Fiction in the Space Between is the result of 18 months' hard work by Whanganui jeweller Frances Stachl.

The exhibition is showing at the i-Site Gallery in Taupo Quay until January.

It's not an exhibition that the viewer can lightly skim, as each piece tells an individual story.

The exhibition began with Ms Stachl asking friends, family, acquaintances and strangers to donate an item that she could respond to in jewellery form. Fifty-one people in total gave items, ranging from an entire piano to a collection of seed pearls.

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In some cases the donated items were too precious or could not be displayed in the exhibition - for these Ms Stachl worked from a photograph. Other items Ms Stachl incorporated into a new piece of jewellery; while in a third category, Ms Stachl responded to the item with a completely separate piece of jewellery.

Ms Stachl said the stories that came with the items were a mixture of the emotional and the light-hearted.

"When someone gave me something that was really special to them I felt it was important to deal with the piece responsibly," she said.

Ms Stachl said she had been "throwing around the idea" for the exhibition had been around for a long time, but the finished product was quite different from what she had originally imagined.

"It changed quite a bit. And it was a different way of working for me. Normally I make one thing, then the next thing is quite similar. With this exhibition I had to change from one piece to the next because each person is an individual."

The jewellery contains some unusual materials, including piano keys, fur, bowling ball, and vintage knitting needles.

"That's partly to do with what people gave me, but it's also because I am a materials magpie."

The exhibition also includes photographs, taken by photographer Richard Wotton, of 15 of the participants wearing their item of jewellery.

"I liked seeing the pieces on people - I don't make jewellery to hang on the wall," Ms Stachl said.

The end goal of the exhibition was to generate ideas for making new work.

"I will keep working on the ideas that have come out of this exhibition."

Fiction in the Space Between was funded by Creative New Zealand.