Student's jewellery meaty proposition

Otago Polytechnic Art School graduating student Brogan Nuttall works on one of his ‘‘meat’’ jewellery flowers. Photos by Peter McIntosh.
Otago Polytechnic Art School graduating student Brogan Nuttall works on one of his ‘‘meat’’ jewellery flowers. Photos by Peter McIntosh.
 A meat hook started the thought process for Nuttal’s project.
A meat hook started the thought process for Nuttal’s project.
Nutall’s meat necklace with scrap metal chain.
Nutall’s meat necklace with scrap metal chain.
Mince shaped to look like a ring.
Mince shaped to look like a ring.

When students talk about one hundred and one ways with mince, wearing it as jewellery is probably not on that list.

But that did not stop Otago Polytechnic graduating student Brogan Nuttall from coming up with his exhibition ''Prole Feed'' for this year's SITE show.

Nuttall has developed a range of necklaces, hooks and rings in ''flower'' shapes made from processed beef.

The meat is pressed into a mould and left to harden before being papier-mached over on one side to give it structure. Its underside is then painted with resin to make it durable and not ''go off''.

The resin is clear so the meat is visible and he is open to people wearing the necklaces with the colourful papier-mache side on display or the side where you can see the meat.

All the materials added to the meat such as the papier-mache and metal hooks and chains have been recycled or come from scrap.

It took quite a bit of experimentation to find the right type of meat. He started out with salt-cured lamb and then beef strips before discovering mince worked best.

''I realised you could push it into a mould and mix it with glue to help it stay together.

''They're quite fragile.''

Keeping with the theme, some of the ''flowers'' are mounted on fine hooks reminiscent of a butcher's meat hook.

He wants people to wear the jewellery but worries about whether they will want to wear it.

''Are they desirable enough to be worn?''

Nuttall came up with idea when thinking about consumerism and saw the flower as a play on gender, as it was a feminine shape, while meat had masculine social connotations, he said.

''The hook shape was what sparked the whole project. It was initially a series of objects hooked, then branched out.''

Having grown up in Dunedin, he went to the University of Otago after school to study psychology but soon realised he wanted to do something more practical.

''I never saw myself doing jewellery though.''

It was not until he got a taste of jewellery during the polytechnic course that he discovered he liked working with metal.

''I've stuck with it and really enjoy it.''

With his final year project completed he was now looking to the future, perhaps travelling or possibly returning to polytechnic for a post-graduate year.

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