The Ampersand Collective will open a contemporary jewellery exhibition called ‘Residua’ at the Space Between Gallery later this week. We had a chat with the collective to find out more about what they’re doing.

What is the Ampersand Collective?
The & (Ampersand) Collective is an arts collective between Lynne Avis, Ruda Darries and Caro Jordaan; all of whom are graduates in jewellery design. Our mutual aim is to explore, without searching for finite answers, the landscape of contemporary jewellery. We seek to investigate issues of tactile relationships with jewellery, alternative materials and constructions and the relevance of meaning imbued in objects. It is through constructions of our own that we try to deconstruct traditional markers of jewellery and create a more fluid and encompassing contemporary jewellery practice.

Contemporary jewellery (as we see it) is in a state of flux, a space in which there is complete freedom to make of it what we will, to push its limits and counter its past confines. Where this will lead we are unsure but we are determined to expand our own understandings and biases towards contemporary jewellery. It no longer has to conform to ideas of permanency, material value and temporal relations to the body. Jewellery design is evolving.

ampersand collective

Is this the first exhibition by Ampersand Collective?
Yes, this is our first show as a collective and we are incredibly excited to share what we have been working on thus far. We have many more ideas to explore and share and it is our hope that each exhibition expands our own understanding of contemporary jewellery and aid in yours.

Who (are some of the individuals who) will be exhibiting?
The collective members are; Lynne Avis, Ruda Darries and Caro Jordaan. We are all tertiary-level graduate jewellers who initiated this collective out of a perceived necessity. While studying, we were given uninhibited freedom to create, play with and question our individual understandings of jewellery. After studying, this platform disappeared and we were jetted into the ‘real world’ of more commercial jewellery, which fills a different need within the South African jewellery scene. As Ampersand, we want to build a unified identity, which represents these mutual ideas of what jewellery could be.

We still try to maintain a sense of our personal tastes and each member brings something different to the table. Lynne is a former Rhodes University graduate in Fine Art who then studied Jewellery Design at Ruth Prowse School of Arts. Both Caro and Ruda studied Jewellery Design at Stellenbosch University. Caro opted to further her practice and is currently training to becoming a licenced professional Goldsmith. Ruda chose to further her education through acquiring a Masters in Visual Arts and is currently studying towards an Honours degree in Art History.


What can we expect to see at the exhibition?
The work to be exhibited at ‘Residua’ plays with the notion of materiality and form within contemporary jewellery. We are creating objects and jewellery from materials otherwise used up or discarded within the jewellery-making process. We regard these ‘residue’ as infused with the value of the final product – almost like a transferral from final precious object to the moulds into which these jewels are formed. Our pieces therefore visually mimic the objects of preciousness they are meant to house, referencing the commercial sphere as well as the transferral of value

Will there be jewellery for sale at the exhibition?
There will be no jewellery on sale at the exhibition as we do not wish to place a monetary value on what we are doing. In effect, we want everyone to be a part of this process regardless of wealth and so we have made this exhibition completely interactive.

ampersand collective

What else can we expect at the exhibition?
We encourage the audience as participants to interact with the pieces presented; to walk through the ‘necklaces’, slip on the rings and re-arrange the ‘jewellery box’ displays. We have even created a space in which the audience/participants can write with custom brooches; asking, commenting and drawing about any questions related to the nature of this exhibition. Here we are trying to move away from the museum-like, glass case facade of conventional jewellery oriented displays. We see jewellery, at its core, as developing a significant relationship with the wearer and we value this interaction.

What kind of response have you received thus far?
We have done a bit of guerrilla advertising; placing poster blocks around the neighbourhood and will be drawing chalk logos around the exhibition location as well. So far, we’ve received some encouraging responses from individuals interested in joining the collective. This is something we are euphoric about and are excited to follow through on. The more and diverse creatives we can share ideas and knowledge with the better!

Why should we attend the exhibition?

  1. This will be something different!
  2. Freebies
  3. Witness the mysteries of jewellery-making become illuminated

Where Space Between Gallery, 139 Albert Road, Woodstock
When Wednesday 4 November 2015 6:30 pm (until 13 November)
Contact +27 76 213 0442

Instagram: @ampersandcollectivesa #residua and #ampersandcollectivesa
Facebook: Ampersand Collective SA

Check out our Events post for the ‘Residua’ exhibition by the Ampersand Collective.

Photography courtesy

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