#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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Making 18K Yellow Gold Studs with Aquamarines

Each year around the same times, in May and December to be exact, my Dad approaches me with a very special request: He is desperately looking for a Birthday and Christmas present for my Mum. Since he is the the ‘King-of-Shopping-Haters’ and I am the creative one in the family, it is obvious to him that I need to come up with an idea for the perfect gift à la ‘She’s your Mum… You know what she likes!’. Most of the time, he lets me know his budget and the colour spectrum he has in my mind and I am sent on my way!

Sometimes, this quest can be quite tricky. Sure, I know my Mum but she does not always fancy all of my designs. Trial and error… So, it is not always easy for me to come up with something I know she will like for sure.

This time though, despite his usual last-minute request, my Dad gave me two Baguette-shaped Aquamarines that he wanted to be turned into ear-studs. He envisioned a simple setting in 18K yellow gold. His instructions were pretty straight forward, so I did not want to interfere too much. Still, I was not keen on making a simple plain setting (I find that pretty boring) but I decided to go with a four-prong-setting instead.

Here are pictures of the making:

Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 4.41.38 PMFirst sketches and calculations to place the 18K gold order. With me being used to the metric system, it can be quite a challenge to get everything right in inches. I was a little nervous when placing the order but thanks to a really nice Rio Grande employee, everything went smoothly.

Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 4.39.08 PMFiling and Folding of the box-setting from a strip of gold.

Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 4.39.41 PM    Soldering the box-settings with my mouth-blowing-torch.

Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 4.39.58 PMThe soldered settings.

Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 4.40.17 PMCleaning, filing and sanding of the outsides.

Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 4.40.34 PMSoldering of the prongs and the strip that is meant to hold the stud. 

Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 4.40.55 PMOn the left: After soldering. On the right: After pickling. Before the prongs were soldered, I filed a bearing in the boxes that is meant to hold the stones comfortably.

Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 4.41.23 PMOn the left: Unpolished. On the right: Polished but not set yet.

Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 4.51.58 PMThe finished earrings.

Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 5.38.23 PMThe finished earrings.

Happy Birthday, Mama!

I hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I enjoyed making the earrings!

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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#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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#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.
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.