Schmuck #3: Fallmamal – Umsturz erwuenscht. Nine Jewelers at the Bowling Alley.

Another exhibition I visited during Schmuck 2013 in Munich was the show ‘Fallmamal – Umsturz erwuenscht. Nine Jewelers at the Bowling Alley’.

The show was curated by Anja Eichler and Gabi Veit and showed pieces that turned around the idea of subversion and falling over. The nine artist taking part were: Sungho Cho, Anja Eichler, Beate Eismann, Julia Heineccius, Young-Hee Hong, Wolfgang Loeffler, Barbara Schrobenhauser, Gabi Veit & Manuel Vilhena.

As the name suggests, the exhibition was set-up in the bowling alley of the restaurant Theresa in Munich. It was the first time I had seen this kind of set-up in such a fun-place. When walking down the bowling aisle, it made me wonder how on earth I had not seen a bowling alley as a place for this kind of exhibition before! It’s the perfect venue to show jewellery. The white walls are perfect to show the jewels and it even comes with its own little green catwalk!

Unfortunately, I arrived very late at the show. Since the restaurant wanted to rent out the bowling alley for guests after 5pm, I had to rush down the ‘catwalk’ to take a little glimpse at the works.

Anja Eichler was there and she showed me her new pieces and explained the concept of the show.

Previously, Anja’s work was marked by the use of industrial rubber gloves. Now, living in Shanghai, she moved on to quail eggs as her main medium. Seeing the egg shells made me want to go back to Shanghai myself and pay a visit to one of my favourite restaurants that sell the best tea-quail-eggs in town! But even with a hungry tummy, it was very interesting to see how Anja concentrated on the patterns and colours of the eggshells and how she found ways to underline those qualities. I am always amazed when I stumble over materials in jewellery that are usually disregarded and rarely looked at twice but that are then transformed into something that shows their natural beauty with a force that feels like a slap in my face!

Screen Shot 2013-03-16 at 10.30.37 AMAnja Eichler‘s quail egg jewellery.

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I think this necklace was made by Gabi Veit from a previous bowling pin that was gnawed at by a wood worm.

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…

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for reading.

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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.

#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.

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.

Plasma Cutting, Sandblasting & Powder Coating

Recently, I spent quite a bit of time researching tools and metal-working techniques again and I thought it would be nice to share the information and maybe get some professional tips from you guys.

Plasma Cutting: The reason why I had a look into plasma cutting was because of my frequent use of laser cut elements in my art & design work. Ideally, I would LOVE to have my own lasercutting machine but even the used ones are still super pricey. The second-hand machines I found that are capable of cutting 1mm stainless steel sheet started around $20k. This is a price I can’t afford at the moment… not sure if I ever will but I very much hope I might be able to purchase one further down the road.

As ‘Plan B’, I heard about the possibility to plasma cut pieces and I decided to have a look into that technique. I found a company, PlasmaCAM, that offers plasma cutting systems. The system is made from a cutting table that holds a hand-held plasma torch and plugs into your personal computer (needs to be Windows). It comes with a software that enables you to cut customized shapes. I watched the demo-video and it seems pretty easy to me to operate. The system does not come with a plasma torch, so this machine needs to be bought separately. I guess this is good on one side, given that you can choose yourself which machine to work with and how pricey it can be. On the other hand it is an additional cost. I called up the guys from PlasmaCAM to inquire about the price of the 4×4 table, which comes to $6980. I was further told that a plasma torch for my needs would approximately be around an extra $2000. The shipment of the table would approximately come to $190, so the final price is somewhere around $10k. For me, this is still a pretty steep price that I cannot afford right now but I am happy to know that there is something out there that I could use for big designs further down the road. For my jewelry, I think I will have to stick to lasercutting after all. The cutting line of the plasma cutter is too wide for my designs. I need to be able to get more into details. Also, I heard that the cut on the back can be pretty messy and needs a lot of cleaning. I wonder if this depends on the plasma torch one uses? Probably also speed and temperature?

PlasmaCAM cutting table

Sandblasting: Further I had a look at a sandblasting machine. I will need one for my enameling-work and I was once again surprised by Rio Grande. (My new pink kiln arrived by the way and it waits for me to start working with it once the studio is set up. Read more about the pink enameling kiln story on the Rio Grande ‘The Studio’ blog ‘A Kiln of a Different Color’ and my research on ‘Enameling Kilns’). For the studio in Shanghai, we bought a sandblasting cabinet from Italy that I believe was around 2000€, so I started having a look at DIY home-built options, since I did not want to afford that much. Luckily, it seems like I will not have to go that far and build it myself, since I found a cabinet, the ‘Small Benchtop Pencil-Style Bead Blaster’ on the Rio Grande website starting from $145. It is not massive but big enough for my use and they also offer a bigger version for $185. All you need in addition is an air-compressor, which comes to $150-200.

