A Fork in The Road

Moving forward into my second semester, we are asked to consider, in much more detail the trajectory of our work, envisaging its future potential. Undertaking this Masters as a mature student, this is a question, in terms of the impact on my future career which I am often asked by friends and family. Although this isn’t a complete change of industry for me, it is opening my eyes to possible new pathways.

Early on in my first module, I began collating my own research database. Whilst so much information was thrown my way during this initial module, it made sense for me to start categorising my research. Whether it’s a book, gallery, exhibition, etc., I’ve recorded my source references, whilst also making brief notes as to the relevance to my own practice, what I liked and why. What I found through this process of formalising my research was that I was spending quite a bit of time, just reading other jewellers and artists CV’s. Aiding in my own contextualisation, I really want to understand and get to grips with how and why they have got from ‘A‘ to ‘B‘ in their art and career.

OMI Jewels

Art will continue to be subjectively viewed, it’s easy in this day and age to have a glossy website and an abundant online presence. Is it possible to be objectively informed as to potential innovation, public engagement and industry impact or contribution? Is their message being heard and understood? Although never black or white, this also doesn’t help in answering, are these artists making a living or if they are, how are they making a living? I think this is why, I enjoy Vittoria Street Galleries, Talking Practice seminars – it’s a real opportunity to fill some of these banks, dig a little below the surface. And probably explains why I like Roberta Bernabei’s, Contemporary Jewellers: Interviews with European Artists, in giving a bit more of an insight behind the scenes. On this train of thought, next on my reading list is Mark Fenn’s, Narrative Jewelry, Tales From the Toolbox.

I find myself also questioning, if my own work will ever be good enough? Or how do I move towards developing the aspired quality and sophistication.  As part of this research I visited The Gallery at De Montford University, Leicester, and was lucky enough to have a chat with their Art Collections Officer. The current exhibition, An Act of Participation by Walker & Bromwich features two projects, The Art Lending Library, 2012, and The Dragon of Profit and Private Ownership, 2017. Zoe Walker and Neil Bromwich are artists based in Glasgow, through sculpture and performance their work circles utopian socialism. Both projects seen in this exhibition engage in audience participation whilst exploring the idea of public and private ownership.

After moving past the huge inflatable dragon, my interest was drawn towards The Art Lending Library. Made in association with Market Gallery, and functions as a mobile exhibition and features a broad range of established and emerging artists across a variety of mediums. It was such an exciting proposition to join the library, receive a membership card and borrow some art! The clincher for me is that your loan would be delivered and installed in your home. I really like the idea of this engagement, and opening the conversation to an audience within my own home. Part of my next step has to be about testing my work out, putting it out in the world and engaging with an audience.  But, what about also developing my skills as the audience, the critic?

On one hand I want to explore, play and let my work completely unfold naturally, finding its own place in the world. And then on the other hand, is there an argument to partly engineer down a particular path? In reality, I am sure it’s a balance of both – I firmly believe, if I work hard, stay honest, be open and aware of opportunities, in turn this will support in framing my direction – One feeds the other, and I find myself back to yet another iterative cycle!


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