Order of the Domestic Order

Pauline Bern (New Zealander, b.1952), Artist 2000 © All rights reserved See full details

Object Detail

"One of the traditional roles of jewellery (or one of the roles of traditional jewellery) is as a gift or reward presented by husband to spouse. Domestic compliance may not be explicitly stated but it is implicit in the gift itself. A diamond engagement ring represents an investment in cooked meals and housework futures as much as it does any long term romantic troth.
Men as gift givers and bestowers of largesse are not a factor in Bern's work. Her works function more as communications between maker and wearer. That communication is most commonly, although not exclusively, between Bern and other women.
The three brooches that make up the 'Order of Domestic Order' take as their form those military medals usually awaded "for bravery under fire" or "courage in the face of the enemy." The difference here is that these are awards for perserverance in the face of drudgery. A goldilocks hangs from a hand embroidered 'chux' cloth or from a piece of what appears to be blue kitchen sponge. The humour is wry. Like the military medals they are intimate, the 'Order of Domestic Order', are awarded to the combatant by someone who has experienced the heat of battle."
Douglas Lloyd Jenkins in catalogue for the exhibition "Strain, Grate, Whisk, Scrub: jewelry by Pauline Bern" 2000 . Auckland: DOT
Order of the Domestic Order
Production date
gold, silver, shell, 'chux' cloth, silk thread, paint, pumice
Circular medall: 65 x 45 x 15mm (h x w x d)
Blue and white stripe medal: 80 x 30 x 15mm (h x w x d)
Rectangular medal: 50 x 30 x 15mm (h x w x d)
Credit line
Collection of The Dowse Art Museum, purchased 2002
Accession number

Part of 2 highlight sets