Anke Kindle <em>Organ scrubber brooch</em> 2019; American walnut, blackened copper, horsehair, stainless steel, sterling silver, 9k yellow gold. Courtesy of the artist<br/>
© Anke Kindle. Photo: Fred Kroh

Anke Kindle

Anke Kindle
(b. 1972, Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany. Lives and works in Melbourne)

Anke Kindle is a designer and jeweller whose work examines the politics of objects in the domestic realm, as well as private ritual. Kindle creates contemporary wearables and one-off pieces that explore how inanimate objects are selected to embody meaning, tell personal stories and express the owner’s innermost desires, dreams and ambitions.

In a new work for Melbourne Now, Kindle has reiterated her Organ Scrubber Brooch 2.0, first designed in 2019, which employs the craft of brush binding to interrogate the value of women’s work. This limited-edition piece is part of a jewellery object series inspired by the German term kratzbürste (which literally translates as ‘scrubbing brush’), a derogatory name given to women who fought for improved factory working conditions during nineteenth-century industrialisation. Breaking out of traditional roles in the home, these women’s public visibility and political engagement was considered as abrasive as the hard-bristled cleaning implement. The tactile brooch’s biomorphic form is hammered from a blackened copper sheet, combined with sterling silver, 9K yellow gold and stainless steel. Horsehair bristles are bound to American walnut with a traditional method and emulate a physical scar or sutured stitches, which speaks to the bodily traces left behind by politics. Kindle summons the mechanically ingenious device’s cultural uses in personal and domestic hygiene to show the continuous evolution of women’s labour and question preconceived notions of femininity. Nearly indestructible, the brush celebrates women’s vital contributions to society and survival throughout history.

With a background in furniture design, Kindle launched Studio Blau in 2020 to showcase her jewellery and object design practice. Her work has been exhibited and has received awards across Australia and internationally, most recently winning the Craft Victoria e.g.etal Fresh! prize in 2020. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Furniture Design) from the University of Tasmania (2001), a Master of Design and Applied Arts from Edinburgh University (2005) – for which she received the Anne & Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship – and an Advanced Diploma of Jewellery and Object Design from Melbourne Polytechnic (2020).