Utica Uptown Downtown Art Fair 2015

I can’t believe it has almost been a year, since I wrote my last post. Of course there has been a lot going on and there has been some progress in the studio but things have slowed down due to a little addition to the family.

However, it’s that time of the year again… the time of the Third Utica Uptown Downtown Art Fair. Just like last year, I will be showing alongside some amazing makers from the Utica area and I am very excited to participate again. This time around, ProonK will be showing at the 4 Elements Studio, an awesome artist space that is run by ceramicist Vartan Poghosian. 4 Elements Studio is located on the top floor of a prior school building on Washington Street and Vartan rents out additional rooms to other artists that also love the fresh artistic breeze that is blowing trough a revitalized Downtown Utica. If my studio was not downtown already, the ProonK Studio just recently moved to Elizabeth Street, I would have loved to be part of Vartan’s artist collective. The space is truly special with it’s old school vibe and cute little studios.

Next to 4 Elements Studio, more than 15 artists are going to show in three additional spaces: The Other Side Gallery, Sculpture Space and Oneida Square Project Public Art & Design.

Participating artists are:

@Sculpture Space:
Kim Carr-Valdez
Paul Valdez

@ 4 Elements Studio:
Vartan Poghosian
Victor Lenuzza
Celeste Friend
Art Baird
Cynthia Baird
Shannon Stockbridge
Rosette Schureman
Kathy Donovan
Steve Nyland
Marc Tucci
Betty Murtagh
Proonk Jewellery

The Other Side Gallery and the Oneida Square Project Public Art & Design will show a wide selection of local artists featuring ceramics, photography, paintings, prints, drawings and mosaic products for business and home.

Here is the official poster with directions and all the fabulous artists:

utica uptown downtown art fair 2015

I would very much like to encourage everyone who is interested in going to try to make it to all four locations, since there is a great chance to win a raffle prize made by the artists.

The show will be held on November 28th and 29th from 10am-5pmwww.uticaartfair.com

Thank you for reading.

Feel free to follow this blog.
Please have a look at my websites www.lisa-juen.com and www.proonk.com.
Please follow me on Twitter @LisaJuenProonK and like my FB ProonK page.

Utica Uptown Downtown Art Fair 2014

After a long period of silence, very exciting news!

Sixteen artists from the Utica area would like to invite you to join the ‘Utica Uptown Downtown Art Fair‘ this Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 29-30 from 10am-5pm.

This annual event, that is now in its second year, gives people from the public the possibility to experience the artists’ studios and their creativity at work.

The featured artists are:

Uptown

Keiko Soga – Paper Jewelry & Reliefs
Yaosen at 18 Auburn Avenue

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 10.55.45 PM

Takashi Soga – Sculpture & Drawings
Yaosen at 18 Auburn Avenue

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 10.54.31 PM

Celeste Friend – Sterling Silver Jewelry
37 Emerson Avenue

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 10.57.11 PM

Art Baird – Pottery
37 Emerson Avenue

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 10.57.31 PM

Cynthia Baird – Handwoven Clothing and Accessories
37 Emerson Avenue

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 10.57.24 PM

Sylvia de Swaan – Photography
19 Rose Place

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 10.57.55 PM

Tony Thompson – Paintings
The Other Side – 2011 Genesee Street

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 10.56.22 PM

George White – Sculpture
The Other Side – 2011 Genesee Street

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 10.56.10 PM

Downtown

Betty Murtagh (represented by Gina Murtagh) – Silkscreen Prints
519 Plant Street

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 10.56.35 PM

Lisa Juen – Contemporary Jewelry
519 Plant Street

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 10.56.52 PM

Vartan Poghosian – Ceramic Art
4 Elements Studio at 617 Tracy Street

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Victor Lenuzza – Oil Paintings
4 Elements Studio at 617 Tracy Street

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Marc Anthony Polizzi – Sculpture
Upstate Flux at 920 Columbia Street

Stephanie Wysluzaly – Pottery
Upstate Flux at 920 Columbia Street

Steve Nyland – Paintings
Upstate Flux at 920 Columbia Street

Jon Petro – Abstract Painting
Mayro Building – 239 Genesee Street

Come and join us! …and don’t forget to bring your Christmas shopping list!

For more information check out the Utica Uptown Dowtown Art Fair Facebook Page or their blog.

See you there!

Thank you for reading.

Feel free to follow this blog.
Please have a look at my websites www.lisa-juen.com and www.proonk.com.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @LisaJuenProonK and like my FB ProonK page.

Sir Ken Robinson: Does School Kill Creativity?

A lot of people might know about this video already. However, I stumbled over it this morning and I thought it is still worth sharing. I find it very mind-provoking and it got me thinking about the way I was educated in school. Given that I was robbed the chance to study art as a main subject in my final and most crucial years of school (because of a lack of student interest, so they never formed a class) and I had to concentrate on maths instead, I find myself wondering sometimes how things would have shaped out if I had had the chance to participate in those specialised classes. It is true that schools and school teachers might not necessarily be able and find the time to concentrate on a student’s individual needs and nurture their particular interests. So how much potential is really wasted and how many children never really get the chance to truly do what they were born to do? All that is being created is a mass of stereotypes.

Take Picasso for example. I am not sure how well he did in school or if he even went to school. All I know is that he obviously had a huge talent but so do a lot of kids. The difference is that on top of his talent, his interests were recognised. He was allowed to nurture his creativity and he was trained in the right direction from the very start. His family gave him the chance to develop his potential, rather than pushing him into stencils that society thinks are right.

Here is Sir Ken Robinson‘s TED talk and his views on the topic: ‘Do Schools Kill Creativity?’

To end this post, here is one of my favourite quotes by Pablo Picasso, which was also mentioned in the video:

‘All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.’

Thank you for reading.

Feel free to follow this blog.
Please have a look at my websites www.lisa-juen.com and www.proonk.com.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @LisaJuenProonK and like my FB ProonK page.

Ideas to Materials in Contemporary Jewellery

Here is another video ‘Conversations about Contemporary Jewellery: Ideas to Materials‘ that interviews contemporary jewellery makers on their processes, ideas and materials in their work.

I always find it very fascinating to hear where other artists come from and what makes them thrive.

If you would like to read up on contemporary artists’ studio practices, check out the book ‘Jewellery Design and Development: From Concept to Object‘ by Norman Cherry (also read my post: ‘Reading 1: Amy Tavern & Inspiration in Books‘) It feels like one is sitting next to the artists looking over their shoulder when reading the book.

Thank you for reading.

Feel free to follow this blog.
Please have a look at my websites www.lisa-juen.com and www.proonk.com.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @LisaJuenProonK and like my FB ProonK page.

