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Wearing Art Jewellery

In the lead up to the new exhibition at Craft Council of BC – Jewellery Dialogue: On and Off the Body – Louise Perrone speaks about the responsibilities of wearing art jewellery.

When we began thinking about this show, Jan Smith and I talked about art jewelry as a dialogue. You can look at art jewellery as a conversation between the maker, the wearer and the viewer. As Jan said in her previous blog post, the value in art jewellery is not in the materials, gemstones or precious metals, but in the authorship of the maker and the ideas they are expressing through their work. There is also an important element of performance that takes place when art jewellery is worn.

Since I started learning to make jewellery I have rarely worn anyone else’s. My teachers at Alberta College of Art and Design, Charles Lewton Brain, Dee Fontans and Sarabeth Carnat encouraged their students to wear their work as often as possible. I felt I had a responsibility to wear my work and represent myself. It has served me well in the past as a way of connecting with gallerists and collectors, but it goes deeper than that. Seattle based jewelry artist Melissa Cameron recently talked about making the deliberate decision to model her own work in the photographs for an exhibition catalogue, because she felt she had a responsibility to stand behind the message of her work. Wearing art jewellery means standing behind the message and the ideas of the maker.

Over the last year or so I have been lucky enough to acquire some fabulous pieces of art jewellery made by my contemporaries and I have gradually begun to break my self imposed rules about wearing my own work. Its been an interesting experience, wearing art jewellery without the added responsibility of being the maker. In wearing another maker’s work I am allowing them to convey their message through me. When people ask me about the jewellery I am wearing I am giving them my interpretation of the piece, based on my experience of wearing it, rather than the intimate knowledge of the process that went into making it. In some ways this makes the message clearer.


Jewellery Dialogue: On and Off The Body – an exhibition by Louise Perrone and Jan Smith runs August 18 – September 29, 2016
Opening: Thursday, August 18th, 6-8 pm
@ Craft Council of BC
1386 Cartwright Street, Granville Island

RSVP here!

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