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

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Takashi Soga – Sculpture & Drawings
Yaosen at 18 Auburn Avenue

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Celeste Friend – Sterling Silver Jewelry
37 Emerson Avenue

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Art Baird – Pottery
37 Emerson Avenue

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Cynthia Baird – Handwoven Clothing and Accessories
37 Emerson Avenue

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Sylvia de Swaan – Photography
19 Rose Place

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Tony Thompson – Paintings
The Other Side – 2011 Genesee Street

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George White – Sculpture
The Other Side – 2011 Genesee Street

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Downtown

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

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Lisa Juen – Contemporary Jewelry
519 Plant Street

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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.
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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.

Feel free to follow this blog.
Please have a look at my websites www.lisa-juen.com and www.proonk.com.
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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.

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.
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Schmuck #1: Guck ins Schmuckloch, Schmuck im Guckloch

Last week, from March 5th to March 10th, I was in Munich for the ‘Schmuck‘ show curated by the Handwerkskammer Muenchen. Schmuck is the empress of exhibitions, when it comes to contemporary jewellery exhibitions in Europe and each year, there are thousands of jewellery enthusiasts storming the city to see the show.

Because of the huge rush of people, there are a lot of little independent satellite exhibitions on show throughout the city that are organized by all sorts of jewellery artist, students and galleries. In my student days, it was still possible to go and see all of those little shows. However, during the last few years, the list of exhibitions has become so long that it is physically impossible to go and see them all in six days. This time, when I went through the flyer that comes with each Schmuck madness, I had to sit down and study it hard to make a decision on where to go. I will write about a few selected exhibitions in the following posts.

Now, I would like to start with showing you the set-up and look of the show ‘Guck ins Schmuckloch, Schmuck im Guckloch’ that also featured my three most recent pieces. You already know ‘Cicada’. It’s time you get to see ‘Starlight’ and ‘Green Roots’.

Here are pictures of the show:

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Screen Shot 2013-03-11 at 3.46.32 PMSina Emrich during the set-up of the show. It was Katharina Moch‘s and Elena Ruebel‘s idea to paint the window and present the pieces through holes that were scratched free from the paint. This type of set-up made it possible for all of us to walk through the city and have a look at other exhibitions ourselves without having to be present in the gallery. 

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Elena Ruebel painting the window.

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Screen Shot 2013-03-11 at 3.52.46 PM     Elena Ruebel‘s newest work. Her porcelain pieces (she calls them her sausages!) and coloured rope.

 

Screen Shot 2013-03-11 at 3.49.40 PMKatharina Moch‘s organic plastic jewellery.

Screen Shot 2013-03-11 at 3.49.28 PMTabea Reulecke‘s wood creations.

Screen Shot 2013-03-11 at 3.49.13 PM              Sina Emrich‘s movable growth-ring jewellery.

Screen Shot 2013-03-11 at 3.47.25 PM ‘Cicada’, the first of my newest tree pieces made from enamel, silver, stainless steel cubic zirconia and a porcelain cicada I found in Shanghai.

The exhibition was on show from March 5th to March 10th at Galerie im Raum in Munich.

…and here are the other two of my newest pieces, ‘Starlight’ and ‘Green Roots’.

guck ins schmuckloch, schmuck im guckloch

starlight 72‘Starlight’, brooch/neckpiece, silver, enamel, stainless steel, cubic zirconia, lamp piece from a very dusty artist studio in shanghai, glass.

green roots with chain 72

green roots 72 ‘Green Roots’, brooch/neckpiece, silver, enamel, stainless steel, cubic zirconia, tiles from a demolition site in shanghai, glass.

I hope you like the show and my new work. Let me know what you think!

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.

Sweet Sweet Studio

So… after a good seven month without making any ‘serious’ jewellery, due to moving countries and some personal procrastinating issues, I am sitting in my brand-new studio and I am MAKING. Finally!