Art & Environment: A Sense of Place

I woke up very early this morning, so I thought it would be wise to use the extra time to do some research on possible future work developments. Things still haven’t completely unraveled in my mind but there is a glimpse of direction coming through. I find that I am very fascinated with the relationship in between humans and nature. How humans influence and manipulate nature and how nature fights to get back what is hers. There are several directions I would like to experiment with in the near future. They might or might not relate to each other. But even if they don’t, I think it can be very interesting to juxtapose the objects, since the topic of human and nature is very diverse and controversial in itself and it can be seen from a lot of different angles.

During my research this morning, I stumbled over a very recent blog-post of a fellow jeweller friend, Melissa Cameron, and I thought it would be great to share her post ‘A Meditation on Place’. The post features a video called: ‘Conversations about Contemporary Jewellery: Locating Place’.

As you might know, the influence of place plays a big role in my work and I can relate very well with what is being said in the interviews. Being born in Germany, having studied in the UK, having worked in Shanghai, China and now living in the USA has filled my mind with the strangest habits, cultures and influences, which can clearly be seen in my different bodies of work. Still, sometimes it is hard to find the self in it all, especially (as mentioned in the video) in addition to the internet that offers the world on a fingertip. I do agree though that by the end of the day, the culture and influences of one’s upbringing and home country are the ones that take the lead in defining who one is and what one has to say. It is as Helen Britton mentions when she says that if she had to choose in between Germany and Australia, she would have to go with Australia. Living in a foreign country helps to get the needed distance and a new perspective on the home country. It helps to focus and the new influences of a foreign country can be a great addition to the creative thinking process. I am happy to be living in the USA but if one asked me to make a choice, I am not sure I could be without Germany. I find this relationship in between art and upbringing very fascinating. Those early years shape how we see, understand and read things and deep down, they influence it all.

Thank you for reading.

Feel free to follow this blog.
Please have a look at my websites www.lisa-juen.com and www.proonk.com.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @LisaJuenProonK and like my FB ProonK page.

ProonK Mother’s Day Sale & Memphis Metal Museum

I have great news times two today! Especially for everyone who is still looking for the perfect Mother’s Day gift.

#1: From today until May 12, ProonK will have a Mother’s Day SALE online at the ProonK Etsy Store. 10% of the item price will be discounted when entering the Promo Code ‘MothersDay14’ during checkout. Also, keep in mind that worldwide shopping is free!

#2: ProonK Jewellery will be available at the Memphis Metal Museum Shop soon! I am super excited about the possibility to show there. Please go and have a look, if you’re in Memphis!

button earrings lime green, gem green hand‘Lace Button’ Earrings, 999 Fine Silver, Enamel, Lime Green & Gem Green

button earrings periwinkle, raspberry hand‘Lace Button’ Earrings, 999 Fine Silver, Enamel, Periwinkle & Raspberry

button ring royal blue nile green hand‘Lace Button’ Ring, 999 Fine Silver, Enamel, Royal Blue & Cascade Blue

chili earrings grass green hand‘Lace Chili’ Earrings, 999 Fine Silver, Enamel, Spring Green

button necklace turquoise, cascade blue hand‘Lace Button’ Earrings, 999 Fine Silver, Enamel, Turquoise & Nile Green

Happy spring everyone and have a lovely Mother’s Day!

Thank you for reading.

Feel free to follow this blog.
Please have a look at my websites www.lisa-juen.com and www.proonk.com.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @LisaJuenProonK and like my FB ProonK page.

My sister’s wedding bands

A few weeks ago, my sister got married! It was a very joyous occasion for the entire family, so I felt especially happy last year when she had asked me to make her wedding bands.

She wanted to have simple bands, nothing that would stand out too much but nothing too usual either. There needed to be something special about them on a more subtle level. In Germany, it is not usual that women still wear their engagement rings after the wedding. Usually they only wear the actual wedding band after the ceremony, so big stones are not necessarily common.

She did some research herself in shops and found a pair of rings that she really liked. She described the overall look to me: The ring was made from two differently coloured rings that were fused into each other. So, I started making.

As mentioned before in my post ‘Making Wedding Bands’, wedding bands are not supposed to be made with any kind of solder line or opening. A ring made that way is said to be bad luck, since it is not continuous. At some point it might break and so might the marriage. So, it should be made in one piece. The most common thing to do is to work with castings.

I started off carving the ring models out of wax and I sent them to a caster. A few weeks later, I received four rings: Two made from 18K Greengold for the inside rings and 14K Whitegold for the outside rings.

After cleaning and polishing the casts, I had to fuse the rings into each other. It was the first time that I tried to do this, so I was not quite sure how to encounter the issue. I was especially concerned with maintaining the right ring size. But a few attempts later, everything worked out and they were perfect!

So, here they are: My sister’s wedding bands!

sara wedding bands1small

sara wedding bands3smallRings made from 18K Greengold and 14K White Gold.

My sister and her husband loved them! Please let me know what you think!

Thank you for reading.

Feel free to follow this blog.
Please have a look at my websites www.lisa-juen.com and www.proonk.com.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @LisaJuenProonK and like my FB ProonK page.

 

3D Printing, Janne Kyttanen & New Inspirations

Sometimes it happens that life delivers inspiration at exactly the right time without me even actively looking. I really like when this happens, since it feels like someone switched on a light bulb in my brain and the jungle of ideas in my head that could make up a new project suddenly magically unsnarls.

Today this Aha-Moment was given to me by Janne Kyttanen who decided to follow me on Twitter. I had never heard of him and I looked him up… and I was stunned. He is a designer, based in the Netherlands, who is very much interested in 3D printing. He started to investigate and work with this technology since the mid 90’s and his portfolio is very impressive. From his designs, over to founding his own business ‘3D Systems‘ to collaborations with shoe-designers, interior architects, jewellery artists (like Ted Noten) etc. Janne really likes to dip into multiple design disciplines. A fact that I find highly refreshing and inspirational.

Screen Shot 2014-03-15 at 9.14.27 AMJanne Kyttanen Designs

Andreia Chaves invisible shoes, 2011Janne Kyttanen in collaboration with Andreia Chaves, Invisible Shoes, 2011

Screen Shot 2014-03-15 at 9.21.30 AMJanne Kyttanen in collaboration with Ted Noten, Fashionista Necklace, 2009

There are quite a few things that kept my mind busy lately. One thing that I have been thinking about for quite a while is that I would like to have my artistic work run in a new direction again and 3D printing is one technique that fascinates me. Back when I was still living in Shanghai, I purchased a 3D printer from Makible, a start-up company based in Hong Kong that offers a very price-tag friendly 3D printer, the MakiBox. At the time when I purchased the printer, I was not aware that they were just starting of (completely my misunderstanding) and that it would take some time for the product to be finished, so I could not yet try to work with a 3D printer. But some things are worth the wait and now, almost two years later, it seems like my MakiBox is finally in the post and I should receive it any time now. I so cannot wait!