Rio Grande ‘Small Benchtop Pencil-Style Bead Blaster’

Powder Coating: Yesterday night, Barry and I went to visit the Meyda Lighting company and workshop in Utica NY, and I was amazed by the dimension of their production! This place is glass and metal-working paradise! They really build all their beautiful lamps from scratch. Even the metal parts are hand-made. I was very impressed.
During the tour, we passed the powder-coating facility, which intrigued me quite a lot. I love using color in my work and I had heard of the technique before but I did not know how to use it. I conducted some research on it this morning and to my surprise, it does not seem to be complicated at all. I think I will give it a go in the near future. Have a look at this DIY garage-made video to see how it works.
Further, I had a look at the Eastwood website, a company that specializes in automotive parts and powder coating. They offer powder coating kits from $99.99 for the ‘Original HotCoat Powder Coating Gun’ and $169.99 for the ‘Eastwood Dual Voltage HotCoat Powder Coating Gun’. They also offer pretty attractive starter kits. In addition to the gun and the powder, you need a compressor and either a toaster oven or normal cooking oven that reaches a temperature of 400F.

Eastwood ‘Dual Voltage Powder Gun Starter Kit’

The World’s Largest LED Free-Hanging Chandelier was designed, engineered and installed by Meyda Lighting for the historic Stanley Center for the Arts in Utica, New York.

I am still trying to get everything together for my studio and nothing is set in stone yet, so if you have suggestions or better information on the mentioned tools, please let me know. I would appreciate your opinions and experiences.

Thank you for reading.
Please have a look at my websites www.lisa-juen.com and www.proonk.com.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @LisaJuenProonK and like the FB ProonK page.

‘Nāmanja’ & ‘Solipsistic’

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

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

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

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

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

Front of the brooch.

Back of the brooch.

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

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

ProonK at DAFF

The time has come to report about ProonK at DAFF, the Design, Art & Fashion Fair in Shanghai that took place at Wharf 1846, Bund Promenade on Cinqo de Mayo last Saturday.

After a couple of VERY busy weeks in the studio, trying to get as much jewellery done as possible (23 Globalorettes, 23 pairs of earrings, 24 Solitaire Rings, 8 Clover Rings, 5 Cluster Rings, 24 ProonK Rings, 4 MeiHua Book Marks and 3 pairs of Solitaire Cufflinks), I was ready to embrace this event. Luckily with the help of two really great people, Rachel Marsden and Barry Sinnott who went far and beyond to help with packing, coordinating, planing, setting-up, chatting, attracting, looking great in their ProonK T-Shirts, feeding me, take-down, schlepping and of course partying… Thank you so much!

I was very nervous at first, since this was the first time I participated in such an event with ProonK but it was super exciting at the same time, not really knowing what to expect.

The Ice Cream Truck-team, the main organizers behind the event, kicked it off with a pre-party at Source, which was a great opportunity to meet other artists and designers participating in the fair. I met Frau Ana, a German fashion designer based in Shanghai for the first time, as well as the product designer Jonas Merian from Jonas Design and my friends Nini and Gregor from Idle Beats. I met the two because of a screen printing workshop in which I participated last Thursday to print my own ProonK T-Shirts. They looked absolutely fabulous and it was such a lot of fun to print them with Gregor, who is a taught Church-Painter (Kirchenmaler), a trade that I wasn’t even aware existed but sounds incredibly exciting! I will blog about the print-making evening in a separate post soon.

The party was big fun, partially because of the free beer and pizza, which were the reason why I had BIG trouble rolling out of bed in the morning at 8am. Somehow we made it to the Wharf around 11am and we managed to set everything up in time. I decided to go with a hanging theme, since it was easy to transport and install and did not look super heavy. I am not a big fan of displays that kill the excitement of entering right on the doorstep. The hanging idea was perfect, since I attached the jewellery to its packaging and it was very easy to wrap them up and send them on their way.

DAFF officially started at 2pm and was meant to run until 12pm. There were several artist and designers participating, as well as food and liquor stands. I had some great sausage from Amelia, the lady in Shanghai who is known for her jam. Recently, she started to sell home-made sausages too, which were a DELIGHT! I had to go back a second time to satisfy my meat-cravings!
Around 4pm, there was a fashion catwalk with Frau Ana and other participating fashion designers. Unfortunately, I could not see it, since a lot of visitors started to show up around that time and we were all super busy talking and introducing ProonK. I think the majority of people visiting really liked what we had to offer and it made me really happy to see that. There were a lot of surprised and astonished faces, especially because of the use of the LED lights in the jewellery.
At some point in the evening, I heard of a street art competition with several graffiti artists taking part but again, I could not make it there. Rachel went to see it though and she was kind enough to give me her pictures, so you can see them now too. I met one of the graffiti artists, Siu Tang, later on. Have a look at his blog here.