It really is about high-time, given that 2013 started off on a really good foot. I just realized the other day that my work is going to be on show in five exhibitions until April alone. The rest of the year is yet to come! I very much hope for the chance to have a solo show some time soon and I am going to work hard towards that goal.

Until then, my work can be seen in the following exhibitions:

‘The Beauty Chase’, Espace Le Carré Gallery, Lille, France, until Jan 14.
‘Con Decorados’, Klimt Gallery, Barcelona, Spain, opening in February.
‘Ferrous’, Velvet Da Vinci Gallery, San Francisco, USA, March 1 – April 14.
‘Guck ins Schmuckloch, Schmuck im Guckloch’, Galerie im Raum, Munich, Germany, March 7 – March 10.
‘Stories & Symbols’, Facèré Gallery, Seattle, USA, opening in April.

With ‘Guck ins Schmuckloch, Schmuck im Guckloch’ coming up during ‘Schmuck’-time in Munich, I really have to focus and make new pieces. So, yesterday, I had a big enameling day and I experimented with techniques, objects and compositions.

It was fabulous, after a long time of simply knitting socks, to design and make jewellery again. I came up with three ideas for future pieces and I can’t wait to hold the finished works in my hands soon. Let’s hope for many more to come!

With my move to America, I realized that my origin is really important to me, alongside my traveling experience. ‘Heimat’ (birth place/home) is what shapes us first, traveling cuts our facets. I would like to play with both of those influences, showing the ‘product’ of them until this point in time. So, I think Germany, UK, China and America will play a big factor in my future pieces.

When still in China, I started to collect ‘found objects’. This was something very new to me, as I usually don’t like to collect stuff. I am used to work with an idea in my head and I go and find the materials. For some reason, maybe some melancholic reasons when knowing that I would leave Shanghai, I collected some objects that looked intriguing to me. Now, they are lying on a table in my studio waiting for me to work with them… and I did start with some. Another first.

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Screen Shot 2013-01-09 at 1.45.01 PMThe Yellow Studio Room

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Another thing that I realized when arriving in America was that my creative process is going in a ‘looped line’. I am not thinking from A to B to C. In the process of shaping new influences and ideas, I like to reflect on earlier work and sometimes, old influences peek through in new ways. At the moment, I find that I am interested in some things again that intrigued me during my MA days in 2007. It will not be the same as the work from that time. The new work will represent my experiences from then to now through the choice of known but also new materials and techniques. My mind is going in circles and yet, it arrives at new places.

Accordingly, the new body of work will be called ‘Circle Spirit’.

Screen Shot 2013-01-09 at 1.44.30 PMThe beginnings of the first piece. The cicada came from a small street shop in Shanghai. I made the ‘roots’ from silver wire and enamel. Roots: home, growth, basis, knowledge, past & present. I think the roots will have a strong presence in the pieces of the ‘Circle Spirit’ series.

More to come soon…

Thank you for reading.
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.

Making Wedding Bands

Last week, on August 24, we did it… Barry and I got married!I know that this will come to many as a surprise, as it did for us, but no worries, the big celebrations will take place next year, same date in Utica, NY.

I guess the saying ‘It never goes as planned’ is very true and it applies really well to our wedding ceremony and the making of our wedding bands.

A a jewellery maker, I am not allowed to make my own wedding rings. At least this is a very old and serious tradition in Germany. If you do it anyway, it is meant to be bad luck for your future marriage. Since I did not want to upset any marriage Gods, I knew for a long time that my good friend Christine Graf in Munich was going to be the one to make the rings for me. Barry had her make my engagement ring as well to my great surprise!

When Christine and I studied together in Birmingham in 2007, she wore this beautiful ring that she had forged from 24K gold. Previously, her aunt had given her some gold coins and she did not really know what to do with them, so she decided to turn them into something useful and make a ring for herself. She did not want to waste any of the material, so she did not cut or file it at all. Instead she forged it from a cast made of the coins. The traces of the hammer were still visible on the surface and gave it this really strong but very refined look. I liked the story of the making behind it and I knew then that this was going to be my wedding ring one day.

