#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.

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.

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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.

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 #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.
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#3 Work in Progress: Relief

The new silver wire has arrived and boy… I can’t tell you how relieved I felt when I took the new enameled constructs out of the kiln yesterday and found that all previous issues had vanished! Just one little mistake, like buying the wrong type of silver wire, can cause quite a big headache. Still, after a few days of waiting, hoping and slowly turning crazy over the idea that I might not be able to finish in time for the show in Munich, I have to admit that (as usual) it was good that things did not turn out as planned. The delay gave me more time to reflect about the pieces: their origins, their shapes, their compositions, their characters. I was and I still am so happy to be back in the studio that my intuitive making took over. My body needed to see results. Now, my mind is slowly kicking in, asking for the sense of it all.

Mainly, I thought about the roots and what they mean to me. Anchors, yes, supplying organs, yes, but there is more:

  • origin
  • home (Heimat, Heim, zuhause)
  • arrive
  • hold
  • ooze out (herausquellen)
  • find one’s way
  • skirt hurdles
  • safety
  • overgrow, take possession

Here are the beginnings of the new pieces…

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Work in progress: I tried to link the single ‘finger’-elements of the roots more, so that they give the impression of being ‘rooted’. I also wanted to show the force of the roots by having them ‘move’ the floor tiles from their ‘original’ flat position.

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The finished enameled look. Although green, I think the fork-like character of the root takes away from the idea of a snake. The roots are not lying loosely on top of the composition anymore. They are open to the back and connected to the wearer.

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I like to give the wearer the option of choosing how to wear a piece. The first picture shows the piece as a brooch, the second one shows it as a neckpiece. The chain-part can be detached.

Screen Shot 2013-01-31 at 11.16.06 AM

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Work in progress: Overgrow, take possession. Brooch and neckpiece.

More silver wire is on the way for more experiments to come. Now, it’s time to work on the construction of the pieces, of course made from lasercut stainless steel. I will keep you posted…

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.

Inspiration – Hedda Bjerkeli

It sure has been a while again since my last post and really, I should be working on my display for pieces that will be on show at Broad Street Gallery in Hamilton, NY. …for anyone in the area who is still looking for something special for Christmas, this might be the place to go.

Still, I stumbled over the work of artist Hedda Bjerkeli this morning and I instantly fell in love with one piece. It is a brooch that at first sight might look pretty simple due to its oval shape but taking a closer look reveals millions of little details and characteristics that make this brooch exquisite. I love the way the enamel looks messy and in some sort natural. It has an incredible ‘home-ly’ feel to it. It is calm but at the same time incredibly vibrant. The stitching, is it crochet?, really pushes me over the edge… I can see parallels to my graduation pieces and future ideas for many more pieces to come. I am excited!

The workshop is almost ready by the way and I can’t wait to have a big enameling session soon. More good things to come…

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Work and photo credits: Hedda Bjerkeli

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Work and photo credits: Hedda Bjerkeli

Lisa Juen – Become One, Ring 2007

Lisa Juen – Snembryo, Brooch 2007

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.

‘Exupéa’

Earlier this year, I was asked if I was interested in taking part in the ‘FlourishRing‘ Exhibition at Kath Libbert Gallery in Saltsmill, UK. In 2010, I took part in their exhibition ‘IntoFlora‘ and I was very happy to hear that the gallery wanted to feature my work again.

The theme of the exhibition was inspired by the gallery’s 16th anniversary and asked for a ring with exuberant qualities. 100 jewellery makers around the world were asked to take part.

I am more of a brooch-girl, which means I have a preference of making brooches, rather than other forms of jewellery. I have, of course, made a few rings in the past but since it has been quite a while back, I decided to make a new ring for the exhibition.

Working on the ring turned out to be a lot of fun. It was very refreshing to walk new paths and experiment with ring shapes, rather than brooch fittings.

Based on the exuberant topic, I decided to work with a peacock theme. I wanted the ring to show off in every way but doing so with grace and style. I started fiddling around with Chinese fabric knots and peacock feathers but came to the conclusion that the feather is exuberant enough and I found it more intriguing to work with the peacock’s striking colours instead. I have been thinking about reintroducing enamel into my work for quite a while and this seemed the perfect topic for experimenting. I ended up working with different layers of enamel, trying to construct translucent glazes and give it a relief looking surface structure. The ring was completed with a big lavender coloured cubic zirconia stone in the middle, holding a rainbow colour changing LED.

‘Exupéa’, Ring, 2012, stainless steel, enamel, cubic zirconia, LED, battery box, light switch, cable.
Photography: Savinder Bual

The ‘FlourishRing‘ exhibition opened July 12 and will be on show until September 30. Next to ‘FlourishRing‘, there is another exhibtion, ‘Flourish‘, on show, featuring the work of ten international jewellery makers. During the exhibition period, the audience is encouraged to pick their favourite ring and have a picture taken with it. The ring that will have the most ‘likes’ in the end will win a £250 cash price. I will keep fingers crossed for all featured artists! You can have a preview on the rings on the gallery’s website to get a first impression.

If you happen to be in the UK, please go and check it out! The pictures of the exhibition opening looked really intriguing. Please don’t forget to send me a pic once you are there. I would really appreciate it!

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.

‘Nāmanja’ & ‘Solipsistic’

Recently, I wrote about a piece I made for my friend Anja’s birthday. (Read about the beginnings here: Wave Structures & Loudlives.)

At that time, her birthday was yet to come so, I could not post any pics. Now, I am proud to introduce the finished piece called ‘Nāmanja’. The title derives from the Hawaiian sea goddess Nāmaka and my friend’s first name. Since she is a devoted surfer who loves the Hawaiian islands, I thought it would be a nice touch to go with the sea goddess.

The enameled blue and white piece in the center is inspired by a wave photograph that was taken by Hawaii artist Clark Little. The flower and the blue stones are my way of expressing the feelings I have about Anja: Depth, pain, pride and blue are the first words that pop into my mind when I think of her. Also, vulnerability and strength.

Shortly after the completion of ‘Nāmanja’, another very close friend, Rachel Marsden, had her birthday coming up. Rachel and I met in Shanghai through work. Rachel, and also Anja, are two people who are for me what Rachel usually refers to as ‘corner-stone-friends’.

The piece for Rachel is a very personal one. It started off with Rachel’s favourite word ‘Solipsistic’, a word that has a very special meaning for her and that comes with a nice little story that she sometimes tells people. Rachel is a person who is lost in the world of words. She is obsessed with letters and alphabets, typewriters and books. She is a mega-blogger and a workaholic. Wherever she goes, she takes her camera to take millions of pictures of people, art and food. Sometimes she complains though that not enough people take pictures of her. So, I decided to incorporate her image in the piece. The center showing Rachel’s portrait is made of enamel. Other materials are stainless steel, cubic zirkonia and glass.

Front of the brooch.

Back of the brooch.

The designing and making of those two pieces was pretty straight forward for me. I usually spend a lot of time overthinking every little detail of all of my pieces and I tend to overcomplicate them at times. I quite enjoy the process of designing them but I have to admit that I found that working more from the belly (and not just the brain) can be quite rewarding and satisfying too. I think making a series of smaller, faster ‘belly’-pieces will be something that I will have to experiment with, once I have my new studio up and running. Looking forward to it. I hope you too!

Please have a look at my websites www.lisa-juen.com and www.proonk.com to see more jewellery and join my Twitter @LisaJuenProonK and the ProonK FB page. Thank you.