Jess Dare ✿ Handful of flowers


29 November 2023

Jess Dare, Sweet Reminder; photo: Grant Hancock

Adelaide jeweler Jess Dare explores the dialogue of ephemerality and metal in a collection of floral works in brass.

Since becoming a parent my children and their influence in my life is visible in my practice. Watching them grow, learn and understand, witnessing how they are in the world, their unconditional love, insatiable curiosity and awe is inspiring.

I am not sure if it’s because of being a parent or just happenstance of aging but my children often remind me of my own childhood and spark memories long put aside.

Up until I was 15 my grandparents lived opposite a cemetery and we used to walk through the cemetery to get to the playground on the other side. I was terrified of the cracked graves, believing that the dead had escaped but I also remember, even from a young age, being fascinated by what was left on the graves; flowers dried and crackly, trinkets, vases, shrivelled blooms barely clinging to their stems, faded plastic and threadbare fabric. There was love in those remnants resting on graves and for as long as I can remember I have sought out these minute details and been enthralled by flowers.

My work is about my connection with materials and process. It’s repetitive, labour intensive, it’s how I think, write and make; I go over it, again and again to stay in that moment, to really understand it, to come to terms with it. Labour-intensive making is my therapeutic balm and a conscious act of un-forgetting.

For over a decade I have used the potent symbolism of flowers; they are alive for the briefest of times, they are a bittersweet reminder of our own life’s transience. The flowers in this exhibition are much more experiential, they convey very personal stories and invite contemplation.

While my making is usually controlled and measured, these works about loss have taken me to a place of discomfort and rawness, leaving joins exposed and imperfect, showing solder and not overworking the metal or sealing it with a gloss powder coat. The rawness in the making reflecting the emotion in the work itself.

As an adult, love and loss are forever present, a part of life, the accumulation of memories, moments, experiences, relationships. The things I make are like an unbound diary, bearing witness to daily thoughts as they come and go, washing over me, tethering me, connecting me to family, people I love and moments in time.

A Handful of Flowers… ponders how people communicate and express love and loss through the act of giving and receiving flowers. It is about love and grief, of processing events in life, of living with loss, it’s about family, it’s contemplative, joyful and melancholy.

Jess Dare Handful of Flowers, Funaki, 17 November – 23 December 2023

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