There is another very interesting detail one should keep in mind when choosing wedding bands. According to German tradition again, they need to be made from one piece. Bending and soldering the ring is not an option, since it will show a solder line, which is considered to be a sign for the marriage breaking one day. The ring needs to be made from continuous material, without a cut, so next to casting (the most popular option) the ring can be forged.

Originally, Barry and I had planned to get married in the autumn of 2013 but you know how it goes… ‘It never comes as planned’ and we had to hurry a little. Because of the shortness in time, Christine could not make the rings for us and my good friend Patrick McMillan from McMillan Metals in Providence offered to make them when I came to visit him for his birthday in early August. I am still thrilled and very thankful for his offer and generosity to do this for us. In return I promised to make his wedding rings one day, which makes me feel very honored and proud!

When Patrick and I talked about how to make the rings, we decided to make them from fine silver instead of 24K gold. Barry and my initial idea was to collect gold from the families and have it melt into the rings, so that there is the family and some meaning in the rings themselves. When I sat in Patrick’s studio, Barry and I had not even started to collect, so there was nothing to make the rings from.

Now, I think it was perfect sitting in Patrick’s studio not knowing what material to use, since Barry and I decided that we will have two sets of rings: The silver ones from our formal wedding ceremony and the golden ones, made by Christine, for the Big Wedding Bash next year with all our friends and family.

So, here are some pictures showing the process of the making. I hope you’ll enjoy them.

Cuttlefish Casting.

The burned cuttlefish shell.

Super excited!!!!

The cast silver ‘bobbles’.

Patrick punching a hole.

Small hole.

Stretching the hole.

Medium hole.

Stretching the ring on a ring mandrel.

Bigger mandrel.

Big hole.

Final touch.

The finished rings.

We are married! 🙂

PS: Here is a picture of my beautiful engagement ring that Christine made for me from platinum, copper mesh and enamel.

Thank you for reading.
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.

Sculpture Space Work in Progress Reception, Aug 22

Last week was a very hectic week with a lot of things going on. One of them was the ‘Work in Progress Reception’ at Sculpture Space. The current artists in the studio invited the public to share new ideas and have a look at their most recent works.

Four artists presented their newest creations:

Nova Jiang (Los Angeles, CA)
Jeff + Tara, The Friendly Falcons (Brooklyn, NY)
Cornelia Konrads (Bad Munder, Germany)
Jessica Segall (Brooklyn, NY)

It was the first time for me to attend such an event at Sculpture Space and I very much enjoyed it. I had been to the studio earlier on but this was the first time I saw it bursting with people and it was great to find that there is so much interest in art and such a big artist community in Utica.

The evening started off with a friendly welcome of Monika Burczyk, the Sculpture Space Executive Director, and continued with the artists introducing their work.

First, Jessica Segall introduced her beautiful body of work that was created through a residency in Alaska. Cornelia Konrads had just arrived to Sculpture Space the week before and briefly introduced some of her previous works, featuring book art and beautiful sculptures. The Friendly Falcons, Tara Pelletier & Jeffrey Kurosaki, finished the presentations with a very interesting music/image/sculpture performance.

In addition to the artists’ work, there was a sculpture of John von Bergen, the ‘Sculpture Drawing’ on display, which can be won in a very special prize drawing. 125 tickets for $100/pc are on sale until September 22. To purchase a ticket, please contact 315-724-8381 or click here to help support Utica’s international residency program.

The main Sculpture Space building.

Monika Burczyk welcoming the audience.

Jessica Segall introducing her work.

Jessica Segall

Cornelia Konrads

Cornelia Konrads

Cornelia Konrads

This is a video of the Friendly Falcon’s performance, seen through John von Bergen’s ‘Drawing Sculpture’.