Another thing is that recently I feel the urge to explore other art and design fields. For the last ten years I have mainly been working in jewellery and as of lately I feel like the small scale almost seems to ‘suffocate’ me from now and then. In order to get my mind free, I find it helps to work big sometimes or do something completely unrelated. (This is also one reason why I decided not to go to see the Schmuck 2014 exhibition in Munich this time.) Right now, I would love to indulge in making chandeliers and lamps and I would like to dive into sculptural art.

But to get back to 3D printing… As mentioned before, I am fascinated by the technique but I find it very controversy at the same time. A lot of artists have dipped into the field already, like jeweler Arthur Hash or the design team from Nervous System and I admire their work a lot. But for me, I love making things by hand, it forms an essential part of my designing process. Using a technology that is solely based on a machine fabricating an idea might not be enough for my bench-experience and it also raises a lot of questions as to how the making process in art and craft should and can look like. Does the artificial making process ‘water down’ the quality of work, since a 3D printer might soon be a house-hold stable in every home for everyone to use? Will art soon be something that every person can do by the mouse-click? Can suddenly everyone be an artist? Or will in the end the artistic mind take over and even in such an easy, approachable technology, the creative idea will determine the quality and level of the work? I assume the latter will be the case. In order to create objects, one needs to have a mind that can think accordingly but the question of whether art should actually be made by the artist and not necessarily a machine will remain. Also, is the sole idea of a piece of work enough? Individuality might get lost in the machine-making process, uniformity might take over. But then again, this can also be a very interesting approach to a body of work.

Arthur Hash NecklaceArthur Hash, Necklace

Screen Shot 2014-03-15 at 9.39.28 AMNervous System, Kinematics Jewelry in 3D printed nylon.

In fact, this approach is one point that I am quite interested in at the moment. I have a few ideas turning around the symbiosis of hand-made and 3D printed structures. I think that combining two different forms of making, in their process and the choice of material, will add a very interesting contrast to my future pieces. Another thing that I will add is a new topic that the work will turn around. In the spirit of contrast, that has always been a major motivator in my work, I have recently looked into the relationship of nature and humans again. This is an issue that has always been in the back of my mind. (Have a look at my ‘Booming Blooming‘ and ‘Globalores‘ series.) In my opinion, the modern human primarily takes from nature and does not give much back. There are major man-made natural catastrophes happening all around the globe, gene-manipulation in plants and animals becomes bigger and bigger etc. … and all in the name of consumerism without people thinking about the consequences. What will happen if humans ‘win’ and nature is gone at some point? Will we have to fabricate nature too? Will nature be a reminiscent of the past with all those new technologies ‘improving’ the natural ways of being?

Tech BeeThis image was recently sent to me by my sister-in-law. Will nature and technology work as one or will technology take over nature?

I will see where this path will lead me. It might take a while before I can show some actual finished pieces. Since I have never 3D printed anything before, I am not familiar with any 3D modeling programs. I am good in Illustrator but learning 3D will be a new task that might take a while. If anyone knows of any good, easy-to-learn and free 3D programs, please let me know! I appreciate all the help I can get.

But for now, thank you Janne Kyttanen for following me on Twitter this morning!

I apologize for the length of this post… I hope you made it this far! Until next time…

Thank you for reading!

Feel free to follow this blog.
Please have a look at my websites www.lisa-juen.com and www.proonk.com.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @LisaJuenProonK and like my FB ProonK page.

New ProonK ‘Lace’ Collection on Etsy

Great news! The new ProonK ‘Lace’ Collection is now available on Etsy.

The pieces are made from hand-crocheted fine silver wire and kiln-fired enamel. All jewellery is entirely hand made by myself from beginning to finish in the Utica, NY studio.

Due to the nature of the crochet and the enamel, every piece looks slightly different, a fact that I am very happy about. I like to believe that this ensures individuality in the pieces. They all have their own little character.

The actual collection contains earrings, necklaces, rings, cufflinks and I am constantly working to enlarge the range. Inspiration comes from organic natural shapes, like chilis, mushrooms and buds but also from architectural elements and insects.

My latest prototypes took me back to my fascination with bugs and flies. This time, I wanted to create shapes that resembled their idols but would not have a ‘creepy’ character to them. It is also important to me to experiment with the crocheted mesh and the enamel. I find that once the crochet-structure is enameled, it resembles window enamel, almost like a modern take to the Jugendstil jewellery of the early 1900’s. I have always been a great admirer of René Lalique. So, for my insect inspiration, I wanted to find a way to connect the crochet-mesh and the enamel with a frame. I am very happy with the results of my experimentation, since the ‘wings’ of the insects really look like little windows that create amazing shadows and new colours once they overlap. There will be more experiments to come soon. I have quite a few more ideas I would like to try.

If you are interested in purchasing pieces from the new ProonK ‘Lace’ Collection please have a look at my Etsy ProonK Shop.

I very much hope you enjoy my new designs!Commissions are always welcome.

water blue light blue button earrings‘Lace Button’ Earrings in Water Blue and Light Blue Enamel.

white dark blue ring‘Lace Button’ Ring in White and Dark Blue Enamel.

water blue light blue box earring‘Lace Box’ Earrrings in Water Blue Enamel.

chili necklace waterblue2‘Lace Chili’ Necklace in Water Blue Enamel.

bell lace earrings2‘Lace Bell’ Earrings in Water Blue Enamel.

chili button lace earrings peppermint orange‘Lace Button Chili’ Earrings in Peppermint and Orange Enamel.

bud button lace earrings light blue white2‘Lace Button Bud’ Earrings in Light Blue and White Enamel.

bell button lace earrings waterblue lime2‘Lace Button Bell’ Earrings in Water Blue and Lime Green Enamel.

water blue dragonbug earrings‘Lace DragonBug’ Earrings in Water Blue Enamel.

dragonfly light blue yellow2‘Lace DragonFly’ Earrings with Light blue and Lime Green Enamel.

Thank you for reading!

Feel free to follow this blog.
Please have a look at my websites www.lisa-juen.com and www.proonk.com.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @LisaJuenProonK and like my FB ProonK page.

Reading 1: Amy Tavern & Inspiration in Books

First, I hope you all had a great start in the New Year and that the ‘Year of the Horse’ will take you on a memorable ride in 2014!

I apologise for not having updated this blog in a while. For the last few weeks, I tried to concentrate more on ProonK, especially with all the Christmas business coming up and the artistic side of my making fell off the wagon a little.

