I chose Andrea Wagner primarily for the way she responds to materials. Andrea has an impressive skill range and applies her own distinctive signature to any medium she chooses. There are many layers of underlying narratives in her work that fascinate me. Andrea has curated a landmark exhibition, Golden Clogs Dutch Mountains and has had other involvements in collaborative projects such as Walking the Gray Area. I hope through this mentorship I will be guided to find new ways to produce evocative and emotionally provoking work.
28 March 2013
After having a phone conversation with Andrea, she told me a about a great project she took part in some years ago titled “the ugly object” based in Amsterdam. I really love how Andrea ‘jewellrified’ her object in the beautiful wallpapers she designs. Very good inspiration for our collaborative project, I have pinched an image but please follow this link for more about the project http://www.uglyobjects.com/andrea_wiet.html
27 March 2013
It has been just over two weeks since I left Munich and I think I am still recovering from my jewellery (and german beer) hangover. It was my second year running at Munich. Because of the show this year was much more about being at the fair than running around show hunting. Having a base the fair allowed for so much more opportunity to meet great people and have great conversations. I realised the project really feels alive when you talk to members of the public about it and get their responses and feedback. It was great how much enthusiasm was shared, especially towards Sarah Read’s project.
Getting my hands on a copy of the catalogue was great to, a really big thank-you to all those involved. Some of the writing really highlighted to me how much we have exposed our souls, in the age of social media it is very easy to forget who might be reading what and where, it was a great eye opener to get an outside perspective on the project.
Now we are all safely returned home the next phase of the project begins; the collaboration. Andrea and I have been discussing this and have decided on what we hope will be a fun and interesting project. Rather than sharing physical objects/ jewellery, we have decided to let each other loose on imagery of our work. I feel this will be a really good way to perhaps reveal how we view each others work and make some enlightening discoveries. Over the next three months we will photoshop, cut, layer, paint, laminate or what ever other technique feels appropriate. A little bit of detourment in the studios of Andsay Ragner & Lyndrea Waine!
Watch this space for further action… in the meantime a few happy memories from Munich below….
22 February 2013
With Meteors dropping from the sky and jewellery exhibitions galore, 2013 and quite literally started with a bang! I think this is possibly the busiest I have ever been and have to say I am pretty happy to have two great exhibitions to travel to this March. Being in very cold old Northern Ireland has certainly upped the jewellery production, making helps to keep warm!!
I have learnt a lot about making my recent collection. The first stage of casting forms to get shapes I was happy with took time, then there was alot of experimenting with colour, composition and finally construction. I have started incorporating painted metal to add variation in colour tone in piece and give a stronger structure to each piece. I am still liking the lightness of using nylon to thread but think there is a wee way to go in getting the balance between the threading and the brass tubing and cord. I think I have found the construction the most challenging in this series.
I am looking forward to getting together with the other Handshakers at Schmuck as I often find peers are the best at giving feedback and we can all learn alot from each other.
All in all I am happy with what I have produced and am hoping others will be inspired enough to enjoy wearing it
Here are some images:
08 January 2013
First post of the year and New Year = New Making !
I have been collecting lots of bits of interesting packaging over the holidays and also acquired some more of my grandmothers jewellery to add to my collection. Colour, composition, balance, interest are all concerns on my mind. Thinking about what makes a resolved piece of jewellery, when to add, when to take away. Process, process, process. I am still circulating around question if functional and decorative forms can be fused in harmony to challenge traditional notions of jewellery and preciousness… with the Handshake show in Munich not far away and another straight after at Craft Central in London, there is much work to be done!
20 December 2012
Today I had one of those days of remembering why it is so important to interact with other makers once in a while. The very talented ceramic artist came to film me in my studio today for a project we will both be involved in in 2013. Whilst looking at my work he mentioned ceramic artist Phil Eglin. After taking a look at his work I feel I have a new blast of inspiration, just what one needs with the new year approaching as New year means new work.
Take a look and maybe you will be inspired too and get to know what flicks my switch;
Thursday 8 November 2012
So it has been a little while since my last post. Over the last month or two I have been in touch with Andrea. Very exciting things have been happening for her, such as being the current guest tutor at the jewellery school in Rhode Island and guest lecturer at the jewellery department at San Diego State University School of Art, Design and Art History. I am interested to hear more about what Andrea has been learning through being with students and having the chance to see through their eyes and also inspire them.
I have been making some ‘bread and butter’ pieces if you will, my first time trying out this sort of thing. I am about to embark on a business course, very interested to see what they make of contemporary jewellery and how to promote and sell it ….. watch this space!
I was lucky enough to go to London last weekend, got some great inspiration walking around finding some lovely public sculpture by Barbara Hepworth and Eduardo Paolozzi. I also loved the stone relief work in the Egyptian galleries of the British Museum and the Medieval European carvings for wax seals.
And last but not least I am very please to announce my ‘Brutal Beauty’ series will be on show in late November until end of December at PLACE, Fountain Street, Belfast. The series of work was partially inspired by an exhibition of a study of Brutalism in Belfast and Dublin by Sarah Newell that was shown at PLACE during my last visit home in 2010. Therefore it feels very appropriate to show the work there.
