#6 Work in Progress: Onion, Cnobe & Cnonion

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

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

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

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

ONIONS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Let me know your thoughts please!

Thank you for reading.

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#5 Work in Progress: Here is to Onions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

glamion backBack of ‘Glamonion’

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

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

Thank you for reading.

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Schmuck #5: (ig)noble

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

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

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

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

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

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

Screen Shot 2013-03-22 at 6.47.12 PMLisa Björke

Screen Shot 2013-03-22 at 6.49.54 PMPernilla Persson

Screen Shot 2013-03-22 at 6.52.39 PMHanna Liljenberg

Screen Shot 2013-03-22 at 6.56.16 PMSanna Svedestedt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for reading.

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Schmuck #4: Flora Eats Fauna

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

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

Screen Shot 2013-03-19 at 9.46.45 AMSchloss Nymphenburg

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

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

Screen Shot 2013-03-19 at 9.44.58 AM
‘Flora Eats Fauna’

Screen Shot 2013-03-19 at 9.45.24 AM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Screen Shot 2013-03-19 at 9.47.44 AM

Thank you for reading.

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‘Die Zikade’ (‘Cicada’)

Today, I finished the first of three pieces I will show at ‘Guck ins Schmuckloch, Schmuck im Guckloch‘ in Munich in March. Please come by and see the work and the artists, if you are in town. We will all be very happy to welcome you!

Screen Shot 2013-02-11 at 6.36.22 PM

The piece is called ‘Die Zikade’ (‘Cicada’). ‘Die Zikade’ can be worn as a brooch or it can be attached to a chain to be worn as a neckpiece. I like to give more options to the wearer when standing in front of the mirror and deciding how to put it on.

Screen Shot 2013-02-11 at 6.20.42 PM

Screen Shot 2013-02-11 at 6.20.53 PM‘Die Zikade’, Brooch/Neckpiece, 2013; Stainless Steel, Silver, Enamel, Cubic Zirconia, Porcelain.

After having read Walter Benjamin’s ‘The Storytheller’ the other day, I had many more ideas and I started to experiment with a few more shapes and looks. It is still very early to talk about the future pieces in detail but I have a vision in mind. One that incorporates a lot of enamel, patina and all kinds of surface structures. …of course in contrast with stainless steel.

Here are the beginnings.

Screen Shot 2013-02-11 at 6.05.05 PMI am still intrigued with ‘roots’. Right now, I am playing with shapes and connections. It is not as visible yet but there is a lot more in my head.

Screen Shot 2013-02-11 at 6.05.28 PMInspiration: I found this piece in the scrap metal box of the School of Jewellery during my student days. I don’t know who made it or why it got thrown out but I found it very intriguing and I took it with me. It has stayed with me for more than five years now. During that time, it has changed quite a lot. Initially, it only had a little bit of patina on it. Now, the patina is much more defined. I love to see how nature takes possession of the piece.

More to come soon. Let me know your thoughts! Thank you.

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Inspiration – Walter Benjamin: ‘The storyteller’

I read Walter Benjamin‘s essay ‘Der Erzähler’ quite a while back. A couple of days ago, I stumbled over it again. Walter sums my thoughts up beautifully and he gives them a sense of direction. (Scroll down for the English version.)

Auszüge aus Walter Benjamin’s ‘Der Erzähler’

‘“Wenn einer eine Reise tut, so kann er viel erzählen”, sagt der Volksmund und denkt sich den Erzähler als einen der von weither kommt. Aber nicht weniger gern hört man dem zu, der, redlich sich nährend, im Lande geblieben ist und dessen Geschichten und Überlieferungen kennt. … Die reale Erstreckung des Reiches der Erzählungen in seiner ganzen historischen Breite ist nicht ohne die innigste Durchdringung dieser beiden archaischen Typen denkbar. … Der sesshafte Meister und die wandernden Burschen werkten in den gleichen Stuben zusammen; und jeder Meister war Wanderbursche gewesen, bevor er in seiner Heimat oder in der Fremde sich niederliess. … In ihm verband sich die Kunde von der Ferne, wie der Vielgewanderte sie nach Hause bringt, mit der Kunde aus der Vergangenheit, wie sie am liebsten dem Sesshaften sich anvertraut.

(Die Erzählung) führt offen oder versteckt ihren Nutzen mit sich. Dieser Nutzen mag einmal in einer Moral bestehen, ein andermal in einer praktischen Anweisung, ein drittes in einem Sprichwort oder in einer Lebensregel. … Rat in den Stoff gelebten Lebens eingewebt ist Weisheit.