John von Bergen, ‘Drawing Sculpture’

For more information on the individual artists, please have a look at their websites, there is a lot more beautiful work to see!

I am looking forward to the next Sculpture Space event, the CHAIRity Auction on September 22. The drawing of the John von Bergen Sculpture will be part of this event too. Come around to find out about the lucky winner!

I hope you enjoyed this post and I hope to see you at Sculpture Space soon!

Thank you for reading.
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 the FB ProonK page.

Stanley Theater Utica NY

I know I have mentioned this place a lot of times before but yesterday, Barry and I actually got the chance to get the Grand Tour around the Stanley Center for the Arts in Utica NY. Thanks to Maureen and Anne, who took us around the premises, we had the pleasure to see the theater in all its impressive glory. …and this is not an exaggeration, this place really is breath-taking! I never expected the Theater to be that beautiful. It really is a hidden gem in Utica that is worth visiting, either for a short pop-in or for one of their numerous shows and concerts.

Getting married at the Stanley is also a possibility for anyone who would like to tie the knot. Couples can choose from having the entire celebration on site or limit it to only the ceremony, reception or photo shoots.

I took a few pictures but they really do not show the proportions and beauty of the Stanley Theater very well. Really, if you are around Utica NY, come and have a look, it will surely not be a disappointment.

The beautiful Stanley Center for the Arts facade.

The Stanley Grand Lobby.

The Grand Lobby from the second floor.

The Grand Staircase.

The entrance of the Theater Stage.

The Theater from the stage with the big Meyda chandelier and the ghost light.

An ornament in the Theater Stage area.

One of the Theater exits, showing beautiful ornaments from Meyda.

Thank you for reading.
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 the FB ProonK page.

Plasma Cutting, Sandblasting & Powder Coating

Recently, I spent quite a bit of time researching tools and metal-working techniques again and I thought it would be nice to share the information and maybe get some professional tips from you guys.

Plasma Cutting: The reason why I had a look into plasma cutting was because of my frequent use of laser cut elements in my art & design work. Ideally, I would LOVE to have my own lasercutting machine but even the used ones are still super pricey. The second-hand machines I found that are capable of cutting 1mm stainless steel sheet started around $20k. This is a price I can’t afford at the moment… not sure if I ever will but I very much hope I might be able to purchase one further down the road.

As ‘Plan B’, I heard about the possibility to plasma cut pieces and I decided to have a look into that technique. I found a company, PlasmaCAM, that offers plasma cutting systems. The system is made from a cutting table that holds a hand-held plasma torch and plugs into your personal computer (needs to be Windows). It comes with a software that enables you to cut customized shapes. I watched the demo-video and it seems pretty easy to me to operate. The system does not come with a plasma torch, so this machine needs to be bought separately. I guess this is good on one side, given that you can choose yourself which machine to work with and how pricey it can be. On the other hand it is an additional cost. I called up the guys from PlasmaCAM to inquire about the price of the 4×4 table, which comes to $6980. I was further told that a plasma torch for my needs would approximately be around an extra $2000. The shipment of the table would approximately come to $190, so the final price is somewhere around $10k. For me, this is still a pretty steep price that I cannot afford right now but I am happy to know that there is something out there that I could use for big designs further down the road. For my jewelry, I think I will have to stick to lasercutting after all. The cutting line of the plasma cutter is too wide for my designs. I need to be able to get more into details. Also, I heard that the cut on the back can be pretty messy and needs a lot of cleaning. I wonder if this depends on the plasma torch one uses? Probably also speed and temperature?

