Souvenir of a Souvenir
Jennifer Laracy has a story to tell. Souvenir of a Souvenir, the working title she has used to refer to the work in this show, is a tribute in objects to her late grandfather and jeweller Morris Lionel Win, born in Waimea South, Nelson, NZ in 1915. Morris served as a private during WWII in the 22nd Battalion as a Bren gunner, he was badly wounded in Crete and sent to Stalag VIIIB as a prisoner of war. Due to the impact of his wounds, he was repatriated to New Zealand by the Red Cross in 1943 and re-trained as a jeweller at the Disabled Servicemen's League in Wellington. At that time, the paua souvenir trade was regulated, dictating that paua must be set in silver or gold and sales of paua souvenirs were restricted to registered makers. Working under the mark Handmade in New Zealand, he developed a high level of skill producing paua shell jewellery throughout his career. He supplied work for sale to the League shops as well as accepting private commissions for collectors. He produced various designs by Ida Hudig who commissioned Win to make a silver paua shell bracelet which won Jewel of the Year in 1976. Win also worked with the Maori Queen, Te Atairangikaahu, in a professional relationship for over 26 years to produce many beautiful pieces inspired by her traditional designs. Throughout his practice, he made trophies, souvenirs, inlaid crib boards and team badges for the National Rifle Association. A number of these pieces are featured in Elly van de Wijdeven’s publication Vintage Paua Shell Jewellery.
While studying to become a jeweller at Whitireia in Porirua, Jennifer spent time in Morris’s workshop learning about his life and work. At one point he made a sketch of a necklace that he thought she might make. After twenty years she has accepted the challenge.
In a gesture of tribute, Jennifer is echoing her grandfather’s palette by restricting her usually broad material library to paua shell, silver and gold. Jennifer is letting her hands do the thinking as she makes peace with the complex paua history. Acknowledging that the act of making was therapy for Win, Jennifer is using the same techniques to commemorate this pivotal mentor in her life. Despite traversing tricky emotional terrain, she has used her extensive skill as a maker to build a joyful body of work that honours the memory of a very special man.
Souvenir Bracelet, 2022. Paua Shell and silver, 205 x 25 x 5mm $1,610
Paua Shell and Silver necklace, 2022. Chain 510mm long, pendant 400 x 400mm $1,360
Big Twist brooch, 2022. Paua Shell and silver, 65 x 65 x 10mm $555
Suits brooch, 2022. Paua Shell and silver, 85 x 85 x 10mm $620
Domino Pendant, 2022. Paua Shell and silver and cord, 35 x 80 x 15mm $620
Spoon Pendant, 2022. Paua Shell and silver and cord, 120 x 20mm $435
Big Charm bracelet, 2022. Paua Shell and silver. 240 x 15mm $1,115
Cake Tin ring, 2022. Paua Shell and silver, Paua 30mm diameter, size S1/2 $435
Block Ring, 2022. Paua Shell and silver, size P1/2 $435
Cab Ring x 5, 2022. Paua Shell and silver, size S $370
Cab ring Ring, 2022. Paua Shell and silver, size O $370
Big Cab Stud earrings, 2022. Paua Shell and silver, 15mm diameter $435