It’s June

31 05 2010

It’s June in a few hours, and that means Winter.

And that also means that I’m back in Australia from my travels …

After the unexpected jet-lag has released me from it’s grip, I will soon have some more posts to share… especially looking forward to putting together the June calendar in the coming days…

RMIT Year 1, Semester 1, Enamelling #4

29 05 2010

First year, first semester, Enamelling, project #4: Neckpiece

This assignment was to make a five-component enamelled neckpiece. I couldn’t help but start off imagining horrible seventies shapes and it took a deliberate energy to unwind that association.

sketch from project diary; amended copyright notice: not to be reproduced without permission

I had been studying Istanbul / Constantinople for an elective subject I was taking, and was reading a lot of texts on the region about the year 1453, when the Ottoman empire conquered the city. I must have absorbed some of the images I saw, for the above shape that came to me when sketching for this project was a common shape in the art of the era and place.

I accidentally found the below image a week or two later – it’s a pendant from 11th century Egypt, it’s incredibly gorgeous and became a reference point for this work.

British Museum, Gold pendant with inset enamel decoration; click on the image to go to the original source

This was the last project for the semester for this subject and time was getting a bit squishy, so I didn’t quite resolve the necklace connections in time for assessment (I initially liked it, but it didn’t take long to unlike it). The below photograph was taken at the time of assessment.

enamel necklace; original image by Mark Kral; amended copyright notice: not to be reproduced without permission

What is particularly interesting about this piece, is that it is the only one I’ve happily re-worked. I took out one of the components less than a year later to gift it to a special friend who had been truly wonderful to me. The remaining four pieces remain alone, two currently threaded on simple wire necklets… waiting for a new incarnation.

It’s funny that I had no qualms about essentially destroying this piece in order to create newer works, but cannot find myself able to do so for other pieces. Perhaps it was due to its relatively simple original construction and that I was only cutting thread not metal…

enamel components; amended copyright notice: not to be reproduced without permission

… previous post in this series: RMIT Year 1, Semester 1, Enamelling #4 …

My work: ‘Quotes’

27 05 2010

After what felt like intense making for the ‘Time‘ series, I felt I needed a counter-balance in making as well as it felt like time to make pieces that weren’t so personal and that someone else may be more inclined to wear. Something lighter and smaller was in order.

'Quotes'; amended copyright notice: not to be reproduced without permission

Little pieces to remember favourite phrases, hand-written on the markers; left to right:

  • For Keith: let me walk before they make me run‘ – the gorgeous Keith Richards; black and bronze colours because he’s totally rock and roll
  • For Milan: optimism is the opium of the people‘ – from Milan Kundera novel ‘The Joke’; this is a favoured quote of a dear friend of mine, and when I asked him what colours he thought of with this phrase he said greys
  • For Anais: life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage‘ – one of my favourites from the writings of Anais Nin; the colours are livelier and gorgeous

As I left Australia before the exhibition ‘Winter Brooches’ opened, as I write this I’m not actually sure which pieces will be shown…

My work: ‘Time: Life’

26 05 2010

The third in the series ‘Time‘ I recently made is one that explores my own lifeline and milestones so far. The paper I’ve used is a colour copy of a lung/heart x-ray I recently had – the technician said I had a ‘lovely small heart’, which is apparently good news. I loved the blue hue the copier gave it, and there’s not another paper/text/image in my possession that is more uniquely me than this (maybe my birth certificate, but I liked this much better).

x-ray copy cut into strips

While I would have loved to have used the x-ray transparency itself, when I checked with the hospital I found out that no copies of film are kept, so cutting it up would mean I wouldn’t have the record for comparison to future x-rays. What I did find out though, is that the lovely person I was talking to said that many people send back their x-rays (or sometimes never pick them up) and that these are sometimes available (with confidential information removed) to artists – she was not at all surprised that I wanted to make art from mine!

paper woven and testing out shapes

The length of the woven paper represented my age in years, and then along the length of the strip I made ‘markers’ for milestones, which I handwrote on thin fine silver bezel and folded over. The last marker on the strip is ‘NOW’ – I didn’t want to jinx anything nor suggest that the paper represented all that my life will be.

'Time: Life' (fine silver, paper, stainless steel); amended copyright notice: not to be reproduced without permission

I tried many iterations of the final construction, with wire tests and other frames, but decided on the above form as the free-fall of the curls was appealing.

This is an exhibition piece only: it feels too big to wear, at least I think it’s too big for me to wear (especially in its current format); and I cannot see that anyone else would be interested in wearing my life milestones! That said though, I really enjoyed making this one; especially thinking about the various ways a person’s life can be represented in a traditional timeline (like the ones used for history lectures) – one could use addresses, relationships, hairstyles, etc…

Previous post on ‘Winter Brooches’ work here

Studio 20/17 ‘Winter Brooches’

25 05 2010

While I have to wait until the last day to see the installation in person, Studio 20/17 have published a few photos on their blog of work in their current ‘Winter Brooches‘ exhibition. Bit excited really – my set is the second photograph. Feels good to see then all in a little group…

Other exhibitors are listed on their website and I hope to see their work in person and write more about them in a few weeks … British Airways strike and crazy Icelandic volcano willing…

My work: ‘Time: Europe’

24 05 2010

Second in the ‘Time‘ group is a piece that records a three-month holiday I took backpacking through Europe over ten years ago. The paper is a copy of the hand-drawn calendar I made to plan my time, and the fine silver charms woven through the paper have scribed-sketches taken from particularly beautiful photographs I took during the trip.

charms for 'Time: Europe'

charms for 'Time: Europe'

I wove paper and silver in my first year at university, and reignited this method late last year when I made a piece for ‘Feast‘. I’ve expanded on it during making for this project and was looking for ways to bring more life to the woven paper, so introduced the charms. The have been inserted into the weave at the place in the calendar they were experienced.

'Time: Europe' brooch; amended copyright notice: not to be reproduced without permission

This one in form is the most connected to the work I did for ‘Feast’, here; in that its width is similar and fastening similar too (a stainless steel bobby pin, but this time attached to a perspex brooch backing).

Previous post on ‘Winter Brooches’ work here

My work: ‘Time: Day’

23 05 2010

The ‘Time‘ group was created especially for the Studio 20/17 ‘Winter Brooches‘ exhibition, and this first piece (which I shared a sneak peek of recently) records a 12hr period in photographs.

I spent a day in Canberra to visit the Post-Impressionist exhibition – it was a frustrating day, the line to get into the exhibition was taking in excess of three hours (which I abandoned after two hours, and then rejoined later in the day to wait only an hour), the cafe I walked to find was closed, it rained and my flight home was delayed for hours.

I took photographs regularly throughout the day, and made a selection to make a strip of colour paper; below are a couple of my favourites from the day.

Each hour is marked with a spindle woven into the paper, each is then secured to the wire across the top of the perspex base.

'Time: Day'; amended copyright notice: not to be reproduced without permission

The front-view shows little of the colour of the photographs, and the detailed image from the side shows much more. Were I to make this piece again, I would like to find a way to stop the paper creeping over the sides (like it is on the left side above).

Time-Day brooch; amended copyright notice: not to be reproduced without permission

The brooch is 12cm long, 1cm for each hour of photographs. It is arguably difficult to wear as it is a little unbalanced, and perhaps a double-pin would have secured it better (though I have no soldering equipment at home currently, and changing that kind of thing at the last minute is not feasible!).

Last post on ‘Winter Brooches’ here