Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Studio 20/17 The Conduit

I finally have done it!  I have posted an exhibition before the event.  Studio 20/17 has been kind enough to host my Maser of Fine Art graduating work.  This is my first real solo exhibition since the late 1980's.  That's right, since the 1980's.   Back then it was my graduation from the University of Tasmania.  It wasn't called that then, but I can't remember what it was.  

I had just married Nick, who helped so much to set up that show, as well as setting up this one.  He made the stands for that show, too, though then they were covered in glass, painted black and lined with green fabric.  Thank you Nick.  I wish that we had taken photos but it didn't happen - no camera.  Not only did I have his help but I also had the help of lots of friends - one will be helping with this show also (thank you Matt).  Last time his band played at the opening, this time he will be bumping out.  Nick's brother, Brendan Hackett, who came over to Tasmania to help set up, has helped to paint the new stands for my work. Thank you Brendan. Some of the other people who helped me with that graduation show are still friends with me today.  Others have been busy making their own life, and others have died.  I miss them all even now.

For this exhibition there are new friends helping, some are taking care of naughty children (thank you Beka and Deb), others are hosting us in their home while we are traveling (thank you Siegi).  A new friend, who recommended me for this exhibition,  also wrote an essay for the occasion.  Thanks Zoe.  Here it is:

What’s a memory?
Something warm, my child, something warm.
Something from long ago, me lad, something from long ago.
Something that makes you cry, my boy, something that makes you cry.
Something that makes you laugh, my darling, something that makes you laugh. 
Something as precious as gold, young man, something as precious as gold. 1

Conduit is an exhibition of work by metalsmith Mary Hackett that explores the relationship between hand, metal, motion and form. 

These pieces are about the hand. The hand that made them, the hand that will hold them, and memory of the hand in its absence. Hackett is interested in how the hand remembers objects that it has previously held, not only the physical and common act of grasping, holding, or touching an object, but the associated memories that accompany such an action.

It is the process of making that Hackett is fascinated by, how the hammer, as an extension of the hand, can stretch and compress the metal, how far can she push until it has reached or gone beyond its limit? There is no backward step in her process, just a continuing on, a pushing forward and she readily admits that it is the hand, not the eye that knows when an object is ready.

Blacksmithing is by no means a quiet, clean or gentle pursuit, on the contrary it is steeped in male tradition and history and it requires much force, technique, and physical exertion to succeed. It seems almost incongruous that these modest objects have been created with such force; perhaps this is why the marks of making have not been erased, to remind us how and why these objects came to exist.

Each piece is a whole, with no joins or additions, raised or forged from the one piece of metal. Each copper and steel piece originates from the same source, a pipe. A conduit. Not only then is the exhibition title particularly apt for this reason, but a nod to the conveying of hand and memory into motion and form.  

They sit on plinths up high, allowing you to investigate from all angles and the milky white surface they occupy reflects back another ethereal side of the object. They are placed in the space in such a way that they speak to one another, relating memories and forms back, forth and around each other. These pieces invite you to touch, to hold and cradle them, to pick them up and grasp them. They ask you to wonder how they would sit in your hand, question if would you hold them close or at arms length. Are they heavy or light?  Are they cold to the touch?  Do they warm quickly? 

What is it they remind you of? 

 Zoe Brand curator and jeweller

1 Fox, M. ‘Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge’, Omnibus Books, South Australia, 2012. 

Broken 2



Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Blacksmith Doris

If you have wondered why there have been no posting on the Blacksmith Doris blog it is because it is there is a new one:

For those who don't know about Blacksmith Doris it is woman's blacksmithing group that runs in Melbourne, Victoria.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Studio 20/17 - For the Love of Coffee

I seem to have a habit of writing about an exhibition long gone.

These are images from For The Love Of COFFEE an exhibition held at Studio 20/17 which was curated by Zoe BrandVernon Bowden.  I was unable to attend but I have been told that it looked fabulous.  Other makers who participated:  

We were given a questionnaire on the importance of coffee in our life:

Q1) On a scale of 1 - 10 (ten being the most) what is your level of obsession/need
for coffee?

Q2) How would you describe the level of your daily coffee intake?
I need one coffee a day and then I am happy.

Q3) What does your coffee routine entail?
I have my one coffee at the beginning of my day, unless it is the weekend or in the city
when I have two a day. My morning coffee is made on the stove first thing in the morning.
The only hassle is - who is willing to climb out of a warm snug bed to make it.

Q4) How do you take your coffee?
I have a black espresso, with honey at home. In the city I may I have an extra, which is a
caffé latte (yum) again with honey.

Q5) Could you give us a short anecdote about coffee and your jewellery practice?
I visited a woman whom I admire. Her work is as strong as her opinions and, as it
turns out, her coffee. She poured espressos as I poured out my anxieties. I had
recently completed a post graduate course and felt overwhelmed with fears as I was
struck with the realisation that life was not just about me. I was creatively inert with
panic. We chatted for a long time as the rain came down in torrents outside. It was
cold out but the coffee warmed our hands as they wrapped around mugs. We chatted
about teaching, learning and making through the fear. Her wisdom warmed my soul,
her coffee woke me up. I went home and worked as I hadn’t in a while. That pot of coffee
is responsible for my latest work - for better or for worse.

That is a true story of the work and there is more information about these pieces on The Can Project.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Rammed earthenware

Rammed earthenware by Brill taken from the De Zeen Magazine.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Block forging

This is a video made by Nick Hackett and our son Angus.

Block Forging Part 2 from Angus Hackett on Vimeo.

Friday, September 7, 2012

In Jones Place, West Melbourne

I have been helping Nick Hackett, husband, with his research.  Together we are documenting the blacksmithing of the CBD of Melbourne for his Masters.  You can find the beginnings of his archive at  
While we are hunting I sometimes find beautiful little gems of my own.  Below is the first of these found on our explorations.

I wonder what it had been before it was left lying in this lane way.

abandoned rusted steel 

Found on the path of Jones Place, West Melbourne

Monday, August 6, 2012

Transgression - Pending

The objects hanging.  
The oil on the ropes kept dripping throughout the exhibition. 

Photography: Marc Morel

Broken 2
Photography: Marc Morel

Photography: Marc Morel

Photography: Marc Morel

Ink Pot
Photography: Marc Morel