The Handshake exhibition is the culmination of the Handshake mentoring project that began in 2011 involving twelve, then emerging, New Zealand-based jewellers. The project initiated by jeweller, teacher, and jewellery activist Peter Deckers, has provided the mentees with the opportunity to work with an internationally renowned artist or jeweller of their choice, as a mentor.
The role of the mentor was to assist the mentee with establishing an ongoing practice that would extend beyond the duration of the project and provide professional support and advice during the process of them developing works for a series of Handshake exhibitions staged in Australia, New Zealand and Germany. While earlier exhibitions focussed on the mentees, the Handshake exhibition at Objectspace presents works by all the participants and highlights the collaborative process and unique qualities of the relationships between the pairs. The Handshake website (http://handshakejewellery.com) records the progress of the Handshake participants via blogs that chart the development and exchange of ideas which occurred through a mixture of email, Skype, and studio visits. A recently published bookHANDSHAKE – 12 contemporary jewellers meet their hero collects text and images from participants and features an essay from leading international jewellery commentator Benjamin Lignel. The book is available for purchase at Objectspace.
In the final phase of this Handshake project each of the current mentees has been given the opportunity to select a new recent graduate, whom they will mentor for of a year,expanding on the ever increasing circle of learning and contributing to the dynamic flow of shared experiences. These graduating mentees- soon- to- be- mentors are the most valuable jewellery resources generated by Handshake.