The Australian National Brooch Show 2022 

the 14th year of the CAS Inc. Brooch Show

23 April 20 26 June

Fitzroy Library, 128 Moor St, Fitzroy

Special Try & Buy Opening Event: Sat 23 April 11am - 1pm

  Review by Ann Ravenshield  

The Contemporary Art Society of Victoria Inc. has been calling on artists for the past 14 years to submit works in The Australian National Brooch Show, an exhibition of small wearable art works. This year, the CAS committee selected 415 imaginative artist created brooches made by 101 artists throughout Melbourne, country Victoria and most States and territories, including many rural and regional areas. The Event was Introduced by CAS President Robert Lee and Opened by Councillor Amanda Stone.


Setting up The Australian National Brooch Show 2022

Robert made everybody feel very welcome prior to the beginning of the speech and mentioned very early on that there were 415 brooches in this year’s exhibition, whilst in New York there were 400 at the Pin Society’s event, so this exhibition is again the biggest annual brooch show globally. (As an aside, the brooches submitted this year were up by 100 on last year’s Australian brooch show, demonstrating that there is continuing growing interest from the Arts community for this unique cultural event). Robert’s observations drew laughter from the crowd assembled at which point he mentioned the high level of the creativity of the artists this year and that the price range of the brooches is from $20 to $1,200, before introducing Councillor Amanda Stone to open the show.

At the start of the Try & Buy Opening Event

Councillor Amanda Stone opened the show with acknowledgement to the Warunji Burung people, the traditional owners and the true sovereigns of the land now known as Yarra. We also acknowledge the significant contributions made by all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to life in Yarra and pay our respects to Elders from all Nations and to their Elders, past present and future.

Councillor Amanda Stone shared that the City of Yarra is very pleased as a Council to support this exhibition, it’s part of their 2022 City of Yarra Exhibition Programme. Each year the exhibition programme provides an opportunity for artists to showcase their work, make creative use of their venues such as their libraries and other places and provides local people and the wider community an opportunity to enjoy arts and culture as an everyday experience. She went on to say that this is something that they are very focussed on at Yarra, that the Arts are to be an everyday experience making arts available to everyone where they are, the brooch show in the library is a very good example of that.


Listening to the opening speeches

Congratulations were given to the Contemporary Art Society of Victoria for producing the show under difficult circumstances, despite things getting better and providing an opportunity for artists particularly in a post Covid period. Councillor Amanda Stone reiterated Robert’s observations, that this year’s callout saw a record number of entries: 101 artists and a record number of brooches 415 from every State and every region across the country, showing its popularity from year to year.

The show is always highly anticipated, it’s a very popular show on Yarra’s calendar and it draws many visitors to the library for things other than just the books. Councillor Amanda Stone assured everyone that no one will be disappointed this year! Referring to Robert’s lead earlier prior to the Opening speech, she enthusiastically declared that there is something for everyone from $20 to $1200. Councillor Amanda Stone said that the $1200 brooch is very beautiful, yet assured us they all are. They are all very creative, have been driven by the Covid period creative boost, seen right across the Arts and artists have made use of a very wide range of materials. Councillor Amanda Stone went on to thank all the artists who have participated in this event and particularly for sharing their work with the community, which is something the Council really wants to see happening in Yarra.


Our President with City of Yarra Cr Amanda Stone of Nicholls Ward

Councillor Amanda Stone then thanked above all else all the volunteers who put the exhibition together, involving hundreds of hours, from the creating the catalogue thumb tacks with all the numbers, to making sure the brooches all fitted in the display cases, which is a work of art in itself to put it together. Councillor Amanda Stone thanked Robert and the committee at the Contemporary Art Society of Victoria for all of their considerable work and leadership. She mentioned that she doesn’t know if they stimulated the Miniature Show that’s coming up on the ABC, but there’s certainly been an interest in small things and beautiful things. Councillor Stone then advised that this show is continuing until the 26th of June, and asked people to please make sure they encourage others to have a look before it moves on to another venue. Councillor Amanda Stone then congratulated the Contemporary Art Society, the volunteers, all the artists and thanked them for making this exhibition available to all of us. Thank you, Amanda, for such a lovely speech! It was met with loud enthusiastic clapping and sounds of happy people laughing, talking and revved up to look at all the beautiful brooches on display.

Cr Amanda Stone giving her speech

The crowd was amiable and listened with great focus and interest to Councillor Amanda Stone’s inspiring and uplifting speech. Everyone was relaxed and happy and enjoyed their free snacks and beverages, which flowed freely throughout the event. People were keen to purchase brooches, some people bought as many as six for family and friends. Others were collectors who were keen to snap up small detailed works to add to their collection. Yet others were buying in advance for Mother’s Day and some were buying themselves a gift.


