‘Ornamental Crimes’ handmade resin vessels by Melbourne artist Kate Rohde exclusively for Pieces of Eight.  Floral arrangements by Cecilia Fox.  Photo - Andrew Barcham.

‘Ornamental Crimes’ handmade resin vessels by Melbourne artist Kate Rohde for Pieces of Eight.  Floral arrangements by Cecilia Fox.  Photo - Andrew Barcham.

‘Ornamental Crimes’ handmade resin vessels by Melbourne artist Kate Rohde  for Pieces of Eight.  Floral arrangements by Cecilia Fox.  Photo - Andrew Barcham.

Melbourne artist Kate Rohde is quite the multi-tasker.  Since completing her fine arts degree at the VCA in 2001, Kate has gathered a bit of a cult following for her fantastical resin and mixed media sculptures, which have been exhibited extensively Australia wide, and are held in some of our most prestigious national collections, including The National Gallery of Victoria.  Kate is also known for her resin jewellery, first created through a collaboration with Sydney fashion label Romance was Born, and now sold through Pieces of Eight and Edition X in Melbourne.  More recently, at the request of Pieces of Eight gallery director Melanie Katsalidis, Kate has also been experimenting with functional resin vessels – a series which she calls ‘Ornament Crimes’.

‘These vessels form part of a collection I titled ‘Ornament Crimes’ in cheeky reference to the Adolf Loos Bauhaus’ essay ‘Ornament as Crime’, that was written at the advent of the modernist era and rallied against excessive decoration, believing it had a degenerative effect on society’ explains Kate!  With their ornate detailing, brave colours and almost ‘cartoony’ style, Kate’s vessels certainly command attention, and teeter on the borderline of fine art and functional design.  ’I’ve always loved really crazy, excessive detailing in art and design, which in some ways has always seemed at odds with what we now consider good taste’ she says.

Kate’s new vessels are inspired by her ongoing interest in natural history illustration and rococo decorative arts. After creating simple drawings outlining the basic design for each piece, Kate models each one in intricate detail in clay – this is where much of the design is resolved. Once the clay model is completed, she makes a silicone mould, and casts each piece in resin. ‘Some of these pieces are pretty complex shapes and working out how to make the moulds can be quite challenging’ she says. ‘You need to find a way of extracting the cast easily from the mould, while trying to put the seam lines in places which can be easily sanded and polished’.

Originally created for an exhibition for the L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival ‘Windows by Design’ event back in April, Kate’s ‘Ornament Crimes’ range is now available exclusively through at Pieces of Eight in Melbourne, priced from $120.   Kate’s jewellery can be found online at Edition X, whilst her artwork is exhibited in Melbourne through Karen Woodbury Gallery.

‘Ornamental Crimes’ handmade resin vessels by Melbourne artist Kate Rohde  for Pieces of Eight.  Floral arrangements by Cecilia Fox.  Photo - Andrew Barcham.