OPAL – ‘Australia’s National Gemstone’ – Art Exhibition
In celebration of 140 years since the first discovery of Opal in Queensland, Winton’s Outback Regional Gallery will host an exhibition of Opal Jewels and Artifacts in honour of our National Gemstone.
The exhibition will boast the artistic creations of Award winning Australian and overseas Jewellery designers and leading Opal lapidaries.The exhibition will be held in the Outback Regional Art Gallery within the Waltzing Matilda Centre in Elderslie Street from June 28th until July 15th 2009.
Contributing Opal Jewellery Designers and Artists
Daniela L’AbbateOriginally from Italy, Daniela has been passionate about the opal industry and opal cutting for 22 years. To fulfil her passion she moved from Melbourne to Lightning Ridge where she now lives and works.
11 years ago, when opal-production became scarce, she instinctively rebelled against the trend of cutting Opal in the traditional cabochon style, as this tends to grind away precious material and concentrated on developing her own carving technique.
The resulting carvings, a unique confluence of nature’s art and human artistry, were first appreciated by Vicki and Peter Drackett of “Down to Earth Opals”. The combination of their promotional efforts and the uniqueness of these distinctively sensuous shapes have been causing a ripple on the glassy surface of the opal world.
Rey JelbertRay Jelbert is based in Townsville working in conjunction with Jewellery by Design, she designs and makes exclusive commissions for people all over Australia. The inspiration for her work comes from the gem itself and once she has placed the gem on to a sketch pad the creation is formed.
The two pieces in this exhibition are called Medussa and Sunset over Aldbrough. Medussa won the Boulder Opal jewellery design competition, novice section in Winton 2007 and Sunset over Aldbrough came runner up in Queen of Gems Boulder Opal competition 2008.
Rey has also entered various other pieces of jewellery in competitions throughout Australia. The latest piece was in the Sydney 2008 JAA Jewellery design awards, titled The Mermaids Purse. This was made with a locally farmed Mabe Pearl, Rose gold and diamonds witch is currently on exhibition and for sale at Jewellery by Design in Townsville.
Leon ParryLeon Parry has been a Professional Jeweller for 27 years. In 2006 he was a finalist in the Australian Jewellery Design Awards. In 2007 and 2008 Leon won the professional category in the Queensland Boulder Opal Jewellery Awards. Leon has now settled in Winton and has become involved in the Boulder Opal Industry.Noella ChelmanBorn in Coffs Harbour, NSW and married to Mike with children and grandchildren. Living at Opalton for the last 8 years. Hobbies – Making Opal Jewellery, Painting, Sculpting, Leatherwork, Fossicking for Opals, Just about ANY crafts Enjoys the lifestyle, with the peace and tranquility providing constant inspiration for her art.Lucy GodorojaLucy Godoroja was born in Canada to Russian migrants, and from an early age was influenced by the contrasts of European culture and the intense beauty of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. She began her design career first in graphic design, then in design draughting in engineering and architecture.
After a four year sojourn in Amsterdam, Lucy took up permanent residence in Sydney in 1989. She studied jewellery design under Australian Award Winning Jeweller, Rex Steele Merten, and continued design and manufacture at Enmore Design Centre. Training took place under Craig Hill Jewellery Manufacture, with Craig continuing in a mentor role.
In 2006, Lucy began teaching in the Jewellery Trade section at Enmore Design Centre, keen to share her knowledge and give to others what she has been privileged to learn.
Philosophy of design
“I am keenly aware of my surroundings and observe all that is around me. I am striving to create pieces that resolve the chaos of modern life and return to a sense of calm.”
Denise HolderBorn in England, immigrating to Australia at a young age. Married to Graham with children and grandchildren. Living part-time at Opalton for the past 3 years. Denise lists her hobbies as Painting, Photography, Embroidery, Making Opal Jewellery, Reading, Crosswords. Finds this area particularly beautiful and loves to paint and photograph everywhere outback. She is always inspired and always searching for the next photo.Kevin WongBorn in Guangzhou, China
Five years old – moved to Hong Kong where he grew up and was educated
15 years old – stopped school – worked in a knit garment factory
18 years old – became a trainee in learning to cut and polish Coober Pedy opal
In 1978, started to work for Quilpie Opal Hong Kong Ltd as a workshop foreman where he became more knowledgeable in boulder opal. He then met Mr Desmond Burton, the partner of Quilpie Opal H.K. Ltd
1981 – Desmond Burton offered Kevin to bring him and his whole family to go to Australia to work for him in Quilpie, Queensland.
