging at best. That said I think this experience has been invaluable – what doesn’t kill ya.

This work doesn’t make me comfortable (yet) but I don’t think it’s all that ‘out there’. I still need to find something of myself in the work I do and like you said;

‘There is a balance of experimenting and pushing then focusing, it can’t always be a new experiment one has to refine the thoughts at some point.’

Not playing it safe is a difficult one as the work also needs to be resolved and suited to a commercial gallery space within a reasonably short amount of time. These can sometimes feel like conflicting parameters to work within… what does ‘safe’ really mean? 

With regards to Holding on…2011 I think this was more in response to a passage of writing I’d read about photography (moments frozen in time). This was also my first proper exploration of heat-shrink rubber and I was interested in how it ‘froze’ around the armature and made visible what until then had been unseen. I was also looking at street art (leaving a mark) and your work amongst others. I think perhaps the distance from my family was also feeding into my making…

This is what I wrote for an assignment about the work:

I choose to concentrate on the idea of exploring more fully the possibilities of heat shrink tubing – to consider form and the idea of creating visual tension. I also brainstormed concepts/ideas that interested me – vintage (objects w/history), erosion /decay, memories (trinkets), mourning jewellery, sculptural forms, implied movement concealment/hidden/preserved….Liked the idea of using material in a way not previously intended – creating feminine pieces from traditionally industrial /masculine mediums.

I don’t think jewellery always needs to be about holding on in fact the work that followed was a conscious shift to work in the present. Looking at perception, interpretation and how this varies from person to person and over time – distortion.  You’re right though it looks like my work is moving back to those same ideas or perhaps it’s never really moved away?!… I’ve always been intrigued by the value systems that transcend jewellery’s material and aesthetic worth something which I think is more inherent (certainly traditionally) in this form of artistic expression.

There have been many who’ve played with the idea of ephemeral jewellery so like your feelings towards negative space castings it feels to me like it’s been done (some of mine have been semi-ephemeral as the forms will warp with exposure to extreme heat ie: hair-dryer). It’s a tricky one as contemporary jewellery as a whole tends not to last as long as more traditional forms of adornment namely because of the materials used. With that in mind much of the design process is taken up trying to make the pieces last/function as wearable objects…perhaps to justify the price/perhaps because so much time and energy has been invested/perhaps because people expect ‘jewellery’ to last… working in a gallery has been a real eye opener!! This is exhibition work though and the idea is still an interesting one.

Haha! Perfect timing I’ve just seen a guy on the news who stacks cards to form intricate ‘ephemeral’ artworks and doesn’t mind when he knocks them down. Eek! I didn’t think so but maybe I’m a ‘holder on-er’– I feel trapped by too much stuff and hate clutter but those things which have a history, are personal to me or I’ve invested time/energy into are difficult for me to give up or knock down!! Everything is always changing so sometimes it’s nice to… freeze?! But not for too long!!

…the history of things intrigues me.

With regards to the Cinefoil idea (picture frame fragments) that I mentioned before… if I were to leave them without resin they would distort (perhaps tear) and the imprint would disappear with continued handling imparting a sense of the precious… something to be treasured/taken care of – fragile!

Off on a tangent:  I also have some plaster casts taken from discarded toy packaging which I did a few years ago. I have no idea what most of them are but they interest me (perhaps more than the ones I’ve just done). They are rougher… only fragments of things. I recently coated them in clear resin to ‘make them last’… they look grubby and stone like. The resin hasn’t soaked into all of the pieces to the same extent so some have a partial shine. I keep envisaging them with really brightly coloured attachments (to make them wearable) and I am so NOT a colour person. Someone suggested I use bright colours on the backs of the resin pieces and my concession to black or white was dark grey… colours in that instance did not make sense to me but these are crying out for it!! Mmmm maybe I’ll do both and see what happens…

NY was great… crazy busy but so much fun. Sightseeing/skating in central park and LOTS of walking!! I tried to see your work at Knickerbocker subway station but the staff gave us completely the wrong information and we ended up travelling in the wrong direction… interesting train trip though haha! Next time. Sad to have missed you!

Ok so I’d better stop adding to this and press send (finally!!)

Take care and all the very best


PS: I’ll send you some images via drop box – off to Sydney next week for the exhibition. Itching to start on something new but so much admin to catch up on ugh! Haha! Speak soon.

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KF quote



…We become aware of the void as we fill it.

Antonio Porchia

Materials: Copper, brass, polyurethane, automotive paint, cord

LisaHiggins_Filling the Void_2015_GUIDELisaHiggins_Filling the Void_2015E-Invitation Handshake 2 final



The result of spray painting indoors when the weather turns to custard… beautiful (not sure the landlord will agree – Eek!)


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Rachel Whiteread’s casts of domestic and architectural voids using plaster, concrete, rubber, and polyester resins create tangible “memories” of normally unseen spaces. In a strange, sculptural inversion, what is invisible becomes visible and what is inside becomes outside. Whiteread’s work is firmly rooted in the reductive sensibility of 1960s Minimalism, but its clear connection to the empirical world expands well beyond the detached abstraction of the previous movement. Her evocations of familiar domestic spaces are often haunting if not uncanny. For example, in Ether (1990), the plaster cast of the space around a Victorian bathtub creates a coffin like form, which, in turn, alludes to the practice of casting death masks.

