Making Faces

Research output: Non-textual formCommissioned or Visual ArtworkResearch


Research Background
The dominant mode in contemporary jewellery practice is to create unique one-off jewellery pieces with an emphasis on using conventional materials and methodologies that require a level of skill and mastery. Manon van Kouswijk’s research looks at archetypal jewellery forms and motifs and questions how they can be extended and transformed.

Research Contribution
Making Faces - a jewellery playbook frames jewellery pieces as serial objects and uses a cross-disciplinary and unconventional methodology to activate the pieces beyond a static exhibition. The work consists of 65 beaded necklaces and an artist book. When worn, the necklaces are strands of colour-segmented beads. However, when not draped around the neck, each necklace can be transformed to create the shape of a face. The personification of each necklace is invisible when the piece is worn making the wearable portrait a secret companion known only to the wearer. The beautifully tactile artist book that accompanies each exhibition of the necklaces presents the range of portraits hidden with the configuration of beads. Curator Kate Rhodes describes the work as ‘document(ing) fleeting experiments’ and ‘a proposal for the idea that contemporary jewellery will offer different conceptual leaps and experiences, not only the experience of adornment.’

Research Significance
The project was exhibited globally in major contemporary jewellery galleries; Gallery SO in London, Gallery RA in Amsterdam, The National in New Zealand, and Gallery Funaki in Melbourne. Idea Books in The Netherlands distributed the award-winning artist publication internationally. Designed by highly esteemed graphic designers Ziga Testen and Stuart Geddes the publication was described by judges of the Designers Institute of New Zealand Best Design Awards as a 'testament to an art book that requires a close relationship between the artist and the designer'. The publication included essays by Rhodes, well-known New Zealand jeweller Warwick Freeman, French writer and curator Benjamin Lignel, and University of Queensland anthropologist Diana Young.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationMelbourne, Vic, Australia
PublisherGallery Funaki
Sizedimensions variable
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventMaking Faces - A Jewellery Playbook - Gallery Funaki, Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 13 Nov 20188 Dec 2018

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