Yesterday though was a great reminder of why I love to make Art Jewellery: I went to a lecture of Amy Tavern at the PrattMWP Institute yesterday afternoon. The lecture was very interesting. Amy talked about her upbringing in New York State, her college years and studies, her unusual way to recognising jewellery was her passion, over to more studies, living in Portland Oregon, starting off making mainly production work until she realised that the artistic aspect was missing for her over to her work from the beginnings to now, her artist residency in Iceland and travels to Europe and finally her current life back at home with the family. I always find that listening to other people talk about their work has a very uplifting effect on me. I admire many makers for what they are doing and what they have done in their work. Seeing the paths other people took to get where they are is very inspirational. Meeting and talking to fellow artists is the best support system one can think of. It was great meeting Amy yesterday and chatting about bits and bobs. It really is crucial to talk about work to keep moving forward.

amy tavern Blow Clusters, Amy Tavern

After my meeting with Amy, I felt very inspired and I decided to use the evening to revisit the basics of making to get a fresh perspective on things: Increasing knowledge and finding new inspiration. I felt very energised last night, so I ordered eight new books online (two were mentioned in Amy’s lecture) and I went through my bookshelf to pull out all the books that I either started to read or always wanted to read.

I also unwrapped my camera. I have a very special relationship with it: It is a Rolleicord double-lens camera from 1957 and I got it from Ebay when I was 18. It is called James. The reason I got this old-timer was because I am not a huge fan of digital photography. For some reason it just does not feel right pushing a button and the camera does all the work for you. I like the old fashioned handling of it and the feeling of actually having ‘made’ something. So, James is ready to go and I hope that I can take him out for a walk over the weekend.

james James, the 1957 Rolleicord camera.

Here is also a list of the books I found in my shelf that I intend to read in the next few weeks/months, in case you are interested in good Art & Design books. I might write reviews on a few of them to let you know why I believe they are a great read.

Screen Shot 2014-02-07 at 5.16.36 PM

Jewellery Design and Development‘ by Norman Cherry (Yes, my work is featured in the book but this is not the only reason why you should read it! 😉 As I said, it is always inspiring to hear or read how other makers create their work and this book is as close as you can get to a jeweller’s bench and mind without actually talking to them.)

Curating Subjects‘, Paul O’Neill (Knowing about curating is always great when being a maker. An idea for a great show can be an awesome inspiration for a new body of work.)

Reasons for Knocking at an Empty House‘, Bill Viola(This is Bill Viola’s sketchbook and writings from 1973 to 1994. I LOVE his work. One of the greatest books I was ever recommended to read. It has been on and off my nightstand for the last seven years.)

Sculpting in Time‘, Andrey Tarkovsky (Just like Viola’s book, Tarkovsky’s writing have been recommended to me by my former MA tutor Jivan Astfalck. Great insights in the creative process, life and time.)

Instant Light‘, Tarkovsky Polaroids (I found this book when I still lived in Shanghai. I fell in love with the way light was presented and highlighted in these rather simple, every-day shots. Light is such an important element in making art!)

What is Contemporary Art?‘, e-flux journal (This one will be a tough one to read but a question that I am interested in finding discussed.)

The Art of the Novel‘, Milan Kundera
(Interviews with Kundera about writing and creating art and quite much more.)

The Trend Forecaster’s Handbook‘, Martin Raymond (Great book about how to foresee and I guess ‘make’ trends. Definitely interesting to know but I think it needs to be digested with caution in order to keep on making art with an unbiased mind.)

Abecedarium‘, Peter Bauhuis (Personal dictionary about Bauhuis’ work. A great farewell gift from a friend in Shanghai.)

How to be a Graphic Designer without losing your Soul‘, Adrian Shaughnessy (Professional insights are always appreciated, especially when they are meant to maintain personal integrity.)

Thank you for reading. I always appreciate your input and comments.

Feel free to follow this blog.
Please have a look at my websites www.lisa-juen.com and www.proonk.com.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @LisaJuenProonK and like my FB ProonK page.

#6 Work in Progress: Onion, Cnobe & Cnonion

Again, it has been a while… and it has been quite an up and down from trying to find capable suppliers for ProonK, having my tonsils removed to frantically trying to get more pieces done for another yearly Schmuck-exhibition-application… and of course quite a few other things in between.

Due to my tonsillectomy, my life had been pretty much on hold for two weeks. The only things I was willing and capable (yeah painkillers) to do were watching TV and knitting socks. It was a strange time on the sofa, going from a very tight jewellery making routine to almost nothing. It makes one wonder and think a lot. The body is an interesting but fragile thing. It needs to be taken care of … and pampered. Maybe this is the most valuable reason for the existence of jewellery. Body adornment, yes. Statement piece, yes. But maybe even more important, make yourself feel better in any possible way.

Now, there are a lot of new and interesting ideas in my head, paired with a little bit of procrastination. It is difficult to get back into a routine after a longer period of time. A lot of thought, a lot of doubt. But one will not find without seeking, so all that can be done is to have a look back, pick it all up again and to re-evaluate where one left off.

So, here they are, my most recent pieces, including a brief attempt to explain and analyse.

ONIONS

The focus of the series ‘Onions’ turns around layers and cells as well as the interaction and movement of those single parts. The finished objects are worked in a way that they have the possibility to move freely and act with their wearer without falling into pieces when being worn on the body.

The ‘Onions’ form language is mainly influenced by the imagery of onion and garlic plants and a diversity of organic cell structures. Like their natural paragons, every layer and cell knows to exist as a single form but at the same time it can act as a part of a group to shape the final object. Every single element makes up an important part of the piece that in addition has the possibility to express itself through free movement.

This symbiosis of single element, group and movement fascinates me a lot.

The layers and cells of the ‘Onions’ pieces are made of hand-crocheted silver wire that has been coated with several layers of enamel. The crocheting technique gives the pieces a nostalgic touch that comes along with ideas of descent and growth. The works show traces of origin and development that unites the viewer with the past and the future.

Additionally, the single element’s crocheted structure gives insights from one cell and layer to the other and veils form and colour of the general object. An illusion of a set shape is created that can change any time with the slightest form of movement. The body in its motion turns into an active part of the general construct.

BBO big blue onion 72Big Blue Onion, brooch, hand-crocheted silver wire, enamel, CZ, stainless steel

BBO big blue onion back 72Big Blue Onion (back), brooch, hand-crocheted silver wire, enamel, CZ, stainless steel


cnobe 1 on body72                         Cnobe, brooch, hand-crocheted silver wire, enamel, CZ, stainless steel


cnobe 1 back smallCnobe (back), brooch, hand-crocheted silver wire, enamel, CZ, stainless steel

cnobe 2 front 72Cnobe II, brooch, hand-crocheted silver wire, enamel, CZ, stainless steel

cnobe 2 back 72Cnobe II (back), brooch, hand-crocheted silver wire, enamel, CZ, stainless steel


cnobe 3 72                            Cnobe III, neckpiece, hand-crocheted silver wire, enamel, stainless steel


cnonion 72                      Cnonion, neckpiece, hand-crocheted silver wire, enamel, stainless steel

snout onion 72Snout Onion, brooch, hand-crocheted silver wire, enamel, stainless steel

snout onion back 72Snout Onion (back), brooch, hand-crocheted silver wire, enamel, stainless steel

trunk onion 72                       Trunk Onion, brooch, hand-crocheted silver wire, enamel, stainless steel

trunk onion back 72Trunk Onion (back), brooch, hand-crocheted silver wire, enamel, stainless steel

All pieces are made in a way that enables the inside layers and single cells to move when being worn. Nothing is set in place.