Other works by Whiteread, like the multi-component Untitled (One Hundred Spaces), are lyrical in the simplicity of their forms and their poetic rendering of space. An installation of 100 polyester resin cubes cast from the voids under 100 different chairs, the sculpture follows the precedent of Bruce Nauman, who cast the space under a chair in 1965 (a concept he said he premised on Willem de Kooning’s advice to render a chair by depicting the space between its rungs). Whiteread’s crystallizations of negative space are here amplified in number and expanded in meaning. Untitled (One Hundred Spaces) constitutes a field, a rainbow of like forms, which requires careful perceptual analysis to be fully appreciated. A grid of unique, semi-translucent units—subtly coloured in hues of blue, pink, green, and orange—the sculpture oscillates between abstraction and reference. It shifts from being an accumulation of mute cubic forms to a shimmering index of everyday life.

Rachel Whitehead 100 spaces

Untitled (One Hundred Spaces), 1995

Resin, 100 units; overall dimensions variable.

Courtesy Anthony d’Offay Gallery, London.



Some societies kill twins at birth. Should this be how we treat duplicate artworks?

 Did Rachel Whiteread know about Bruce Nauman’s ‘A Cast of the Space Under my Chair’ (1966-68) when she began to cast negative space in the late 80s? Does it matter?




Email from Cal to me…

As I was reading about your ghost cast pieces I thought of Rachel Whiteread whom I was a huge fan of but I admit I got a little tired of her work as it seemed to be one idea and an idea that Bruce Nauman had done in the 60’s. Not that I don’t still love that she cast so many objects… I still love seeing them all just as an idea it seems to be a little worn out for me.

I loved seeing her cast interiors at the Victoria and Albert museum in the cast courts. Seeing her minimalist contemporary interior pieces alongside ancient cast replicas was fantastic. I also loved how the cast replicas there were capturing the pieces so that the cast replicas had become more of how the original was than its now deteriorated original.

Rachel Whiteread V A

I love casting. I love the idea and technique of it though I rarely like the object it produces. I am just saying this as a personal proclivity. I have done a lot of casting in plaster, bronze, aluminium and taught a class in negative object casting using Whiteread as an example. I’m not too sure why I find cast objects and negative cast objects uninteresting… perhaps it’s because I have seen too much of it? I’m not sure if I have seen the negative space object done in jewellery. It makes sense to me to be in this context the idea of tokens, memories, keepsakes…

‘Holding on’… 2011

…talks about our connection with the past, our human desire to ensnare and preserve memory and keep close those which we hold dear.

I was thinking about this headline you have and our connections/similarities and thinking about Peter saying that he felt that in your exhibition people were ‘playing it safe’.

I am drawn to your work I find it very sexy, cold and elegant. I almost would like it if I disliked your work more so I could battle with you a good argument is always invigorating I think, well maybe not always. But I was thinking about where our differences are… the idea of ‘holding on’ is perhaps one area where we differ to some extent. I always feel like letting go. I don’t like keeping mementos, was never a fan of keeping things close. I feel like I can think clearer when I don’t have things to hang on to. 

I’m only bringing this up because of the ‘playing it safe’ comment and wondered how I could push you to not playing it safe. However there is a balance of experimenting and pushing then focusing. It can’t always be a new experiment one has to refine the thoughts at some point.

Is Jewellery always about holding on? Preservation? Keeping close?

If so what would the opposite of that be?

It would seem very interesting to me to have ephemeral jewellery or time based jewellery, something that only lasted a few hours or a year. It would somehow seem more special and poetic to me knowing a thing will not last forever.


The artist Rachel Whiteread creates elegant and poetic sculptures which explore architecture, space, absence and memory. Often inspired by the physicality of the human body, her works are poignant for their exploration of intimate domestic spaces and household objects. Whiteread typically uses industrial materials such as plaster, resin and rubber to cast the negative space surrounding or within an object – the murky darkness beneath a bed frame, the void within a humble cardboard box, the space in and around a myriad collection of books. The resulting sculptures retain the texture and shape of the original objects, yet are eerie ghosts of their former selves.




That moment when you realise someone has done what you’re doing. AH!

That moment when you realise you’re doing it differently. HA!



The usefulness of Critiques I believe depends on where you are in the making process but regardless of whether you’re stuck and open to advice or perhaps fixed on a particular outcome and resistant to the suggestions of others Crits offer a different perspective. They help you to see…


(Sometimes the simplest of solutions are the hardest to see.)



Does work need a story? I thought the piece was more important than the idea but after saying it out loud on more than one occasion I’ve noticed that pieces without a reason for being – those without a strong story – are being cast aside in favour of those that do especially with exhibition deadlines looming.






All That Glitters plus text



I feel like I’m making massive leaps away from my usual practice and worry about being true to myself as a maker.

As I continue I realise it’s not that massive a leap in fact conceptually I haven’t moved that far at all.

I’m back on familiar ground… relieved and disappointed.

I worry that the strides forward are small. I worry that they’re too big (too much of a leap… is this me).

I’m caught between wanting to run back to what I know and forward to what I don’t.



So many possibilities the hardest part is deciding which way to go …for me this is what feels right today, what speak the loudest,  what makes sense conceptually and encompasses those things that hold my interest. I feel like I won’t really know if they’re ‘good enough’ until they’re finished which with no backup plan is… AHHHH! but I think I just need to finish something/anything and move on to the next… trust in the process and move forward ha!… wish it was as easy as it sounds!! As I’m fast finding out these will take a long time to finish (minimalist design demands perfection) which makes it that much harder if they don’t work as envisaged.



