Artist, art educator, author and freelance museum and art gallery consultant. Teaches fibre arts and encaustics at her studio in the Adelaide Hills and organises visual art workshops taught by Australian and overseas artists. See www.e-vocative.com
Published March 5th 2015
Don't miss it - last few days
Iridescence – the shimmering effect of rainbow colours - is the subject of a fascinating and very beautiful exhibition at the South Australian Museum (SAM). It's a wonderful blend of natural science, ethnography and art from around the world. Whatever you do, don't miss seeing it – but be quick - it closes on 15 March.
Iridescence exhibition, South Australian Museum (SAM)
Iridescent colours are not pigments but are produced through interference or diffraction of light. As Peter Sutton, one of the curators of the exhibition emphases, iridescence is the result of a relationship between an object, a viewer and a light source producing a shimmering myriad of colours as the relationship changes.
Throughout the ages and in many cultures, people have been fascinated by the beauty of iridescence and exploited the qualities of iridescent natural materials to ornament objects, to adorn their bodies, embellish clothing, bags, costumes, and headdresses, and generate power.
Feather plume for headdress, Papua New Guinea. Collection of SAM.
Maireneer shell necklaces made by Tasmania Aboriginal women. Collection of SAM
Pottery decorated with iridescent glazes, known as lustres has been produced in the Middle East and Egypt for centuries, before spreading to Spain and Italy in the 15th and 16th centuries where it was used to decorate maiolica. In England, in the 19th century Josiah Wedgwood created pink and white lustreware dishes which gave the appearance of mother-of-pearl.
Anodised titanium brooches by Adelaide jeweller, Meghan O'Rourke, show how the technique of anodizing turns dull metal into rainbow colours by passing an electric current through an acid bath so that anodising dyes adhere to the surface of the metal; different levels of current produce different colours. If you would like to add iridescence to your jewellery box, Meghan's website has a large gallery of necklaces, bracelets, brooches, and rings in myriad colours, inspired by sea creatures and by patterns of India. Meghan also teaches occasional jewellery-making classes as well as the techniques of colouring anodised metals if you'd like to make your own.
'Iridescence' is open every day from 10-5pm and continues until 15th March. Introductory tours are offered on Saturdays 2.30-3.30pm. See www.samuseum.sa.gov.au/explore/exhibitions/iridescence for more information. And while you're at the museum, pop into the Museum Shop and treat yourself to one of the special iridescent treasures that they have on sale.