I had a brilliant time helping Carina Chitsaz Shoshtary and Annamaria Leiste set up their exhibition ‘Microphilia’, which was part of Munich Jewellery Week. It was a fantastic opportunity to learn from these two talented ladies. The space they had for the exhibition was fairly small but their idea to fill it with white cardboard boxes made such good use of what space they had, creating an interesting backdrop for the work on display. The jewellery was hung and placed in nooks and crevices all over the installation, making it like a treasure hunt of beautiful objects. The placement of the work was much harder then I had anticipated, it’s really important for everything to be harmonious with one another, it was great practice for me to have some input into the display in this exhibition and also to learn from their ideas. They also had the brilliant idea to make display cabinets out of the card board boxes, which they were selling work from (all of which I wanted to buy!) Such a simple but clever idea, it really worked well with the rest of the exhibition, providing some warm light against the cold of the white. I had great fun helping with all the construction, and watching the whole thing come together.
I went to the opening of an exhibition of fourteen different artists at an amazing venue called Villa Stück a couple of nights ago. The exhibition was called GlAmour: Love of Jewellery and it included the work of two jewellery designers who I really love, Peter Chang and Karl Fritsch. Peter Chang makes surreal, fluorescent plastic jewellery which look like some kind of creature from a sci-fi film. Karl Fritsch makes unconventionally beautiful rings using gold, aluminium, diamonds and cubic zirconia amongst other materials , which challenge the idea of precious jewellery.
I had the opportunity to visit the studio of Attai Chen and Barbara Schrobenhauser the other day, they also share with two other artists who I did not get to meet unfortunately. They were both really busy getting everything organised to show next week at Schmuck so it was great to have a look around and get an insight into how they work. All of the jewellery artists here use such interesting and creative materials, it has really inspired me to be less restrictive when I’m working.
I am currently doing a work placement with the super lovely and talented jewellery artist Carina Chitsaz-Shoshtary. Carina has an exhibition starting next week as part of Schmuck week in Munich and I am helping out with the setting up of her show. The experience has been really great so far, I have had the opportunity to look around The Academy of Fine Arts whilst Carina was having work photographed, which was amazing. I also went to her house in the Bavarian countryside, where I got the chance to see her work up close and talk about her processes and practice. As a relative newcomer to art jewellery it has been incredible for me to gain an insight into how Carina works. Her time at the academy has given her a free, intuitive way of working which I feel is very inspiring.
I have been researching African street style, particularly in Lagos, Akkra and Benin City. I absolutely love the style of the people in these photo’s, it’s so bold and confident. There are clearly modern, western influences, but in each you can still see a connection to tradition, whether that be a print or some jewellery.
Whilst researching all things African in the UK I came across this little place in Dulwich. The museum is full of curiosities collected in the Victorian age. There were some interesting pieces on display in the Africa collection. I was particularly inspired by the amazing textures and by how strange and quite scary most of the objects were.
I went to the British Museum for a bit of inspiration. They have a pretty comprehensive collection of African artefacts, most of which are quite dark and a bit creepy. I really love the rust and texture of a lot of the objects they have. There is also some contemporary art there like the huge textile made from recycled bottle tops by the artist El Anatsui from Ghana. Upcycling is something I have done throughout most of my work so far and I am really interested to push that further in this project, as it is so evocative of African culture. So much tribal jewellery is made from what people find around them, I think this will be the starting point of my material play.
I’ve had some research ideas for my final major project floating around my head for sometime now but I finally decided to concentrate on Africa, a broad subject I realise! I am particularly interested in Sub-Saharan Africa, the contrasts of rural and city life and the changing culture. It is near impossibly not to be drawn in and inspired by the amazing adornment which has existed in their culture for hundreds of years. For me, it is really important that I find my own voice within this theme, to express an alternative viewpoint. Unfortunately I can’t afford to go do any primary research in Africa! So I’m doing as much as I can from the UK. I’m really excited about this project so far, hopefully it will lead me to something interesting!
I’ve been having a great time researching inspiring images and using Pinterest for the first time, I feel I’m a bit of a late comer to this brilliant site! I’ve found some amazing photo’s of contemporary jewellery made in Africa or inspired by Africa, its hard to keep believing that I can make something which is new and unique within this genre but I have to trust that I will find my own voice. I have also been researching jewellery designers who work with rubber, particularly recycled rubber. Emma Ware is a great example of someone who has taken rubber inner tubes and made them into something simple but cool. This is the kind of thing I would like to achieve in my own work. If you fancy having a look at what inspires me head over to my Pinterest page here;
I went to the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham yesterday and it’s absolutely amazing. In 1981 the jewellery manufacturers Smith & Pepper were forced to shut due to the sky high prices of gold. They abandoned the building and everything was left exactly as it was at the time of closure. As someone who makes jewellery, it was fascinating to see how it used to be done.