Architecture. Landscape. Jewellery. The Body. The intimate connection between these four fascinates contemporary jeweller Sabine Pagan.
Sabine designs and makes large, bold statement rings that might look simple at first glance, but don’t be fooled. Sabine designs by thinking about the position of the piece on the finger and its relationship to the hand as a whole. Her bespoke pieces have a special relationship between the round part of the ring and the detail on top, with light shining through the gaps between elements.
“Contemporary jewellery is about the body,” says Sabine. “My pieces are about the spatial and sensorial relationships we develop with our built environment. They’re not miniature but definitely wearable.
“When worn, the ring is unlike any other kind of jewellery. Anchored to the hand, a ring acts as an extension of the body. It’s visible to the wearer and viewer. I’m drawn to the intimate scale of rings and the roles they play both when worn and detached from the body.”
Mapping the terrain between jewellery, architecture and landscape is what Sabine will discuss this Wednesday, 24 May, at the 5×5 ACT Speaker Series, hosted by the Design Institute of Australia. And she’ll show images of some of her amazing work.
Sabine uses a range of materials including monel (a nickel-copper alloy), Delrin (a crystalline plastic), sterling silver, and anodised aluminium, and her biggest challenge is creating jewellery in time. “My work looks simple in some ways but is difficult and time consuming to achieve,” she says. “I spend weeks working on one piece.”
Later this year, the jeweller will design a collection influenced by Canberra, with ideas already dancing in Sabine’s head. “I’m thinking about the idea of ‘mapping’ since Canberra is a designed city,” says Sabine. “I’m also thinking of the four seasons and how that plays on light and buildings. I walk the dog around the lake two to three times a week and I see how the buildings and environment continually change.”
Sabine says she is an active observer and user of the architecture that surrounds her: “Its presence affects me. I’m curious about how I relate to, and interact with, places and I search for possible connections with the emotional sensibilities we hold towards the wearable object. Then, with a jeweller’s eye, I dwell on detail, function, material and craftsmanship.”
Born and educated in Switzerland, Sabine is also a gemologist and educator. She established an independent studio practice in Australia in 1998 (currently working out of Queanbeyan). She’s widely exhibited and works on commissions and limited editions of jewellery.
This is the DIA’s 70th year in being the voice of professional design in Australia. The 24 May 5×5 ACT Speaker Series will also feature Tim Fulton, a graphic designer with Swell Design Group, Philip Quartly, who works in exhibition design at Designcraft, Jeremy Lepisto, a glass artist from studio Workshop Level, and Rolf Barfoed, a nationally awarded fine furniture maker.
“The 5×5 ACT Speakers Series is designed to be a stimulating evening exploring experiences, projects, successes and failures,” says Lisa Biddiscombe, President of the ACT Branch. “And it’s about inspiring people to value design, promote Australian design and connect designers with others.”
5×5 Speakers Series, 24 May at 6pm, 12 Pirie Street Fyshwick. Non-members $25; Members $20; Students $15. Refreshments and beverages provided. Register here.