Review .... CAS Brooch Show 2013

Opening 5th May 2013

Review by Heather King

Our SIXTH popular and ever growing show was opened this year, by City of Yarra Councillor Roberto Colanzi.

Our President Robert Lee, during his introductory speech, told us that we had 316 entries from 97 artists, and, an amazing array of materials were used, including, (and this is not an exhaustive list):

“Rhinestones, embellished textile, plastic, copper, freshwater pearls, coloured pencil, vintage watch faces, fabric, mica, stainless steel, aluminium, linocut, canvas, gold leaf, glass, wire, bronze, beads, amethyst crystal, ceramic, tanzanite, white gold, leather, chain, mono print, resin, bone, plywood, polymer clay, paper, cowhide, found objects, mixed media, buttons, felt, twigs, sterling silver, re-purposed coffee tin, Czech crystal, watercolour, etching & aquatint, enamel, banksia nut, vintage stamp, buffalo horn, fridge door panelling, stone, bamboo, laminex, shell, moonstone, lace, zircon, sequins and zips.”

Robert was happy to announce that our show is now larger than the American brooch Society’s Show. This year, they had 312 entries, and we had 316! We Have had nearly a hundred more than we had last year. This year we had entries from every state in Australia and some entries from New Zealand.

On a slightly more serious note he asked us all to sign the petition to the council to get our brooch show added to the City of Yarra “ Whats’ On” advertising, as it seems incongruous that we are not included.

Cr Colanzi started by recognising the Wurundjeri people as the custodians of the cultural heritage of this land. He gave apologies from Mayor Jackie Fristacky, as she was unable to attend due to a family illness. He acknowledged the hard work of the Artists, CAS Committee, members, and volunteers. He then gave a gracious speech emphasising the importance of art in society and art in the library, pointing out that a show like ours adds to the library users' whole experience. He went on to voice support for our Society and for the 25 years the Contemporary Art Society has been active in the City of Yarra.

He has been to all of our previous brooch shows and has watched with delight as it has grown from strength to strength. He congratulated the society on producing work of such high quality and variety, and he was pleased to note that we had entries from overseas this year so the brooch show is now well truly and international event.

It was lovely to see so many people crowding the show space, and the queue at the sales table gladdened the hearts of artists and the volunteers. It is so encouraging to see our hard work appreciated.


A bit of background: The set up for the show took place on Wednesday 1st May, but this was just the final leg of many man days of work by the committee members and volunteers. The work starts with Cressida Fox who first receives the work, and begins the arduous job of cataloguing. The works have to be checked, sorted alphabetically, labelled (to those that don’t have them), and brooch pins attached (to those that don’t have them), and then numbered. Rosemary Mangiamele and Heather King helped Cressida with this. Robert now photographs them all, ready for the website.

So the great day arrives and a merry gang of helpers arrives at Fitzroy Library ready to start the installation! First, Robert shows us how many brooches are to go into each case; this is a quite a challenge as we have never had so many brooches! We might need more display cases next year! Once we have worked out the layout to everyones approval we being pinning up the brooches. There are 12 cases and 316 brooches.

A mere 5 hours later we are pinning up the last brooch and we are all very happy with the outcome it looks wonderful. The lighting leaves a bit to be desired, but hopefully, next year, it will be a bit better.

Thanks to all the helpers on the day, and on set up, including, Robert Lee, Fred Fair, Cressida Fox, Rosemary Mangiamele, Kathe Ostermark, Heather King, Karen Foley, Edit Meaklim, Antonietta Sanfilippo, Bonnie Coote. And Loretta Krelle.

The works: there are two modes of entry into the brooch show, the “Make your own” and the “Wearable Art Card”. The “Make your own” option can be three dimensional, and the artist can use 3D objects such as beads, stones, feathers, plastic, wire, other findings, on your own structure, with a maximum size 10 x 5 x 3cm. The artists attach the brooch pin themselves.

The “Wearable Art Cards“ are 2 dimensional pen & ink, watercolour, pastel (sealed with fixative), gouache or acrylic paints. CAS volunteers laminate each “Wearable Art Card “ and mount it with a brooch pin. Maximum size for “Wearable Art Cards” is: Height: 7.9cm x width: 4.7cm.

There are so many wonderful brooches in the show it would be impossible to review them all in the space I have available so I will pick just a few from both categories to give an indication of the breadth of work on show.

“Make Your own”: Time Flies by Adrienne Barrington, a quirky steampunk style, a very tempting piece (all her other pieces have already sold!). Cirrus Fibratus by Carrine Berlatier, a lovely piece in silver glass and shell. 14 Pieces of Silver by Joy Blakeley. This charming one suggests to me parts of a deconstructed robot. It’s life turned to chaos. Pensive by Amanda Croatto. I just love this one. It evokes for me just what the title suggests. Cerridwen by Margaret Hubbard. The colours are lovely, reminding me of the beautiful pottery from Spain and Portugal but the title is the name of a welsh enchantress from Welsh mythology.

“Wearable Art Cards”: Emu by Yvonne Jemmeson, beautifully drawn sketch, in such fine detail. Apple Apple by Kylie Castan, lovely use of colour. Mirror, Mirror On The Wall by Julie Harrison, an intriguing drawing that leaves you wanting to know the rest of the story. Faceless Men by Carmel O’Connor. Charming sketch of an every day scene, rendered, poetic.

So many other artists deserving of a mention, like Graham Dean, Christopher Hardwick, Kes Harper, Jennifer Hemsley, Robert Lee, Ian Bonde … and on and on, but it would take me all day to do them justice.

As you can see (click for image gallery), there is a great variety of styles and materials in the show with a wide range of prices. Something for everyone. There are so many other works to see and you may or may not agree with my thoughts, but come and have a look and make up your own mind, but do sooner rather than later as we have had a steady flow of sales!


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