National Contemporary Jewellery Collection
The Griffith Regional Art Gallery is the proud owner of the National Contemporary Jewellery Collection, the only collection of its kind in Australia.
The Collection was started in 1988 after the success of a contemporary jewellery exhibition project titled Imagination and Metapor. Several pieces by some of Australia’s best contemporary jewellery practitioners where purchased to start the collection which has been growing ever since.
The National Contemporary Jewellery Award was started by the Griffith Regional Art Gallery in 1992 to support the development of the collection and also to promote the contemporary practices that are used by practitioners across the country. The former Friends of the Griffith Regional Art Gallery were significant players in the establishment of the collection for Griffith by purchasing one or several entries from the Award each year.
Today the Griffith City Council is the sponsor of the $5000 prize money given to the winner of the National Contemporary Jewellery Award which occurs biennially.
The Couture Collection was purchased by Griffith City Council in 2005 and is part of the Griffith Regional Art Gallery Collection. It is a collection which contains work created over the past 50 years and consists of over 200 gowns.
The Couture Collection represents the life’s work of Ross Weymouth and John Claringbold, two established fashion designers working for the majority of their time in Melbourne and spending their final years living in Darlington Point along the Murrumbidgee River, 45km from Griffith where they continued designing couture garments for clients and for those who lived locally.
The collection covers over half a century of work spanning from the late 1950’s to the early 2000’s. Between them, Ross and John had over 90 years experience in the fashion industry and a record 12 Gown of the Year (later Masters of Fashion) Awards.
This collection features their unique interpretation of all major fashion trends through the last six decades. In 2005, Ross and John were recognised for their huge contribution to the industry by being inducted into the Masters of Fashion (previously Gown of the Year) Hall of Fame by the Award Director, Guy Barton.
Ross Weymouth and John Claringbold history
Ross Weymouth was born in Balranald, NSW and John Claringbold in Halls Gap, Victoria. Ross and John met in Melbourne when both were working at the Mutual Store (Ross as a window dresser and John as manager of Display). John started his own Couture business - John Claringbold of Melbourne, in 1962.
Several years later John opened his own fashion house in Swanson Street, Melbourne, which attracted Australia-wide clientèle and included work for Suzanne Steele and former Miss Australia, Michelle Downes, while also working with models such as Janice Waikley and Maggie Tabberer.
Ross’s first commercial designs were produced under the John Claringbold label. After a trip to the UK, he moved back to Melbourne and established himself as an independent designer, developing his own label Bazzar of South Yarra. Ross first entered the Gown of the Year in 1967 and up until 2007, won seven Gown of the Year Awards.
Throughout the 1960’s and 70’s both Ross and John were involved in testing prototype fabrics for the British Nylon Spinners and Fibre Makers. They both believed that synthetics revolutionised fashion, there is plenty of evidence of this in the garments.
Both John and Ross passed away in 2007.