Art & Design


That Special Kinda Jewellery

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Most of us wear jewellery, or have worn it at some point in our lives. Sometimes it’s worn as an accessory, other times out of habit. Then there’s the ‘special’ kind of jewellery that is usually accompanied with a vivid memory or story and worn for its sentimental value.

Claire McArdle is a Melbourne jewellery designer who creates jewellery with the intention of instilling significance in it for the wearer.

“Jewellery that people own often has significance to them and I’d like to create that significance with a piece you would not necessarily have sought out in a shop or been given. It’s there for you to create a relationship and interact with” explains McArdle.

The local designer is currently completing her honours in fine art at RMIT, has held two solo exhibitions to date both of which successfully capture her ethos when it comes to making jewellery.

As the name of McArdle’s most recent body of work suggests, the pieces in Public Displays of Attention do just that: they grab your attention. All the pieces in the exhibit have been constructed from silk which has been hand dyed then twisted and woven into necklaces, bangles, rings and even a couple of beards so as to not leave out the boys. What initially grabs your attention are the bright, solid hues of blue, green, purple, red, orange and yellow. However, upon closer inspection what really grabs your attention are the interesting shapes and qualities of each of the pieces.

There are bangles shaped as bagels; pom pom necklaces large enough to look like scarves; and rings whose centrepieces comprise long, multiple strands of silk that resemble bits of rope. While the pieces are certainly peculiar, this by no means lessens their wearability. And at the opening of the exhibit, people were invited to try on the pieces and have their photo taken which was then sent out to them as a postcard.

“I wanted something that people would be able to really get involved in and have a connection with” says McArdle. While the pieces in her previous exhibit, Tokens of Place, “connected people with places” as McArdle set pieces of stone she had encountered while out and about into jewellery and named each piece after the exact time and location they were found.

An exciting young talent with new and fresh ideas, McArdle is currently studying in Estonia, where she hopes her adventures over there will inspire her next collection.

To see more of Claire McArdle’s work visit


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