Artist profile: Michelle Taylor

24 11 2010

It’s been a little while since my last post in this series, on Lucy Hearn, and I thought it was about time to remediate the situation. Again I have turned my attention to jewellers who were in my class at RMIT, and I’m happy to say that Michelle Taylor has agreed to be my subject.

All images used with permission of the artist; not to be reproduced without permission.

The Point of the Matter, Michelle Taylor; photograph by Tom Roschi; courtesy of the artist; image not to be reproduced without permission

1. What have you been up to since we graduated from our RMIT undergraduate degree (at the end of 2006)?

After graduating from RMIT I moved to Adelaide to take up an associate position at JamFactory Contemporary Craft and Design. This two year program was a fantastic step forward after graduating, with a focus on developing the careers of emerging artists and designers. The facilities available were very well equipped and the immersive creative environment was an inspiring place to be, an enjoyable place to work where everyone is so involved in producing work for many varied projects.

Adelaide in itself is a very artistically orientated city, I think the small size of the city has a great impact on the thriving arts community – It offered me a great starting point in my making career.

After finishing the position at JamFactory I moved to Gray Street Workshop, as I was in Adelaide already I could not miss the opportunity of experiencing the renowned studio. I loved my time at GSW; it is such a great place to work. It is a space made for making, where you can either feed off the people around you or be focused on your own making which I found was a good contrast.

To depths unknown; Michelle Taylor; photograph by Tom Roschi; courtesy of the artists; not to be reproduced without permission

2. What has been your most exciting / rewarding experience over the last few years?

There are a couple of moments that come to mind the first of which was being invited to participate in COLLECT 2008 by the Italian gallery – Alternatives. The gallery director had seen my work in Talente in Germany and contacted me to ask if I would be interested in representation at COLLECT, that was a very exciting. Through receiving a grant from Arts SA I travelled to Rome to visit Alternatives and then across to London to attend COLLECT at the Victoria & Albert Museum. To see my work on show in that space was very enjoyable, if a tad surreal.

Another moment that stands out is when I was contacted by Schmuck museum in Pforzheim who was interested in purchasing two of my brooches. I was thrilled, and didn’t believe it would happen as it is a lengthy process, fortunately it did!

Wow Michelle – so much success, especially internationally! Very much deserved too.

A few links for readers:

  • Alternatives gallery in Rome [link]
  • some images from Collect 2008 [link]; and the Craft Council [link] and the Victoria & Albert Museum [link] where the exhibition was held
  • an RMIT news article about the five students accepted into the 2007 Talente [link]
  • I think Michelle may also have been in Collect 2010 earlier this year – see this page on Klimt02
  • Smuck museum [link]
  • and a profile of Michelle on CountryArts [pdf]

Drifting Ranges, Michelle Taylor; photograph by Tom Roschi; courtesy of the artist; not to be reproduced without permission

I really like the above piece!

3. Wood has become an important part of your work – can you tell me about the progression and the significance of the material for you?

Timber has been a revelation in my making of objects – the immediacy of the material is very appealing, being able to make marks and create dimension quickly works well for me.

Initially I used wood for these reasons but as my work progressed the material became a direct correspondent of the ideas I was representing through the object.

Late in 2010 I undertook a mentorship with contemporary jeweller and maker Catherine Truman, with the aim of developing my skills and understanding of wood as a material. While also looking at my relationship with the material and my reasons, intuitive or deliberate, for choosing to work with wood. This was an enlightening process and one that has moved my ideas and thoughts on making forward and enhanced my technical capabilities.

After several months of working with the techniques of carving I am thinking again of drawing back on some past uses of the material, combined with carved elements and who knows what else. I am always searching for materials to contribute to the landscape of the objects I’m making – I like thinking that anything is possible.

4. What do you like most about making?

Being utterly absorbed in what I am doing, the material the process, having an idea and figuring out how to make it work. I find this very satisfying and it quite simply makes me happy. Using my hands and relying on your skills to adapt materials, working both within the bounds of an idea but allowing for the intuitive nature of making to push things along.

Between the gaps it grows, Michelle Taylor; courtesy of the artist; photograph by Tom Roschi; not to be reproduced without permission

5. Where are you currently represented? Any upcoming exhibitions?

I am currently represented by Blackfinch Gallery in Melbourne, Workshop Bilk in Queanbeyan (soon to be moving to Manuka space in Canberra), Zu Design Jewellery + Objects in Adelaide, Metalab in Sydney, Neuer Schmuck in Hannover, Germany and Alternatives Gallery in Rome, Italy.

Upcoming exhibitions include a couple of group Christmas shows – at Studio 20/17 in Sydney and Zu Design Jewellery + Objects in Adelaide. Next year I will again be represented by Alternatives Gallery at COLLECT 2011 at Saatchi Gallery in London.

That’s a fantastic collection of galleries – congratulations again! And the upcoming exhibition sounds great.

Some links are below:

Upon the horizon, Michelle Taylor; courtesy of the artist; photograph Tom Roschi; not to be reproduced without permission

6. What is the next step for your work / What does the next year or two hold for you?

There is a long list of what I would like to achieve over the next couple of years the first of which is to further establish my practice in Melbourne, being in Adelaide for several years I feel I have not yet found my place in Melbourne. Developing a website will be a good step towards this; I have purchased my domain name but am yet to build the pages!

In terms of making I am aiming towards all new work for COLLECT – so over summer I’ll be spending many hours making. I have found the best approach for me when developing new work is not to throw away or disregard all previous work but to build on what I have already developed: whether that is in the ideas behind the work or the material approach. The next step is to experiment with some new wood varieties, while also revisiting a mixed material approach – in a way combining the old and new of materials and techniques.

I’m currently working from a studio at home (very well ventilated, but a tad frosty during winter – being located in the Dandenong ranges!!) which is great for now but in coming years I would like to move up from this, maybe build one from scratch…eventually. In an ideal world I would like to spend time in both my own home studio as well as being apart of a shared space. For now I’m just happy that I have somewhere to make ‘stuff’.

I’ve always admired Michelle’s precision and patience. Especially her dedication to pursuing her vision of her work – she has always spent any time necessary to achieve the desired result – which wasn’t that easy during uni … I sometimes found myself just being too tired and just making do, but never knew Michelle to do this!

Many thanks to Michelle for being so generous and sharing so much about herself. I look forward to seeing your website when it’s completed, and to the pieces she creates for Collect and future exhibitions … best of luck Michelle!

All images used with permission of the artist; not to be reproduced without permission.

… previous artist profile: Lucy Hearn



3 responses

25 11 2010
katie jayne

great post! thanks! very inspiring! 🙂

15 06 2012
EXPO ‘The Year was 2006′ – Studio2017, Waterloo NSW (AU) – 19-30 Juin 2012 · BIJOU_CONTEMPORAIN_JEWELRY

[…] — Melinda Young — Melissa Cameron — Mervi Kurvinen — Michelle Kelly — Michelle Taylor — Minnette Michael — Mirca Maffi — Miriam Andraus Pappalardo — Nadine Smith […]

19 10 2012
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[…] — Tanja Taglietti — Mio Kuhnen — Mel George — Melissa Cameron — Michelle Taylor — Nicholas Bastin — Clare Belfrage — Tom Rowney — Sarah Rothe — Scott […]

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