Please follow these links to read more about the space and interesting projects
Wednesday 29 August 2012
Now the National Show is open I thought it a good time to post images of what I put on show there from my new “Commodotrophia” series
The aesthetic is a little different to my last body of work but still follows on form those ideas. Being in a different environment has certainly effected my work. So far I have only found a few jewellers in Northern Ireland who are primarily using ‘New Materials’, but those I have found I certainly admire. Emma McFarline and Stuart Cairns are a couple that are doing some really good work.
Further afield I am keeping in touch with jewellers Eily O’Connell and Laura Bradshaw-Heap, a new wave of Irish jewellers that are creating their own traditions. I find myself comparing NZ/ NI jewellery a lot and keep thinking there is a show to be done there. Watch this space.
I can’t deny I have been battling with the making money/ making art conversation in my head. I am finding even though I know I am still an emerging jeweller and have a long way to go, it is hard to stay upbeat all the time when jewellery can only be made in the time around some other way to make income. I have always been satisfied that jewellery = life = lifestyle, there is the joy of making, meeting other great people, having great conversations, going great places. This is what Handshake is all about. Being away from my NZ peer group I have faced some challenges, mainly good ones, being a little more productive perhaps and unleashing some work that has needed to be unleashed, making new contacts etc. This is a conversation I have had with Andrea, I am interested in how other mentors cope in times change, what keeps the other solo jewellers out there motivated, is it the need to connect with others who understand? What is the driving force behind maker’s practices? Late night questions questions…what is success to the modern day jeweller?
Wednesday 15 August
As our next Handshake show is fast approaching I thought it a good idea to post some updates about what I have been making in the Emerald Isles. It has been quite nice being here, working in a different environment, almost like doing a residency in a familiar place.
I have been having fun making, embracing form, colour and expanding upon ideas.
I have been feeling a lot more freedom in making here, a bit of burying my head and more making less talkigng has been good. I have of course been keeping in touch with the Auckland Jewellery Geeks and making some new jewellery friends here. I am hoping to unite NZ and Irish jewellers in some kind of jewellery project during my stay here.
Andrea has had some exciting jewellery news and will be spending some time overseas in the states.
I have been having a look at some of the other Handshakers work for the upcoming National Show, it’s looking like one of the most interesting shows yet, a really nice push of materials I think. I am sure images will posted on the main page after the opening.
15 June 2012
Finding Gold in Amsterdam
If you are a jeweller that remembers the elements from the periodic table, you will understand why I found it amusing to find the initials ‘A.U’ before the surname of my host on the front door of her apartment. It was a hot sunny afternoon and I had just arrived in Amsterdam to spend one week with my Handshake mentor, Andrea Wagner.
Besides a brief encounter among the masses at Schmuck, this was the first opportunity I had to spend some quality time with my mentor. A chance to finally ask questions in person that otherwise would have got lost in email translation, to handle pieces that have graced the pages of Klimt02 and to find out what it is like to be a jeweller in Amsterdam, the pivotal hub of contemporary jewellery.
My visit to Amsterdam was timed to coincide with the ‘Kunst Rai’ (Amsterdam Art Fair) I had recovered from my jewellery overdose in Munich and was beginning to hunger for another dose. I quickly learnt that the Dutch jewellery world never sleeps, Andrea had lots of recommendations of things to check out and before long multiple maps were being pulled out and an itinerary planned.
The following evening I went to the Gerrit Ritveld Academie to listen to a presentation by Rhode Island jeweller Tracy Steepy. Tracy is currently taking up residency at Studio Rian de Jong in association with the Francoise van den Bosch Foundation. I was a little early and so offered to help a rather graceful looking lady who was re-arranging chairs. She then introduced herself and explained she was there as a representative member of the board from the foundation. This lady was jewellery collector Mieke Oosterman. As the room filled up my eyes widened, Lucy Sarneel sat down next to Katja Prins and Ela Bauer sat on the same side as Marcel van Kan, NZ’s new best buddy since he attended JEMposium. We began to speak just as Liesbeth den Besten introduced Tracy to talk. It was refreshing to hear about Tracy’s experience as a jeweller and tutor in the states and also the questions that were being asked at the end as it made me realise concerns we have about jewellery in New Zealand are also concerns for jewellers in Holland.
Mid week meant Art Fair, but also another trip to the Ritveld for a meeting I had set up to visit the jewellery department. The students were in full swing preparing for their graduate show so it was a great time to get a sneak preview of the work. Fellow Handshake mentors Suska Mackert and Lucy Sarneel showed me around the department and answered my curious questions. I was taken aback by how generous and open they were to both their students and myself, it made for a very strong group. They asked after their mentees Jhana and Nadene as if asking after relatives from afar; it was nice to see strong ties are being created across the continents through the HS project.
After that shot of excitement for the day it was back for a quick change then off the to Art Fair. Andrea very kindly introduced me to some more lovely members of the Dutch jeweller community; no one failed to be warm and welcoming. It was great to see the jewellery galleries but I also found the ceramics really interesting, especially as I had a visit planned later in the week to the EKWC centre.
To gain some further tips I met for lunch the following day with NZ ceramicist Corrina Hoseason, who will be partake in a residency there in July. It was great to meet up with a fellow New Zealander after some months of travelling and feel at home.
