Dragonfly Foxglove Tree

It has been a while again since my last post and quite a few things have happened since then in the studio. Some great things and some not so desirable ones but all in all it’s moving forward.

Last week, I finished my first ProonK commission for a great customer from Utica, NY. She wanted to commission a ‘jewellery-tree’ but with a spin. Since she loves the Adirondacks, we decided to work with a flower that can be found in the woods of the area and we came up with the foxglove. Personally, I have never been a huge fan of those bulky, weird looking ‘jewellery trees’ that one can find all over the place. I wanted to make a piece that is a small sculpture in the first place but that can have a function, if desired. So, regarding functionality, we decided to add a dragonfly to the design which wings can act as holding devices for earrings.

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The stem and the leaves of the foxglove are made from only two stainless steel parts that were connected using cold connections. After the polishing process, the two pieces were positioned and its elements bent into place.

The foxglove plant holds 29 flower heads that were hand-crocheted from silver wire and enameled in three different shades of purple and pink.

The body of the dragonfly holds a white cubic zirconia.

The whole piece is mounted on a solid block of ash-wood that I brought from the woods of my hometown in Germany.

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Here are some Work-In-Process-Pics:

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Screen Shot 2013-04-05 at 5.35.04 PMFoxglove flower heads in detail, made from crocheted silver wire and dark purple enamel.

Screen Shot 2013-07-03 at 10.53.27 AMThe foxglove stem without the flower heads.

I hope you like the piece as much as I do! It was a great success with my Utica customer. She loved it!

Please write me a line with your thoughts! I really appreciate your comments!

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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.

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#2 Work in Progress: Enameling Accident – Disaster or Blessing?

In my last post, I showed you a pic of an enameled root next to a porcelain cicada and some other pictures with roots that still had to be enameled.

Today, I had another enameling day. Unfortunately, things went slower than planned and not the way they were supposed to. The roots really ‘eat’ a lot of enamel and it takes a long time to apply it but I managed to enamel all of them. When they came out of the kiln though, I noticed that the silver wire was more oxidized than the one of the roots that I had enameled before. The wire from the first roots is not the same as the one I used for the new ones. I was and I still am bummed about this… silly me, it looks like I ordered the wrong type of wire with my last big silver order.

Anyway… since they looked different from what I had expected, I thought it would not hurt to experiment a little and I managed to make them look really old. The complete opposite of the first ones.

Now, my head is still spinning from a super long day in the studio and I think I don’t have the necessary distance yet to make a proper decision but what do you think? Does it work?

ImageThe roots in this pic look the ‘oldest’. The light grey enamel even partly changed color and it looks yellowed. As you can see, the silver wire is not as shiny as the one in the ‘Cicada’ piece. Since the lamp part looks old and dusty too, I kind of think that the two might work together but still, I am not sure.

ImageThis piece is definitely off. I will try to re-enamel it tomorrow and see what will happen then. Not sure about the color or the shine.

ImageAlso this one. Not sure about it at all.

I ordered new wire and new enamel… let’s hope the post-man will ring my doorbell soon.

Please let me know what you think. Any opinion will be highly appreciated.

Thank you for reading.
Please have a look at my websites www.lisa-juen.com and www.proonk.com.
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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.
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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.