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.

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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.

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.

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.

Screen Shot 2013-03-16 at 9.02.57 AM

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.

Screen Shot 2013-03-16 at 9.01.32 AM

Screen Shot 2013-03-16 at 9.03.14 AM

Screen Shot 2013-03-16 at 9.02.44 AM

Screen Shot 2013-03-16 at 9.03.22 AM

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.
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.

Screen Shot 2013-01-09 at 1.44.43 PMFound objects on my studio table

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

Screen Shot 2013-01-09 at 3.49.18 PMThe Blue Studio Room

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.

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.

‘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!