Watching for retirement...
'Presentation Timepiece for a Retired Whaler' was made in 1988 as a pointed and satirical commentary on the archaic nature of whaling.
Time was, when a man retired from a lifetime's work, he was presented with a gold watch. By making the presentation timepiece a pocket sundial, Phill intended to underscore how outdated the activity of whaling was. Little did he know that nearly two decades later, killing whales would still be undertaken...
The pocket sundial actually works, and is accurate to about ten or fifteen minutes. The enquirer of the Time simply holds the sundial facing north (ie here in the southern hemisphere, at least) and rotates it back to correspond roughly to their latitude. So, here in Tasmania, it would be angled back to about 41 or 42 degrees from horizontal, and then the shadow cast by the gnomon is read off the alidade. It is calibrated to reveal the time from 4am to 8pm.
The alidade is a slice of cut and polished sperm whale tooth; the gnomon is space-age titanium.
The alidade hinges open to reveal a goldleaf-coated container.It is kept closed by pressure on the gnomon when the two outer shell are locked closed.
The entire piece takes the form of a fob chain and albert, with the two extremes holding a cruciform and the timepiece. The chain is a combination of simple titanium and hollow-fabricated sterling silver chenier. The cruciform and timepiec are set with garnets, symbolising spilled blood.
The 'albert' was a decorative addition on fob chains (named in honour of Prince Albert) which hung on display over the stomach. Phill made this albert in the form of a nef, which was a decorative hanging ship-motif, especially popular in Rennaissance times. The 'boat' is again made of whale tooth, with a titanium sail/blade menacing a pearl.
'Blade and Bladder'
The pearl opposing the blade was a further development of the brooch: 'Blade and Bladder', made the previous year, in 1987, and shares its concerns. 'Blade and Bladder' was judged the overall winner in the Australian Jewellers Association Tasmanian Jewellery Design Awards, 1987; The Mercury Newspaper, Hobart, reported that "The De Beers representative on the judging panel, Ms Lousje Brugman of Sydney, yesterday praised Mr Mason's winning brooch for its innovative design and superb craftsmanship. Ms Brugman said she was delighted by the range and standard this year, and welcomed the entries from non-traditional jewellers, of whom Mr Mason is one."
GIVING SOME STICK...
'Cane for Striking Toads', a stick that ostensibly addresses the menace of the Cane Toad in Australia; but which also has a lovely Victorian allegorical ring to it... 1992, about a metre long.