Part of my primary research is firmly rooted in scavenging through antiques shops, auctions and reclamation yards. There is so much you can learn from simply handling objects and antiques, its a window into the materiality of the past, and has aided in my own understanding of quality, colour, technique, mechanisms but also the tactility of a resistant material that has weathered and softened commensurate with years of handling.
I have always had a slight obsession with antique jewellery and objects of vertu that are cased. The anticipation of opening the box for the first time is wonderful and immediately launches so many contained and unanswered questions. The box itself adds to the narrative, to me this portrayed a feeling of quality, but most importantly a home and signifier of an heirloom worth keeping and to be passed on. In planning the presentation of my final collection, on my antiques hunts I started to collect old boxes and started to play around with possible compositions.
My research also led me to the unorthodox novel, Important Artifacts and Personal Property From the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion and Jewelry by Leanne Shapton. The book tells the story of a failed love affair through their personal effects in the form of an auction catalogue. It raised questions for me on how I can play with material culture and sentimentality in my own project and sparked ideas on the photography and collation of my final collection in a pseudo auction catalogue. And to add to the story of the provenance could I include photographs of the jewellery being worn. Decisions will also need to be made on how I produce my own catalogue.
Maria Militski’s work in particular comes to mind amongst this iteration of my project. Not only in her use of vintage boxes but in exposing and building on the existing narrative found in everyday discarded material possessions. The ability for my audience to reflect their own narrative on my work is vital. The extract below sums up her work beautifully and is taken from the artists website.
My work brings together dissimilarities through collecting existing objects and using them to explore questions regarding the role of function and value. An important aspect of my work is hunting down appropriate, evocative objects, researching, classifying and responding to their particular or incidental qualities in order to reassess overlooked materials that surround us.
I look for appropriate items in flea markets, on the street or e Bay, and this determines my choice of inspiration, it redefines my sense of taste and triggers my curiosity for the mass produced, the rare and aged or the unusual and worthy of collecting.