Let me know your thoughts please!

Thank you for reading.

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#5 Work in Progress: Here is to Onions

I guess it is not a secret to say that I am really into crocheting and enameling silver wire at the moment. I find those two techniques very nicely combine and stand for the work that I have been making for the last few years. There is a reconnection to my MA work, which I really see as the collection of work that had me take my first steps into the contemporary jewellery world, but with experience and impressions that are six years older.

I have been living in Utica, NY now for a good year and I think I can say that things have settled in. My studio is running, I could establish some sort of a routine. ProonK is hopefully going to turn another corner soon and I do get the occasional commissioned work, which I quite like since it is a nice little break in my studio life. Now, I am not primarily a world traveler anymore but my settling and building era has begun.

So far, I had been concentrating on my travels, when it came to finding inspiration for new work. Now, that I barely leave the studio, the angle of my point of view has shifted from the outside to the inside. Again, another nice connection to my MA work. I feel more like a studio hermit now than a world nomad.

Looking back on what I was allowed to experience so far, and I think this is transferable to a lot of people, I find that life comes in different stages, different eras. Each era shapes us and constantly reforms who we are.

I have mentioned in an older Blogpost already (#4 Work in Progress: About Onions & Foxgloves) that I find that the human being is very much comparable to the being of an onion. The more we age and experience, the more layers we grow, the more beautiful we become. Just like a human, an onion shares many characteristics. They can be a delicious spice for a great soup or they can be rotten to the core, once one cuts them open. They are a great helper in keeping one healthy but ever so often they like to make one cry. The story of the onion is hidden in its layers, just like the story of a human is hidden in their eras.

So, here is to human onions. Or onion humans? Here is to onions.

Screen Shot 2013-07-23 at 4.59.18 PMThis is the first piece I made in the ‘Onion’ series. It is a brooch that is called ‘Sadonion’. The piece is made from crocheted silver wire with enamel, agate, cubic zirconia and a hand-pierced surgical stainless steel back. I decided to move away from using laser-cutting in this series of pieces, since the hand-piercing process gives the work a more personal, human touch.

Screen Shot 2013-07-23 at 4.59.10 PMThis is the back of ‘Sadonion’. In this piece, the outside layer of the enamel-onion is ‘sewn’ onto the back-structure with stainless steel wire to secure the front. The other onion layers are not attached, so they can move around when worn.

glamonion frontThis is the second piece I made, called ‘Glamonion’. The piece can be worn as a brooch or a necklace. The necklace-chain can be hooked into the loops on the back of the piece. ‘Glamonion’ is made from crocheted silver wire with enamel, lemon quartz, cubic zirconia and hand-pierced surgical stainless steel. Apart from the outside onion layer, the other layers are not attached and can move around when the piece is worn.

glamion backBack of ‘Glamonion’

glamonion back with chain Back of ‘Glamonion’ with chain.

Screen Shot 2013-07-23 at 5.13.39 PMFuture onions.

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Dragonfly Foxglove Tree

It has been a while again since my last post and quite a few things have happened since then in the studio. Some great things and some not so desirable ones but all in all it’s moving forward.

Last week, I finished my first ProonK commission for a great customer from Utica, NY. She wanted to commission a ‘jewellery-tree’ but with a spin. Since she loves the Adirondacks, we decided to work with a flower that can be found in the woods of the area and we came up with the foxglove. Personally, I have never been a huge fan of those bulky, weird looking ‘jewellery trees’ that one can find all over the place. I wanted to make a piece that is a small sculpture in the first place but that can have a function, if desired. So, regarding functionality, we decided to add a dragonfly to the design which wings can act as holding devices for earrings.

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The stem and the leaves of the foxglove are made from only two stainless steel parts that were connected using cold connections. After the polishing process, the two pieces were positioned and its elements bent into place.

The foxglove plant holds 29 flower heads that were hand-crocheted from silver wire and enameled in three different shades of purple and pink.

The body of the dragonfly holds a white cubic zirconia.

The whole piece is mounted on a solid block of ash-wood that I brought from the woods of my hometown in Germany.

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Here are some Work-In-Process-Pics:

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Screen Shot 2013-04-05 at 5.35.04 PMFoxglove flower heads in detail, made from crocheted silver wire and dark purple enamel.

Screen Shot 2013-07-03 at 10.53.27 AMThe foxglove stem without the flower heads.

I hope you like the piece as much as I do! It was a great success with my Utica customer. She loved it!

Please write me a line with your thoughts! I really appreciate your comments!

Thank you for reading.

Feel free to follow this blog.
NEW: Find my newest designs on my ETSY SHOP!
Please have a look at my websites www.lisa-juen.com and www.proonk.com.
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Making 18K Yellow Gold Studs with Aquamarines

Each year around the same times, in May and December to be exact, my Dad approaches me with a very special request: He is desperately looking for a Birthday and Christmas present for my Mum. Since he is the the ‘King-of-Shopping-Haters’ and I am the creative one in the family, it is obvious to him that I need to come up with an idea for the perfect gift à la ‘She’s your Mum… You know what she likes!’. Most of the time, he lets me know his budget and the colour spectrum he has in my mind and I am sent on my way!

Sometimes, this quest can be quite tricky. Sure, I know my Mum but she does not always fancy all of my designs. Trial and error… So, it is not always easy for me to come up with something I know she will like for sure.

This time though, despite his usual last-minute request, my Dad gave me two Baguette-shaped Aquamarines that he wanted to be turned into ear-studs. He envisioned a simple setting in 18K yellow gold. His instructions were pretty straight forward, so I did not want to interfere too much. Still, I was not keen on making a simple plain setting (I find that pretty boring) but I decided to go with a four-prong-setting instead.

Here are pictures of the making:

Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 4.41.38 PMFirst sketches and calculations to place the 18K gold order. With me being used to the metric system, it can be quite a challenge to get everything right in inches. I was a little nervous when placing the order but thanks to a really nice Rio Grande employee, everything went smoothly.

Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 4.39.08 PMFiling and Folding of the box-setting from a strip of gold.

Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 4.39.41 PM    Soldering the box-settings with my mouth-blowing-torch.

Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 4.39.58 PMThe soldered settings.

Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 4.40.17 PMCleaning, filing and sanding of the outsides.

Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 4.40.34 PMSoldering of the prongs and the strip that is meant to hold the stud. 

Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 4.40.55 PMOn the left: After soldering. On the right: After pickling. Before the prongs were soldered, I filed a bearing in the boxes that is meant to hold the stones comfortably.

Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 4.41.23 PMOn the left: Unpolished. On the right: Polished but not set yet.

Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 4.51.58 PMThe finished earrings.

Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 5.38.23 PMThe finished earrings.

Happy Birthday, Mama!

I hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I enjoyed making the earrings!

Thank you for reading.

Feel free to follow this blog.
NEW: Find my newest designs on my ETSY SHOP!
Please have a look at my websites www.lisa-juen.com and www.proonk.com.
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Happy Earth Day 2013!

Today was a day I have impatiently been waiting for… Today is Earth Day and with this came a fabulous excursion this morning to the Empire Recycling Corporation in Utica NY.

Each year, Empire Recycling opens its doors for the artists from Sculpture Space to have them pick whichever scrap metal they like ($100 max) in order to make an art piece for Sculpture Space‘s CHAIRity Auction in September.

This year was the first time I was part of this event and since I am a HUGE fan of places like recycling yards, I was literally in paradise!

When walking through endless rows of boxes, containers and mountains of all sorts of different metals, I decided to focus on copper scrap. For quite a while, I have been thinking about leaving my jewellery comfort zone and make bigger, more sculptural pieces, possibly wall panels and wall installations. I would like to experiment with different layers, partly enameled (hence the copper), some of my personal drawings, mounting techniques, three-dimensionality, organic/human characteristics and industrial influences, questioning the ‘real & fake’ and ‘action & consequence’ in the human being.

Here are a few pictures I took during my hunt through Empire Recycling. I can’t wait to start the new project!

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Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 6.43.11 PMThese are the pieces I picked. I mainly collected copper parts with a few brass and stainless steel bits from now and then. Aren’t they beautiful?!

Thank you for reading.

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#4 Work in Progress: About Onions & Foxgloves

Since my return from Munich a couple of weeks ago, I have been pretty busy in the studio.

Right now, I am still trying to find a balance in between pushing my artistic practice, working on ProonK and working on commissions. Yes, I have been lucky and a very great lady commissioned me to make her four jewellery stands for her earrings. I have started to work on the first stand and I am pretty excited about it. It will not be a regular jewellery tree but it will have an arty twist to it.

First to my artistic practice: As you know, in my last three pieces, I started to experiment with enameling silver wire and I got quite intrigued by it. It is the perfect way to combine my love to knit and crochet with enameling. The result are those very intriguing pieces that take me right back home to my grandma’s place. Tradition meets modern, past meets present. So, I experimented a little with shape and colour and made a few pieces that I am very happy about.

At the moment, my mindset turns around the idea of how much does traveling shape your being in terms of finding/having a home. … and what is home or Heimat?

I tried to sort out my mind by writing a short artist statement the other day. It always helps to put the ‘idea-soup’ on paper.

‘If you engage in travel, you will arrive’ -­‐ Ibn Arabi (1165-­‐1240)

 

One of my passions is traveling. I like to be and live in new places that, at times, are very different from my own cultural experiences and upbringing. For the last eight years, I have lived in constantly changing ‘homes’, moving as much as nine times.

 

My most recent move in June last year was of a different kind. This time, it is a permanent move. With the new location, not only my physical coordinates have changed but also my mindset. For the first time in over eight years, I find myself in a place I can call a ‘real home’.

 

But what is ‘home’? Can I call the short-­‐term ‘homes’ of my travels in the UK and China ‘real homes’ too or should I refer to those as ‘homes in transit’? What makes a ‘real home’ and how does it differ from the ‘home of my upbringing’, my German ‘Heimat’?

 

With this thought in mind, I am also intrigued to find out where my past experiences mix; the ones that shaped me through my German upbringing and childhood, the ones I got introduced to on my numerous travels and the ones that I make now, living in my new ‘real home’ in the USA, away from my German ‘Heimat’.

 

How much does travel shape one’s being?

 

In my new work, I would like to combine my German roots, things that make me feel at home and remind me of Germany, things that bring me back to my childhood, the cheesy and the corny… with impressions I gathered on my travels, things I learned on the way about other people and cultures but also about myself… with now being rooted in a place and yet another new culture for the first time after having left Germany.

Quite a while ago, I watched the movie Shrek and I remember him saying that he was an onion. He said he had layers. I feel the same way. I am an onion too. I am made from international layers that shine in different colours.

Screen Shot 2013-04-05 at 12.32.30 PMThis was the first piece I enameled. The coloured layers are not attached, so once mounted, they can move in their little areas without falling out.

Screen Shot 2013-04-05 at 12.33.09 PMHere, I tried to combine the enameled piece with other materials. I am very much interested in working with wood and striped agate at the moment in combination with the stainless steel and the cubic zirconia.

Screen Shot 2013-04-05 at 12.33.28 PMAnother composition.

Screen Shot 2013-04-05 at 12.32.03 PMThis is the second piece. It is meant to be part of a neckpiece at some point. I have a few ideas but nothing is set in stone yet. 

Screen Shot 2013-04-05 at 12.31.25 PMThe layers of this piece can move too, resulting in a really great sound! I also love the transparency of the piece, seeing different colours shine through from now and then.

Simultaneously, I have been working on the ProonK front. On April 1st, I opened my ProonK Etsy Shop… and no, this is not an April fools’ joke! Please check it out, let me know what you think and occasionally get something small for you loved ones, please!

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There will also be a line of new pieces to come soon. I am working with high-speed on the new designs, featuring enameled lace! I can’t wait to have everything wrapped up soon! I am super excited!

Screen Shot 2013-04-05 at 12.33.54 PMThis is a prototype of a lace earring. There will be two half spheres making up a ball that will hang from the part with the stone. ( Disregard the colour combination. It was just a test.)

Last but not least, here are some pics of the jewellery stand I was commissioned to make. The shape is based on a foxglove. The single flower heads are made from enameled wire as well. The stem will be made from stainless steel. On the top of the flower will sit a dragonfly that can hold the earrings in its wings.

Screen Shot 2013-04-05 at 5.35.04 PMA few of the foxglove flower heads in dark and light purple.

Screen Shot 2013-04-05 at 5.35.38 PMFoxglove flower head in dark purple.

I hope you like my latest studio progress! Let me know what you think, please!

Thank you for reading.

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Schmuck #5: (ig)noble

Last but not least, I would like to talk about the Schmuck-satellite-exhibition ‘(ig)noble’, showing work of Swedish artists Karin Roy Andersson, Lisa Björke, Pernilla Persson, Hanna Liljenberg and Sanna Svedestedt at the Schwedische Kirche.

I will say it in advance, this was a difficult and challenging exhibition for me to see. Difficult and challenging in a good way, since it raised a lot of questions in my head that I am still thinking about.

But to the show… The artists said that the idea of the exhibition came to life after reminiscing about last year’s Schmuck-madness. The girls found that it seems like the contemporary jewellery market is getting more and more saturated. More people seem to be adjusted to the idea of artists using non-precious materials in jewellery, the price-range seems to be around 300€ plus, the quality of the work seems to stay around a similar level but there does not seem to be real buying force.

