No coal in her stocking: artist's environmental message a finalist in Contemporary Art Awards

 Artist Amber Countryman turns natural materials and discarded items into artwork with a message about sustainability. Source: Recycled Repurposed Remade on Facebook.

Artist Amber Countryman turns natural materials and discarded items into artwork with a message about sustainability. Source: Recycled Repurposed Remade on Facebook.

Sustainability is woven through Amber Countryman's art.  The Capricorn Coast artist creates sculptures, mosaics and mixed-media works using landfill contenders like broken crockery and bottle tops.

But it's a necklace fashioned from chunks of coal, fancily displayed with white satin gloves like something from a department store window, that's caught the art world's attention.  The piece, a commentary on what we find valuable and worth looking after, has been selected as a finalist in the 2018 Contemporary Art Awards.

Amber says she applied for the awards with "no anticipation" of being selected.

"In the art world there is quite a bit of rejection and when you are passionate, it hurts.

"Mid year, my concepts for a huge project weren't selected and although I tried so hard not get my hopes up, it really just floored me.

"A month or so ago I thought maybe I should enter a competition, send it off with no anticipation and steady myself for the rejection."

So much for that plan - Amber is one of 73 finalists who will get two free mentoring sessions, and inclusion in an online exhibition launching on January 11.

coal jewellery amber countryman

"This coal jewellery is meant to represent wealth and excess"

"I wanted to inspire questions of cost, not to the wearer, but to the environment." - Amber Countryman