PlasmaCAM cutting table

Sandblasting: Further I had a look at a sandblasting machine. I will need one for my enameling-work and I was once again surprised by Rio Grande. (My new pink kiln arrived by the way and it waits for me to start working with it once the studio is set up. Read more about the pink enameling kiln story on the Rio Grande ‘The Studio’ blog ‘A Kiln of a Different Color’ and my research on ‘Enameling Kilns’). For the studio in Shanghai, we bought a sandblasting cabinet from Italy that I believe was around 2000€, so I started having a look at DIY home-built options, since I did not want to afford that much. Luckily, it seems like I will not have to go that far and build it myself, since I found a cabinet, the ‘Small Benchtop Pencil-Style Bead Blaster’ on the Rio Grande website starting from $145. It is not massive but big enough for my use and they also offer a bigger version for $185. All you need in addition is an air-compressor, which comes to $150-200.

Rio Grande ‘Small Benchtop Pencil-Style Bead Blaster’

Powder Coating: Yesterday night, Barry and I went to visit the Meyda Lighting company and workshop in Utica NY, and I was amazed by the dimension of their production! This place is glass and metal-working paradise! They really build all their beautiful lamps from scratch. Even the metal parts are hand-made. I was very impressed.
During the tour, we passed the powder-coating facility, which intrigued me quite a lot. I love using color in my work and I had heard of the technique before but I did not know how to use it. I conducted some research on it this morning and to my surprise, it does not seem to be complicated at all. I think I will give it a go in the near future. Have a look at this DIY garage-made video to see how it works.
Further, I had a look at the Eastwood website, a company that specializes in automotive parts and powder coating. They offer powder coating kits from $99.99 for the ‘Original HotCoat Powder Coating Gun’ and $169.99 for the ‘Eastwood Dual Voltage HotCoat Powder Coating Gun’. They also offer pretty attractive starter kits. In addition to the gun and the powder, you need a compressor and either a toaster oven or normal cooking oven that reaches a temperature of 400F.

Eastwood ‘Dual Voltage Powder Gun Starter Kit’

The World’s Largest LED Free-Hanging Chandelier was designed, engineered and installed by Meyda Lighting for the historic Stanley Center for the Arts in Utica, New York.

I am still trying to get everything together for my studio and nothing is set in stone yet, so if you have suggestions or better information on the mentioned tools, please let me know. I would appreciate your opinions and experiences.

Thank you for reading.
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 the FB ProonK page.

Utica ‘Art in Windows’

The Downtown ‘Utica Development Association‘, short DUDA, and Rod Wilson from ‘Gocal‘, a community online platform that concentrates on the promotion and support of local businesses and events, paired up to launch the ‘Art in Windows’ project in downtown Utica, NY.

The project is inspired by the ‘Art in Storefront‘ exhibition that first took place in San Francisco at Central Market in May 2011. Similar to its predecessor, Utica’s ‘Art in Windows’ will offer vacant storefronts to local artists to showcase their talents.

Here is an extract of the official DUDA press alert:

Empty downtown windows will soon become miniature art galleries through the ‘Art in Windows’ program sponsored by DUDA. ‘Art in Windows’ seeks to match local artists with vacant downtown storefront windows where they can display their works.

“Instead of looking at these windows as empty, we see them as full of possibilities,” says Regina Bonacci, president of DUDA. “What some consider an eyesore, we think will be a Main Street art show where works of art are shared with the community.”

Click here to watch a video about the event.

As far as I know, the show will kick off in the beginning of September and will run on a rotary system, three months at a time. All artistic disciplines are welcome.

Also, the name ‘Art in Windows’ seems to be a temporary title that is open for discussion. So, if you should have another idea, please get in touch.
My proposal would be ‘UticArt‘. I think it creates a good balance in between the city, the artistic concept and the diversity of the media on show.

For artists of the area who are interested in taking part and/or have an idea for a future name, please send your proposal to DOWNTOWNUTICANY@GMAIL.COM by July 31st.

I have my proposal ready and I can’t wait for the event to start!
Also, I find it inspiring to see that there are so many people in this city not just talking about making a change but really MAKING A CHANGE.
One step at a time… You go Utica!

