Made in Aotearoa: Jewellery by Alan Preston
Exhibition now closed
7 March - 31 May 2009
Pacific Masterpieces Gallery
Entry included with museum admission donation
Made in Aotearoa: Jewellery by Alan Preston showcases one of New Zealand’s greatest jewellers, whose desire to create a “jewellery of this place” saw him spearhead a movement in favour of materials from the Pacific.
Alan Preston draws his inspiration between the tides of Aotearoa and beyond to create contemporary Pacific adornment. From delicate shell necklaces referencing navigation aids to politically-charged sovereignty badges, Preston’s jewellery engages us with Pacific history.
“The bamboo charts had shells attached that Pacific voyagers held up and aligned with the stars.”
As a co-founder of Fingers Contemporary Jewellery Gallery in Auckland, Preston is a key figure in the development of New Zealand’s contemporary jewellery movement. Founded in 1974 with four other jewellers, Fingers became a focal point for “a style of jewellery relating to Aotearoa and the Pacific rather than to some false foreign paradise”. Preston has been at the forefront of the ‘bone stone shell’ movement: creating a new sense of appreciation for local materials, such as paua, and reflecting our evolving national identity.
“For the past 30 years, the work that I have been making has reflected concerns about Pacific adornment and a sense of time and place in Aotearoa.”
Preston began making jewellery in London in the early 1970s, working in the European tradition with precious metals and stones. By 1979, he had turned to the materials and techniques adapted from Polynesia.
Through his travels and attendances at Pacific Arts Festivals, Preston has been exposed to a diverse range of body adornment and his work reflects a powerful sense of identity.
Preston draws inspiration from Pacific Masterpieces gallery
Preston photographed the collection of traditional Pacific work at the Auckland Museum in preparation for a series of workshops in Fiji during the early 1980s.
His appreciation of these traditional pieces in the museum’s Pacific Masterpieces Gallery has influenced his design philosophy. Through these artefacts, the past weaves its way into Preston’s contemporary collection and gives New Zealanders the means to express their own connection to Aotearoa and the Pacific."Pacific adornment is about ceremony, celebration and identity"
Between Tides: Jewellery By Alan Preston
Book now available at the Auckland Museum Atrium Store
Between Tides: Jewellery by Alan Preston is a survey of over thirty years' work by one of New Zealand's leading contemporary jewellers.
From his earliest work in the 1970s to his achievements as part of the bone stone shell movement and his most recent jewellery using fibre and found materials, Between Tides tracks the ceaseless flow of creativity that informs Preston's jewellery.
Released: 5 December 2008
Made in Aotearoa is developed
and toured by TheNewDowse