Confident people who are BOLD in their decision-making, with a need to strive tend to like my work. My designs work best for people who have found (or want to find) their strength.

When a person makes enormous efforts to achieve something difficult, changes take place in the brain. The brain is ‘plastic’ and malleable. The brain senses and interprets meaning. This is also called transformative experience – and we become something ‘Other.’

I was driven to design jewellery because I couldn’t find jewellery that satisfied me either EMOTIONALLY, INTELLECTUALLY, CULTURALLY or HISTORICALLY. From where I have come, my struggles as a child, my family, as a wife & parent, emotional concerns (strivings, survival, health and experiences), intellectual, academic and artistic, life story, travel – ‘Normal’ or ‘standard’ jewellery didn’t suit my needs. It was meaningless.

The Warrior Woman is you … the Warrior Woman is me!

Other jewellery wasn’t RAW enough – when I needed ‘raw’

For me, a highly individualistic, strong piece for an individual, ‘warrior woman’ or leader, might find it meaningful to wear jewellery where the designer has selected jewellery items from our ‘hunter’s’ prehistoric past, such as: teeth, tusks, bones (including ‘found items’ (object trouvé) such as dinosaur teeth and animal skin, fur or feathers. (These could also be described as shamanistic … and the shaman experiences transformation).

These are the signs and symbols of the hunter/survivor and reference the battle to survive the environment. This is still our world. These signs & symbols are still relevant as we survive our business, investment/financial, professional or technological world with its own inherent dangers.

Perhaps also with the increasing use of technology there is a ‘romanticism,’ or yearning for the prehistoric past, in a poetic sense? That is what I am tapping into – the YEARNING FOR NATURE – the yearning for THE ‘RAW’ – for as humans we have become disconnected from our prehistoric past. In this way I am resisting the mass market of casts of hundreds of thousands of multiples of items all the same.

Other jewellery wasn’t STRONG enough – when I wanted to show ‘strength’

In my Warrior designs I want to hit at the ‘gut’ of the potential buyer because warriors have to operate from gut feelings as well as strategy. Women have to develop particular, high-level skills to survive at a better (or equal) level than men. Many, many women are warriors and learn to deal with issues in (often) more subtle ways than men. In my approach – a warrior needs to keep a ‘cool’ head. If not she/he loses the connection to rational thought (her survivor’s technique). The warrior exudes confidence.

The warrior woman is you … the warrior woman is me!

Other jewellery wasn’t EMOTIONAL enough

When I needed to expresses ‘feelings.’ Emotions can be powerful. They come from the ‘GUT’ and the mind’s interpretation. (e.g. In my early academic days and with a terrible first marriage – I made myself a set of War ribbons as a pin or broach and to it I attached domestic items: household keys, wedding rings, nappy pins, a dummy) – simple things. I awarded myself a ‘Decoration’ for SURVIVAL ON THE DOMESTIC FRONT. I had SURVIVED a WAR – a domestic war. I rewarded myself (as no-one else was going to do it). It appealed to my emotions as I had survived terrible things and wanted recognition: overcoming the balance of life and death.

Other jewellery wasn’t INTELLECTUAL enough

RITUAL BINDING – when I needed to wear ‘ideas.’

(When one studies or is aware of art history) one draws on many things from artistic & cultural items: memories, stories, skills, the pain & pleasure of life and creativity, time and the impact of history and personal history on the artist – and then perhaps the impact of culture/s.

With it often comes an understanding of symbols and colors – and what they might mean in different cultural groups. For me there is an added knowledge, responsibility and URGE – that with the knowledge of postmodernism – and how ‘world culture’ now operates, we instinctively conflate items from different cultures and periods from all around the world – as technology and fabulous imagery, TV etc., makes it all so available and familiar.

It comes into our life: the strange can become familiar. From my childhood experience of living in Papua New Guinea, indigenous, Western and Chinese symbols, and different worldviews – the postmodern technique of appropriation is in my blood.

I pull it all together (in various ways) to MAKE SOMETHING NEW (hopefully aesthetically, stylistically, artistically, culturally, historically pleasing – so the Ritual Binding pieces come into being.

If in one piece I can combine a dinosaur tooth (or other fossil), quality gems and a recently made resin item (which I sometimes do) then comparisons can be made to Gaston Bachelard’s notion that ‘great images … have both a history and a prehistory; they are a blend of memory and legend’ (Bachelard, 1964, 33).

For me there is a thrill, a challenge and a breaking of jewellery conventions to combine fossils, gems, gold and plastic. Rules were made to be broken!

The Warrior Woman is you … the Warrior Woman is me!

I always remembered Michel Foucault who wrote something along the lines that the most interesting ideas come from the edge / the outside (my Papua New Guinea childhood). I consider my dinosaur tooth and gem necklaces, fossils & gems (or crocodile products and gems) are in this vein (as I am disrespectfully combining teeth, tusks, fossils, gold and silver and quality gems on a par – which is outside the ‘norm’ of jewellery manufacturing.

Other jewellery wasn’t CULTURAL enough

When I needed to exhibit notions of a culture or ‘cultures’ – the coming together of cultures and the richness that CAN happen when they do …. (like being a child in PNG absorbing Indigenous, Western and Chinese cultures side by side). I yearn for the rich contact of a variety of cultures.

Perhaps I am like many others a ‘global nomad’ (Schaetti & Ramsey, 2006) who embrace ‘marginal identity’ and have spent more than a year living in another culture/country. It is in this zone that ‘reflection and revaluation should take place’ so that ‘psychic and social development can proceed’.

It is a state of ‘liminality’ where there is ‘cultivation or at least acceptance of multiplistic perspectives’. Perhaps these pieces (culturally different but ritually bound together) reference the global traveller, or educated person, the migrant or refugee – the ‘Other’, a DMZ (Demilitarized Zone – military term for an area of neutrality that is free of weapons and violence) of jewellery. Hopefully I might reference Jeri Kroll’s words that ‘successful avant-garde movements … exploit the tensions of border crossings and cultural exchange’ … “Success transforms the breakthrough and subsequent work that follows.

It’s author (designer) moves from being outsider to insider, transported from the margins and welcomed into the mainstream” (Kroll ). This could be described as a postcolonial process and a postmodern theoretical approach. Kroll quotes Fenkel’s theory that “questioning can reinvigorate both past and present and how the shifting boundaries of genre can produce new aesthetic experiences.”

These are some of the type of beliefs that drive my Ritual Binding, Warrior Woman pieces, East Meets West and also ’Statement’. Obviously, My ‘Countess’ series is from the other side: the traditional, classic and mainstream … but who said the Countess could not also be a Warrior?)

The Warrior Woman is you … the Warrior Woman is me!

Forged from my survival – watching people on the edge

Jane Magon 12 /1 / 2017


Bachelard, Gaston 194 The Poetics of Space(trans.) Boston: Beacon Press

Fenkel, Heinz insu 2003 ‘towards a theory of te interstitial (Version 1.0): the interstitial DMZ, The Interstitial Arts Foundation,

Kroll, Jeri Living on the Edge: Creative Writers in Higher Education, Flinders University, TEXT, VOL. 14 NO. 1 APRIL 2010,

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Schaetti, Barbra F and Shela J Ramsay 2006 (1999) ‘the global nomad experience: living in liminality’ (original publication Mobility 20, September), the Crestone Institute: Designing Environments for Innovations,