Shifts in Japanese Materiality

Shifts in Japanese Materiality is an exhibition I have curated. This is the first curatorial project at this scale. I have worked with a group of amazing practitioners and design the exhibition furniture and layout of the gallery. The exhibition will be on from 2 February to 17 March 2018.

Shifts in Japanese Materiality is an exhibition of contemporary design practice which considers the changing nature of materiality in Japanese object-making culture.
The exhibition highlights the porosity of Japanese design and craft processes in a contemporary context through the work of experimental Japanese and Australian designers. From lacquerware and ceramics through to jewellery, the works will explore the changing creative practices and material landscape born out of cross-cultural dialogue and transnational influences.
By illuminating the relationships between materials, processes, training, and contemporary practice, this exhibition shares a contemporary narrative of Japanese materiality. Exhibiting designers include: 

Julie Bartholomew
has presented three pairs of Koppori(okobo) - traditional Japanese wooden sandals translated into ceramic sculptures. These objects reflect the global consumer impact on once traditional landscapes. These ideas are imprinted through the branding on the surfaces within the clay. This visual language justapose against traditional questions the effects of consumerism and changing nature to the body.

Guy Keulemans
Reinterprets the use of kinstugi, a traditional repair technique used in Japanese ceramic to articulate notions about repair and environmental concerns. His philosophical ideas of materiality and origins opens a dialogue between production and man-made resources.

Liam Mugavin 
has learnt and being highly inspired by Japanese wood joinery and Japanese sensibilities in his practice. The chairs in the exhibition are the result of a project which was initiated with the Australian Embassy in Tokyo. They are made from reclaimed timber and in essence talk about economic and material life cycles.

Kyoko Hashimoto 
has produced a beaded necklace based on a Japanese prayer necklace called NENJU. What is interesting about this work is the material language. She has cut up her children’s unwanted, broken toys and set them into concrete which she then turns and carves into beads. This cyclical rotation echoes the underlying material re-use and our understanding of material consumption.

Yusuke Takemura 
is an artist from Canberra. If you have all seen the invitation and media images. The image is of Takemura san’s work. The glass voids within the form echo his sensibilities and question his JAPANESENESS. The play of transparency, voids, hollow forms and shadows are strong interlude about his past in Japan and current home, Australia.

Rui Kikuchi 
based in Kyoto, Japan presents works made from material which once had an alternate life. She is able to transform basic materials such as Plastic bottles and nails into a wondrous schema of wearables. They look like flowers, corals and creatures in the sea and act as a reminder about of marine pollution.  

Bic Tieu
Uses Japanese lacquer in both traditional and non-traditional approaches to investigate ideas about transnational identity. Using the mapping language of graphic to explode the peony flower as a metaphor to convey these notions. The jewellery and objects thus becomes vehicles for investigating these issues.

What is beautiful about this exhibition is that as a group of various craft design and experimental practitioners have all responded to questions about handmade craft design objects and worked with materials within a transnational perspective. Other underlying themes which have occurred through this curatorial presentation are ideas about economic globalisation, sustainability and identity. Please visit the Japan Foundation website to download the eCatalogue. Here you can find more information about the Practitioner's work, Curatorial theme and Essay by Nicholas Bastin.

Curated by Bic Tieu
Presented by The Japan Foundation, Sydney as part of the Sydney Design Festival and Art Month Sydney.


How Does Your Garden Grow?

goulburn.art REGIONAL GALLERY put this question towards 14 artists which resulted with flourishing interpretations across various mediums. I responded with a series of nine brooches, two rings and a pair of earrings using mono colours of black and white | silver and ebony. How Does Your Garden Grow? My response resulted with the imagination of taking the anatomy of a flower via a design process to create a garden of graphic metal work. Primarily, it sets the theme for this series. The application of floral depiction is a recurring concept in my work, often explored for new surface translation. The negative and positive line work of this floral motif: the Peony flower is juxtaposed to develop new forms. Graphic exploration is layered with contextual imagery to generate distinctive responses addressing a garden of wearable jewellery.

The second series explores the graphic illustration on a geometric format. Depicting an assemble of sun flowers and other motifs in the series using jewellery as a frame. The illustrated line is applied as a graphic to create texture on an ebony surface via the combination of laser engraved and hand processes.

In this Jewellery Garden, the composition of a design process layered with contextual auspicious symbolism, materiality and methods are the main growing ideas for this collection. The work is currently on show at Goulburn Art Regional Gallery from 3 February to 18 March 2017. They are located on the corner of Bourke and Church Street in Goulburn. Thank you especially to Angela D'Elia and the team for including me in this curated exhibition. Thank you also to my dearest Vince for the long drive to the opening exhibition and supporting me on an important day. I had a memorable day and great time with you viewing the works of the other artists.
Thank you goulburn.art for the photo of me and my work.


Secret Seven: Research Adventures in Jewellery & Object

An exhibition of works from the faculty of Jewellery & Object at UNSW | Art & Design held at the AD Space.