I’ve also been experimenting with moulded plastic packaging and the space left behind once the item has been removed. I’ve been casting these empty spaces in resin to reveal a warped view of the original occupant. Simple/clean/ambiguous – distortion of the familiar.

I’ve been struggling with how to proceed with these… to just leave as they are lined up and framed or to turn them into wearable works. Just recently I’ve thought about backing them with metal and engraving each one with the name of the original item using font typically associated with inscriptions ‘in memory of’… again looking at the sentiment traditionally associated with Jewellery.

Both these works although aesthetically quite different appear to share the same conceptual traits.

I’ve been trying to give myself time to just play without expectation. I’ve got quite a few pieces that are interesting me at the moment but I’m trying hard to commit to one (or two)… commitment is not my strong point. Every time I sit and begin to work with what I’ve got I find new possibilities to excite and ultimately distract me from finishing what yesterday was AMAZING and today is HO HUM.. haha!

I love having lots of ideas but I wish they’d form an orderly queue.

Anyway I need to make a decision and these to me (at least right now) feel like they’re the closest to being resolved…?! 

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Inspired by shared memories/souvenirs and the idea of the ‘best friend’ necklace (that splits in two)

  • Several fragments that join together (in theory) to form a whole
  • Fragile/delicate detail – embrace or resin for stability? Wall or brooch?
  • Wire frame marked 1 of… etc (series)
  • Skewed version of the original
  • Memento Mori (shared memory)
  • Flakes of ash – salvaged/treasured/preserved. 




I’ve toyed for a while with the idea of collecting ‘imprints’… fragments of my environment that explore texture/contrast/ambiguity of source although as someone pointed out recently I’ve actually been doing this already. Ha!


The same person recommended I look at a material called Cinefoil (sighted at Sydney Biennale 2014. Artists: Hadley and Maxwell, Canada.)

They extract from the original by pressing Cinefoil – a matte, black foil normally used in theatrical lighting – into parts of existing monuments and statues.’  



Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 10.51.13 AM



File 21-04-16, 3 28 24 PM



We’ve just received almost all our exhibition dates for this year… nothing like a timeline to make the year feel very short haha!

  • JULY 9th – Stanley Street Gallery SYDNEY
  • SEPTEMBER 9th – Avid Gallery WELLINGTON
  • DECEMBER (date TBC) – Pah Homestead AUCKLAND






creativity banner






Polystyrene/found materials/resin/foam and rubber in various forms…

in a bid to make sense of the usual ‘brain chaos’ and inspirational firings post workshop.








Six Memos for the Next Millennium











What draws your eye? Catches your inattention?



Feedback from Peter Deckers re: A Place To Consider 2014 (Toi Poneke):

Beautiful work – great techniques/subtle/ornamental – though not sentimental. Would subtle colour use (inside/on the edge) be something to explore? What is the next move? How to grow from here? There is a material exploration/love but maybe work within that a question/enquiry. It might be that other materials (combined?) can work well within that.



All went well (I think)… we all had a quick chat about how the mentor/mentee relationship was going and a small critique on the work. I think the overall impression from Peter was that as a group we were ‘playing it safe’

It’s been and I’ve no doubt will continue to be a huge learning curve. The act of involving someone else in our practices especially given the distance between participants and the public nature of the program is… an interesting one. Everyone it seems is on a different journey but with very obvious/overlapping similarities in process/struggles/expectations and in some cases outcome.

OF INTEREST: There was an obvious focus on object making rather than jewellery.

DISPLAY: With the expectation that lighting would be limited and therefore the creation of shadows near on impossible I sent the work down with a Perspex shelf. Unfortunately (for me) the lighting was great… there was lots of shadowing and although this was interesting I think overall the pieces would have worked better on a wooden shelf… the shadows would still have been there but would have supported rather than detracted from the work (it was ok but not great). The difficulties in designing a display without haven seen the space – a first for me!!

*Email sent to Cal updating her on the Toi Poneke opening/feedback/other work/thoughts and moving forward (inc. images) – MERRY CHRISTMAS!!



Once something is ‘something’ or meant to be ‘something’ do we stop looking… cease to engage?

(Press release doc.)

Desirable oppositions, distortion of the familiar, contrast and contradiction all inform my making as does form and the preservation and interpretation of memory. Attempting to capture the intangible and give voice to the space between the visible and the invisible, the real and imagined… much of my work relies on an emotive response referencing what has gone before and reinterpreting this through material choice and abstraction of familiar forms.

During Handshake my thoughts and making have been fragmented. Snippets of time in which to consider questions seem only to raise more.

‘Don’t worry if you don’t have the answers – mistrust those that do.’  Cal Lane – Metal Artist/Sculptor

Conversations with Cal though not always directly related to the work inevitably feed into its making. She reminds me to value the pieces that don’t work as much if not more than the ones that do. Offering a shift in perspective and a means by which to look at my work anew we discuss the need to allow the viewer a place in which to consider. A place to question, think and experience so as to inspire sensitivity to their surroundings and a new way of looking at and considering the everyday. 


ITS HERE: Our first exhibition opens at Toi Poneke on 21st November @ 5.30pm – ALL WELCOME!!





Ahh!! I’ve just realised how long it’s been since I’ve emailed.

