The selection process for the Griffith National Contemporary Art Jewellery Awards 2018 has just taken place and unfortunately my piece wasn’t selected.  I can now share my entry with everyone.

The National Contemporary Art Jewellery Awards are part of the Objects Art Forum being held in August this year.  I’m heading over to Griffith to run workshops which form part of the event so decided I would set myself the challenge of entering.  I knew getting through the selection process would be a long shot but really wanted to give it a go anyway.

My daughter and I had been talking recently about recycling, plastic and pollution on our planet and how wasteful we are as a society.  We even discussed the possibility that one day we would be living on Mars because of this.  The discussion set of a light bulb moment for me and I knew I wanted to use this concept as the basis for my piece.

I’m also very aware of what I collect from the beach these days.  Once up on a time, I would take anything that looked “pretty”…nowdays it must have a purpose and those pieces that are collected are precious indeed.  This also played a big part in what elements were included in the piece.

My thought was to create small frames which would cascade from the neck – just like frames on a wall.  Frames protect your memories, art and memorabilia so this seemed like a prefect way to pay respect to each individual element.  I played around with a few different combinations until I was happy.

I knew I wanted to feature polymer clay in the frames as a way of saying this medium deserves to be recognised.  Would you believe I had the perfect colour of scrap sitting right at the top of my scrap clay box.  It matched the urchins perfectly so i knew I had to work with these colours.

I had to think carefully about construction of this piece, even before the frames were created.  How would it hang? Where would thread holes be placed? What sort of stringing/wire material would I use?  What sort of neckpiece? What sort of clasp, if any?  This actually took me a while to work out but I was happy with the end result.  I chose to recycle a metal choker by covering it with black polymer and texturing – this solved the problem of what sort of clasp to use.  I then decided on cotton cording to thread through each frame which meant the frames would drape nicely to the shape of the body.  All in all I was really happy with the finished piece and was incredibly glad I set myself the challenge of entering.













Artist Statement

Mummy, I Don’t Want to Live on Mars

By Debbie Crothers

Where once I would see sea shells, now I see plastic.

Plastics in our oceans and on our beaches are increasing at an alarming rate, so much so that my weekly walks have now become weekly rubbish collections.  Ironically, my artistic medium of choice is polymer clay; as beautiful as this product is, essentially it’s plastic. To continue to work with a medium that has such a huge environmental impact, I have developed a disciplined and mindful approach.  Prior to creating any piece, a conscious design process, and working with intent guides my work to eliminate waste, and ensure meaningful pieces.  Within these conceptual boundaries, I am free to explore and experience with passion.
The cascading necklace features beautiful ocean treasures in polymer clay frames.  By incorporating coloured polymer clay inside the frames I’m acknowledging the fact there is a place in the art world for this medium.  This piece encompasses all that is beautiful about the ocean and celebrates the joy polymer clay brings to my life and to that of many others.


Thanks for reading everyone.  I hope you all have a great day.

Love Deb







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Signet Ring UK
3 years ago

Interesting article! I love to read your article and I like this article so much. Thanks and keep sharing.

Priya Sharma
4 years ago

Hi Debbie, thanks for sharing your contemporary jewelry piece with the audience and the pictures embedded in the article are truly stunning. It’s sad to know that your piece wasn’t selected for the Griffith National Contemporary Art Jewellery Awards however I would advise you not to lose hope and keep doing what you love the most.