For some reason, the event was shut down by the police around 10pm. They just came in at some point and locked the main entrance gates. I am not sure why or what happened. It was a bit of a shame, since the fair was meant to last until midnight but I felt sort of relieved as well, because my feet were killing me from straight 12 hours standing. I did not even make it to the after-party at Strictly Designers United anymore. Instead, I fell asleep on the 15min cab journey home to wrap up the display!

Here are a few more pics of the event, showing you the vibe of the day in 30 degree sunshine and hundreds of visitors. I really enjoyed taking part and I hope there will be a repetition soon! I am very much looking forward to it… I hope you too!


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Tug of War & DAFF Beginnings

My friend Savinder Bual and I just came back from a rather refreshing lunch break. This feeling of being touched by a breath of fresh air does not only come from the beautiful sunshine kissing Shanghai today but also from its people. Walking the streets of the city showed that the winter melancholia has been put aside and was replaced by a big welcoming party for the summer. 🙂

The highlight of our little tour was a big group of people playing ‘tug-of-war’ next to Shanghai’s smallest Starbucks coffee shop (maybe even the world’s smallest Starbucks coffee shop?) down Nan Jing Lu.

I am not sure how this group came together. I guess it might have been employees from the big restaurants around having fun, but the energy of the people could be felt in the air and for the first time, in a very long time, it made me feel content and happy being in the city. It made me smile …and it still does… making it easier for me to get back to the studio now and keep working on more pieces for the upcoming DAFF fair in Shanghai on the 5th of May. If you are around, please come, have a look and support ProonK! There will be a lot of fancy jewellery to see, as well as freshly printed T-Shirts and for one very lucky person, there is a prize to win from our special ProonK prize-draw for the day.

The guy with the megaphone was awesome… cheering all the time and making sure that everything was ‘in order’. Have a look at the guys bending over on the right. Each side had about 15 people pulling, it was really intense!

Is this the world’s smallest Starbucks? It makes me wonder every time I pass. The ‘shop’ itself is fitted inside a huge pillar holding the roof of the entrance area of the Portman Ritz Carlton hotel. One side of the pillar holds the register desk, the other one is the one where the coffee is brewed. There is a lovely outside seating area to sit and enjoy.

ProonK pieces in progress…

DAFF on the 5th of May at the Bund in Shanghai. Come along! …more info soon.

‘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!

Wave Structures & LoudLives

The birthday of a very close friend of mine is coming up and for that reason I decided to make her something special.

The current series of work that has been on and off going in my mind for the last year plus, is called ‘LoudLives‘. It all started off with a trigger project that spun around the exhibition outlines of the JAMES show, which was held in Munich at the same time as the Schmuck fair for four years until 2011. For the show ‘The JAMES Days‘, each artist created work based on daily life pictures that were sent to each other.

After I had made the pieces for JAMES, the essence of the concept stuck with me. I was intrigued by using imagery instead of my comfort-zone starting-point: words & headlines. Over the last couple of months, it became more and more clear to me that the real thing that intrigues me in the topic is its closeness to people. So far, most of my work has been based on facts, things that I see in my environment and I make my comments on them/digest them in my work. But now, it seems like I am looking for something that goes a little deeper, underneath the skin. It can be more personal but doesn’t have to be. It can be seen from my point of view but can be seen entirely different. I am intrigued to find which kind of response I will get on a piece, knowing my personal feelings about something/someone and other people being able to recognise their own experiences in it.

Anyway, I decided to get into this direction by making a small piece about my friend. There are several characteristics about her that I would like to show in the piece. She is a very deep character, she thinks a lot, is a little insecure but incredibly strong at the same time. She constantly keeps challenging herself, which is admirable but can sometimes get to a point close to self-destruction. Strength and vulnerability walk together on a very thin line.

Depth, pain, pride and blue are the first words that pop into my head when I think of her.

The main element of the piece will be inspired by the ocean, waves in particular. I started to make some research on waves and stumbled over this really beautiful website by Hawaii based photographer Clark Little. The pictures are amazing! It makes my wish to go and travel to Hawaii even bigger! Shanghai, why can’t you have waves and beaches??? Look at the structures of the waves! Aren’t they beautiful?

A year ago, shortly after the ‘The JAMES Days‘ exhibition, I made the first piece that is going in the direction of the ‘LoudLives’: ‘Flower Lady’

It is based on an old woman who sells flowers on the streets of Shanghai. She has been lurking in the corners of my mind for quite a while now and still is. She really triggered some sort of emotional quest that I am still trying to discover and find answers for.

