In my studio practice I have been busy pulling some of my ideas together in a more realised form. Firstly, in researching enclosing much stronger magnets within the pieces themselves, and secondly in the development of the geometric forms. Across both lines of enquiries, I have been working in steel, copper and paper. I have also been experimenting with enamel (vitreous and paint), image transfer and the beginnings of opposing textures.
My magnetic research, went right up to using neodymium magnets capable of 3.5kg pull. These were much bigger, 25mm in diameter, so these were inlaid inside a copper shell, by doming one side. The copper could then be enamelled and the two sides riveted together – I needed to use a cold connection, as heating the magnet would be detrimental to its functionality. These along with some smaller steel examples have been evolving into bases for the jewellery to sit.
I had started to generate the geometric forms as the actual pieces of jewellery and a carrier for the archival materials. I treated the steel and paper examples with very similar methods – By layering dark and light colours, then breaking through and sanding either the enamel paint or vitreous enamel back between these layers. The paper examples also had magnets fitted to the interior of each facet. This allowed numerous combinations to be played around with.
A large part of my aim at this stage was to really understand weight – This is quite simple, in this current form, with metal and enamel, these pieces are too heavy to be connected to the body by magnetic pull alone. There are also glaring issues with the enamel being chipped and broken. Although I have started to infuse a little flocking and thoughts of materials, this aspect or balance of materials clearly needs much development.
In order for the archival material to take centre stage, I had reduced the colour palette down. In doing so, I realised how much I missed the bright pure pockets of colour that had populated my work previously. I liked the clash of vintage against contemporary. For the imagery to work, I would really need to enrich my primary sources whilst also staying honest to my aesthetical taste.
I am planning on investigating further the development of my ‘base’ pieces as if they are boxes or a home for the jewellery, with the emphasis of the jewellery pieces nestling into the base. I have learnt so much in this most recent stage of studio work. Not just technically – enamelling curved surfaces and 3D objects, using enamel solder, soldering and forming steel, for example. But mostly in the failures and the contingency I need to build in for this in the future.