That was also the day I paid a visit to Galerie Ra, one of the first galleries to start showing groundbreaking jewellery before I was even born. I walked into a lovely tranquil environment a space with a great flow and a friendly staff member to greet me, much more relaxing than the Art Fair. After closely examining every shelf and every catalogue, I left one hour later with a few souvenirs shall we say. It had a profound effect seeing the artist’s work in the real. There was such a strong continuity in the aesthetic of the work, it made me appreciate Mr. Derrez all the more for the many hats he wears so well.
The pleasant one hour train journey out to the EKWC centre on the Friday allowed for some good time to contemplate. I was surprised to learn even the established jewellers have part time jobs alongside their practice and many whom I talked to struggled to keep up with gallery demands for their work. It made me re-iterate to myself to how hard you have to work in this game but that it is nothing unless you enjoy what you are doing and know how to have fun once in a while.
Fun is something they know how to do at the EKWC, communal eating rooms and rooms on site, it felt like being at university halls of residence. There was certainly a sense of anything is possible in clay, that was backed up to me by the fact they had a forklift truck for lifting work in one room and a CAD machine that builds things out of their own formula clay in the next. A truly great place and fingers crossed I get to spend more time there one day.
As the weekend approached this meant some studio time with Andrea. Throughout the week there had been multiple tea and coffee breaks during the day, critiquing what we had seen at the Art Fair, talking about processes, Photoshop tips; the conversations kept going until our eyes got heavy. I had a list of questions prepared before the trip but found I didn’t need to refer to them the conversation just followed so naturally.
Rather than having a strict schedule, we found that as Andrea made I asked questions or as Andrea found something to show me a new topic of discussion emerged. Being in her studio, having her work on hand, her knowledge, her willingness to open up and answer pretty much any question I threw at her proved to be an invaluable experience. Technical issues I had tried to understand in emails instantly made sense being able to use examples with what was lying around. It was really satisfying that as the week went on I found Andrea began to ask me more questions and ask my opinion.
I left Amsterdam feeling better about my own jewellery bubble. The trip created a good bridging between what Andrea and I already knew about each other and what we look forward to finding out more about one another in the future. We are both quite focused on our own bodies of work for now and so for the next phase our collaboration will take form in continuing the exchange of information. Whether it is exchanging food recipes or inspirational finds, I look forward to my next email from Andrea.
20 April 2012
Back in Belfast now I am trying to get back into some kind of jewellery routine. Having a lack of a jewellery bench and materials I have been having making withdrawl sympyoms so made a venture out to B & Q hardware mega store. I got so excited I had to take a picture of the many variations of rope:
Being far away from the other Handshake mentees now it, it is all the more important for me to use this blog to keep connected to everyone, see how everyone is moving forward and developing. I have found since visiting Munich I have been having lots of email conversations with the other New Zealanders that attended and have to remind myself it is important to keep putting snippets of the information we exchange out there to others to inspire and build upon our jewellery community.
3 April 2012
It has a now been two weeks since I attended Schmuck in Munich, and my what a week! There were too many highlights to mention in one paragraph. My work was on show as part of the Talente exhibition alongside other New Zealanders Suni Gibson and Rebekah Harman. We all received generous support from Creative New Zealand, enabling us to to attend the fair.
It was such a great opportunity to open my eyes to the international jewellery world, visit amazing exhibitions, artist studios, the Munich Academy and much more. It was also an opportunity for me to finally meet my Handhsake mentor Andrea Wagner. It was such an exciting prospect. After a year of emailing and sharing so much information with one another, it was finally great to meet face to face.
Initially we had a brief meeting in a cafe with Peter Deckers. We had decided it was best to meet at the end of the week after the mad schedule of exhibition hopping, however we bumped into each other again on the Saturday at the Handwerk Fair and ended up spending most of the day together. We were part of quite a posse, about 12 New Zealanders in total, including Handshake creator Peter Deckers and partner Hilda and mentee and mentor Becky Bliss and Fabrizio Tridenti. It was a great opporunity to get to know each other better. Whilst we spent alot of time together and spoke to many other people about the project, handing out catalogues, explaining how the whole project worked, there was so many people around and so much going on, our conversations didn’t really lead to in depth conversations about the next phase of Handshake. Rather we both really enjoyed getting to know one another, finding out more about each others backgrounds. I was quite glad it worked out this way, it felt very natural to hang out with Andrea.
On the Sunday I went with Andrea to visit one of the two exhibtions where Andrea was showing work during Scmuck. We visited the ‘What’s in Frame?’ exhibition at Three Stations, a group show next to a cluster of two other shows. The exhibition was in a studio and had a quite a variation of work, this was Andrea’s contribution titled “Diamonds are a Girls Best Friends” within a frame that still had the title of its original painting “Saturday Evening” stenciled onto it.
It was a really invaluable experience to see examples of Andrea’s work in the flesh. Scale and weight for example are always different to how I imagine from photograph. It was nice to have the opportunity to talk over lunch about Andrea’s practice. She inspired me with her approach to her professional practice, showing me examples of how one media opportunity had lead to another. Andrea is very focused and motivated in all aspects of her practice. We have agreed that I will stay with Andrea in Amsterdam some time in the near future which will be great to look forward to. I am currently spending some time in my home town Belfast in Northern Ireland, currently with out a studio and building up a network of jewellery buddies slowly but surely. I am still processing everything from Schmuck, alot to take in. I am itching to start a new phase in Handshake and jewellery making in general so watch this space for more news!
