In the year 2000, Emma Bugg undertook her Bachelor’s degree in fine
art at Hunter Street fresh out of college. Majoring in sculpture, she never quite figured out what she was doing there but found it to be an excellent foundation for understanding art history and concept development. After a few years of leaving her home island of Tasmania to work and travel, it all came together when she returned to study Silversmithing and Jewellery design at Polytechnic in 2009.
In 2010, she approached Handmark gallery in second year of study and was offered an exhibition that year. Launching from this, her career has prospered, going on to have work at Design Tasmania, the MONA collection and exhibiting nationally and internationally. Her work has been shortlisted in several prestigious national art and jewellery awards.
Emma’s arts practice is multi-faceted, with a distinction between high end exhibition work and production pieces. The material that captivates her is concrete, creating jewellery that embodies a gentle strength and subverts perception of a utilitarian material. Conceptually, her practice focuses on remembering. Connection to place and spirit are common themes which run throughout her work, with pieces containing fragments of places or cremated ashes to create something permanent from something that no longer exists. She has also produced commissioned pieces that incorporate secret codes.
“There’s an undeniable alchemy that happens in the design and creation of jewellery. I’ll always remember the first time I made a ring. I love the transformation that takes place when you manipulate and apply fire to metal. Something magical happens when the solder flows, connecting two ends and transforming it into to an object that can signify so much. My favourite jobs are those which involve working with clients to tease out an idea, going from concept to meaningful object.”