'Tough Love' by Cinnamon Lee

A solo exhibition of new jewellery by Cinnamon Lee that splices romance with engineering.

'Tough Love' comprises a collection of jewels intended to provoke consideration of the symbolic significance of conjugal rings, their overt value and their more covert meanings.

“Conjugal rings are powerful objects and arguably the most sentimental of all jewels. Their scale is minute, yet they can carry vast amounts of emotional investment and often equally vast amounts of monetary value. For such tiny objects, they resonate with a multitude of complex meanings. While conveying universally understood connotations regarding social and marital status, they simultaneously embody personal promises shared intimately between couples.

These kinds of rings are unique as objects in their ability to become intrinsic parts of people’s personalities and even their bodies – they are often one of the only items worn on the body that is never removed. At the same time they are objects that can gather so much emotional embellishment that their owners may be incited to cast the precious jewels into gaping valleys or vast oceans in dramatic acts of abandon.” - Cinnamon Lee

As a contemporary metalsmith specialising in the use of computer aided design and additive fabrication techniques, Cinnamon Lee has over the past decade established an international reputation as an innovator and pioneer in her field. While her work is firmly grounded in traditional craft principles, new technology steers her practice as she seeks not only new ways of making objects, but also fresh ways to perceive the making process. In 2012 Lee was awarded an Australia Council grant to develop new works in metal through a focused investigation into the additive manufacturing process of Selective Laser Melting (SLM). SLM introduces the newest generation of additive fabrication whereby solid metal objects can be produced directly from digital data in a single step.

The works in 'Tough Love' incorporate traditional materials such as gold, silver and gemstones, which have been manipulated using the combined processes of high resolution wax printing, investment casting and hand fabrication techniques. TOUGH LOVE also features the innovative application of SLM using titanium, a material known for it’s unrivalled resilience and consequently one that is known to required a bit of ‘tough love’ in its working. Continuing Lee’s preoccupation with secrecy and stealth, many of the pieces in this exhibition have hidden details and some even have precious components that are not visible at all.

'Tough Love' not only extends the boundaries of contemporary jewellery through the integration of new manufacturing concepts and techniques, it contributes to ongoing dialogue concerning the role of digital technologies within contemporary craft and design, and highlights the importance of nurturing relationships between industry and art.

'Tough Love' opens on Thursday 27 February 6.00pm – 8.00pm at 10b Fitzroy Place, Surry Hills, NSW 2010. The exhibition runs until 15 March 2014.