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.

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#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.
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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!

Screen Shot 2013-04-05 at 6.00.51 PM

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.

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.

Jonathan Kirk at Clifford Art Gallery

Last week was packed with art events in the Utica area. To my great surprise, there were two exhibition openings, one gallery anniversary and an open studio event. I have to admit that when I first moved to Utica, I did not think there was much going on in the art scene but last week proved me wrong and I am very happy about this!

I will write separate posts about each event that I visited. Unfortunately, I messed up the times for the open studio invitation at ceramic artist Vartan Poghosian‘s studio, so no post about that event, but I very much hope I will get another opportunity to see his studio soon.

The first exhibition of the week was Jonathan Kirk‘s show ‘Machines: Fragments and Reveries’ at Clifford Art Gallery at Colgate University in Hamilton, NY.

Jonathan Kirk was present to hold an artist talk. I could not attend right from the start but I dropped in for the Q&A. For me, it was nice to hear how Jonathan creates his work. He does not make a lot of drawings, instead he goes into 3D models right away to give him some sort of direction. Once the making process of the actual piece progresses, the work has still the freedom to transform and in some sort shape itself.

I very much agree that sometimes, the piece tells you what it wants to look like and all you have to do as an artist is ‘listen’. A lot of pieces only start to take shape during the creating process. Trying to overthink an idea by drawing on a piece of paper can sometimes be more confusing than getting one’s hands dirty and see where one might end up. In this line of thinking, there usually is no big room for failure as well. No matter what one will create, most of the time, it can be transformed into something else, until it reaches the point where it feels right.

The show had quite a variety of work on display. There were big sculptures, next to medium-sized objects and a table with a big selection of models. I was very intrigued by those pieces. Even though they were initially meant to visualise a quick idea and to see if it might work out, the were impeccable. The way Jonathan treats materials is breathtaking! He is a perfectionist with a great eye for details.

Screen Shot 2012-12-03 at 8.01.15 PMTable with models

jonathan kirk
Display of ‘Machines: Fragments and Reveries’

 

 

I particularly fell in love with the piece ‘Lookout’. When looking at it, I found myself thinking that it resembles a model (and I assume it might have been a model at some point) because of the chosen material, cardboard, but the surface treatment and finish rightly take it on a completely different level. The material in this piece is being treated in a way that shows its best (and even new) characteristics in the brightest light. It is being taken away from the notion that cardboard is a cheap packaging material but something very precious.

jonathan kirk‘Lookout’, cardboard, 1993

There were a few wooden objects hanging from the wall that, I think, created a similar notion. They were made by individual small pieces of wood that were ‘glued’ into shape with epoxy. Jonathan treated the surface of the shape with lacquer, which he then buffed in some areas, revealing what was underneath. The way the surface looked reminded me a lot of Japanese Urushi lacquer. This type of lacquer is applied layer after layer, after layer… Every time I have a look at a piece that is showing this technique, I am reminded of the flow of time and all the respect I have for people who devote themselves to creating perfection. To me, the ‘buffed’ areas showed the ‘guts’ of the work, creating a great balance in between origin, the passing of time and the final being.

Screen Shot 2012-12-03 at 8.01.01 PM
Display of ‘Machines: Fragments and Reveries’

Another very big factor in Jonathan’s work is the question of scale and how to use it. The center of the room held a sculpture of a big steam engine ‘Old King Cole’. Jonathan mentioned that, if he had made it any smaller, it might have been perceived as a toy. If he had made it bigger, it would have seemed like a replica of a steam engine, which then would have raised questions like use and functionality of the machine, rather than the question of what and why the object is art. Having chosen a  size that is located right in between a toy and a replica stripped the piece from its former functions and gave it the chance to express something new.

Screen Shot 2012-12-03 at 8.01.47 PM‘Old King Cole’, mild steel, 2007

Jonathan Kirk ‘Machines: Fragments and Reveries’ will be on show at Clifford Art Galery at Colgate University until February 1, 2013. If you have the chance to go and visit, you should definitely go and have a look. You won’t be disappointed.

Screen Shot 2012-12-03 at 7.36.27 PM

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.