 

Thank you for reading.
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 the FB ProonK page.

Utica Buildings I

Aside

It has been a while since I wrote last and this had mainly to do with me constantly running around, wrapping things up, packing, moving, flying to four countries in 20 days and curing a heavy tonsillitis I caught on a farm in Taiwan. Apart from my sore throat, all good things and very exciting but quite exhausting too and I have to admit that it is pretty nice to have some peace and quiet at the moment. Right now I am in Utica, NY, and I will stay here for the next 80+ days before returning to Germany.

The reason why I am in Utica is because of my partner. Utica is his hometown and whenever you ask him to describe the city in one sentence, he will say ‘Oh- it’s a little slice of heaven on earth!’. Honestly, I haven’t heard the angel’s singing yet but I have to say that the ‘Utica Halfmoons‘ are pretty heavenly and there are lots of other things that make this little city very interesting. Apart from the really awesome Adirondacks State Park, which is just a short car ride away for all of those times when I can’t stand the four walls anymore and need to see and breathe some Green, there are a lot of interesting historical sites in the city as well. Just to speak of a few, the Stanley Theatre, the Hotel Utica and of course the Gold Dome are popping into my mind.

Of course Utica has issues, but I guess quite a few smaller cities have had similar issues in the past, and there are signs now that show that it is on the track of getting back on its feet. For me, being an artist and being interested in what is going on in this sector, it is great to see that there are quite a lot of people here trying to make a change. I think there is an interesting, rising art community on the go and I hope I can eventually contribute to it. There are quite a few art projects in the making of which I have heard of in the few days I have been here and I am very excited to see them finalised and open for the public. (I will write about those another time.)

When it comes to jewellery, I think there are quite a few interesting projects and sites as well. First, there is Pratt MWP, which enables students to spend the first two years of their bachelor of fine arts degree program at the campus in Central New York before they complete their studies at Pratt’s main campus in Brooklyn. Then, there is the Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute, which has quite an impressive permanent body of work on show (They have a Louise Bourgeois ‘Maman’ Spider on the wall… a piece that I instantly fell in love with!). They also show shorter, topic-specific exhibitions. At the moment, there is the ‘Shadow of the Sphinx – Ancient Egypt and its Influence’ on show. Last year, I came to see a show on wedding dresses from the last 100 years.

Also, there is Sculpture Space, an organisation that offers twenty residency places to national and international artists. I am not sure, if there has been a jeweller so far but since, in my opinion, jewellery is a form of (wearable) sculpture, it might be an option for jewellers as well…!? I certainly hope so… it would be really exciting to get the chance to work BIG!

Another very positive aspect I find about the city is that a lot of private people are trying to make a change as well. We have had the chance this week to go and see the ‘Preview of the New Offices and Loft Apartment‘ at Bonacci Architects’. Once one disregards that some of the buildings in the city are pretty run down and looks behind the facade and the possibilities that hide in there, one recognises the beauty that is hidden in the city. There are so many old brick buildings, some of them had an industrial purpose, some of them were meant for living quarters, that are just waiting for rediscovery! The Bonacci’s have taken on one of those industrial buildings (actually two to be exact, since the building is made from a building that was erected in 1840 and that was then joined in 1880 with the next door building from 1860) and they have turned it into a modern-old building, housing two companies on the ground floor and a fabulous loft on the first floor.

Here are some pics of the building before renovation.

The Bonacci Building after renovation.

There were several presentations and speeches on how this project was possible and the advantages of making an old home new.

The main speaker of the ‘Landmarks Society of Greater Utica‘ mentioned that she is a ‘Building Hugger’ and I have to say that I feel the same way. Strolling through the downtown area, passing all those beautiful buildings that have so many stories to tell, puts a smile on my face and I hope I can contribute in a similar project in the future.

