One Step Forward Two Steps Back…

After the interim exhibition, taking stock of my body of work and hurtling towards my next deadline, it sometimes feels as though as soon as I take a step forward, just as quickly I take two back.

I really want to push my work forward and I start by critiquing with my pieces from the work in show. Although there is still room for much improvement, I am happy that I am pushing my technical understanding of my enamel work – the preparation, application and finishing. This series of work also helped me understand what I wanted to do with the edge and back – and that is clean and refined. The magnetic backs, functionally work, the colours and shape are good, but aesthetically the balance of size doesn’t work and the overall look is a little crude. For jewellery that I am asking my audience to hold, handle and interact, it’s imperative that all aspects are considered. This is where I have started to consider an opposing texture to the enamel. In my development work, I had touched on using flocking and leather and it feels as though now I have a place for this to work in practice. The decals with the added step of curing them for a lot longer at a low temperature has increased the durability to an acceptable level, but can I still improve on this?

The components were now sturdy and durable, the shape here was motivated by the idea that by mounting two together, with a magnet embedded to each side that they would have dual connectivity. But of course, even with a sheet of 1mm aluminium used between the components the two magnets just pulled together. Unfortunately, with the components being so small it is not possible to fix magnets to each facet as the shape collapses, at this size of component and the strength of magnet required the magnets need to be loose. The pull and click of the magnets is a satisfying noise, but can I enhance this, perhaps make a feature of it? The double fold to each seam didn’t resolve the issue I have with the placement of imagery and I know something needs to change with this part of my use of images.

But how to I push this forward and consider how I pull my audience in to play and interact. There is a risk at the moment that my story and the potential power of my audience reflecting their own narrative may be lost. I need my audience to mix their reality with my reality. I considered playing with the idea of palimpsest imagery, I began layering my images and text, firstly on 2D and then applied to a 3D object. The results were quite wistful and I enjoyed this instinctive way of working, building the image up layer by layer. On the 3D cubes, it certainly adds a curious element, I found myself wanting to twist and turn them – which combination shall I wear today?

But how could this develop, I begin drawing up new ideas, pushing and developing the form. I really want to develop the idea of nestling spots for the components to sit, this maquette pictured below is in copper, but could I mix another metal with steel and also start to control where the components locate?

As well as trialing out layering my images and text, I also look at reducing my images and text right down to features and words. I am excited to move forward with my work, it feels as though my ideas are staring to fall into place.

Whilst my studio practice is moving on, I must not forget the all important curation, installation and display of my work. How can I guide and influence my audiences interaction and experience of my work. I turn to Exhibiting Craft and Design: Transgressing the White Cube Paradigm, 1930-Present, Alla Myzelev, for guidance. Specifically the essay by Roberta Bernabei, ‘Jewellery can be worn too‘.  It really reminded me that within contemporary jewellery anything goes, content, materials, themes – so why not extend this hand to the display and curation of my work? It’s going to be just as important to build my own context to effectively communicate my work and practice.

I  was particularly taken with the display of Esther Brinkmann’s work and the use of integral boxes becoming part of the display. And the drawings of Manfred Bischoff which are displayed alongside his jewellery.


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