Zoë Veness ✿ Wayfaring


2 September 2019

Zoë Veness, Wayfaring (Series I), 2019, Nine containers in brass, copper and silver, 6 x 6 x 6 cm, largest, photo: Zoë Veness

As our September Laurel, Zoë Veness applies the most delicate of muslin textile to hard metal and produces a texture of trails that weaves a landscape in brass.

In wayfaring one follows a path that one has previously travelled in the company of others, or in their footsteps, reconstructing the itinerary as one goes along. Only upon reaching his destination, in this case, can the traveller truly be said to have found his way (Ingold, 2016: 77).

Zoë Veness, Wayfaring (Series I), 2019, Nine containers in brass, copper and silver, 6 x 6 x 6 cm, largest, photo: Document Photography

This series of containers marks the first stage of my investigations for Wayfaring, an exhibition project planned for 2021 in Hobart with three other artists; Sarah Stubbs, Sara Lindsay and Bella Dower. Iterative methods and seriality provide opportunities for nuance in surface detail to arise, with a process-led approach or the “way” the primary focus. Informing the making of these containers and the project more broadly are ideas about travelling through and inhabiting places by British anthropologist Tim Ingold who describes wayfaring as an “embodied experience of […] perambulatory movement” (2011: 148).

Zoë Veness, Wayfaring (Series I), 2019, Nine containers in brass, copper and silver, 6 x 6 x 6 cm, largest, photo: Zoë Veness

To create the work, sections of muslin fabric, selected for its loose weave, were first imprinted on to brass, copper and sterling silver using a rolling mill. Following this process, the metal was stippled with a steel punch, then formed into cylinders and silver soldered along the joins. Once all the edges were filed and sanded, the containers were coloured with my torch flame or dipped in a chemical solution to blacken.


The series was made in my workshop at Jervis Bay, three hours south of Sydney, in the heat of this year’s summer months against a backdrop of scribbly gums and banksias. They build on ideas from a previous body of work made in Hobart in 2017 titled New Terrain in an Old World which was inspired by the alpine landscapes of kunanyi/Mount Wellington. In Wayfaring these two worlds interweave with memories of pink dolerite vistas overlaid by views through my window of scribbly gum forests.


Zoë Veness is a contemporary jewellery artist and lecturer at the University of New South Wales, Art & Design. Her work has been selected for numerous exhibitions in Australia and overseas and is represented in collections at the National Gallery of Australia and the Art Gallery of South Australia. In 2016 she moved from Jervis Bay in NSW to Hobart to work at the University of Tasmania in Hobart where she met UTAS graduates Bella Dower and Sara Lindsay as well as lecturer, Sarah Stubbs. An installation of preliminary ideas for Wayfaring by Zoë Veness, Sarah Stubbs, Sara Lindsay and Bella Dower will be on display during Radiant Pavilion in Melbourne from 13-15 September at Studio XL-XS. Wayfaring in its final iteration will take place at Plimsoll Gallery in Hobart in 2021. The Wayfaring project has received assistance through the Contemporary Art Tasmania Exhibition Development Fund. See her previous work on Kunanyi, Mt Wellington, Tasmania

Quotations from:

  • Tim Ingold, Being Alive, Essays on Movement, Knowledge and Description (London: Routledge 2011).
  • Tim Ingold, Lines, A Brief History (London: Routledge 2016).

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