Wreath 2023 wins Contemporary Wearables ’23 Jewellery Award

Can humble sheets of paper be re-worked into fine art objects?

Victorian artist Zoe Veness’s cotton rag paper neckpiece, Wreath 2023, showed it was possible to elevate everyday materials to items of rare beauty when her entry was awarded the $6000 first prize in Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery’s Contemporary Wearables ’23 Biennial Jewellery Award.

Award judge Chloë Powell, Co-Founder and Director of Radiant Pavilion, Melbourne, said the winning piece displayed exceptional technique, combined with a deft use of materials.

“I wanted to wear it as soon as I saw it and then I got lost in the technique, and the time taken to make it,” Ms Powell told Friday’s Award audience at Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery.

“It seems effortless and light, not rigid, and sits beautifully on the body. The ideas behind the piece came together with clarity.

“The viewer doesn’t look at the work and know it is paper. There is strength built into the technique. The essence of contemporary jewellery is to use materials that you would not expect to see worn or have value placed on them.

“The materials, processes, ideals and experiences behind each of these works (in the exhibition) are so different, it’s impossible to compare them.”

Ms Powell said barely a hair’s breadth separated the top two pieces, with Kirsten Haydon’s Ice holds 2023 named the runner-up.

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