#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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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!

Thank you for reading.

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Happy Earth Day 2013!

Today was a day I have impatiently been waiting for… Today is Earth Day and with this came a fabulous excursion this morning to the Empire Recycling Corporation in Utica NY.

Each year, Empire Recycling opens its doors for the artists from Sculpture Space to have them pick whichever scrap metal they like ($100 max) in order to make an art piece for Sculpture Space‘s CHAIRity Auction in September.

This year was the first time I was part of this event and since I am a HUGE fan of places like recycling yards, I was literally in paradise!

When walking through endless rows of boxes, containers and mountains of all sorts of different metals, I decided to focus on copper scrap. For quite a while, I have been thinking about leaving my jewellery comfort zone and make bigger, more sculptural pieces, possibly wall panels and wall installations. I would like to experiment with different layers, partly enameled (hence the copper), some of my personal drawings, mounting techniques, three-dimensionality, organic/human characteristics and industrial influences, questioning the ‘real & fake’ and ‘action & consequence’ in the human being.

Here are a few pictures I took during my hunt through Empire Recycling. I can’t wait to start the new project!

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Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 6.43.11 PMThese are the pieces I picked. I mainly collected copper parts with a few brass and stainless steel bits from now and then. Aren’t they beautiful?!

Thank you for reading.

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Schmuck #1: Guck ins Schmuckloch, Schmuck im Guckloch

Last week, from March 5th to March 10th, I was in Munich for the ‘Schmuck‘ show curated by the Handwerkskammer Muenchen. Schmuck is the empress of exhibitions, when it comes to contemporary jewellery exhibitions in Europe and each year, there are thousands of jewellery enthusiasts storming the city to see the show.

Because of the huge rush of people, there are a lot of little independent satellite exhibitions on show throughout the city that are organized by all sorts of jewellery artist, students and galleries. In my student days, it was still possible to go and see all of those little shows. However, during the last few years, the list of exhibitions has become so long that it is physically impossible to go and see them all in six days. This time, when I went through the flyer that comes with each Schmuck madness, I had to sit down and study it hard to make a decision on where to go. I will write about a few selected exhibitions in the following posts.

Now, I would like to start with showing you the set-up and look of the show ‘Guck ins Schmuckloch, Schmuck im Guckloch’ that also featured my three most recent pieces. You already know ‘Cicada’. It’s time you get to see ‘Starlight’ and ‘Green Roots’.

Here are pictures of the show:

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Screen Shot 2013-03-11 at 3.46.32 PMSina Emrich during the set-up of the show. It was Katharina Moch‘s and Elena Ruebel‘s idea to paint the window and present the pieces through holes that were scratched free from the paint. This type of set-up made it possible for all of us to walk through the city and have a look at other exhibitions ourselves without having to be present in the gallery. 

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Elena Ruebel painting the window.

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Screen Shot 2013-03-11 at 3.52.46 PM     Elena Ruebel‘s newest work. Her porcelain pieces (she calls them her sausages!) and coloured rope.

 

Screen Shot 2013-03-11 at 3.49.40 PMKatharina Moch‘s organic plastic jewellery.

Screen Shot 2013-03-11 at 3.49.28 PMTabea Reulecke‘s wood creations.

Screen Shot 2013-03-11 at 3.49.13 PM              Sina Emrich‘s movable growth-ring jewellery.

Screen Shot 2013-03-11 at 3.47.25 PM ‘Cicada’, the first of my newest tree pieces made from enamel, silver, stainless steel cubic zirconia and a porcelain cicada I found in Shanghai.

The exhibition was on show from March 5th to March 10th at Galerie im Raum in Munich.

…and here are the other two of my newest pieces, ‘Starlight’ and ‘Green Roots’.

guck ins schmuckloch, schmuck im guckloch

starlight 72‘Starlight’, brooch/neckpiece, silver, enamel, stainless steel, cubic zirconia, lamp piece from a very dusty artist studio in shanghai, glass.

green roots with chain 72

green roots 72 ‘Green Roots’, brooch/neckpiece, silver, enamel, stainless steel, cubic zirconia, tiles from a demolition site in shanghai, glass.

I hope you like the show and my new work. Let me know what you think!

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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!

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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.

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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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#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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#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.
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‘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.
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‘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.