Hi Cal…

Thank you so much for your last emails. I’m sorry that I’ve struggled to fully involve you in the making process… perhaps I should try writing shorter emails or Skype (with a disclaimer that I’ll probably change my mind within the next 24hrs) to keep you in the loop. I knew this would be an issue for me ‘…preferring to sit with my own thoughts until I can make sense of the chaos inside my brain I find it difficult to talk to anyone (it’s not you it’s me) about what I’m doing until it’s done.’

Unlike some of the other participants I guess I also didn’t have a specific goal in mind when I entered into this… preferring instead to remain open and receptive to whatever comes up – cue creative wobbles!!

Your emails were perfectly timed and said exactly what I needed to hear …hippie talk – nah! An insightful and helpful reminder of why I’m doing this – yeah! They also helped pull together and make sense of the numerous thoughts and ideas clambering to get heard. Great job considering I’ve not been the best at conveying ideas and/or intent! I’m afraid I do have a tendency to over think things too… not your fault at all, but I guess this process inevitably adds fuel to already raging fire haha!

I’m constantly fascinated by the way in which people see/experience and interpret the same things differently. This and the ‘want’ to push peoples preconceptions definitely informs my making… familiar enough to attract attention (the lure of the recognisable) but different or unexpected enough to engage and give room ‘to consider.’

How the object is read dependant on place, culture, viewer experience…even labels. There is so much scope here …so influenced are we by environmental factors and the idiosyncrasies of the human condition!

If I’m honest I like that some people don’t understand what I’m doing. I hope that what they see is different from what they’ve seen before… and you’re absolutely right: Disruption of the norm is important – critical even in inspiring …’a new way of looking at and considering the everyday.’

But what happens if this type of disruption or irrational pairing becomes the norm… do we cease to see what was once new?

What happens if we go too far towards the absurd do we risk alienating the very people we’re looking to engage?

I’ve had a few false starts in the run up to this exhibition wanting to run before I can walk inevitably trips me up sooner or later. I tried to introduce new materials but struggled to make them work as I envisaged… fully realising the potential of your chosen material takes time and as I was fast running out of it I began to look at the commonality between ideas; detail, appearing as something it is not, familiar made unfamiliar, contradiction. Nothing new here but I was also planning out everything before I began and nothing was working in the way that I imagined especially with the introduction of new materials…brilliant in my head not so in real life!! After watching a YouTube clip of you talking about Gutter Snipes and pushing material boundaries I decided to take a more playful approach, working without expectation with a material I know well.

Inspired by our discussions the notion of blurred functionality plays a pivotal role in the work. All the pieces can be worn but it’s not immediately obvious how. On first inspection they look like something else then nothing at all and vice versa. Form and detail allude to what they could be but not what they are. Jewellery is referenced but not a defining factor. Familiar made unfamiliar. Preservation and interpretation of memory – skewed/fragile/incomplete…  (Phew it’s hard to articulate the crazy hope that makes sense.)

The jewellery/sculpture discussions have thrown me but in a good way. I had to remind myself what this exhibition was about and although I’m trying (perhaps too hard) to push myself I still feel like I’m holding back… I still feel there’s something I’ve not yet tapped into something more that I can give. My tutor always talked about feeling unfulfilled/unsure/frustrated as a positive that if what you were making was perfect (in your eyes) you’d have nowhere else to go, no drive to try something new…


I ask about an article sighting conceptual artist Gerald Ferguson as a mentor. Talk about the failed and/or unresolved experiments that perhaps could work given more time. My display ideas and concerns. The works of Arthur Hash, Brett Kern and Jeff Koons AND my trip back home for Xmas via San Francisco and… New York!!


I send images of the new work w/statement and turn my attentions to updating the blog… PHEW!!



Cal talks about her relationships with galleries… her favourites, the need to be selective and the realities of learning as you go. 

I would just like to work with one gallery but I haven’t found one that fits right yet. A bit like my love life I guess, I just date and never commit.The galleries usually stay out of my business though, they generally don’t know what I will show until I bring it. Its important to me to have this freedom and to have the trust from the gallery as well.

Cal addresses some of my questions:

‘If it can be remade does it make it less valuable? If it can be remade but isn’t does this make a difference? Does the answer depend on what it is ie: furniture, clothing, sculpture, jewellery?’

I struggle with this question, so far all of my works are originals but I’m not romantic about the idea that I have to make it. Most recently was the commission I did for the subway here in New York which is a series of cut panels… I wanted to hand cut a few and then have the others laser cut to look like the hand cut pieces but they wanted them all hand cut. It was a stupid amount of work for no reason. All of the shovel pieces I do are cut by me and I have had a number of companies ask me to reproduce them. The originals would cost more than the copies. I ended up not doing it and now a company is making lace shovels…not my design so I don’t think I can do anything about it but its something I’m looking into.

But I guess you’re talking about having something remade not manufactured. For me I have remade some of the shovels and wheelbarrows, for the shovels I decided to choose a pattern and limit that pattern to 15. Each one is different but a series. It hasn’t made the work less valuable and I can’t see why it matters if its sculpture, jewellery or furniture. Though its really culture that judges value. The price of the shovel piece kept going up because the demand was there. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life making shovels so the price goes up so I can work on new projects.

‘Weirder still was the fact that she ended up buying a colleagues work which was made of metal and very easy to reproduce …in fact her whole display was one object repeated several times with the only difference between them being the pattern etched onto the surface and whether it was a pendant or a brooch (incredibly beautiful but definitely reproducible!)’

What can’t be reproduced these days? There are a lot of sculptors who make multiples of their work without affecting the value.

