i first came across polly vanderglass’ body parts pieces in paris on the hand of a man friend who was wearing his own teeth set in a ring. it was a wonderfully human, sleek, intimate and original piece of jewellery. all polly’s very personal and wearable works are handmade with sterling silver, human teeth and human hair which in my mind creates an intimate understanding or relationship of sorts between the donor of said body parts and the wearer. what do you think? polly’s interest in the human body and her manipulation of such elements in her craft and then its direct relationship to the body as jewellery makes for some very smart body part art. suck it and see.
if you have any teeth spare, donations are gratefully accepted. to donate teeth, learn more or you are looking to buy polly’s wonderous and wearable works – click here.
polly has answered BDWA blog questions below for more of an insight into her world.
1. top 5 favourite things.
At this very moment, almost all of it is contained within a few suburbs of Melbourne:
For shopping, the Napier Street Anglicare Opp Shop opposite the flats in Fitzroy. They are only open a few hours a week, and generally nothing is over $2. I always come away with incredible fabrics.
Another shopping/fossicking destination: Coburg Trash and Treasure. It’s full old Greek men’s bric-a-brac. It’s great. http://www.trashandtreasure.com.au/markets_melbourne.html
For crazy, inspiring craftmanship, William Llewellyn Griffiths has the most hectic and beautiful studio/gallery space that is reminiscent of something out of the 1800’s. There are all sorts of strange inventions and specimens constantly turning up there. http://www.metalcouture.com/workshop.php
Just down the road, Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces consistently has very interesting exhibitions. http://www.gertrude.org.au/
And I love all of Miranda July’s projects. A favorite was her old ‘Learning to Love You More’ assignments. http://www.learningtoloveyoumore.com/
2. was there anyone that inspired you from the beginning?
Originally, I was very conceptually inspired by performance artists, such as Orlan and Vanessa Beecroft who really messed with the female body. Also I was greatly inspired by one of my lecturers in the Netherlands – Alet Pilon, who was also a sculptor. She used animal roadkill and arranged the parts into abstract human forms. She really saw life and creativity differently, and opened my eyes to alot. Currently I’ve enjoyed watching and participating in the trans-disciplinary Melbourne artist Adele Varcoe’s projects. She predominantly works with skin as a material and is very original, confronting and funny.
3. tell a little about your background.
I started my tertiary education at RMIT doing Fashion Design. I hated it and was rather fed up with the extraordinary manipulations we put our bodies through to conform to shifting physical ideals. But in a way my hatred was a useful building block. I went on exchange to an art school in Utrecht, Holland, and while there something furiously creative and political ignited within me. I returned to Melbourne interested in critiquing our obsession with the beautiful body. I got the degree then went on to study Postgraduate Cultural Studies at Melbourne University. I was particularly interested in gender studies, and identity politics. It was a wonderful experience, one of the subjects was called: ‘Art, Pornography, Blashemy and Propaganda’. It was thrilling. But I missed making things with my hands, and so went on to learn jewellery bench skills at North Melbourne Institute of Technology. Jewellery is a great medium, because it is an art that is understood directly in relation to the body.
4. what are you currently collecting?
Human teeth, hairs, Interesting gloves, old watchmakers bottles.
5. what would be your ideal collaborative project?
I would love to do something interactive involving the public, which Adele Varcoe is a master at.
6. what was your last purchase for yourself?
It wasn’t really a purchase, but I recently did a car swap. I received an awesome 1976 black ford escort panel van.
7. current favourite colour or colour combination?
Unfortunately I don’t have any skills with colour. I tend to avoid it at all costs, usually only working with black, silver and white. I tend to be more obsessed with silhouette and texture. I do hope to understand colour one day…
8. do you have a beauty routine? what is it?
Not really. I should spend more time attending to my hands, but tend to just use water and sorbolene for everything.
9. favourite thing to cook?
Vegetable Pies and Soups. An enduring favorite of mine is chickpea and leek soup, where basically you just chop and combine as many leeks as you can carry, a few potatoes, 500 g of chickpeas, garlic, pepper olive oil and vegetable stock.
10. who are you listening to at the moment?
Gil Scott Heron, Yeasayer and John Safran’s podcasts
11. whats most important to you?
Making things that mean something. Minimizing my consumption and carbon footprint.
12. favourite destination ( country or city) and why?
I recently took my bike with some friends on the train to Castlemaine in country Victoria and just rode around for the weekend. It was so freeing and easy. Castlemaine is really beautiful in winter and fosters quite a creative community.
all photos of polly’s jewels within BDWA blog have been taken by james morgan and terence bogue.