As mentioned before, I want the ‘LoudLives‘ series to be about people. People who are close to me but also people seen from a distance. How do we interpret people and their behaviour? How and on which level do and can they touch us? How do we touch each other and how can it be expressed? How close do we have to be to each other and which differences does distance in closeness show us? Being in China also means embracing cultural differences, a topic that becomes more and more important with the world rapidly developing into a huge inter-cultural melting pot. It would be very interesting for me to see how people will behave and treat each other in 100, 200 years time, when cultures are even more mixed up.

I think it took me so long to really embrace this topic because I thought it might be a little boring to ‘talk’ about people from only my point of view, since I know that the impressions and experiences of the viewer will always differ from mine and they will never see things the way I do. Also, a lot of artists have worked with that starting point already. But then isn’t there a deep fascination in this concept as well, thinking about the realm of possibilities that one little thought can trigger in different people, although it started off on a very personal emotion?

Picasso kept painting the same women all over again… and the paintings still fulfill me with awe whenever I see them. Working with people might be an old concept but it is still endlessly full of discoveries. Let’s see how far it will take me!

 

 

 

 

 

‘XinCheJian’ Hacker-Space Shanghai

Yesterday night I was invited to visit the studio of XinCheJian, the first real Hacker-Space/Maker-Space in Shanghai, China. On Wednesdays, they usually host several speakers to come and talk to the community about their projects. Min Lin, the Co-Founder of the space got in touch with me to inquire if I would be happy to give a talk about ProonK at some point too, since she thought that the electronic components being ‘wrapped-up’ in an art & design concept would be a great topic to present. So, I went there with my boyfriend last night to check out the space and see the format of their presentation-nights.

Usually, they try to invite two to three speakers to come and talk but last night, there was only one. A very nice American young man, who was very handy on the guitar, introduced us to the workings and wonders of Apple’s Garage Band. It was an interesting little presentation about the making of music, based on traditional means being introduced to the world of computers. Pretty impressive program actually!

After the presentation, Min Lin gave us a tour around the space, which was seriously impressive! Before I went there, I had no idea about hacker-spaces and how their concepts worked but I felt like having entered paradise! I have to admit that I am a little bit of a fiddling and making geek myself, although my making knowledge in the electronics area is still pretty limited. I learned that XinCheJian also offers workshops for the public to attend on the weekends. I am SO going to test the waters in the near future!

The studio space.

Min Lin also showed us some of the projects some members work/worked on, such as…

…little robots, which are built for a race that takes place every four weeks in the studio…

…a little robot that is connected to a web-cam, showing real-life scenes on the web…

…a moody tree, which frequently tells you to hug and love it more when it starts to feel neglected…

…an arcade machine that is built from a TV screen located in the bottom of the construction and a mirror that reflects the image of the TV screen onto the viewing area…

…a high-tech mouse-trap ‘The Ratmotel’ , which is equipped with a sensor to lock the door once the mouse is in…

…this one made me laugh quite a bit, the ‘Useless Machine’ that once you pushed the switch has a mechanical finger coming up to push it back in the starting position and the game starts all over again…

…a modified e-scooter that has a holder for a smart-phone in the front, which is connected to the machine to have it report to the driver about it’s well-being…

…and finally, for me the highlight of the night, a DIY 3D printer! How awesome is that? For a jeweller this is one of the machines that make me enter heaven! How great would it be to play with a machine like this in my studio and see what kind of things I can create for my artistic practice! Tons of new possibilities opening up in a flash! 😀

Min Lin got me even more amazed when she told me about a HK based company that offers DIY 3D printer kits for about $300+$50 international shipment!! …and there we have another addition to my workshop-wishlist!

The company is called Makibox and next to their awesome 3D printer, the MakiBox A6, they also sell other little really useful gadgets. Check out their website or follow them on Twitter @makible for more info.

When reading through the MakiBox A6 product description, I stumbled over the following:

‘We are just getting started with both the A6 and other devices that will help people build things they need. The next features we will build for the A6 are multi-color printing and plastic recycling, laser cutting and marking, and PCB routing. These new addons for the A6 will turn it into a desktop manufacturing system, not just a 3D printer.’

SERIOUSLY???? When is this going to happen?? I SO CAN’T WAIT!!!!

Another tip Min Lin gave me was to check out the website of ShapeWays, a USA based 3D-printing company, that made my day with the selection of materials they have on offer. Ceramics and Alumide!!! We’ll be in touch soon! 🙂

I guess it is pretty obvious that I went to bed last night with a HUGE smile on my face, dreaming of all the future design-possibilities ahead of me!

If you would like to join my talk at XinCheJian, please come around, possibly on the 18th of April (yet to be confirmed) at 7pm. I guess the studio might have moved to the new location by then, down Wulumuqi Lu, Chang Le Lu. I am pretty excited to see the new space and I can’t wait to attend the workshop with Mitch Altman soon! See you there!

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