1984 – the Wong family, including his wife Eling and his young children, son Ming and daughter Kerri, immigrated to live in Quilpie. Two years later, his daughter Cora was born.
In 1990, Desmond Burton passed away and Kevin left Quilpie Opals two years later and started up his own business as a miner, cutter and trader of boulder opal. Kevin and his family continued to live in Quilpie for over the next decade.
In 2007, Kevin left Quilpie due to lack of business opportunities and moved to Brisbane where he continues his cutting business and being a leading expert in boulder opal today.
Other factors of note:
After he left school at 15, went to evening school after work to learn English. Son and daughters left Quilpie for secondary and tertiary studies and Brisbane.
Sandra De JongSandra came to Australia in 1984 after having done Visual Arts (sculpture) in Holland. She became involved with Opal when her girls were little and she hasn’t looked back. They moved to Winton in 2006 and Sandra is working full time with Contract cutting, Carving and Freeform jewellery.Baer JewelsBaer Jewels was established in 1988 as an atelier in Hong Kong, Peter and his wife Doris’ duplex showroom and workshop is a unique concept in the heart of Central. Peter Baer is an award-winning designer who apprenticed in his native Switzerland and studied gemmology in Germany, he held design and management positions with leading companies in both Europe and Hong Kong before going independent. Baer jewels are distinctively modern, combining geometric and sculptural lines which evoke a certain architectural quality. Baer use only the finest quality metals and gemstones, including jade, pearls and Opals. Each creation carries the hallmark ‘baerjewels’ with an embedded diamond as a testimony of authenticity and guarantee of superb craftsmanship.www.baerjewels.com
Contributing Opal Artists
John MurrayI am a realist painter working in the medium of acrylic paint on canvas and paper. Whimsical photo-realism is one way to describe my approach to painting. On a technical level I place a priority on addressing the light source in a realistic way. No matter how indulgent I am with parodies of birds and human behaviour, there is always that attention to light and shadow. My work is constantly evolving and I enjoy contrasting serious landscape studies with whimsical caricatures of birds and other creatures.
When I arrived out here as a city artist, my first impression of the landscape was the simplicity and clarity of my surroundings. Over the years I have been trying to capture the energy and beauty of such a seemingly “nothing there” landscape. This simplicity encompasses great colour and light, it seems harsh yet safe at the same time. Mixed with the interplay of human, animal and plant life the landscape becomes full of immense emotion detailing a great kaleidoscope of raw beauty, contrast and humour. The outback is a graveyard of historical remnants and examples of human endeavour. In many ways my paintings pay tribute to these pioneering souls both past and present.
I try to convey the endearing qualities of country life by drawing on everyday situations, human folly, places and scenes that are a familiar part of life in the bush. Anyone who has driven inland from the coast 800kms or more gets that sense of vastness, the harsh and dusty beauty of the landscape. The light has a different quality to it, due to the lack of pollution and moisture, there is an intensity of colour that, as a painter, continues to inspire and challenge me. I have been painting landscapes for twenty five years now. My search for material to paint has led me to many parts of Australia, yet it is the arid regions that have become my artistic home. In this isolation I have discovered such beauty in colour, coupled with an underlying softness and humour. These contrasts continue to inspire me to capture that innate beauty of such a hard land.
I have a disciplined approach to painting in which I paint on a daily basis, and when the need arises for new material and enthusiasm; I pack up the vehicle and head west.www.johnmurrayart.com.au
Deb GilletDeb Gillett’s large and vibrant paintings are her own expressionistic, neo-futurist take on elation of being, and offer an unfettered celebration of life. She is inspired and obsessed with the brilliance of tropical light, joy, sensuality, motion and emotion. Favoured subjects include birds in flight, flowers, nudes and portraits. Her style is dependent on the mood of the day, and runs the gamut from wildly expressionistic to realism and everywhere between.
Deb paints and draws in acrylics, oils, pastel; and sculpts in ceramic and bronze.
Deb is represented throughout Australia by Galleries from Sydney to Cairns. Deb Gillett accepts selected commissions and tutoring commitments.
Jon Molvig (1923-1970)Jon Molvig was a colourful and rebellious character in the Australian painting scene from the 1950s. Even though his career as an artist only spanned 20 years he is considered to be a major force in twentieth-century Australian figurative expressionism. Molvig’s paintings are energetic, passionate and fiery. His spontaneous and gestural brushwork emotionally charges his works.