Delighted to announce some recent work has been accepted to be show in the 2012 Talente exhibition in Munich, congrats to other fellow NZ makers Suni Gibson (jewellery) and Rebekah Herman (textiles). A big congrats to Jacqui Chan and Octavia Cook who will show at Schmuck.
A snapshot and some words for work to be shown in the upcoming HANDshake show at Masterworks Gallery
Oppositions serve as a framework for my practice. Using casting methods, I replicate recognisable objects, creating signifiers to challenge the familiar.
In each piece, decorative and functional forms are assembled into compositions. Casting processes allow me to create a series of replications, constructed to create ambiguous readings. Old inherited costume jewellery looses its lustrous sparkle as it is duplicated over domestic objects.
The value of the individual components becomes obsolete as they merge into peculiar fossilisations. Tension between beauty ugliness occurs. I intend the wearer to create their own logic to read into the work, creating a narrative that is stimulated by individual perceptions of the world and its contents.
18 October 2011
Over the last month Andrea and I have began corresponding again and beginning to think about the best way to let our correspondence naturally lead into HS2, the collaboration between Mentor and Mentee. I feel like I am just getting into the swing of developing some new work, and Andrea is busy with her work too so we have decided to let it naturally evolve.
Andrea: I’ve attached a text in which I describe the series in detail, how it came to be, what it’s about. Hope that helps for more clarity.
The series continued over a good 3 years (partly in the intense traveling period for Golden Clogs, Dutch Mountains) – not in a continuous flow but in spurts of intense work periods of maybe 3 or so months a year. That’s one reason why the details sometimes started taking new directions.
Material choice and concept now go automatically hand in hand without consciously thinking about it anymore. It just seems to fit in the end.
Started working with porcelain during a residency at the EKWC and after that it stuck, but also felt to me as if it had to be that material.
After a couple smaller series with mainly only porcelain and metal I wanted to integrate other media again, so that it wasn’t just about ‘porcelain jewelry’ anymore.
At the beginning of the series I happened to be at a fair where I was drawn to the stones merchants like I normally never was. There were so many that looked like they were representing a floral or garden detail! I’ve learned to trust the gut feeling of excitement! Not the head excitement, that one isn’t totally trustworthy. I ended up buying a small fortune of stones. Over the years more were added to my stash.
At that point I encountered other elements that seemed to make sense – bone, glass grains…
The colors and types of natural stones needing to be matched to porcelain and other media made for a very varied and colorful series. Sometimes I was afraid it would be too much, until I realized I was more or less using impressions from travels and saw the logic of the work being a kind of travel log.
Andrea: (The reason my present series has a fairly strict color and shape limitation is to counterbalance the organized chaos of the Architect series.)
The first silver box shapes happened while experimenting in a PMC workshop end 2005. It was still during the time of many house moves and they reminded me of moving boxes, boxes holding secrets. I wanted to use them at some point for a theme having to do with finding your place within cultures, but it wasn’t the right time yet.
I chose to stain the white bone china ocher for a cardboard-like color.
The chains reminded me of the lines in the cutting patterns for sewing.
Red (paint): was a problem solver, but what stronger feeling than pure red – for love of motherland, love for fatherland, anger, love, energy, power, life.
some interesting interviews with Andrea can be found here
05 October 2011
Lynsay: I can only really describe what I have been playing around with as quite crazy ugly, maybe not moving so logically forward but meandering around ideas. I am slowly building up more of conscience about the un-eco friendliness of the urethane I am using, and feeling a bit limited by not being able to carve, cut, slice, file it but I know this is a good challenge aswell. My sketchbook is getting ridiculously full or the same words over and over, just as I get into a creative buzz, it’s back to work at the gallery the next day….
For the nature of the way we would go about the collaboration, it may make sense to keep it to current work but I find there are still other questions about your other works. For instance, in trying to begin more of a conversation about our possible similarities and differences, I have been thinking about your ‘ The Architect who faced his interior jardin’ series. I have my own interpretation of what this could suggest, making me connect to the work, but I find myself quite challenged by the array of mixed media used. I know materiality and concepts always connect. Can you talk more about how an idea leads you toward using a particular material in your practice? Or maybe it is better to ask about your current work, and perhaps material leans toward idea? Questions questions, maybe this is one that can be answered over time, in parts, or will crops up in multiple conversations…..
19 September 2011
Lynsay: I like your thoughts about the collaboration. I feel I am getting deeper and deeper into exploring processes and discovering perhaps what the essence of it all is and I do not necessarily think directly working on each other pieces would necessarily bring anything to the table at this point in time. I like things to happen naturally and I agree that sharing of information in itself, building on similarities and differences is a good way to go about it. We obviously have similar interests in creating structures that communicate about place/culture/nomadism etc etc (reasons why I chose you as mentor!) but have other concerns as well. I like that we already share inspirational artists, quotes etc and will always respond differently. It is nice motivation to think my work will sit alongside yours for this show.
