The Australian National Brooch Show 2015

Review by Cressida Fox

2015 hails the 8th year of the CAS Brooch Show

June to 30 July at the Toorak - South Yarra Library, and 6 August to 25 September at Fitzroy Library.

The Australian National Brooch Show is an exhibition of small wearable artworks by Australian contemporary artists from nearly every state and territory, and this year, we also have international artists from Belgium and USA, making this is a great opportunity to see a collection of works from around Australia and beyond. The 246 handcrafted pieces of unique contemporary wearable art, by 74 artists, are like tiny sculptures, and there are also tiny paintings, prints and drawings made into wearable art cards.


Blue Budgerigar 2, pen and ink, 5 x 8 x 1 cm, by Patricia Martin


The participating artists have been very inventive, using an amazing array of materials, including acrylics, agate, aluminium, bamboo, beads, bone, braid, brass, buttons, cardboard, carnelian, ceramics, collage, copper,

driftwood, enamel, etchings, embroidery, felt, found objects, glass, goatskin, gold, gouache, guitar strings, junk mail, labradorite, laminex, leadlight, leather, linen, mirror, mokume gane, nails, nickel, papers, pearls, pen & ink, pencils, perspex, plastics, pop rivets, polymer clay, porcelain, prints, resin, sandalwood seeds, shells, shibuichi, silver, steel, Swarovski crystals, textiles, threads, timbers, tin, video mechanisms, vinyl, watch parts, water-colour, wire …


Into The Void, labradorite gemstone, Japanese seed beads, Czech glass beads & thread on leather, by Elizabeth Andalis


Owl Time, recycled metal, 3 x 3 x 1 cm, by Aleta Groves


The subjects of these tiny works are equally diverse. Some are abstract arrangements based on their featuring components, such as shells, gemstones, pearls or amber. Some portray things such as animals, birds, insects, fruits, flowers, leaves, forests, faces, frocks, robots, masks, a cup of nails and an unborn baby. Some are about abstract concepts such as moods and emotions, others are based on shapes and patterns. The overall quality of the works is excellent.


I Robot, sterling silver, copper, brass & copper rivets, 8 x 5 x 1 cm, by Amanda Croatto

Cup Of Nails, plastic & metal on mirror, 5 x 10 x 4 cm, by James Ford


Which are my favourites? I have so many, here are just a few.

  • Elizabeth Andalis' 'Into The Void' with labradorite, seed and glass beads, for its beauty and complexity.
  • Odette Arrieta-Shadbolt's delicious looking cross cut vine ripened 'Tomato', embroidery on fabric.
  • Cheryle Bannon's female face, 'Earth Spirit' in polymer clay, carnelian crystal, metal, bead and acrylic.
  • Tessa Benn's 'Mr. Fox' and 'Mrs. Fox', well made from hand stitched pieces of felt.
  • Kylie Castan's 'Cheeky Face', pretty blue and white glazed ceramic with a dash of rose.
  • Caron Cavalier: 'Finch 1' and 'Finch 2', drawing/embroidery on fabric. They made me smile.
  • Sue Codee's 'It Is As It Is', and 'Paper Scissors Frock #1' in etched perspex, dress forms combined with trees.
  • Amanda Croatto's 'Surprise!' (a lady) and 'Masked One' (a masked rabbit) in copper, sterling silver, and brass.
  • Maryanne Cunningham's 'Blue Lady' with flameworked glass, freshwater pearls and a red tassel.
  • Minky Grant's 'Cicada' in hand-carved huon pine, and 'Fairy Wren' painted on timber.
  • Aleta Groves' 'Owl Time' and 'Who Who Time', made from recycled metal and watch parts.
  • Meredith Hoult's 'Silver Serpent' in sterling silver, an elegant serpentine form on a silver disc.
  • Glenda Kent's 'Frock Icon' in white and pale blue glass.
  • Ann Krause's 'In Monet's Garden', flowers made of copper sheet, copper wire, brass sheet, bead and vinyl.
  • Lily Langham's 'And Off They Went', the girl riding the wolf, in sterling silver, brass mesh and 9ct gold leaf.
  • Amanda Lawrence's 'In Your Dreams!', a pig with wings in shibuichi, plastic itunes card & sterling silver.
  • Denise Martin's 'Lavish Labradorite ', a 150ct labradorite cabochon with silver wire and seed beads.
  • Barbara Nanshe's 'Day and Night Park Ranger' made of watch parts, oil tin, brass, aluminium, found objects.
  • Amanda Purkiss' 'Dragons Eye Passion' with a glass “eye”, wire and Swarovski crystals.
  • Rona Sissons' baleful looking 'Curiouser And Curiouser: The White Rabbit', in fired white ceramic.
  • Gail Stiffe's 'Fossil 15#2' in mixed media, appearing stone-like, but formed in hand-made paper.
  • Jill Yelland's 'Spring Colours 1'& 'Spring Colours 2', beautifully coloured leaves in kiln-formed powdered glass.


Tomato, polyester embroidery threads on repurposed fabric, 5 x 5 x 2 cm, by Odette Arrieta-Shadbolt

Curiouser And Curiouser: The White Rabbit, fired ceramic, 1 x 5 x 2 cm, by Rona Sissons


The Australian National Brooch Show 2015 has been receiving great attention from and giving great delight to the general public, as well as the very helpful library staff. People were coming up to buy brooches while we were still setting up the show at Toorak - South Yarra Library, and more visitors and buyers came to our special ‘Try and Buy’ event on Saturday 13 June.

The show ends at Toorak - South Yarra Library on 30 July, and reappears on 5 August at Fitzroy Library, where there will be another special ‘Try and Buy’ event on Sunday 9 August. You can also view all of the works in the show on the CAS website, at


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