The Secret Seven were a fictional gang of young detectives empowered by curiosity and passion to pursue and solve their chosen mysteries. In a similar way these young research detectives are engaged in the research and adventure of their individual projects developed within the frameworks of the Honours year and four Postgraduate Research Degree Programs.

Jewellery and Object at UNSW has an active research culture that esteems sustained scholarly enquiry and creativity. Research evidenced through Practice takes a variety of approaches that are well demonstrated in the proof of this current exhibition. Curiosity and creativity are at the heart of these research projects with candidates aiming for professional outcomes through both making
and enquiry. Good Work Secret Seven! Wendy Parker 2016

Bic Tieu Master of Design Honours
Danielle Karlikoff Bachelor of Design Honours
Fiona Lu currently Research Candidate Master of Fine Arts
Ingrid Turner currently Research Candidate Master of Fine Arts
Karmila Shepherd Master of Fine Arts
Marcia Swaby currently Research Candidate Master of Philosophy
Zoe Veness PhD


BETWEEN AUSPICIOUS FORMS: Contemplative Jewellery & Objects

Currently on show, is a new body of work exhibited at Fairfield City Gallery Museum. The works titled Between Auspicious Forms is a collection of jewellery and objects looking into the cultural details of my Chinese heritage. The works investigates a personal trail of ceremonial offerings, deities and ancestry. Through my practice of metal and lacquer expressions, I seek to create a dialogue which connects the rich symbolism of these themes. A catalogue has been made in conjunction with this exhibition. It is a lovely document and reminder of my achievements up to date. I would not have been able to successfully resolve this without the support from the team at Conway Design. Their amazing design thinking and resolution into a graphic format compassionately aligns with my aesthetic. Included in this catalogue is a wonderful catalogue written by Kevin Murray. I am so impressed by how perfect he has been able to capture the essence of my practice. Thank you Kevin! The collection of works is on display at Fairfield City Gallery Museum between 20 August 2016 to 26 November 2016. Two workshops will be operating via this exhibition. The first workshop took place back on 17th September. It was a Riveting Perspex workshop. The next workshop will be on 15th October on Eggshell Inlay. The collection of works will tour to a new venue in 2017. It will be shown in Spring 2017 at Stanley Street Gallery. Please stay connected for dates!


CIRCLING the SURFACE: Vessels and Jewellery

Recently I had work in a curated exhibition called 'Profile'. Profile is a significant curated award exhibition of contemporary jewellery, objects and metalsmithing by members of the Jewellers and Metalsmith Group of Australia NSW (JMGA-NSW). The selection of works was exhibited at Airspace 2 Projects, 10 Junction Street in Marrickville between 10 - 25 July 2015.

The works I exhibited reveal the beginnings investigations and ideas addressing offerings, beliefs and space between people and object. The three vessels and pendant presented in this mini collection explores the dialogue and practice of giving and acknowledges a past and history but also a return for auspicious and spiritual assumptions associated with ancestor veneration. These object vessels in part aim to reconcile these notions through the reflective qualities of lacquer application and iridescent pearl characteristics. The exterior of the vessels are dressed with floral graphic interpreted in various dimensions. The internal spaces invite the viewer to look inside.


JMGA Conference: EGGSHELL INLAY with Bic Tieu

This year I took on a challenge to teach Eggshell Inlay to a group of 15 participants from jewellery making backgrounds. I was invited by the Jewellers and Metalsmith Guild Australia (JMGA-NSW) to run a workshop corresponding with the 16th JMGA Conference in Sydney. The workshop took place at UNSW Art and Design (formally known as the College of Fine Arts - COFA) over two consecutive days.

Eggshell is not a main medium in my work but it is a recurring surface material in which I apply to investigate surface language on wearable forms and vessel objects. Eggshell Inlay is a specific technique which falls under the umbrella of East-Asian Lacquer. Recognised by its white mosaic characteristics which produces a charming and calming appearance. The technique is laborious, time consuming and rewarding. It requires detail knowledge and lots of patience. The other material which was brought into the workshop included mother of pearl minute pieces. I wanted to show the iridescent quality of shell and its application. I encouraged the workshop participants to integrate other materials to this technique. I believe there are many opportunities to create various surface investigations.



In June 2014 I was approached by an architect by the name of Peter Yeh, to commission a special ring for his wife Caroline. Peter had previously attended one of my Christmas openings where Adina Jozsef and I had the Workshopped Studio Residency. Back then he had purchased a few 3D printed rings from us and liked my aesthetics. This ring was to celebrate 25 years of their marriage together as well replace their original ring. It was a great project for me to work on and since then I have established a friendship with Peter and Caroline. They have supported and attended some of my exhibitions and markets.
The greatest enjoyment with this project was Peter allowed me to have freedom over the design development. I came up with the concept of the Japanese water motif. A water symbol which is visually repetitious and applied through traditional crafts. A beautiful visual element which speaks to me about flow, movement and importantly life. I gave Peter a choice of three working concepts but this one he selected resonated strongly with him the most. A process of corresponding with drawings and emails resolved into a stunning piece of work. I designed the packaging for this ring and marked the box with my kanji signature. Thank you Peter for this wonderful opportunity!