Text from card accompanying brooch:

Oregano symbolises the growing of edible plants within many gardens for their culinary uses. A perennial herb, it is a species of the mint family and native to Europe, the Mediterranean region and southern and central Asia. There are a number of subspecies each with their own distinctive flavours and most of us know it as a highly aromatic herb used in Italian and Greek cooking.


The choice to represent the oregano plant comes from a personal liking for this herb and a wish to include a plant that I cultivate for eating and use in cooking. For me it’s been a hardy herb that’s survived a lot of neglect, learning and battering – I admire its tenacity. I brought my plant years ago from Bunnings and don’t even know its proper botanical name. I remember I wanted to try and begin to be a little bit sustainable in growing some of my own food and oregano was a good place to start. I think I had the idea it was a hardy water wise plant. Like other edible plants oregano is often found growing in gardens in our suburbs and cities as part of a legacy of the kitchen garden. I’m all for encouraging more local self-reliance in food production.

9 Responses to Oregano

  1. Vicki Mason says:

    Note from Vicki: this blog was originally posted on the Home page and has been moved here.

    cherabin says:
    August 17, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    Well it’s been a few weeks since I received my brooch – I was lucky enough to be drawn out of the hat and it was with pleasure that I received the Oregano brooch. It’s an absolutely beautiful piece of jewellery and I love the way it feels when you trace the leaves. It’s quite a heavy piece and goes best with straight black.
    Just like Vicki, it’s creator, oregano was one of the first plants we bought from Bunnings too last year and aside from the odd watering it has thrived. A sturdy little plant.
    So I live in WA and unfortunately am suffering the trials of moving house into a rental as we’ve sold ours and now bought a block of land near the beach. Change is afoot.
    I’m looking forward to voting this weekend and am very interested in the outcome. I noticed Julia Gillard has been quoted as being keen for a republic but only once the Queen’s reign is over. Interesting.
    Anyway, I’ve worn the brooch a bit and it garners a lot of comments which lead me to explain the concept of the broaching change project.
    I will be sad to pass it on, but that’s the whole point of the project and it will be interesting to see where the journey takes it.

  2. Vicki Mason says:

    Great to hear from you cherabin and thanks for getting in touch. I wanted to ask what sort of comments the brooch has been garnering?.. details are welcome please. It’s the details that I think will inform a deeper understanding of our relationship with not only jewellery but the various aspects of the project, anyone willing to take the ‘leap’ so to speak and take a turn yet? .. if not, any ideas why?.. look forward to hearing from you on this one.

    I was reading an article in the age newspaper on 29th August titled, ‘Republic hopes to take a king-hit’ by Josh Gordon (Federal politics), Im sure you can find it online. Anyway, seems Ozzies are way less into changing and moving away from the constitutional monarchy at the moment. 44% favour a republic, 48% oppose a republic, 31% don’t want a republic at all, and 34% want it only after Liz falls off her perch. There were some insightful comments from all sides of the debate, but sadly it looks like its a way off yet. Any discussion I would argue is great as it gets people thinking about a topic. Tony Abbott had a typically small minded take on the whole issue positing that, if it works don’t change it attitude… oh dear, that man is living in an another age!

  3. Susan Frisch says:

    But Vicki, he may yet be our next PM!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Vicki Mason says:

    The oregano brooch recently came back to FORM and is being sent on to a recipient in Victoria. The first custodian was kind enough not to keep the brooch but to want to move out of her care. I hope she doesn’t mind me quoting her but in her letter accompanying the returned brooch she states ‘… It turns out life has overtaken me and I’ve only managed to write on the blog once and I have tried to pass on the brooch but no-one I know will take it and ‘blog’ about it. I trust you will be able to give it to someone who is more able and willing to engage with the project. I feel bad that I haven’t but c’est la vie’.

    This is certainly an unexpected development and I guess a project like this is going to throw up all sorts of surprising encounters and scenarios. Thank you to this first ‘owner’ for letting it be the gift that keeps on giving…

  5. Sarah Ross says:

    I wanted to wait till 2011 to share with you the arrival of “my” brooch. I have been dating my brooch for a number of weeks now, what started as a summer fling and holiday romance has settled into what may blossom into a long term relationship.Its a seductive little number, in green. In an attempt to make oregano feel at home in a sea of black , I have had to buy it a green skirt and then commission it a fellow green bracelet, so it wouldn’t be lonely.
    A sprig of fresh air, that always provokes conversation. So far along the journey my little oregano has prompted so many conversations and contemplations and a sense of shared ownership. On its little 2011 journey so far…. it has spoken to a Premier, a performer, a painter, a policeman, all about there role in Australia’s future.
    So it seemed a good place to start today to blog and contemplate Australians shared sense of responsibility for each other that defines us as a nation.

  6. Vicki Mason says:

    Can we all see the skirt, commissioned bracelet and brooch all in one shot, talking to each other? Please send a photo Sarah of your dalliance with green, a great context setter for all us here in cyberspace with vivid imaginations.

    I’ve just been writing to the current owner of the wattle brooch and pondering the notion of who starts the conversation about a piece of jewellery that’s out on the town being worn. I have to say from personal experience its pretty much always the viewer who’s started the ball rolling. What’s your experience? Does this matter? How do you introduce your latest ‘love’ if at all?

    What have you garnered from your conversations with the premier, performer, painter and policeman re: there role in our future nation? I’d be interested to know. Look forward to hearing from you.

  7. Sarah Ross says:

    Worn out , Confessions of a brooch thief and part time vandal.
    In the course of its life a brooch may take accompany its wearer on many journeys. Just like the variety of herb some of these are spicy, aromatic, astringent or more complicated and sweet.
    As a perennial Oregano is characteristically small and hardy however while accompanying me on one such adventure I managed to neglect its care and over prune it. Vicki kindly restored its health and showed good faith in returning it to my care.
    Restored it’s a richer deeper green ready for a new adventure.

  8. Vicki Mason says:

    Hi Sarah
    So true the objects we surround ourselves with are so intrinsically bound to our own journey through life.
    Good to hear this hardy perennial with its new lease of life is off journeying again, I love a long and winding road, makes for a good story – much to be learnt along the way.
    I hope it’s OK but I’ve posted an image of you sporting said deeper mellower brooch. Have you had any conversations with others about it lately… any thoughts to share?

    Sarah Ross

  9. Sarah Ross says:

    Spring has sprung and we all say good-bye to a long winter. Recently the brooch has inspired a number of discussions regarding up-cycling, taking a material, repurposing and adding value. I think the success of this in Oregano is the alchemy of the process transforming the material.

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