Auf der anderen Seite erkennen wir, wie mit der durchgebildeten Herrschaft des Bürgertums, zu deren wichtigsten Instrumenten im Hochkapitalismus die Presse gehört, eine Form der Mitteilung auf den Plan tritt, die, soweit ihr Ursprung auch zurückliegen mag, die epische Form nie vordem auf bestimmende Weise beeinflusst hat. Nun aber tut sie das. … Diese neue Form der Mitteilung ist die Information. … Jeder Morgen unterrichtet uns über Neuigkeiten des Erdkreises. Und doch sind wir an merkwürdigen Geschichten arm. Das kommt, weil uns keine Begebenheit mehr erreicht, die nicht mit Erklärungen schon durschsetzt wäre. Mit anderen Worten: beinah nichts mehr, was geschieht, kommt der Erzählung, beihnah alles der Information zugute. Es ist nämlich schon die halbe Kunst des Erzählens, eine Geschichte, indem man sie wiedergibt, von Erklärungen freizuhalten. … Das Ausserordentliche, das Wunderbare wird mit der grössten Genauigkeit erzählt, der psychologische Zusammenhang des Geschehens aber wird dem Leser nicht aufgedrängt. Es ist ihm freigestellt sich die Sache zurechtzulegen, wie er sie versteht, und damit erreicht das Erzählte eine Schwingungsbreite, die der Information fehlt. … Die Information hat ihren Lohn mit dem Augenblick dahin, indem sie neu war. Sie lebt nur in diesem Augenblick, sie muss sich gänzlich an ihn ausliefern und ohne Zeit zu verlieren sich ihm erklären.   Anders die Erzählung; sie verausgabt sich nicht. Sie bewahrt ihre Kraft gesammelt und ist noch nach langer Zeit der Entfaltung fähig.  …

Geschichten erzählen ist ja immer die Kunst, sie weiter zu erzählen, und die verliert sich, wenn die Geschichten nicht mehr behalten werden. Sie verliert sich, weil nicht mehr gewebt und gesponnen wird, während man ihnen lauscht.

“Der heutige Mensch arbeitet nicht mehr an dem, was sich nicht abkürzen lässt.” (Paul Valéry)  … Wir haben die short story erlebt, die sich der mündlichen Tradition entzogen hat und jenes langsame Einander-Überdecken dünner transparenter Schichten nicht mehr erlaubt, das das treffendste Bild von der Art und Weise abgibt, in der die vollkommene Erzählung aus der Schichtung vielfacher Nacherzählungen an den Tag tritt.

Extracts from Walter Benjamin’s ‘The storyteller’ 

“When someone goes on a trip, he has something to tell about,” goes the German saying, and people imagine the storyteller as someone who has come from afar. But they enjoy no less listening to the man who has stayed at home, making an honest living, and who knows the local tales and traditions. … The actual extension of the realm of storytelling in its full historical breadth is inconceivable without the most intimate interpenetration of these two archaic types. …The resident master craftsman and the traveling journeymen worked together in the same rooms; and every master had been a traveling journeyman before he settled down in his home town or somewhere else. … In it was combined the lore of faraway places, such as a much-traveled man brings home, with the lore of the past, as it best reveals itself to natives of a place.

(The story) contains, openly or covertly, something useful. The usefulness may, in one case, consist in a moral; in another, in some practical advice; in a third, in a proverb or maxim. … Counsel woven into the fabric of real life is wisdom.

On the other hand, we recognize that with the full control of the middle class, which has the press as one of its most important instruments in fully developed capitalism, there emerges a form of communication which, no matter how far back its origin may lie, never before influenced the epic form in a decisive way. But now it does exert such an influence. … This new form of communication is information. … Every morning brings us the news of the globe, and yet we are poor in noteworthy stories. This is because no event any longer comes to us without already being shot through with explanation. In other words, by now almost nothing that happens benefits storytelling; almost everything benefits information. Actually, it is half the art of storytelling to keep a story free from explanation as one reproduces it. … The most extraordinary things, marvelous things, are related with the greatest accuracy, but the psychological connection of the events is not forced on the reader. It is left up to him to interpret things the way he understands them, and thus the narrative achieves an amplitude that information lacks. … The value of information does not survive the moment in which it was new. It lives only at that moment; it has to surrender to it completely and explain itself to it without losing any time. A story is different. It does not expend itself. It preserves 􏰃 and concentrates its strength and is capable of releasing it even after a long time.

For storytelling is always the art of repeating stories, and this art is lost when the stories are no longer retained. It is lost because there is no more weaving and spinning to go on while they are being listened to.