12 September 2011
Andrea: Every now and then my mind wanders off to how we can take HS2 further.
to be honest, I’m a bit unwilling to stray off into another direction from what I’m now doing. especially since I’m additionally working on several pieces for two different projects that are different themes.
too much straying here and there causes thought pandemonium.
somehow I keep coming back to the idea of you continuing work on your theme and I on my theme. The connection is that we both use imprints/castings of things through molds.
For the blog we could have a short conversation or description of what we individually intend in our work.
There are contrasting thoughts in both our themes, which is why I think we can pull it off.
If I throw open my thought process to you, that could help you further, and your thoughts could very well sharpen mine.
how do you feel about that?
6 September 2011
Since the opening of the Studio 20/17 show I have been feeling a little slack in my making, so I thought maybe getting back into the blog and sharing my thoughts with the world would help.
I have started rearing my head from the bench in the last few weeks, going to Brooch of the Month Club swaps, visiting openings, talking about semiotics in post- post : with friends over a few to many guiness, seeing nice things and talking to nice people that have inspired me.
In the last couple of weeks I have particularly enjoyed two openings, one being Lugosi’s Children at Objectspace and the other, Zeigesit Schrapnel at Fingers are both a particularly refreshing mix of artists.
Also enjoying the work of Vincent Fecteau and Ricky Swallow (seen at the Auckland Art Fair) I will post some images soon
Scouting some new objects and materials to cast with….watch this space
31 July 2011
I normally would not post images of work before an exhibition, but as the following week here in Auckland will be quite busy with the Art Fair, now is my only chance. Here are some images of a selection from the ‘ something old, something new, something borrowed’ for the Gallery 20/17 show
I have been missing making my simple, structural forms such as this neck piece
I am looking forward to having a bit of time to evaluate and reflect on these pieces. I feel Andrea gave me some wonderful suggestions and directions and now I need to work on developing my own language further with the tools she has given me. As I originally trained in metal smithing, it has taken me many years to finally shake the need to use metal. I feel now perhaps I can use other materials to configure my structural forms and broaden my experimentation
Here are a few words about the work
“Something old, something new, something borrowed….”
My practice involves the reconfiguration of information. Industrial and mechanical structures are often hinted at in my work, used as inspiration to create a series of signifiers to communicate something to an audience about a particular environment or place.
This body of work delves into the duality of the functional and the decorative, exploring emotional attachment with old discarded objects, classified within the boundaries of the home. Recast and configured in new materials, these break tradition and tell new tales.
13 July 2011
The nose has been to the bench the last couple of weeks, not much time for blogging! Alas, it is important to keep this virtual documentation a float as I am finding it really useful and supporting to read the other handshakers updates.
I have had some good correspondence with Andrea and we even had a skype session which was great. I have an average of 1.5 days of making in a room that is about 1.5 m square that I also share with a washing machine and tumble dryer. I find my brain has been really hurting after a 10 hour day of casting in plaster, urethane and pinkysil wondering why I cannot do more in less time!
I have been quite panicked over the last couple of weeks but the feeling of jumping another hurdle is never far away when Andrea is always there to give me a prod and nudge of encouragement. Andrea has definitely gone above and beyond the call of duty.
Here are some words, thoughts and images since last time I blogged….
That makes them look very static. Plus, the symmetry tends to create visual boredom.
Your 2 lower doodles are a bit more interesting, but could very well end up looking like an arrangement of cut-ups if they were executed in 3D. What I had in mind with the assignment was more in the direction of not precisely centering;
What would have happened if you had pressed that cap more on the edge of the brooch, maybe even tilted at an angle? like a strange industrial pimple growing out of the brooch.But you can always get interesting results with things not being so accurate, as you say yourself. I actually think you are trying too hard in your compositions to make the perfect imprint. Play around with pressing things into modelling clay first; alternate with trying out what happens if you just press an element lightly, maybe a chain over a surface, pressing it into the surface with another object. You’ll probably reject most of them (yes, I’m serious!), until you get so sick and tired of it that you’ll probably finally let yourself go and get something worthwhile… That’s why it’s important to not make final molds right away. Do take quick pictures though to hang onto the idea in case it’s interesting for later.
22 June 2011
Some movement has been happening slowly but surely since my last post. I decided that making mould using plaster and fimo modelling clay is a cheap and easy way to get quick results and make decisions about where to go next. I have been reading ‘On longing’ Narratives of the Minature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection by Susan Stewart, ‘an analysis of the ways in which everyday objects are narrated to animate or realise certain versions of the world.’ for further reading and also researching various artists i will list a little later, but for now here are some work in progress images….
After lots of reading and research I am just making making and will then review where the connections meet. I have decided to simply reconstruct old discarded objects into newly constructed forms, creating a new take on everyday items. I find I am moving away from using jewellery and more toward functional domestic objects that reference the home. Whether it be my grandmothers costume jewellery or an old toothpaste cap, all of these objects have been chosen as I find some kind of comfort and emotional connection with each piece. I often lean toward the mass produced object, a peg, a light switch. I am enjoying how these objects gain anew layer of uniquness when they are cast and start to tell new tales. These objects are classified in reference to the home and to the body.