Please follow this blog and have a look at my websites www.lisa-juen.com, www.proonk.com. Twitter: @LisaJuenProonK

‘Dating Medal’ for ‘Con Decorados’

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to make a piece for an exhibition in Valencia, Spain called ‘Con-Decorados’. The exhibition will be part of a row of shows accompanying the second opening of the ‘Schmuck‘ show from Munich in Valencia. It will be held at the ‘Museo Nacional de Ceramica y de las Artes Suntuarias Gonzalez Marti‘, as part of the celebrations of the 10th anniversary of the Jewellery Department at the ‘Escola d’Art i Superior de Disseny de València’ EASD. To mark this anniversary, the school has organised a programme of activities, exhibitions and talks on contemporary jewellery and called the event  ‘MELTING POINT 2012’. ‘Con-Decorados’ will open on the 5th of May at 6pm. To visit the blog accompanying the activities, click here.

The topic of ‘Con-Decorados’ turns around the subject of medals. 23 artists were asked to work with and around the idea of interpreting and creating a medal.

The artists who will participate in this exhibition are:

Peter Bauhuis
Mirei Takeuchi
Sung-Ho Cho
Volker Atrops
Jorge Manilla
Christine Graf
Lisa Juen
Alexander Friedrich
Tabea Reulecke
Rodrigo Acosta
Marie Pendaries
Carlos Pastor
Kepa Karmona
Sarah O´Hana
Kerstin Östberg
Elvira H.Mateu
Edu Tarín
Ramón Puig
Silvia Walz
Grego Garcia
Mauricio Lavayén
Gemma Draper
Mariona Piris
My idea for my medal came from personal experience. I wanted to create a medal that is a witness of our time, a medal that can be worn and used for a purpose of today.
Until I met my partner, I was a single woman in Shanghai for a very long time and I had to learn the hard way that dating can be really hard work that should be awarded a medal! So… here it is, the ‘Dating Medal’.
…and a short explanation:

Modern society does not make it easy to meet one’s ‘better half’. The Internet, Hollywood and the fast pace of a steadily growing throw-away-culture heightens the bars of expectation when it comes to choosing the right partner.

How can one meet this person without having to bend over backwards?

Dating in the mentioned conditions can be really hard work, especially for girls. The ‘Dating Medal’ is to be a helping device for women dating but is also act as a dating award.

The brooch holds two LED screens: one in green and one in red.

The screens are connected to an ON/ON switch, which enables the wearer to decide which of the two screens is going to light up.

In the case of the lady meeting an individual of interest, the green screen can be lit reading:

 ‘Did the sun come out or did you just smile at me?’ 

The sentence can act as an ‘ice-breaker’ leading into a conversation. In the case of the initial chat being a success, the gentleman can take the lady’s contact details written on small paper-strips hanging from the series of brooch-hooks. If he would like to leave his details, he can choose to take one of the plain paper-strips and write down his contact information with the attached pencil. By hanging the written strip back on the hook ‘rewards’ the girl with the possibility of a future date.

In the case of the lady not feeling attracted to an approaching individual, the red screen can be lit reading:

 ‘Save your breath.’

In this case, a lot of drama and heartbreak can be prevented right from the start.

Not just my dating experience was a little rocky but the way of making the brooch was pretty painful too. Just when I was about to finish the brooch, a piece of the bearing broke off. Since the metal part is entirely cut and bent from one piece of stainless steel sheet, I had to remake the entire brooch.

Here are some pictures I took along the way that show the process of making.

Polishing. Even after almost 10 years of making professional jewellery, the contrast of dirty hands and shiny metal still amazes me! It feels great looking like a pig but holding this precious little something in one’s hands!

Before bending.

Wiring.

I hope you like the ‘Dating Medal’ and the journey of its making. If you should be in Valencia around the 5th of May, please feel free to join the exhibition opening. The show will be on until the end of June.

If you can find a chance to go, please take a picture of the piece and send it to me! I would love to see it on display! Enjoy the show!

