The PhD

Once upon a time, very long ago, I did a PhD. I wrote 30,000 words and made a body of work for exhibition. It was titled “Zen & Metal” and came about as a reaction to the (then) seeming over-emphasis of smoothness and precision in contemporary Western silversmithing. Metal is a fluid medium; I wished to leave the traces of the making process – the visible imperfections/inexactness of the hand-made.

Here is some of that work. All pieces are anodised aluminium.








5 Responses to “The PhD”

  1. Monica

    Hey Julie, your raising is AMAAAZING!! How many did you make for your exhibition? LOL and you said you only did “some” raising… haha

    May I ask why you chose aluminium of all the metals as your metal of choice?

    • tractorgirl

      oh Monica, thank YOU!! Ummmm…. I can’t remember exactly how many I made because there were LOTS and there were a few rejects as well… ;D

      Aluminium was my choice principally because of its colouring capabilities (colour is one of my favourite things!). As I went on with the project, it was fun to start pushing the colouring options with dip-dyeing and spray, so that the wet colours would bleed into each other. Beyond the PhD I started experimenting with painting the colour too – it was a lot like painting with watercolours.

      It’s a difficult metal to raise/smith because the surface tends to smear with the hammer, so that tiny little folds and crevices form – a bit of a nightmare when it comes to anodising. Anyway, I survived to tell the tale, haha!

      Cheers, J 🙂

  2. Vanisha @ Vanisha's Life In...Australia

    Just the other day I met an artist who is also doing a PhD. I love that your field includes the exhibition and a shorter thesis, encouraging all this creativity. There’s something quite captivating about these pieces and images. My thesis is 100,00 words but I love that too 🙂

  3. Joy Cornish

    I love these objects – I’d love to set a summer table with that set. Clever you!

    Again, really enjoying perusing this site, and your work.

    x Joy


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