Guests and our volunteers listening to the speeches

As Councillor Amanda Stone said, the artists in the show have made very creative use of a wide range of media. The list includes: ceramic, repurposed vintage items, glass, plastic, enamelled metal, polymer clay, handmade felt, beads, paint, polymer clay/mixed media, framed resin cabochons, air dry clay, printed fabric, fused glass, weaving, metal assemblages, handmade glass beads, resin, cards, wire, Pebeo glass paint, wire crochet, soldered metal, pencils, coins, appliqué, embroidery floss, sea glass, cast metal, embedded resin, complex soldered wire, face molds, locks, retro and vintage upscaling, sequins, netting, ribbon, machine embroidery, wool, mono prints, photo cabochons, knitted wire, paper collage, vintage prints, wire sculpture, beaded wire sculpture, semi-precious stones, Swarovski crystal, all seeing eye beads, kilt pins, seed beads, metal shim, mother of pearl shell, buttons, crocheted wool, fabric printing, painted air dry clay, wood, Mah Jong tiles, anodised aluminium, beads, bone, brass, cotton, copper, diamonds, denim, enamel, faux fur, gold, gold leaf, glow in the dark paint, hemp paper, ink, jewellery, mohair, opals, polyester, paint, paper mache, platinum lustre, plywood, rayon, silver, stone, stainless steel, silk, titanium, tin, timber, urethane, varnish and so on…:)


A sample case of brooches

The themes were as varied as the materials and included: happy faces, smileys, animals - cats, birds, newts, sheep, foxes, chickens, frogs, elephants, dogs, poodles, crocodiles, fish, llamas, turtles, snakes, butterflies - angels, hearts, flowers - spring, contemporary, lotus, English cottage garden, gum leaves, trees, tree of Life, fruit, acorns, Asian floral theme, pressed flora, Australian flora, botanical studies - feminist, transgender, conceptual weather themes, cyclones, Venus, goddess, Wicca, positive affirmations, artists palettes, metamorphosis, galactic, teapots, buttons, bags, hats, the Eye, Santa, Scottish themes, skulls, rocking horses - and this list is by no means exhaustive!

16.5% of the works were sold at the Opening event, which is fantastic, given lingering Covid jitters, a bright sunny day outside and a long weekend. It just goes to show that people are supporting this exhibition and local artists and through their valued support are enabling the brooch show to grow stronger and more vibrant every year. Some of the observations made by people in the crowd about the exhibits: the works are brighter this year, which is reflected everywhere from fashion to the Arts in general - possibly demonstrating people’s resilience in these unprecedented times. Also, people generally felt that more effort appears to have has gone into the brooches due to more available time afforded by the lockdowns of the past year, which is a testament to positive and proactive use of time whilst being well… locked down!


Our Treasurer and a happy brooch buyer

Popular items that sold at the Try and Buy event included: ceramics - flowers, cats, hand bags, birds and pressed lace. Upscaled retro found objects, bright plastic assemblages, smiley faces, wire knitting, vintage print collages, caned polymer clay, fused glass animals - including dogs and foxes - enamelled silver, mother of pearl, faux polymer clay turquoise, positive affirmations alphabet beads, artist palettes, butterflies, crazy cats, Mah Jong tile doll, abstract metal wire, Kawaii happy cloud, embroidered felt forms, Sashiko embroidery, mixed textile media, hand painted abstracts, the Eye, contemporary style embedded resin, sea glass, lock assemblage, bold contemporary floral appliqué, porcelain poodle, gum leaves, mixed media fan, painted glass cabochon, glazed ceramics, faux ceramics, kilt pin brooches, love of nature themes and more!


One of our Committee Members and volunteer sales people

The Contemporary Art Society has excelled in making a beautiful online presentation of ALL 415 brooches which Robert has photographed individually and so the as yet unsold works may be purchased online prior to the next Try and Buy Event in Eltham. You are welcome to visit the CAS Website Gallery of all the beautiful brooches:

Please note the catalogue number, title, price when filling out the online purchase form. All brooches purchased online are to remain on show and can be collected at the end of the exhibition.

Please direct all Sales Enquiries to CAS secretary, Cressida on 0407 059 194 or (03) 9428 0568. Please note: the Fitzroy library does not handle art sales.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for making this year’s show such a great success. It’s events such as this that help keep artists focussed on producing art and on track with their own artistic process, especially during these challenging times.


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