Here in New Zealand I have been busy making rocks. In Germany Henriette writes verse, and by some kind of providence my jewellery and Henriette’s words sit quite nicely together. Actually no, there was no divine intervention here – our particular collaboration is directly related to the two years I was mentored by Henriette during Handshake2.
Some time ago I saw an exhibition that included photographs of stars by Warwick Freeman. They came from a box he had labeled “I collect stars”. I stole that idea and when I first met my Handshake mentor, Henriette Schuster, gave her a rock from my own collection with a note “I collect heart shaped rocks”. This small gesture placed me in New Zealand and located me in the world of contemporary jewellery. In return Henriette gave me a collage of a mountain range, in my mind European, with a small door cut out of the centre. The door swung open.
For the collaboration project we worked to the theme of silence and the temptation is to not say anymore about it. The interest in silence came about through a reluctance to explain everything; to illustrate theory, and during Handshake2 I learned from Henriette to leave enough space around work for other interpretations. During the mentorship and then our collaboration, Henriette sent images from her life and her practice.
Rocks featured a lot in our exchanges over the last couple of years so we settled on the rock to represent silence. A universal motif in many ways, rocks speak to ancestry, collecting, memory, and material though the rock says nothing until we story it with our own narratives. This idea that we animate the inanimate is part of my story. Breaking from a long history in NZ of using stone as a material, I chose to cast rocks in resin to bring lightness to the work. These rocks are hollow and reflect an interior life that Henriette speaks of in her verse.
In the meantime, Henriette used words to represent silence. She wrote verse and her story speaks of stillness, silence, and longing. At the Objectspace exhibition the rocks and the verse are scattered on a table – a sideways glimpse into our collaboration.