Wolf Wennrich Award for Craftmanship – Mr Michael Wennrich Endowment.
I SPOKE TO AN ECHO: THE JEWELLERY STUDIO AS AN ARCHIVE OF HUMAN INTERACTION WITH MATERIAL
The bench peg (or bench pin) is a timber object affixed to the jewellers bench and used to stabilise a project while it is being worked on. The most common form is a sort of ‘tooth’ shape with a notch in the middle to wedge work into. The peg is used to stabilise sawing, filing, sanding, drilling, and many other activities.
A bench peg lasts as long as it serves its purpose, and over time begins to form a portrait of the person using it – they may make a new divot to prop their work against, or their file may begin to create a new depression in the timber. But in a university setting, where pegs last many decades and are utilised by many students, their forms take on a unique portrait of not one person but many; betraying the working of jewellers as a community. Drilled holes gravitate toward the centre. Saw blades eat at the point of the triangular gap. The ‘teeth’ become rounded and smooth. In this way, the bench peg becomes a powerful material representation of the jeweller and their workspace.