Labour of Love

An instant private collection, consisting of works donated by 49 contemporary jewellers from NZ and overseas, gifted to the wonderful Hilda Gascard, on the occasion of a milestone birthday. With love and thanks from the contemporary jewellery community.

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Above: Labour of Love: the reveal (at the opening of Nestle, Wellington, Aug 2010)
Below: Labour of Love, invitation to participate:

Dear Jeweller

 I am writing to because you have an association with NZ jeweller Peter Deckers, or because you may simply wish to be involved in a wildly extravagant gesture  ….

 My apologies for the group email, but I have an idea for a sweet secret project, and time is of the essence.

 As you may be aware, Peter is an amazingly dedicated teacher. Hundreds of jewellery students have passed through Whitireia over the years, benefiting from his unstinting guidance, support and enthusiasm. In addition, of course, he pours creative energy into his own jewellery practice and into promoting contemporary jewellery within NZ and on the international scene.

 It’s often occurred to me that the jewellery world can only have Peter in the way that we have him because he has the phenomenal Hilda in his life.

 It’s difficult to find details of exactly how long they have been married – but since 1985 at least – and Peter has been a tutor at Whitireia since 1990. So Hilda has been married to Peter for 25 + years and, by extension, to Whitireia for 20! It is her birthday on 1 September, and it would be wonderful if the jewellery community could use this occasion to honour and acknowledge her massive contribution over the years. Other current students have voiced the same thought, and we have been wondering what we can do.

 I was with Hilda at the opening of a recent show, and she was lusting over some of the pieces and wishing that her budget for jewellery matched her capacity to appreciate it.

So, my idea is this:

 We in the Australasian jewellery community secretly create an instant Private Collection for Hilda, by each gifting a piece of our work (can be an existing piece, or specially made, it’s up to you), and by inviting the wider jewellery community to do the same.

 My mid-year show opens on 22nd August, and under the ruse of needing more space for an opening address we adjourn to an adjacent venue (café across the road) where – ta da! – there is this whole a m a z i n g collection of work, which Hilda gets to take home with her and keep….

 The current student body and a large number of tutors and ex-students are already on board, and I am in the process of contacting participants in shows Peter has curated, colleagues in galleries where Peter exhibits, Peter’s counterparts in other educational institutions in NZ and abroad, and so on. So far everyone is keen to be involved – including those who have never met Peter or Hilda but love the idea of acknowledging her in this way – so I am confident we’ll have a great response and can collectively generate a lavish and utterly immoderate gift (the very best kind) to help mark Hilda’s milestone birthday.

 I’ll refine the details as we go – my aim is to keep the whole thing simple and easy, with minimum effort for us, for maximum wow effect for Hilda. Ideally, Peter won’t be in on the secret, so it will be a surprise for him too.

 Participation is of course entirely voluntary, and it really is the thought that counts; I know everyone is busy. I will supply labels which we can attach to the pieces; if you have zero time you can still join in; Happy Birthday Hilda from …. on the label + safety pin = a brooch/pendant/earring which will mean so much.  

 If you’re keen, please email me with a YES in the subject line, and I’ll add you to the email list. If not, no worries, simply send a No and I promise not to pester.

 Thanks everyone, happy making

 Sarah Read (Year 3 Jewellery student, Whitireia, Porirua, New Zealand)
For verification, feel free to contact the head of Visual Arts at Whitireia, Rudy Whitehead-Lopez