‘XinCheJian’ Hacker-Space Shanghai

Yesterday night I was invited to visit the studio of XinCheJian, the first real Hacker-Space/Maker-Space in Shanghai, China. On Wednesdays, they usually host several speakers to come and talk to the community about their projects. Min Lin, the Co-Founder of the space got in touch with me to inquire if I would be happy to give a talk about ProonK at some point too, since she thought that the electronic components being ‘wrapped-up’ in an art & design concept would be a great topic to present. So, I went there with my boyfriend last night to check out the space and see the format of their presentation-nights.

Usually, they try to invite two to three speakers to come and talk but last night, there was only one. A very nice American young man, who was very handy on the guitar, introduced us to the workings and wonders of Apple’s Garage Band. It was an interesting little presentation about the making of music, based on traditional means being introduced to the world of computers. Pretty impressive program actually!

After the presentation, Min Lin gave us a tour around the space, which was seriously impressive! Before I went there, I had no idea about hacker-spaces and how their concepts worked but I felt like having entered paradise! I have to admit that I am a little bit of a fiddling and making geek myself, although my making knowledge in the electronics area is still pretty limited. I learned that XinCheJian also offers workshops for the public to attend on the weekends. I am SO going to test the waters in the near future!

The studio space.

Min Lin also showed us some of the projects some members work/worked on, such as…

…little robots, which are built for a race that takes place every four weeks in the studio…

…a little robot that is connected to a web-cam, showing real-life scenes on the web…

…a moody tree, which frequently tells you to hug and love it more when it starts to feel neglected…

…an arcade machine that is built from a TV screen located in the bottom of the construction and a mirror that reflects the image of the TV screen onto the viewing area…

…a high-tech mouse-trap ‘The Ratmotel’ , which is equipped with a sensor to lock the door once the mouse is in…

…this one made me laugh quite a bit, the ‘Useless Machine’ that once you pushed the switch has a mechanical finger coming up to push it back in the starting position and the game starts all over again…

…a modified e-scooter that has a holder for a smart-phone in the front, which is connected to the machine to have it report to the driver about it’s well-being…

…and finally, for me the highlight of the night, a DIY 3D printer! How awesome is that? For a jeweller this is one of the machines that make me enter heaven! How great would it be to play with a machine like this in my studio and see what kind of things I can create for my artistic practice! Tons of new possibilities opening up in a flash! 😀

Min Lin got me even more amazed when she told me about a HK based company that offers DIY 3D printer kits for about $300+$50 international shipment!! …and there we have another addition to my workshop-wishlist!

The company is called Makibox and next to their awesome 3D printer, the MakiBox A6, they also sell other little really useful gadgets. Check out their website or follow them on Twitter @makible for more info.

When reading through the MakiBox A6 product description, I stumbled over the following:

‘We are just getting started with both the A6 and other devices that will help people build things they need. The next features we will build for the A6 are multi-color printing and plastic recycling, laser cutting and marking, and PCB routing. These new addons for the A6 will turn it into a desktop manufacturing system, not just a 3D printer.’

SERIOUSLY???? When is this going to happen?? I SO CAN’T WAIT!!!!

Another tip Min Lin gave me was to check out the website of ShapeWays, a USA based 3D-printing company, that made my day with the selection of materials they have on offer. Ceramics and Alumide!!! We’ll be in touch soon! 🙂

I guess it is pretty obvious that I went to bed last night with a HUGE smile on my face, dreaming of all the future design-possibilities ahead of me!

If you would like to join my talk at XinCheJian, please come around, possibly on the 18th of April (yet to be confirmed) at 7pm. I guess the studio might have moved to the new location by then, down Wulumuqi Lu, Chang Le Lu. I am pretty excited to see the new space and I can’t wait to attend the workshop with Mitch Altman soon! See you there!

www.proonk.com, www.lisa-juen.com; Please follow my blog or join me on Twitter and Facebook. Thank you!