Interestingly enough, I find myself liking the fimo maquettes more than the urethane results
I like the variation of colour and the think the matt surface looks better, something to note for future casting.
Here are some artists whose work I have been enjoying http://www.kw14.nl/
This artist was found thanks to Andrea, as was this http://www.ambamolly.nl/
7 June 2011
Andrea: About your experiment with metal after your conversation with Raewyn. I can see her logic and her longing which I understand totally.
I guess we’re both in agreement about the image that it’s not quite what you are looking for, and only a starting point. But since it’s the only one till now I will comment on that, even though you’ve doubtlessly moved from there:
You state that you found it interesting, so I want to know –
What is your feeling for this?
What story does it tell you, which emotion comes up?
What you would want a viewer to read into this if it were an actual piece?
How about if the mechanical tube elements were out of the same material rubber instead of metal?
How would that change the message?
The texture and coloring of the pipe element is beautiful in its rough-as-gutsyness;
With it I read pain, violence even, unhappy memories…
… the large tube tearing into the cameo like that makes me wince in thoughts of what it could translate to…
do I really want to see that as a viewer?
The brooch backs are indeed beautiful and especially with their pin backings very intimate. It’s like seeing someone partly undressed and kind of vulnerable in a nice way too.
I’m glad that there are conversations going on between you and your HandShakers plus the imagined mentor conversations.
Maybe try this and see if it helps you along the way: I’ll imagine looking at my pieces (in whatever state of progress they are in at that point) at an exhibition and what I would think of them. Or if I was a curator, what would I think.
It most often consciously uncovers my subconscious cover-up failures as the flops they are or can show me where the weakness is.
Of course that will be in my eyes, and someone else will think different about it. Yet it helps to step outside of myself as it were.
2 June 2011
It has been some time since I have posted on the blog. I have been a bit preoccupied in the last two months rather suddenly having to move house, and therefore have just begun settling into my new studio. It’s compact,warm and cosy. I’m finding being in a small space means having to be tidier and more organised and hopefully in the long run, more productive!
Luckily, my mentor Andrea has been very understanding and has been going through her own ‘Tales of Migration’. This is the context for her most recent body of work ‘Subset Synergism’ currently on show at Gallery Loupe in New York.
I was ecstatic to have received a catalogue for Andrea’s show in the post, alongside some postcards with great imagery of Andrea’s work and a lovely personal message, thanks Andrea!
So you can imagine, getting all of this in the post just helped the itch all the more to get stuck in to work again. Over the last month or so I have been taking quite a slow but new step in my practice, casting my grandmothers costume jewellery in urethane, mixed with a fleshy pigment
I have been enjoying the process of using new materials, the quick mould making process is very liberating and I have always loved playing with gooey, messy materials. I have found the forms quite challenging. My work is normally quite structural and so this is certainly a shift in my traditional aesthetic. I couldn’t help but revert to casting objects I feel more comfortable with – mass produced everyday items such as toothpaste caps and milk bottle tops
I have also found that I do not have as much sentimental attachment to the jewellery as I thought I would. I am quite happy to cover the pieces in klean klay and silicone and have discovered I actually find the backs of the pieces more interesting
During my move and knowing Andrea was busy (yet still continued to be very supportive) I looked to conversations amongst the other Handshakers and turned to jewellery friends to discuss my ideas. I like Warwick Freeman’s comment that (to paraphase) ‘often imagined conversations with your mentor can be just as useful’. This I have found to certainly be true.
I also had a conversation with Raewyn Walsh, an emerging jewellery who I greatly respect. I told her about my concept of playing with the idea of Old vs. New and how I have been struggling and wanting to revert back to my tubular mechanical forms. She suggested I combine the casting of the ‘old’ jewellery with my current work. I quite like this idea and have so far only come up with some very bad failures but I am finding them interesting nonetheless
I am still wanting to retain my original idea of exploring juxtaposing terms old/new. Upper class vs working class, decorative vs functional are also ongoing concerns that I am still digging to explain why I feel these are prominent issues to build upon. I think part of being a bit of a nomad at times means you are constantly having to build a home, collect things, then move on, declutter. Having to always shed new skin like a snake. There is something invigorating and torturous all at the same time about always contemplating where to belong in this big wide world.
The digging and experimenting will continue. I have an upcoming deadline to make a piece for a wearing project Broach of the Month Club. This would be a really good opportunity to try out something new and have twelve members of the public each wear a new piece and give me feedback about it. watch this space……
8 April 2011
Andrea:Changing tack is often a normal part of deciding where you’re planning on going.
Your idea with Grandmother’s jewelry sounds lovely, personal, and something I you are actually connected with, and it doesn’t need to rule out your class-related ideas. You may just find them creeping into your work all by themselves.
Working with moulds sounds good, even if tons of people have used them. As long as you’re aware of the fact that you haven’t ‘invented’ a technique or style, and are aware of what others are doing, you can skate around the ‘me too’ pitfalls along the way and try to give the work your own twist. And believe me, you can think of the most original thing that you’ve never seen anywhere, and then whammy, right in the middle of your development you’ll run into someone else’s work that is doing what you are on a certain level, except that their work is finished. It happens to me EVERY time! Just have to keep on, look critically, maybe change details, become sharper, too late to scrap it all.