‘Who buys your work? Particularly the larger pieces… Do you usually put a statement alongside your work when it’s being shown in a gallery?’

Different people and companies buy my work, I often don’t know who buys it. I know various museums and corporations own pieces.

No I don’t put statements with the work, I like to keep things on a visual level. But my writing is available for those interested.



… and it seems forgetting to take any pictures. (NOTE TO SELF).


CRANKY SKEPTIC TURNS HIPPIE (Cal’s words not mine):

Email from Cal to me…

Hi Lisa

I hope my conversations/questions haven’t caused you to over think things.

I have problems with this myself where I think myself into a fear of making anything.

The most important thing is to just keep making and not worry about it.

It’s important to experiment and value the work you end up not liking, I believe this is the only way to push into new territory which for me is exciting.

I believe all we can do is “raise more questions” as you say, for me there is no answer just more questions.

I mistrust anyone with answers.

Often with contemporary jewellery you hear the words “What is it… what is it meant to be?”

I think once something is “something” or meant to be “something” then we stop really looking at it. Unfortunately people seem to need this categorization to feel comfortable. It would be nice if we could all look at objects/images like a child who hasn’t yet been informed how things need to be. I think part of being an artist is to debunk or retrain your eye to see without judgment of what it is supposed be.  I guess this is where intent lies and where your work is interesting. You play with the “what is it” nicely. I think if someone asks “what is it?” you could say its something new, it has never existed before so “what it is” is up to who is looking at it, because I feel what “it is” is what you are playing with since you have traces of what it was.

It’s true however we have no control of how one sees or reads our work, we need to be responsible of cultural and social trends, we can have an object in one country but it would read differently in another, our intent could be one thing but is useless unless it reads the way we intended.

Though playing with intent is interesting to me. Playing with the viewer’s comforts by making them a little confused at what they are looking at I would hope gives them a place to consider.

It would be interesting to make an object and place it in different contexts to highlight how context changes its reading, or to do a show of paintings and title them sculptures to push the viewer to see them differently.

I think someone like you is even more important in our mono-culture these days, it seems to me that things, places, people are steering towards a bland perception of things, we need artists to keep pushing people out of their boxes so they can be sensitive to what’s around them, so they can themselves be invigorated by their environments no matter what it is.

Am I being idealistic?

I am generally a cranky sceptic so my above hippie talk surprises me.

Well I have to run. I will write more later.







Hi Lisa

Sorry about the delay been a little crazy here but I’ll have time to write later today.

 Talk to you soon.








Re-finery Black rubber, O rings, 925 silver

Interlace #1 Black rubber, O rings, 925 silver

Industrial Weave Black rubber, O rings, 925 silver

De-constructed Black rubber, O rings, 925 silver, stainless steel

Interlace #2 Black rubber, O rings, 925 silver

Blue-Collar Black rubber, O rings, 925 silver

Drapery-esk Black rubber, O rings, 925 silver, stainless steel

WTF (Woven Then Formed) Black rubber, O rings, 925 silver

Delicate Balance Black rubber, O rings, 925 silver

Fancifully Entwined Black rubber, O rings, 925 silver, stainless steel


(Dys) Functional Black rubber, O rings, 925 silver, silk

 *Confession time… (Dys) Functional became a necklace although it was made in such a way as to allow an easy return to ‘object without function’ if desired.




Email extract from me to Cal…

Hi Cal great to hear from you… our group exhibition is almost at an end and my head is going round in circles trying to figure out how best to push forward with regards to producing work for the HS exhibition in November. It feels very close especially as I’m at a loss with what to do… I feel like it has to be amazing that I owe it to you, to this opportunity and myself to produce something… special?! Though something/anything would be a start haha!

I’m happiest when I’m making… when I’m in the zone and have purpose or intention of sorts though if I’m honest I always seem to start in state of flux.

Your right my work is very much material led with the intention of creating the unexpected out of the familiar. Contrast and detail are a continued theme and the work itself although its sits within a conceptual framework is usually (not always) more important than the idea…

The work is not about the body par se but when it’s made weight/scale/materials and construction are all influenced by the fact that it will be worn on the body ie: doesn’t fall apart when you move or hug someone …unless of course I intend it to! I think first and foremost my concern is with the production of a desirable object though concerns around wearability feed into the making process and inevitably shape and direct the outcome of the work.

Interestingly the work is usually viewed on the wall (of a gallery) well away from the body… perhaps the understanding that it will be viewed this way also feeds into the need to make a desirable object that has the potential to either be worn and/or hung ‘jewellery for the wall’…?! In fact much of the feedback I receive draws attention to this apparent duality within the work and more often than not I plan to, though rarely see through the remaking of a piece purely for home/space adornment rather than for the body.

Most of the photos I’ve taken in the past have used a mannequin as a means to display the work but not a person as you pointed out which may suggest that it doesn’t actually need the body to exist or that the presence of a real life person would detract from the intricacies of the work or the conceptual framework to date.. I’m aware that by trying to articulate and I guess explain these processes I’m raising more questions than I’m answering. 

I find this statement really interesting-beautiful:

“I find when an object stands alone as a non-functional object then its only reason for existing is the dialogue it has with its self and its surroundings. It becomes in a sense about the poetry of the piece.”

Often with contemporary jewellery you hear the words “What is it… what is it meant to be?” Perhaps even though it has a function the fact that it doesn’t look or feel like jewellery in the traditional sense of the word means that it still allows for a more ‘poetic’ dialogue?!

