Compressed brooch by Susan Cohn

Made by Cohn, Susan in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1984-1987.

Susan Cohn is one of Australia’s most innovative, influential and well-respected jewellers, metalworkers and designers. Articulate and provocative, Cohn’s technical inventiveness and sophisticated conceptual aesthetic has pushed the parameters of contemporary jewellery design, making and dialogue in Australia. In addition she has contributed to the field in other ways, offering traineeships at her studio, Workshop 3000, taking on the chair of Craft Victoria and lecturing and writing on design.



Object No.


Physical Description

Brooch, 'Compressed brooch', anodised aluminium / copper / plastic, designed and made by Susan Cohn, Melbourne, Australia, 1984-1987.

Rectangular brooch of compressed pink, orange, black and violet anodised aluminium scrap and copper wire bound with two black plastic hair ties. A ring pull pin attaches the brooch to clothing. The maker's mark is on the tag attached to the ring-pull pin.



114 mm


39 mm


7 mm



Susan Cohn (b1952) first trained as a graphic designer with Garry Emery before turning to jewellery making and completing a Graduate Diploma in Fine Art, Gold and Silversmithing at RMIT (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) in 1986. In 1980 she co-founded and later assumed sole ownership of Workshop 3000 a jewellery workshop located in Flinders Lane, Melbourne.

'The thing I like about jewellery - and that extends to tableware - is the intimate association, working on something for someone that is going to have a particular meaning for that person and is going to become part of that person's life' (Sydney Morning Herald, Jan 4, 1997, Spectrum 3)

Metal is Cohn's favoured material and quite early in her career she discovered the lightweight flexibility of aluminium, a relatively cheap material whose anodised surface could be impregnated with an almost limitless range of dyes. It was also suited to mass production techniques because it could be pressed into shape rather than using time consuming gold and silver-smithing techniques. Anodised aluminium facilitated her fascination with serially produced works where a form could be easily repeated but individualised through different surface treatments, inclusions and joining techniques.

An astute cultural commentator Cohn's seeks inspiration in street culture, technology, communication devices, cults, symbols and utilitarian object. Her work has referenced the Walkman, dental braces, security passes and keys. Values and value judgements are turned upside down as she uses her work to report on society, its concerns and values in a thought provoking and often witty manner. Cohn has an ability to make the ordinary, extraordinary in form and content.

Made by Susan Cohn in her studio Workshop 3000 in Flinders Lane, Melbourne. Cohn established this workshop, initially with Marian Hosking and Harry Rowlands in 1980 as a place to work, and to provide an access space to others. She has also offered traineeships to emerging jewellers and metal smiths.

The brooch was made between 1984 and 1987.


Cohn, Susan 1984-1987


Cohn, Susan null



The brooch was used by the donor. It was given to the Powerhouse Museum by the original owner of the brooch.


Credit Line

Gift of Nicola Bradley, 1994

Acquisition Date

17 August, 2001

Cite this Object


Compressed brooch by Susan Cohn 2014, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 24 January 2018, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Compressed brooch by Susan Cohn |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=24 January 2018 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

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