Using different moulds with the same casting material makes it possible to easily mix, join-match the most different object shapes since the eye sees the material as unifying message while the shapes blend in as extra message. You don’t end up having quite the same issue of things not ‘fitting’ because of WHAT they are (plate to chair leg, costume jewelry fastened to rubber tree; while the same objects as shapes in the same material would do something different with your perception… not that these examples would make good pieces! but you might catch my point).
To your list of artists I suggest you also look at:
David Clarke (esp. series Usual Suspects), Gesine Hackenberg (great work!), Manon van Kouswijk (esp. her work around pearls, ceramic), and possibly also the ‘Real?’ series by Gijs Bakker
7 April 2011
Lynsay: I have decided to change tact a little. I was thinking lots about social class, working class, upper class and how to define it using objects. I was thinking about prized possessions, luxury items such a silver ware and various objects of desire. In my practice I have explored various issues but I keep finding my interests always stem back to juxtaposing-
Old vs. New
So I have decided to start simple and begin with this. I have been brainstorming around this, objects, places, and materials thinking where to take this. Last time I went home my aunt gave me my Grandmothers old costume jewellery. I have been thinking about casting this and seeing where it takes me. I have never really made jewellery that is having a conversation about jewellery and so by using this it will be interesting to see where that takes me.
I have also talked myself into playing with moulds. I hesitated before as lots of my peers are using moulds but if I allow myself to have fun and enjoy the process I will do something interesting. I have been thinking about using the old brooches, casting them in multiples to create some other form of jewellery, such a neckpiece, translating the language of the form into another.
I have been looking at artists Francis Upritchard, Hans Stofer and Sandra Busby
24 March 2011
Andrea: Duality or the feeling of ambiguity arises when the mind oscillates between two completely different fields or different ends of a scale opposing each other diametrically:
beauty vs. repulsion; tragedy
innocence vs. sexuality
male – female
extreme weight – lightness/flight
organic/natural – mechanical/artificial
Of course nuances hereof can also be sufficient as long they are sufficiently apparent as to be caught onto.
In some cases though, I feel they are clearest and best if left fairly pure:
elegant – clumsy
rich – poor
The mind tries to tie down what it sees, and that causes the tension, because it can’t make a clear decision.
To quote from Kyong L. Kim (more hereto farther down) on the power of ambiguity:
“An image loses its power when it turns into a clear ida without any ambiguity.
By making it difficult to fit in a category, it becomes impossible to form an idea about it and therefore it is necessary to constantly remain ‘seeing’ it:
An image with persisting ambiguity is mind boggling […] continues to linger on the edge of consciousness […] like a mysterious object that invites only ambiguous feeling […] an enigma.”
“Cultural comparisons between NZ and Northern Ireland, social class working class vs. upper class, high art vs. low art” –
I suspect that covering all these aspects at once might be daunting at this point. Could you imagine zeroing in on just the polarities “upper class rich” and ” working class poor”? That way you would clear some clutter off your mental desk and by limiting your possibilities force yourself to be sharper, develop nuances. By delving into the task of how to visually represent these two opposites you’ll probably start more on the interesting overlaps.
Have a look at Wim Delvoye’s cement mixers and other menial things. Typical high class ornamentation on low standard objects. That’s duality creating its own story.
Try not to visualize too much at once. If this theme interests you, it could be something to expand upon further later.
There’s a great book if you ever feel like you’d like to look more into the message of and the iconic value of signs = semiotics:
Caged in Our Own Signs: A Book About Semiotics by Kyong L. Kim (where I got the above quote on ambiguity from)
I love that he doesn’t just concentrate on symbols and signs but on all kinds of things we have in cultural life –
language, behavior, TV, film, etc., anything that can be codes with meaning in our society.
…One of your notes mentions “celebrate… imperfections” –
I say: Indeed, imperfection is more intimate than perfection.
…Humor, as in tongue in cheek wittiness is like winking at someone and far more subtle, far more intelligent, and more difficult to successfully pull off, I dare say.
That’s why I love Dutch object design – they have a lot of that winking wit in their work (often humorously playing on Dutch tradition or stereotypes); it’s not in your face but present in a subtle way non-the-less –
off the bat some favorites of mine:
China set with ‘stain’ decals by Miriam van der Lubbe
22 March 2011
Lynsay: …So where to begin.
I spent quite a lot of time last week trying to ‘dig deep’ sometimes not so easy when you come home from work at night!
I have been thinking about ‘dualities’ and what it is about the ‘cracks’ I am searching for, looking into the past, looking for an answer, a means to an end.
I thought about other layers of dualities that may have underlying connections. I found myself making cultural comparisons between NZ and Northern Ireland, social class working class vs. upper class, high art vs. low art
I thought about artworks that I feel are very powerful and what it is I like about them
-Rachel Whiteread House, 1993
– Marcus Harvey’s painting of Myra Hindley, and English woman who murdered 15 children in the Moors of England. The painting is made up of children’s handprints to look like a painting of her face.
….All commenting on sections on society in one way or another….
