‘USE’ ARTIST SPOTLIGHT – Dr Elizabeth Shaw

Currently on display at Hurstville Museum & Gallery is the exhibition USE. This exhibition features exquisitely crafted contemporary jewellery and small objects by seventeen artists from the Jewellers and Metalsmiths Group of Australia (Queensland Chapter), toured by Museums & Galleries Queensland.

Jewellery maker Elizabeth Shaw believes that the jewellery we wear and collect can tell a story. If that is the case, the jewellery Shaw produces has an important message to share.

A key concern for Shaw that influences her practice and designs, is her passion for ethical and environmental sustainability. It is with these two ideologies that she collects broken and discarded objects and by implementing these pieces into her designs, she invigorates them with new life creating wearable art.

Shaw is incredibly passionate about ethical metalwork and jewellery making. She has orchestrated a number of events to help share ideas and create networking opportunities with like-minded creatives. Shaw is a member of the Advisory Council of Ethical Metalsmiths as well as a Director of Fine Art and Convenor of the Jewellery and Small Objects department of Queensland College of Art, Griffith University.

‘The majority of my work is made from reused metal and what isn’t, is 100% recycled. My preference is reuse, thus minimising the energy in processing. I have a solar-powered studio where I prioritise the use of hand tools over power tools.’ – Elizabeth Shaw

Shaw works with different materials including metal, ceramic and glass (due to their durability) and is inspired by the traditions of metalwork, silversmithing and sculpture.

Heads, 2017/18,Recycled and reused sterling silver, titanium wire, iron wire, found nails, varying sizes

Her work can often be inspired by chance with the discovery of broken and discarded objects. An example of this was in 2008 when Shaw discovered the broken porcelain arm of a doll while gardening. Unable to find any other pieces of the doll inspired Shaw to create a small silver hand to accompany it which she said was the ‘start of a new direction in my work’.

For more information you can visit Elizabeth’s website.

USE is on exhibition at Hurstville Museum & Gallery until 25 October 2020.


‘Artist profile: Elizabeth Shaw’, Museum of Brisbane, viewed 11 September 2020, https://www.museumofbrisbane.com.au/feeds/artist-profile-elizabeth-shaw/

‘Bio’, Elizabeth Shaw – Jewellery – Objects, viewed 11 September 2020, https://www.elizabethshawjewelleryobjects.com/bio.html

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