Studio jeweller, craftsman
Te Papa sadly bids farewell to contemporary studio jeweller Paul Annear who passed away on 24 April in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Characterful and enigmatic, Paul loved materials and the process of craft making. He studied anthropology and psychology at the University of Auckland- subjects that helped inform his jewellery in the years to come. Paul made and sold silver jewellery at the Cook Street market, Auckland. During the mid 1980s, he became inspired by pounamu (greenstone, or jade) through the writing of Theo Schoon and the small stone sculptures of John Edgar. Pounamu especially appealed for its hardness and beauty. He gained a Winston Churchill Memorial Fellowship in 1991 to study ancient jade carvings in Asia, Europe, and the USA.
Paul’s work appeared in craft galleries including Compendium (Auckland), Avid Gallery (Wellington), and Fingers Contemporary Jewellery (Auckland) – the longest running dealer gallery devoted to jewellery, of which he was a member from 1991 to 1996. He exhibited through Details, Dowse Museum, and Auckland Museum. It was, however, his work with the seminal exhibition Bone Stone Shell: New Jewellery New Zealand in 1988 which will be especially remembered. Paul created jewellery and implements for an ‘imagined neolithic culture… fascinated by the power of tools and by the mysteries of the sun, the moon and the beholding eye’ (submission for Bone Stone Shell exhibition). His objects were clearly defined by discoid and curvilinear shapes; his three-dimensional objects easily translated through into photography.
The exhibition supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Crafts Council of New Zealand, toured the Pacific for about five years. It was acquired by The Friends of Te Papa and shown two years ago at Te Papa in Bone Stone Shell: 25 years on. Paul’s work appeared as fresh as it did when first made.
Paul also explored cast glass, the objects heavily shaped and again bearing signs of the primeval. He experimented too with music and animation, and in 2003 he published The Artist – a colouring book for adults.
About six years ago, Paul moved to Cambodia where he continued to make jewellery. Stone remained at the heart of his work.
Curator of Decorative Art and Design