I tried out the exercises of joining materials. I found I didn’t quite know what I wanted to join but felt that I wasn’t quite achieving whatever I wanted to achieve. After joining different materials I found maybe they are not so different after all- pipe to wine glass = vessel to vessel (see image), grater to bread tag = domestic to domestic.
Maybe the dualities/ juxtapositions I have been thinking about have more similarities than I had initially thought
I have been thinking about the cracks, what it is I am looking for. As jewellers we are magpies, always wanting to find the beauty in unassuming places. Wanting to see layers of history beneath the fresh white paint. Wanting to see the beauty ‘beyond the sadness’.
I have also been thinking about tensions between materials, and surfaces. Thinking about abrupt decisions I have made.
I made some quick and rather crude little maquettes in fimo, black wax and porcelain. I used these little ‘Surface Tensions’ to explore and think about what I am trying to search for beneath they layers, what I want to reveal. Exploring materiality and texture whilst thinking about the surface tensions I have been trying to dig into. It feels all quite literal at the moment.
So far I have explore the materials available to me but I know I should explore this further and pursue other challenging materials.
I will keep investigating, keep digging, keep exploring.
8 March 2011
Andrea: “Your many ideas… hold onto them in a diary or sketch book. Sometimes or actually, most of the time they’re not really complete yet but can be forgotten if they’re not acted upon. So registering them doesn’t let them get lost. Regularly revisiting by briefly looking through the diary will make them jump out when you’re further in your process and they are ripe. At that point you might recognize the essence and be able to use it, or they might help you solve a technical or visual question. That’s why it’s good to keep things around on a wall in our studio, even if we don’t really use them for years. For more thoughts on process, collecting you might like this Rachael Whiteread video:
‘… gone around in circles…’ —
The reason why working with a theme concept or story connected to your interest can help avoid this, is that there will be more reason to make choices and sift out those not ideal at the moment. It can also help with concentration to avoid having the work try to show everything at once. And the great part is that the story concept goes on and on, and like a good story will unfold plot upon plot or scene upon scene..
Hope this makes sense.
The school building/former mental asylum — try to find out if the ‘attraction’ is strong enough for you and why..
think of possible links with this.
Every theme can have a multitude of layers that may be different and yet linked.
Back to the school – brainstorming could bring out the uncanny atmosphere, the cracks in the wall. What about them – feeling of confinement? cracks in our society where people buckle under this/that….. or cracks as openings to what’s hidden inside?
Is it the beauty of the old building versus the sad situation it’s used for = duality? Are you attracted strongly to duality in general? Yes? look into that for more similarities on different layers of thought. No? different approach.
Jotting down a list of expressions may help too if you can’t formulate things concisely enough yet.
I think that showing the process, material structure etc. a good decision is. You probably don’t even have to force yourself to do that since I expect it’s what attracts you in others’ work? Once you have a better idea of what your ‘visual conversation’ is about and start to play around with the material best suited all the process and structure will naturally be the next step.
7 March 2011
Lynsay: “In your first email you ask me do I wish to develop my current work or move on?
I have a tendency to want to leap and move on all the time, I always have too many ideas that I want to start and not finish, therefore I have tried over the last year to keep building on the same things but whilst I have learnt from this, I feel I have gone in circles a little.
I agree there are too many abrupt decisions, too many obvious choices.
I have been thinking about ‘showing the processes’ and creating ‘interesting tensions’ in my own work.
I keep thinking about structure, surface, environment and wanting to take this in a new direction
I have been thinking about the idea of showing the process, showing an event has happened, showing the traces- perhaps beginning with creating impressions, playing with the mass produced objects, bottle tops etc. I collect, making impressions, show the join lines. I have been thinking about artists Rachel Whiteread and Allan McCollum. Whilst studying I used clay to make impressions of features of the school building which used to be a mental asylum. I have been thinking back to this project and how I could use it in my current environment as a way of collecting information about my surroundings.
22 Feb 2011
Lynsay: “Your essence of your practice intrigues me as well. You are driven strongly by narrative and yet you explore materials in such a unique way. I would like to know more about how you marry the two so harmoniously? This is a trait of yours I admire very much.”
Andrea: “As far back as I remember I’ve always been fascinated by material, tactility, the appearance of surfaces. In an abstract way it was almost like imagining being a tiny person, wanting to be able to ‘enter’ into that realm, that’s how much it fascinates me. But material alone is a trap if it doesn’t have anything to say. So it’s important to see or feel what connotations a material calls up. Or maybe what happens when something about it is changed. Smooth shiny plastic versus roughed up in a way that you don’t recognize that it was once a piece broken out of a cheap cleaning bucket.
Also I like ‘why not’ aspect when regarding rules. Technique is very important to me; getting a grasp on it empowers one to be able to execute certain plans, but it’s more often than not the times when I delve into bending some rules that as a newcomer to a new technique that I end up discovering something really interesting of my own. And marrying the narrative with the materiality well is a matter of practice after the realization.”
15 February 2011
Andrea: “….I took a look at your portfolio and notice the technical and aquatic influence (pipes, drains, turn handles – is that what you call them?). Does that have a connection to a deeper interest, desire or need? Why? Do you wish to work further on that? Or do you feel it’s time to move on? Is there anything in life that you would like to have an influence on, something that moves you and is in your thoughts a lot? Questions, questions, questions.