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Sarah Read

My practice is idea-driven and usually process-based. The outcome may not be traditional jewellery forms, but relationship to the body is central - for me this moves beyond considerations of wearability to include my physical endeavours as a maker. In this collection the non-precious and utilitarian medium of paper, with all its associations, holds its form and is transformed by a process of attrition which verges on obliteration.

I can’t recall how I started this business with the salvaged paper and the tiny fires, but it was way back when unprecedented was fresh. Bushfires were decimating Australia’s wildlife, and I needed something to do with my hands so I could sit with that unbearable news. Our senior dog had started peeing on the rugs so we were burning incense to mask the Dettol. It sparked from there, somehow. And since then, all the other news. Becky Richards’ essay On Crafting and Coping (eloquent, pertinent; well worth a read) explains why it’s currently so hard to do anything requiring conceptual thought (eg write a cogent artist statement), whilst repetitive, manual tasks with predictable rhythms (eg light a fire, blow it out, repeat all day) remain accessible (compulsive even), existential dread notwithstanding. The conceptual thinking will return (or maybe it won’t). For now I simply relish: the textures (rich, vital, tactile) the smell (currently sandalwood, formerly cinnamon, rose) the audio books (thank you, Wellington library, from afar) the potential (because paper).

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