2013 – 'The Conduit' – An exhibition by Mary Hackett

22nd January – 9th February 2013

CELEBRATION DRINKS coincide with 2Danks complex gala reopening
Wednesday 23 January 2013 – 6-8pm

Mary Hackett explores, uncovers and amplifies the physical relationship of inanimate objects that adorn the body. By engaging in metal smithing processes such as forging (a method of shaping the metal using contained compressive forces), Mary explores the integrity of the ‘substance’. She delves into the process of formation and the subsequent relationship between the body and the end result.

Mary tests the limits of metal by stretching and compressing the materials through repetitious blows of hammers & exposure to fire. Forging changes the form of the industrially created object, revealing the fragility of steel, a material more often associated with strength. The works are not wearable in a traditional sense, but do display an intimate relationship with the body, one that is required for the definition of jewellery.
Her pieces have you contemplate the notion that society has become disassociated from many objects it uses. The hand crafting process revitalises the inherent properties of the objects and pays tribute to their beauty.


What’s a memory?
Something warm, my child, something warm.
Something from long ago, me lad, something from long ago.
Something that makes you cry, my boy, something that makes you cry.
Something that makes you laugh, my darling, something that makes you laugh.
Something as precious as gold, young man, something as precious as gold.

Conduit is an exhibition of work by metalsmith Mary Hackett that explores the relationship between hand, metal, motion and form.

These pieces are about the hand. The hand that made them, the hand that will hold them, and memory of the hand in its absence. Hackett is interested in how the hand remembers objects that it has previously held, not only the physical and common act of grasping, holding, or touching an object, but the associated memories that accompany such an action.

It is the process of making that Hackett is fascinated by, how the hammer, as an extension of the hand, can stretch and compress the metal, how far can she push until it has reached or gone beyond its limit? There is no backward step in her process, just a continuing on, a pushing forward and she readily admits that it is the hand, not the eye that knows when an object is ready.

Blacksmithing is by no means a quiet, clean or gentle pursuit, on the contrary it is steeped in male tradition and history and it requires much force, technique, and physical exertion to succeed. It seems almost incongruous that these modest objects have been created with such force; perhaps this is why the marks of making have not been erased, to remind us how and why these objects came to exist.

Each piece is a whole, with no joins or additions, raised or forged from the one piece of metal. Each copper and steel piece originates from the same source, a pipe. A conduit. Not only then is the exhibition title particularly apt for this reason, but a nod to the conveying of hand and memory into motion and form.

They sit on plinths up high, allowing you to investigate from all angles and the milky white surface they occupy reflects back another ethereal side of the object. They are placed in the space in such a way that they speak to one another, relating memories and forms back, forth and around each other. These pieces invite you to touch, to hold and cradle them, to pick them up and grasp them. They ask you to wonder how they would sit in your hand, question if would you hold them close or at arms length. Are they heavy or light?  Are they cold to the touch?  Do they warm quickly?

What is it they remind you of?

Zoe Brand curator and jeweller


[1] Fox, M. ‘Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge’, Omnibus Books, South Australia, 2012.