Mel Young offers a tribute to the Australian jeweller, Alice Potter, whose embroidered ornaments brought joy to so many.
Last of a series of guest posts dedicated to unpacking – Alchemy Now via the ideas of the natural & the artificial, ending with a tribute to the work of Australian jeweller Alice Potter, to whose memory this issue of Garland is dedicated.
With thanks to @lucypotterlucy & Alice’s family for permission to use images.
Alice was a vibrant, sparkling force. Her practice was characterised by an exuberance of colour & thoughtful meditations on her lived experiences; generously & often humorously shared in her work. Her first solo exhibition, A is Blue, in 2011, drew on her Grapheme-Colour Synaesthesia. This led to Colour: Speaking in Plumes an exhibition exploring the plumage of birds. Alice contributed to innumerable group & collective exhibitions during her career including the Mixquisite Project, which saw 6 jewellers co-create a collection of work in the style of the ‘exquisite corpse’ with each contributing equally to each work.
I especially love a body of work made in 2014; titled ‘You’re more than just fruit & veg’ charted the growth of one of her daughters in utero, via a vibrant, spontaneous and magnificently materially eccentric re-presentation of the weekly developmental size of an unborn child rendered in jewellery and objects made primarily of domestic plastics.
Although known primarily for her jewellery practice, Alice was also an accomplished embroiderer, a skill which also appears seamlessly in her wearable work & objects. Her small, embroidered works burst with colour & texture; similarly, her small-scale linear paintings thrum & vibrate with energy.
Alice curated a truly marvellous series of posts on her Instagram account @alicepotteralice Titled simply ‘some lovely things I have seen today’ these decks of ten images not only shared the work of her peers, but also introduced us all to new, intriguing, beautiful & utterly lovely craft, art, design & ideas.
Thank you, Alice, for sharing your vision of the world with us, for your knowledge and generosity, as an educator & mentor, as a colleague and friend, for making us laugh.
You inspired us all.
We miss you.
Follow Mel Young at @unnaturaljeweller.
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