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Keepsake – new jewellery by Emily Snadden

a small item kept in memory of the person who gave it or originally owned it.

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Artist statement

This exhibition explores the traditional concept of the heirloom jewellery object through a contemporary approach to manufacture; the pieces are an exploration of the ‘keepsake’ and my approach to making. I am interested in the way we collect and pass on our treasures to others. These objects are imbued with memories, stories, love and history and therefore continue to exist as reminders of the past as well as providing a keepsake for the future. My work results from a process of bush wanderings, specimen collecting and illustration prior to creation. I am an avid collector of natural objects (lichen covered branches, dry and curled leaves and samples of moss, seeds and rocks). My family will attest to my need to bring home multiple ‘amazing specimens’ on our travels. These objects are treasured and constantly referred to, adorning the spaces in which I live and work, becoming a physical reference point to my artistic process. The works in this exhibition explore this creative process visually through the combination of my sketchbook illustrations translated onto hand illustrated porcelain ‘cameos’, alongside precious metal which mimics the specimens from which they were inspired.

I have incorporated a number of pieces of dendritic agate in the work. ‘Dendrite’ is a Greek word for ‘tree-like’ and is a stunning geological phenomenon of naturally occurring traces of iron or manganese within the agate/chalcedony quartz base. These impurities crystallize inside the agate in branching formations resulting in delicate multi-branched forms. The gemstones I have used in these works are favourites from my own collection sourced over a number of years as they are increasingly hard to acquire. The recurring oval form is an intentional reference to traditional jewellery of the Victorian/Romantic era. The pieces are ornate and bold; embellished with hand cut and engraved foliage, berries and floral components. My work evolves from a love of the Tasmanian wilderness and becomes a re-imagining of the specimens/flora from which they were inspired. They aim to reflect upon the fragility of our local flora and the depth and beauty of the Tasmanian wilderness. Emily Snadden, 2016.

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Emily Snadden

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Keepsake – new jewellery by Emily Snadden

Handmark – Hobart
Salamanca Arts Centre, Salamanca Place, Battery Point, Tasmania, Australia

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