According to the artist Ralph Ziman, guns have an ‘almost mythical ‘ status in South Africa. Good or bad, the AK47 has become a massive part of the culture in cities and rural area’s of Sub-Saharan Africa. As I have mentioned before, I am interested in the contrasts of Africa and in the image of the young girl from the Mursi tribe holding a gun so casually, we see an evocative example of this which is what I am hoping to express through my work. When I visited the British Museum recently, they had an example of a fake assault rifle which was made by poor road workers as an attempt to warn off potential ambushes. The fake gun was made from wood and covered in tar. This has inspired me to make my own version of a fake gun using tar amongst other materials. I have been working on gun designs to be used as a motif throughout the collection
So another amazing year at Schmuck. I didn’t get to see nearly as many shows as I would have liked, but with there being 80 exhibitions as well as the main show at the Messestadt, it’s no easy task! I didn’t take photographs of everything but here are some of my highlights from what I saw. I have put names and descriptions on the photographs so if you like what you see, make sure you check out the jewellery artists!
Contrasting textures and tones are something I have been interested in over the last few projects. The research I have done on modern Africa has led me back on that path once more. In the above images (taken from the amazing photography book of Leni Riefenstahl’s photography by Taschen) we see the beautiful painted bodies of two tribes people, I really love the contrasting skin tones and how the finishes accentuate their form. Contrasts, however, have not only been skin deep throughout my research, they have been integral to many parts of it, from tribes people against city people, traditional against modern and poverty against great wealth. Africa really is a land of contrasts and so I thought it was really important to show this through my work. I have been playing around with different surface textures on recycled rubber inner tubes. Recycling has become a big part of my practice, it is also something which is prevalent in African culture. Tribe’s people are very resourceful and will use what is available to them to create beautiful adornment.
These are images of some of the beautiful work by Carina Chitsaz Shoshtary and Annamaria Leiste in their exhibition ‘Microphilia’, a reference to the micro world they both work in, spending hours working on tiny elements which make up their jewellery. Annamaria’s work is made from fish scales amongst other materials, strung upon delicate gold and blackened silver chain. I find her the pieces have a fragile, ethereal beauty. Carina’s work is made from pieces of wood that she finds close to her home, she covers these in tiny pieces of graffiti, a signiature material she has been working with for some time. It was a real pleasure for me to get a chance to work so closely with Carina’s jewellery, not only are they beautiful shapes with exciting colours, they are also incredibly tactile. I had admired and coveted Carina’s jewellery for some time and seeing them up close made me love them even more.
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’m in London getting a little inspiration for my next project and i’ve just discovered how amazing Charlotte Street News is! Just an ordinary little newsagents who also happen to sell every beautiful publication you can imagine. I bought a copy of Current Obsession, which is all about contemporary art jewellery. I just wish I had more money to spend in there!
One of the best things about the doing my project looking at Lovers Padlocks has been reading the responses from the visitors on the flat pack padlocks at the exhibition. At the very beginning of the project I strung up signs along Pier Head in Liverpool where there are hundreds of padlocks, asking people to tell me why they were attaching their own. I have had no response up until now as I have just read this lovely email from a lady who has put up her own. It’s great to have a glimpse into back story of this tradition;
“I met my Partner Steve via the internet last October and on our first day out we went to Liverpool. We both originate from there but I lived in Wigan and he has moved between Skelmersdale and Liverpool at various times. We walked to the dock and wondered what the locks were all about! We read a lot of them and had a good laugh about some of them that had put combination locks on etc. There are also some sad ones too.
When we got home I googled it and then we said as some point we would put one on. In April this year I moved in with Steve and we put our own lock on and as we are frequent visitors to Liverpool, we often go to ‘OUR LOCK’, even though its rusted to hell but the sentiment is there. I have enclosed the before and after pictures! He took the padlock into work to engrave and tried to hide it from ‘The Lads’, who kept on asking ‘what are you doing?!”
These are some design idea’s for an exhibition poster I’ve been playing around with. ‘Ubiquitous Assimilation’ means to absorb everything around you all the time, these designs are a visual representation of this idea, with the information being absorbed and then coming out as art (the exit arrow is made up of my drawings) Although my designs are not getting used for this exhibition, I really enjoyed making them and it was great practice for the future
Over the summer holiday’s I was set a project entitled ‘Journey’. The project was to create thirty drawings, paintings, sketches or photo’s of things inspired by the theme ‘Journey’. I decided to record the ‘accidental jewellery’ that I saw along several routes in Liverpool, this could be a chain adorning some gates or a hanging basket bejeweling a house. The one thing that I was drawn to most often were padlocks. I started to become really interested in lovers padlocks particularly as there are so many along the Albert Dock in Liverpool now. I was also really inspired by a couple of bright colours I recorded along the way.