Lucy’s work is fascinating and I can see how the body most definitely plays a pivotal role in what she does. With regards to your question “Do you ever make jewellery for objects or nature? “ No but I’m aware of others who have:

I also came across this artist who refers to her art as ‘Street Jewellery’ and who’s aesthetic may be of interest to you… I like the infiltration of lace on the pavement and the cobweb like installations:

These cases would suggest that the term ‘Jewellery’ has become synonymous with ALL types of adornment…


I ask about strategies/process and the galleries involvement in the work.

I’ve ditched the need to make something amazing as its stopping me from making anything at all. Each piece is a key to the next and so I’ll begin… Eek!


I recently heard a talk by Damien Skinner about the importance we place on the ‘one off’ as appose to the multiple… and it got me thinking:

‘If it can be remade does it make it less valuable? If it can be remade but isn’t does this make a difference? Does the answer depend on what it is ie: furniture, clothing, sculpture, jewellery?’

I also spoke to someone who came to see our exhibition and was interested to discover that she viewed my work as ‘able to be reproduced and perhaps (reading between the lines) therefore not as desirable’  this I thought was an odd comment to make as all the work on display could be reproduced. Surely if you do the exact same thing to the exact same materials then the result is likely to be…exactly the same (give or take)?!

Weirder still was the fact that she ended up buying a colleagues work which was made of metal and very easy to reproduce …in fact her whole display was one object repeated several times with the only difference between them being the pattern etched onto the surface and whether it was a pendant or a brooch (incredibly beautiful but definitely reproducible!)

Is this a concern in your work? Is it important to you that each piece is different… or is this just a by product of your process? (I’m assuming they may be similar but not exactly the same?!) Do you redo popular pieces?

Usually my work is virtually impossible to reproduce exactly and I must admit to struggling initially with this change… but just because I can reproduce it doesn’t mean I will!! I find it hard to reproduce anything anyway always wanting to experiment and try something new.

Ok I’d better wrap this up…

Who buys your work? Particularly the larger pieces…Do you usually put a statement alongside your work when it’s being shown in a gallery? Who/what inspires you? What was your favourite childhood toy?

Look forward to hearing from you soon.

All the very best


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Email extract from Cal to me…

I agree with you on the conundrum of titles. I also tend to title my work obvious titles so as to not guide or frame the piece and control how the viewer experiences it. Unless of course the title is part of the piece like “Heart Wrench” “Name Droppings” “Fabricate” But those pieces are about the title.

The exhibition I am working on now is titled “Veiled Hoods and Stains” which I think is both calling it what it is and hinting to the relationship of hoods and veils being items we wear on our heads to hide. I think of them both being symbolic of hiding but for very different reasons; I see hoods as a male sinister thing whether it be the grim reaper, the KKK, hoodies or hoods of religious ceremonies like nazareno semana santa. Whereas veils I view as a feminine object, weddings, the hijab, to protect and conceal, one is about concealing evil acts the other concealing innocence.

One thing I was curious about is when I see images of your work there are no people in them. If you are interested in how the body relates to the object then wouldn’t it need to be seen with a body?

This is perhaps partly why I want to see your work as objects in their own right, objects that don’t need a pin to exist. I guess for me once an object has a function it loses some of its impact, though I do love the idea of unwearable jewellery. I find when an object stands alone as a non-functional object then its only reason for existing is the dialogue it has with its self and its surroundings. It becomes in a sense about the poetry of the piece.

Cal introduces me to the work of Lucy McRae (

I wouldn’t call it jewellery or sculpture…it’s more about materials that she experiments with on the body. It feels to me raw, direct and honest… she calls herself a body architect.

Lucy McRae

I see your work as mainly about materials and inventing new ways to work with them creating the unexpected out of something familiar which I think is exciting.

Do you ever make jewellery for objects or nature? Jewellery of trees or tractors sounds fun to me.

I’ll write more later.  I have some thoughts about the idea of intent.

Chow for now. Cal



Revisit, continue or start something new…?


RE: (A Contemporary Jewellery Exhibition) POSTCARD & IMAGES:

My work has always played with some aspect of desirable oppositions but in this work I fully embrace the idea of contrast and contradiction in relation to craft and the history of the ‘made’…It’s fair to say that revisiting Cal’s work and rereading articles and statements in preparation for Handshake has had an influence:

IMAGES TOP TO BOTTOM: Blue-Collar/Dys-Functional/Promotional material – back view

Blue-Collar - Lisa Higgins(Dys) Functional - Lisa Higginslisa-back (1)



I normally start the making process without expectation (or so I thought) but the pull to make jewellery is always there – internal/external pressure? I’m not sure… a little from column A and a little from column B perhaps… but this is the perfect opportunity for me to do and make whatever… to experiment and explore:             

                                                    ‘ look anew at my work and consider it in a wider context.’




Email extract from me to Cal…

Exciting news about your upcoming show! I imagine, perhaps because of the scale of your work, that you know what you will make before you make it – that you have a clear intention re: material usage and concept before you begin. Am I right in thinking this?

 Are you able to share what you have planned or do you prefer to talk about your work only after it is fully resolved and/or complete?

