The Australian National Brooch Show 2021  

the 13th year of the CAS Inc. Brooch Show

8 May  to 1 August

at Fitzroy Library

  Review by Maryla Juchnowski  

Arriving at the Fitzroy Library for the Australian National Brooch Show Opening and Try & Buy event, people were amazed at the array of brooches, 316 in fact, from 75 artists from nearly every Australian state and territory. The area filled up quickly with eager visitors, including many regular buyers to our exhibitions, who were wanting to view and buy this year’s brooches. There were also many new faces.

Setting up The Brooch Show at Fitzroy Library

Wall signage courtesy of Fitzroy Library

The exhibition, supported by Yarra City Council, was opened by Cr Sophie Wade from City of Yarra Local Council. Cr Wade expressed her delight at the range of styles and techniques and returned later in the afternoon to buy several brooches and City of Yarra Visual Arts Officer Brona Keenan accompanied her.

Cr Sophie Wade from City of Yarra opening the exhibition

Buyers at the Opening

Looking at the exhibits, one could see a common “nature” theme which included birds, butterflies, frogs, turtles, pelicans, plants and flowers, and also tiny landscapes. Many were realistic representations while others were abstract in design.

The artists this year range from professional jewellers using precious stones and metals, to people who don’t usually make jewellery (e.g. painters and sculptors) who “had a go”, had fun, and made some amazing tiny pieces of art. The median price of the brooches is around $40. They range from ridiculously cheap at $15, to two 18ct gold brooches with genuine green and brown sapphires, at $2,000 and $3,470.

Bewegtes Wasser I – Homage to Klimt, by Dorothy Erickson

The case with the most red dots

"You can make almost anything into a brooch” commented one of the exhibitors, and if you consider the styles, the designs and the materials used, one can definitely agree with their observations. The materials used this year included: acrylics, beads, blown glass, bobbin lace, bone, buckles, buttons, cedar, ceramics, chain, coins, collage, cottons, crochet, crystal, clay, cyanotype print, earth magnet, wool, embroidery, enamel, fabric stiffener, fabrics, felt, foil, fossilised coral, found objects, pearls, glass, gold leaf, grape vine, ink, kimono silk, knitting needles, lava stone, leather, leaves, metallic powders, metals, nineteenth century nails, oils, papers, patchwork, pearlescent powder, pen, pencils, perspex, plastics, polymer clay, porcelain, pressed charms, prints, raffia, recycled materials, metals, resin, rivets, roof tile, sapphires, shellac, shells, shibuichi, shoe clips, silk, gold 18ct, sterling silver, stones, stoneware, tiddliwinks, tile, titanium, semi-precious stones, transferred images, turban shell, twine, vintage items, wire, wood.

So many different materials, from textiles and titanium to silver and turquoise

It was great to see so many people enjoying this year’s Brooch Show, and the sales were extraordinary, breaking all previous records, with 81 brooches sold at the Try & Buy alone. So you have to get in quick to get that special treasure, but you can still see all 316 of this year’s brooches on the CAS website.


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