Therefore, the girls came up with the idea to make four different kinds of pieces, ranging from 35€ for several small-edition pieces over to six small-edition pieces with slight variations for 200€, two one-of a kind pieces for 600€ and one exclusive piece for 2000€. This was meant to help explore the visitors’ interests and buying bahaviours.

The exhibition was set-up in form of four wide tables that showed the 35€ work of all artists in the front row, the 200€ work in the next row, the 600€ pieces came right after, followed by the 2000€ work in the last row. The prices of the pieces were determined by the time the artists needed to make them. This was mainly visible in the pieces in form of the size. Although each artist used the same materials in all pieces, the 35€ work resembled small tokens that people could take with them to remember the show, whereas the 2000€ pieces were big elaborate statement pieces.

Screen Shot 2013-03-22 at 4.47.55 PMKarin Roy Andersson

Screen Shot 2013-03-22 at 6.47.12 PMLisa Björke

Screen Shot 2013-03-22 at 6.49.54 PMPernilla Persson

Screen Shot 2013-03-22 at 6.52.39 PMHanna Liljenberg

Screen Shot 2013-03-22 at 6.56.16 PMSanna Svedestedt

The reason why I wanted to see the show was because of the duality that came with it. It seemed like the Schmuck world was parted in half. Prior to seeing the exhibition, I talked to a few people about it and some were absolutely intrigued to go and see it because of its bold statement that put the selling-point of jewelley in the spotlight. Others seemed appalled because of just this. It seems like we are still living in a world where artists are not supposed to talk about money. Pretty sad to me, since we all know money unfortunately does not grow on trees, especially not when you’re an artist.

As you can hear, I applaud the boldness of the exhibition and I am still very intrigued to know about the results that the girls gained from it.

During the time I visited the exhibition and quite some time after I had left, I had several thoughts and questions in mind. So far, I have been a frequent Schmuck visitor. Almost every year, since I started to study jewellery design, I went to Munich to see the event. Now, almost 10 years and several satellite-exhibitions later, it seems like my perception of the event has changed. I guess the show has always been the same way but this year, it occurred to me that, I assume, there might have been 60% students, 25% makers, 10% galleries and 5% potential buyers. Now, come to think of money, we all know that students don’t have it and most artists don’t have it either. Galleries mainly come to find, represent and sell new work, which leaves only a very small number of people that is interested in actually buying the work.

Back to the show… when being there, a student who joined us to see the exhibition decided to buy one of the 35€ pieces. When asked why he went for that one, he said that he would have loved to buy a bigger one but that he could not afford it. Hence, he bought the smallest and cheapest version of it, so that it would remind him of the bigger piece he actually really liked. I found this very interesting. Does this mean, in reality, in order to make a living, one will have to make just this? Make cheaper jewellery that reminds one of something one can’t afford? But then who is one making the big expensive pieces for? For the hope a potential buyer will come along and buy it one day anyway or to keep the dream alive for people who can’t afford them? Don’t get me wrong, there are millions of other reasons as to why one should make the big pieces but trying to see it from a mainly selling point of view, I am not sure if I want to hear the answer.

But back to the roots of the problem. If there is only a small number of people that is capable of buying the more expensive jewellery, how does one reach them? Is a show like Schmuck the right platform to try and approach this kind of people or is it really meant to be more of a showing event that presents the newest trends? But if this is the case, where does one show and sell the pieces? Of course there are contemporary jewellery galleries, which can be very successful in selling the work. But other than galleries, is there nothing else artists can actively do? How can artists reach the buying force? Also, how can artists attract the millions of people that still don’t know about contemporary jewellery? As we all know, the contemporary jewellery world is still very small…

This is a really difficult matter and honestly, I don’t know the answers to it.

I would really like to hear what the Swedish artists found out. I guess the 35€ pieces might have been the best sellers, which is great of course but a little sad at the same time.

As to the show, I think it was a very bold and brave attempt to raise awareness as to how to make a living in this field. It surely is not easy. I hope there will be more exhibitions of this kind to come in the future. Artists get together!

What do you think about this matter? What can be done? I would love to hear your opinions.

Thank you for reading.

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Schmuck #4: Flora Eats Fauna

On Schmuck-Friday, I went to see the show ‘Flora Eats Fauna‘, featuring work of contemporary jewellery artists: Dana Hakim, Hannah Joris, Jasmin Matzakow, Jimin Kim, Leonore Jock, Nora Rochel, Stephanie Hensle & Susanne Wolbers.

When I had a look at the mega-long Schmuck-flyer, I was a little reluctant to go and see this exhibition, since it was on show at Schloss Nymphenburg, which is a little bit out of the city. One has to take the tram and walk for quite a bit to get there. Still, since that Friday was nice and sunny, I thought I’d give it a try and enjoy a little walk through the park. I have to say, just seeing the Schloss Nymphenburg by itself was worth the trip.

Screen Shot 2013-03-19 at 9.46.45 AMSchloss Nymphenburg

The exhibition ‘Flora Eats Fauna‘ was on show in the Johannissaal at the Orangerietrakt and was just as impressive as the main building. The room itself was beautiful but so was the way the exhibition was set-up and arranged. When entering, one found oneself in a sea of paper flowers that supported and complimented the jewellery.

Like the title of the show suggested, all pieces had something to do with nature. Was it in form of natural materials, shapes of butterflies and fishes or compositions that made it difficult to tell what was man-made and what was ‘genuine’.

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‘Flora Eats Fauna’

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During my visit, I had the chance to talk to Dana Hakim (It was the first time we met after having exhibited at Preziosa Young together in 2011. It was great meeting her in person!)  and Susanne Wolbers, who both explained the backgrounds of their work. I also overheard Stephanie Hensle talk about her pieces, when she explained them to a gallerist. To me, the most important thing when having a look at contemporary jewellery is to build up and find a personal connection to a piece. When this happens, I find the piece is a success. I think, being able to read and see something in a piece of art is more important than recognising what the artist meant to express. However, if both is showing, the piece is sheer perfection. Therefore, next to having my own impressions, I like to listen to the artists themselves talk about their work.

When having a look at Dana Hakim‘s pieces, I was puzzled about the materials she used in her compositions. Especially the blue material kept me wondering. I assumed it was some sort of pigment but later I found out that the pieces were made of industrial rubber gloves! The entire time I had a look at them, I was mesmerized by the characteristics of the materials. Even though I knew then what the pieces were made from, they still did not look like gloves to me. Dana really found a way to give the used materials a completely new identity, a thing that is not easy to achieve.

Screen Shot 2013-03-19 at 9.45.06 AMDana Hakim’s blue rubber glove jewellery on the bottom left and top right.

