Alchemy - Kate Alterio & Claire Beynon (2009)


* noun. A medieval chemical philosophy having as its asserted aims the transmutation of base metals into gold, the discovery of the panacea, and the preparation of the elixir of longevity.

* figurative. A process by which paradoxical results are achieved or incompatible elements combined with no obvious rational explanation : his conducting managed by some alchemy to give a sense of fire and ice.

* A seemingly magical power or process of transmutation and transformation.


ALCHEMY is a collaborative exhibition by Kate Alterio, contemporary jeweller, and Claire Beynon, visual artist, the expression of an interdisciplinary conversation that has taken shape over time and distance, and that draws together a range of artistic media.

Integral to ALCHEMY has been a co-mentoring process. Kate and Claire have combined the conceptual approaches and technical skills relevant to their independent disciplines, each enabling the other to step outside their usual areas of expertise and into a world of new possibilities. Kate has taught Claire jewellery and metalworking techniques; Claire has introduced Kate to drawing, painting, and related mark-marking skills. This co-mentoring aspect adds a unique dimension to this exhibition. Both artists have taken on the challenge of working in new media, with an eye on creative, technical and personal transformation.

Another unique element in this show is that the artists have co-created several of the works. Their collaborative pieces (limited editions of framed wearable jewellery and a series of inter-disciplinary, mixed media 2D works) complement and sit alongside their individual contributions (jewellery, wall installations, 3D sculptural works, drawings and paintings). Their solo voices emerge through their individual works, and their collaborative voice through combined pieces that carry both their signatures.

Claire and Kate believe that by sharing ideas and resources and crossing the parameters of their various disciplines, everyone benefits. Boundaries - many of them imaginary - are broken down, reinforcing the common ground between us.

Alchemy is presented as a journey that begins with individual pieces, moves through to collaborative works and ultimately arrives at a place where the boundaries between who made what merge. By laying out their process in this way, Kate and Claire hope to challenge traditional views of attachment and ownership and promote the idea that creative partnerships contain strong elements of gifting.


Leap and a net will appear.


Warm thanks to Vince Moug, Alan Rennie, Matt Stechmann, Luke O'Connell, Dorthe Kristensen, Graham Burgess, Alan Stocker, David McLeod, Jenny Duff, Amelia Pascoe, James Watson, Katie Hecker, Sandy Booth, Paul Craig, Olaf Wehr-Candler, Liz Johns, Paul Orr, Ewan Duff, Pete Halliday, Lesley Winter and Ron O'kane for their support, generosity, patience, good humour and technical ingenuity. Within unity is diversity!


To Harold Klug, who opened my eyes and let the light in. - Kate Alterio.


Jewellery - Kate

All returns to the center

The return

Within the house
the light dwells

Out of the ashes I

Looking glass II

Out of the ashes II

Out of the ashes III

Out of the ashes IV

Out of the ashes V

Out of the ashes VI

Out of the ashes VII

Out of the ashes VIII

All things pass I

All things pass II

All things pass III

All things pass IV

All things pass V

All things pass VI

All things pass VII

All things pass VII


Wall mounted pieces - Kate

All that is concealed will
be revealed

Into the fire

Looking glass I


A new dawn


Collaborative work - jewellery and painting - Kate and Claire

Full circle I

The end we like to say is
also the beginning

Full circle II

New potential

All things pass

Full bloom

Hand in hand

Within unity is diversity


Selected pieces - Claire

Lasting conversation


Claire's website link

Installation photos