I usually title my work more so for identification purposes… weirdly I find it much easier to title a series of work rather than individual pieces. I’m really struggling with names for this show though, sometimes the choice is obvious but I worry about giving the work too much baggage that if the names are too specific or carry too much weight the viewer will be unable to attach their own stories to it…that too much information somehow takes away from or dilutes what you’re trying to say (I find this with statements too and try to keep them brief) – I try to keep the names abstract and in some way tied in to the concept of a piece… but what if the piece has little or nothing to say? Work for the sake of work or ‘merely adornment’… though I guess even adornment is saying something!

Nothing then can be ‘merely’ something… what it says will depend on who is viewing it. Why one piece of art speaks louder than another has little to do with artist intent but the relationship forged between object/image/experience and the viewer/wearer. * thinking out loud

(I talk about a painting that had been named by someone other than the artist – in this case not a great idea. How names can influence the reading of a piece and the positive and negative implications of this…)

“I try to step away from the tough rules and focus on making an interesting thing, whether it is an object or an image or an experience”

I really like this idea… by trying to label everything, justify it even, it’s easy to over analyse… put up barriers where there are none.  Although making sometimes feels like a series of restrictions/choices that we impose on ourselves in order to reach an outcome.

My mind has a habit of racing to the end of a project imagining how it will look or even how it will be displayed before it’s begun… I think this is a safety mechanism just checking I can come up with something (a just in case option). Often for me placement on the body completes the making process – influenced by thoughts of gift-giving, heirlooms and the sentiment traditionally associated with jewellery… I guess using unusual materials in a jewellery context also seems to ‘stand out more’ in that it challenges more preconceptions. Very few people see jewellery beyond the use of precious metals and stones whereas sculpture comes in a variety of guises and has done for many years (maybe we’re more used to this)… often the placement of an object on the body adds interest, like the moving of a urinal to the gallery floor. Its voice changes and subsequently what we see and understand changes too.

(We discuss wearability. I introduce Cal to Lisa Walker.)

Of course people’s idea of what is wearable varies greatly… I’ve been consciously making wearable work though not everyone thinks so. Your right though this does put restrictions on what and how a piece is made…often deciding how it will be worn and making it work is rewarding (problem solving.. light bulb moments) but it can also be the most time-consuming, frustrating and ultimately limiting part of the process. Because of this I sometimes sense a greater feeling of freedom when viewing art work in the form of installations/sculptures/paintings etc (not jewellery) this may partly be because I’m largely unfamiliar with the process behind the work and can approach it without the burden of technical knowhow

I think on reflection it’s become a habit for me to think of jewellery as the final outcome. Since leaving school 18 months ago I’ve been making work for specific exhibitions/galleries and competitions where the expectation has been that the piece will be worn… I see a material or object and before I know it its jewellery (in my head) though in the process of making, it rarely ends up as originally envisaged.

(I give info. on our upcoming exhibition. Images and postcard details attached)

I love that the picture I sent evoked a sense of curiosity. It doesn’t have a name yet or any idea what it wants to be… if I stretch it out it measures 8cm long and 6cm at its widest point. I think it wants to be a necklace, but it could also work as a brooch… truth be told I like it just as an object too. The functional suggestion of the piece which is not functional at all is part of its charm and relates to the idea of opposing elements. I often say I don’t know what I’m making till it’s made but this is often still within the realms of jewellery. Some pieces though, like this one, don’t seem to need the body to fully realise they’re potential… I think I’m happy with that?!



Busy busy busy…










Email extract from Cal to me…

I too am not one to talk a lot but I do enjoy a good rant here and there so am looking forward to communicating with you.

 “Isn’t sculpture ‘sculpture’ and jewellery ‘jewellery’..?”

I do like to be responsible for the context I claim to work under/with. I don’t actually call myself a sculptor though I know it is what I studied but I think the title sculpture is limiting, it has its particular history and I think to call oneself a sculptor means to directly refer to this, especially after modernism and its strict rules of what sculpture is and isn’t. I think the only time I would find it interesting to call something a sculpture if it speaks directly to the idea of sculpture but appears to be something totally different, like if it was a sound piece that felt like a physical object or a painting that was more about the material.

I try to step away from the tough rules and focus on making an interesting thing, whether it is an object or an image or an experience.

I read the article/interview of Simon Cottrell I hear what he says though I can’t help thinking how an object just seems more interesting without the jewellery frame, unless again it is used to point out a particular nuance of the situation, I wonder how a dance would be read if it was called jewellery? For me I would see the dance as even more related to the body, like people clinging to each other like gems. I don’t know though the term jewellery still carries with it for me a “mere ornament” value.

I love the last image you sent of the black rubber piece, what is the title of it? Do you usually title your work? It’s funny I can’t tell what the scale is, I thought of it as a small piece as well as a larger piece to try to understand my own preconceptions. I admit I wanted to be a medium sized object because it looks like it could be a functional things and I loved that I had no idea what it does or what it could do. I love the mystery in your work in both material and function.

I don’t think sculpture (I will use this word for lack of a better word) needs to be large; I love the idea of small sculpture, like intimate, precious things.

Do you ever make your work and just think of it as work, a piece an object and not worry about how it would be worn?



IDEAS OF INTENT… past, present, future?!

  • To evoke in the viewer a curiosity of how these pieces came to be
  • Distortion of the familiar – combining contrasting elements for a twist on the traditional
  • Engage the viewer whilst still allowing for personal dialogue



I stumbled across an interview in Klimt02 with Simon Cotterell… check out the first question:


WHY would sculpture be any more appropriate???? Jewellery is inherently a far more intimate form of visual culture. Without even wearing it, just knowing that an object is ‘jewellery’, results in us reading its forms in very a different way. With jewellery we imagine it as being directly connected to our own person, sculpture does not, and cannot do this, it always remains far more autonomous and separate to us as individuals. Sculpture is primarily read in response to its immediate site, its setting, its context. While this is the same when we engage with jewellery, the primary the imagined context for jewellery is the human body, and primarily our own. 