“Modern man no longer works at what cannot be abbreviated.” (Paul Valéry) … We have witnessed the evolution of the “short story,” which has removed itself from oral tradition and no longer permits that slow piling one on top of the other of thin, transparent layers which constitutes the most appropriate picture of the way in which the perfect narrative is revealed through the layers of a variety of retellings.

Click here to read the full essay in German.
Click here to read the full essay in English.

Thank you for reading.

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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…

Screen Shot 2013-01-31 at 11.11.37 AM

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.

Screen Shot 2013-01-31 at 11.12.08 AM

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.

Screen Shot 2013-01-31 at 11.15.39 AM

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

Screen Shot 2013-01-31 at 11.15.10 AM

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.

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#1 Work in Progress: Cicada, Tiles & Lamp

As mentioned before, I am intrigued by the idea of the roots and I decided to make quite a few from silver wire and see what I can do with them. I enameled some and started to combine them with some of my found objects from Shanghai.

Again, I am interested in the contrast that is being created by the combination of different materials, their characteristics and their meanings. I am also intrigued by juxtaposing found objects and components that I can create myself.

It seems like my mind is still preoccupied with Shanghai. So many things still need to be said, realized and dealt with. But now, with me having my roots in Utica, I can see that the new American influences also find a way to enter and live in my new work. There is a change. It makes me feel relieved and really happy.

I am taking myself on a trip through the past, present and future.

ImageWork in progress Piece #1: Porcelain cicada from Shanghai, enameled silver wire roots, lasercut stainless steel hydrangea, CZ. Brooch/Neckpiece.

ImageWork in progress Piece #2: Tiles from a demolition site in Shanghai (residential house in the Former French Concession), silver wire roots (possibly to be enameled in shades of pink), possibly some sort of lasercut stainless steel plant, CZ. Brooch/Neckpiece.

ImageWork in progress Piece #3: Plastic ornament from Chen Hang Feng‘s studio in Shanghai with years of the city’s dirt on it, silver wire roots (possibly to be enameled in shades of grey), CZ, glass, lasercut stainless steel. Brooch/Neckpiece. 

All pieces are obviously still in progress. Changes might happen. Let me know what you think, please. I appreciate all sorts of input. Thank you.

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.

Adirondack Roots

When my parents came for a visit a couple of weeks ago, Barry and I took them to the Adirondacks for a weekend. One of our adventures, while we were up there was climbing ‘Bald Mountain’.

To get to the top, it is a nice little hike that takes around 45min. On the way, one is exposed to a great landscape, a fascinating mix of trees and enormous ‘bald’ rocks.It is a great contrast that shows the roughness but also the survival instinct of nature. One observation that I found the most interesting was the way the trees grow their roots in this environment. Of course, I have seen roots before but not as often as exposed as on my way up to the Bald Mountain summit.

While climbing, I felt a weird connection with those roots. I could not really put it into words back then but it led me to take a lot of pictures. I like to document things that interest me, even if I am not sure if I will ever use this inspiration for my work. In this case, I think it will find a way into my artistic practice in some sort, as the roots seem to have found a hold not only on Bald Mountain but in my brain! Since the day of the climb, my mind keeps going back to those roots and I come to think that the connection might be in me finally trying to figure out where my roots were, are and where I want them to be. For the first time, after all my travels, it feels like I have arrived. This does not mean that this is where it ends, I see it more as the beginning of something new that has its roots here.

Roots at Bald Mountain

Funny coincidence… This morning, I stumbled over the work of artist Henrique Oliveira, thanks to the contributions of the friendly duo of the Hovercraftdoggy blog. Seeing Henrique’s work made me smile. There couldn’t be anything better to express the way I feel at the moment and what I am looking for to express in my own work.

Henrique Oliveira, ‘Tapumes – Casa dos Leoes’, 2009

Henrique OliveiraHenrique Oliveira, ‘Alley Abscess’, 2011

Henrique Oliveira, ‘Dead Fire’, 2012

Henrique Oliveira, ‘Boxoplasmose’, 2011

I am not sure, if I will use actual wood in my future pieces or experiment with more contrasting materials. Right now, I opt for the latter, as I am thinking about experimenting with Faience and 3D printing. I had the idea to try and work with Faience when I went to see the ‘Shodow of the Sphinx’ exhibition at the Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute in Utica, NY. I then found this great blog about making and working in Faience and I am very much looking forward to trying. I love the origin of the material, being the first high technology ceramic, one of the first man-made materials mankind worked with. Working in this material really means going back to the roots! Right now, I am still trying to figure out where to get all the materials from that are needed to make the paste. If anyone has some suggestions, I would very much appreciate to hear them.

I can’t wait to start experimenting and finally work with my new pink kiln. I will keep you posted about future developments.

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.

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.