Kristy Dickinson’s designs aren’t for shrinking violets. When your necklace reads “Fancy as Fuck”, there’s nowhere to hide.
The Indigenous designer, who grew up in Sydney’s Newtown, isn’t trying to be adversarial though. She’s affable and quick to laugh, and her easy-going nature comes through in her work.
“I want my pieces to start a conversation,” she says.
In the case of her “Cunt Heart” earrings, it’s a conversation about stripping the derogatory connotations from that word.
“I want to reclaim C-U-N-T,” says Dickinson. Even though she’s reclaiming it, conventional manners prevail; she spells the word rather than saying it.
“It’s just a word. In WA they say ‘budju’. The elders get funny about it, but in the younger community, it’s almost affectionate. It means vagina, but it can also mean a sexy woman.”
The genius of Dickinson’s pieces is that strong political statements are tempered with brightly coloured acrylic and a liberal amount of glitter. Her politics are clearly spoken and couldn’t have arrived at a better time (during the Trump era), but they’re presented with all the irresistible fabulousness of a Mardi Gras parade. They’re the perfect accessory to an anxious period in Australia as we await the upcoming postal vote on same-sex marriage.
Some pieces are playful, like gold bamboo hoop earrings that can be personalised with the wearer’s name. The “Love is Love” earrings feature a rainbow of colours or there’s a thick-chained necklace with charms in the colours of the Aboriginal flag. One reads “deadly”.
Dickinson loves “to rep the local area.” Her politics span feminism, Indigenous issues and LGBTQI rights. She has collaborated with Indigenous designer Aarli and created a collection of necklaces for the Sistagirls, a group of Aboriginal transgender women from NT’s Tiwi Islands.
“They struggle so much in their community. This year was their first Mardi Gras. It was the first time they could be relaxed about who they are,” she says.
“Gay people struggle for acceptance in Aboriginal communities, especially in country towns where you have to have a tough attitude.”
Each Haus of Dizzy bauble is handmade by Dickinson. Acrylic is laser cut and the pieces are hand-painted. They’re stocked in boutiques in Sydney, Melbourne (including Rose Street Artists Markets) and online. Dickinson is also at Sydney’s Glebe Markets every Saturday, ready to talk politics.
“I think it’s so important for designers to use their work as a platform. If we can raise awareness about issues and have a conversation, we can stop being so divided. We can come to a place where we get along.”