Susanne Wolber‘s work was an actual, literal puzzle. The pieces were a composition of a piece of nature (tree bark or leaves), an insect and a man-made imitation of those contents that blended in perfectly. The trick was to determine which one of those three components was the actual man-made one. A task that was more tricky to achieve than it sounded!

Screen Shot 2013-03-19 at 9.46.13 AMSusanne Wolber’s compositions in the white frames.

Stephanie Hensle‘s work was inspired by old pressing machines that were previously used for making costume jewellery. She used the old pressing techniques to make hundreds of multiples that made up big movable, animal-like pieces. Although some of them were really big and looked very heavy, they almost seemed to snuggle with the body when being worn. I found this formed a very interesting contrast. I had this stiff making mechanism in my mind but then I was proven that they were super agile and moved all over the place!

Screen Shot 2013-03-19 at 9.45.16 AMStephanie Hensle’s pressed, movable animal pieces.

Screen Shot 2013-03-19 at 9.45.44 AMNora Rochel’s jewellery on the left, Jimin Kim’s jewellery on the right.

Screen Shot 2013-03-19 at 9.45.32 AMNora Rochel’s jewellery in the front, Hannah Joris’ work in the back.

I very much enjoyed this exhibition and I am still happy I took the trip. All three, the set-up, the work and the Schloss were absolutely worth it. I am very much looking forward to seeing more future exhibitions of those girls!

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Thank you for reading.

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Schmuck #3: Fallmamal – Umsturz erwuenscht. Nine Jewelers at the Bowling Alley.

Another exhibition I visited during Schmuck 2013 in Munich was the show ‘Fallmamal – Umsturz erwuenscht. Nine Jewelers at the Bowling Alley’.

The show was curated by Anja Eichler and Gabi Veit and showed pieces that turned around the idea of subversion and falling over. The nine artist taking part were: Sungho Cho, Anja Eichler, Beate Eismann, Julia Heineccius, Young-Hee Hong, Wolfgang Loeffler, Barbara Schrobenhauser, Gabi Veit & Manuel Vilhena.

As the name suggests, the exhibition was set-up in the bowling alley of the restaurant Theresa in Munich. It was the first time I had seen this kind of set-up in such a fun-place. When walking down the bowling aisle, it made me wonder how on earth I had not seen a bowling alley as a place for this kind of exhibition before! It’s the perfect venue to show jewellery. The white walls are perfect to show the jewels and it even comes with its own little green catwalk!

Unfortunately, I arrived very late at the show. Since the restaurant wanted to rent out the bowling alley for guests after 5pm, I had to rush down the ‘catwalk’ to take a little glimpse at the works.

Anja Eichler was there and she showed me her new pieces and explained the concept of the show.

Previously, Anja’s work was marked by the use of industrial rubber gloves. Now, living in Shanghai, she moved on to quail eggs as her main medium. Seeing the egg shells made me want to go back to Shanghai myself and pay a visit to one of my favourite restaurants that sell the best tea-quail-eggs in town! But even with a hungry tummy, it was very interesting to see how Anja concentrated on the patterns and colours of the eggshells and how she found ways to underline those qualities. I am always amazed when I stumble over materials in jewellery that are usually disregarded and rarely looked at twice but that are then transformed into something that shows their natural beauty with a force that feels like a slap in my face!

Screen Shot 2013-03-16 at 10.30.37 AMAnja Eichler‘s quail egg jewellery.

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I think this necklace was made by Gabi Veit from a previous bowling pin that was gnawed at by a wood worm.

Thank you for reading.

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Schmuck #2: Plateaus Jewellery Project

As mentioned in my previous post ‘Schmuck #1: Guck ins Schmuckloch, Schmuck im Guckloch’, I visited quite a few exhibitions during Schmuck 2013 and I decided to write about a few that had a lasting impression on me.

One of those that stuck in my mind was the show ‘Plateaus‘ of Idar-Oberstein makers: Barbora Dzurakova, Patricia Domingues, Katharina Dettar & Edu Tarin.

The show was on display in the attic of a five stories living house and I have to admit that I kept cursing my way up the stairs but I was rewarded with a very intriguing and well-balanced show. The four makers met at the Fachhochschule Trier in Idar-Oberstein during their studies (I think a few of them are currently still enrolled in courses) and they decided to show together on the platform of saying that they have the same starting points in being individual artists in Idar-Oberstein but in addition they can build up on each other and find links in their different works and making processes.

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When seeing the exhibition, the link of the works became obvious: big stones, either in their natural form or in cut shapes were present in most pieces. With Idar-Oberstein and its long history in the gemstone industry, this comes not as a surprise. Still, each artist used the medium in their own individual way but without giving or taking too much from the others. The whole exhibition had a feeling of relaxation and tranquility to it. No piece tried to stand out from the crowd, they were allowed to be next to each other in harmony.

Although the set-up of the show was a little bit more quirky and experimental, it blended in perfectly with the look and feel of the raw attic with all its untreated wood panels and floors. The artists decided to show their work on top of wooden drawing boards that are usually used for life-drawing classes in Idar-Oberstein. It was funny for me to see them, since they took me back to my student days, when I was studying there. But again, the artists arranged them in a way that took them away from their previous use and they transformed them into very funky looking display surfaces that looked like they had always belonged to that very specific attic.

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From all pieces, there were two that especially intrigued me.

One was a necklace made by Katharina Dettar. At first sight, I have to admit that it did not impress me that much. It looked like cut wooden sticks that were connected to each other. But when I figured that it was made from unpolished and cut semi-precious stones, I was intrigued. I had a very close look and I found that one part of those sticks might be made of agate but the other part still leaves me puzzled. Until now, I can’t tell whether it is also made from stone or wood. This play with the look of materials and having the viewer guess about its nature, without being able to touch and hold the piece, is incredibly tempting and quite a bit cheeky!

Screen Shot 2013-03-16 at 8.32.54 AMKatharina Dettar’s stone (wood?) necklace.

The other piece was a blue enameled, octopus-like, brooch of Edu Tarin. I have to admit that I am quite a fan of enameled jewellery anyway. However, Edu finds a way of connecting the ideas of traditional jewellery techniques with the individual eye and making of an artist. It was obvious to see that he comes from a very technical and strict jewellery making background, in using multiples of common jewellery settings, but it seems like he almost tries to drown this tradition in covering the settings in layers of enamel. Even the shape of the brooch seems to underline the revolting struggle of the settings under the heavy layers of enamel but without success. The hands of the artist win this interesting battle of goldsmithing knowledge and artistic practice. Still, I kept thinking over and over about one little detail… the use of the enamel is done in such a thick and sometimes clumsy looking and uncaring way that the idea of an experienced enameler at work does not come to mind. But then I guess this is exactly what Edu tried to achieve and where the most interesting stories begin…

Screen Shot 2013-03-16 at 9.02.27 AMEdu Tarin’s blue ‘octopus’ brooch on the left.

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