Yes, the communicative potential of sculpture is far more broadly expected by people, than it is within jewellery. But this does not make jewellery any less an appropriate means of expression. My work aims to provide close intimate quiet but resonant engagement over time. Jewellery is perfect for this.

So often I have people telling me they can imagine my works as large sculptures, I find this silly. At jewellery scale these forms are carefully balanced between organic and handmade forms, if increased to a sculptural scale they would become far too austere, too aggressive, all gentleness and quietness would be totally lost. 

When it comes to scale, within jewellery, I do try to make work that sits right on the border between ‘comfortable’ and ‘too big’. Large enough to expand expectations but always carefully considered to ensure that they remain supremely wearable. 

For the full interview visit 



Hi Lisa I’m just off to Ireland for 9 days I will write when I get back. Thank-you for sending the image, wonderful piece. Cal

“Often imagined conversations with your mentor can be just as useful.”  W.F



“Understanding the quality of jewellery, appreciating it and fathoming its point demands no less attention than is needed to express an opinion on a painting or any other form or art.”

Fritz Maierhofer



cal lane veiled hoods and stains




Email extract from me to Cal…

I’m thrilled that you agreed to go ahead despite your reservations and to be fair you’re not alone in your initial placement of jewellery as merely concerned with adornment of the body. I often find myself unable to give a one word answer to what I do… I usually find myself rambling trying to explain and/or offer extra information by way of justification.

Every now and again I decide I’m just going to say I’m a jeweller but at the mere mention of watch repairs, market stalls and mass production I’m off again until I reluctantly succumb to the small sculpture analogy which seems to appease the majority. It never sits quite right though, isn’t sculpture ‘sculpture’ and jewellery ‘jewellery’..?

Although they can incorporate sculptural forms even away from the body my attempts appear to sit more as objects than sculpture… connection with the body still, for the most part, appears to inform its making whether intended or not, wearable or un-wearable. One it seems cannot become the other merely by changing placement or scale alone, each has its own set of rules and a history that precedes present day making. I’m interested in the similarities and differences of our chosen practices and believe you can offer a perspective that a jeweller may not; one that I’m sure will make for an interesting and diverse dialogue and hopefully (fingers crossed) some equally as interesting and diverse work! Haha!

As a jeweller I’m naturally drawn to the body but I also yearn to move away if for no other reason than to see what happens (and to not concern myself with brooch backs and wearability Shh! haha!) My intention is to make jewellery but more importantly to remain flexible and open to all the possibilities this relationship will offer up. This is an opportunity for me to look anew at myself and my work and to consider both in a wider context.

I generally don’t involve anyone in the making process preferring to sit with my own thoughts until I can make sense of the chaos inside my brain… often the act of making helps to make clear ideas and/or intentions but I rarely know what I’m making until it’s made.

How do you work and why? What made you decide to be a sculptor?

 IMAGE ATTACHED: Work in progress for RE: 




“The raison dêtre of jewellery is to relate to the body, a relationship that is imbued with history and rich with symbolism. The codified forms, styles, and materials of jewellery have evolved over time; the symbolic meaning of which is subjective and interpretations are reliant on a relational assessment of the social, cultural and historical context in which the jewellery object was made, consumed and worn.”

 Full essay available @ 



It’s safe to say Cal had her reservations having not done this kind of thing before at least not from a distance and not with a jeweller…

I had initially thought I wouldn’t be right for the position being that I don’t really know much about the history and practice of jewellery, my initial reaction to a jeweller was: Why make jewellery when you can make sculpture? But when I looked at your work and read about your ideas I reconsidered.

I admit I generally place jewellery in the context of adornment like make-up and curling ones hair but I know it’s more complicated than that, its relationship to tribes and rituals as well as jewellery’s relationship to the body makes it such an interesting dialogue.

So I will do my best. I might still crave to separate the object from the body and make it stand on its own. I might still crave to see it in a larger scale but I suspect I will be learning from this relationship.


Short film of the making of the MTA panels by Nick Bohun







For as long as I can remember I’ve been fascinated by jewellery; by the intricacies of its making and the fact that every person owns or wears jewellery of one kind or another. I enjoy watching the transformation from raw materials to finished functional pieces that will be gifted, treasured, admired and worn as an expression of self. These are miniature works of art that can easily be shared but remain personal to the wearer.

Much of my recent work has involved the use of heat shrink rubber to create forms far removed from their industrial beginnings: (Selected images from Beneath the Shadows… 2012)

Thumbnail Pics

I’m currently working on pieces using rubber O rings for a group show in July.



This is an opportunity to take things to the next level, to gain confidence and build strategies that will establish me as a maker. It is also an opportunity to step outside my comfort zone, look anew at myself and my work and to consider both in a wider context. This is a chance to meet the person who unbeknownst to them has in part influenced the direction of my making and to see what happens when they take on a more active role.

I chose Cal because she’s featured heavily in my visual research over the years. 

I chose Cal because her use of material, desirable oppositions, contrast and distortion of the familiar continue to captivate and inspire.

I chose Cal because she is not a jeweller.


cal and me fav things



‘Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.’ 

Gene Fowler



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