[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #A02F2F;”] I[/dropcap]n the dexterous hands of Hawkesdale artist Helen Bunyon, a broken clock, a wrecked watch or a discarded fuse can be transformed into wearable works of beauty.
Helen, who is well-known for her long support of the the local arts scene through The F Project and Customs House Gallery, is also an established artist in her own right and her latest work builds on her interest in putting together discarded objects to create something new.
“I like to assemble things. When I trained as an art teacher, I trained in ceramics and that has a 3D aspect to it, a sculptural aspect, and this is an extension of sculpture, except on a smaller scale,” she said.
[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #A02F2F;”] H[/dropcap]elen scours the junk shops and op shops for discarded watches, jewellery and other bits and bobs that have usually been dumped out of a drawer, into a shopping bag and dropped into a charity bin.
From this tangled collection, she creates a range of beautiful, one-off jewellery, including brooches, necklaces and ear-rings, using the reassembled parts.
Called the ‘Time Flies’ series, the works are delicate and stylish, yet retain a sense of the industrial.
“It is wearable art with a hint of steampunk,” she explained with a laugh.
[Steampunk pays homage to the Victorian industrial era – I only just learnt this, Carol].
[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #A02F2F;”] T[/dropcap]he industrial theme of her work extends to the use of blown fuses to create funky brooches that resemble miniature robots. This really must be the ultimate in recycling.
“I really like putting things together in different ways to give them a new life and a new beauty,” Helen said.
“The mechanisms of old watches, in particular, are really very beautiful, although they are becoming harder to find these days, with many new watches containing only a battery and not much else.”
For Helen, the “upcycling” of former junk also contains a certain romance.
“I find myself wondering what the story is behind something: who owned that piece? How did it get there? All that sort of thing,” she said.
[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #A02F2F;”] T[/dropcap]hose with a keen eye will find that Helen uses other discarded items as part of her market stall. The price tags, for example, are pieces of a jigsaw that was once a silver-coloured map of the world. And her display table is draped in old pianola rolls. Even the tissue paper used in the jewellery boxes is recycled from old dress patterns.
“We live in such a throw-away society, where if something doesn’t work anymore, we get rid of it, but it often has so many more uses if you just look at it differently,” Helen said.
[box] Helen’s work is available through The Artery market, 224 Timor St, Warrnambool. The next market is scheduled for December 15. [/box]
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