Friday, July 24, 2009

Resurgance of Ornament

In the most recent issue of Metalsmith Magazine, there is an interesting article titled Mining History: Ornamentalism Revisited. Contemporary jewelers and designers usher in a revival of ornament, but with a twist.

Authors Lena Vigna and Namita Gupta Wiggers focus on the evolution of ornament, and its resurgence within the field of contemporary jewelry. There are many artists who are inspired and energized by the past, and who also exploit the familiar and resituate traditional historical elements into new, contemporary pieces.

The article states that a contemporary vocabulary is emerging in which the baroque, the rococo, the curvilinear and the unabashedly ornate features of historic jewelry are taking a new, redefined center stage. Artists are ... democratizing forms and patterns previously preserved for royalty through a range of new materials and unexpected vehicles.

This relationship with the past is articulated in five senses: fragmenting and abstracting historical forms, employing new technologies, creating updated versions of familiar jewels, neutralizing markers of luxury, and examining the relationship between jewelry, the body, and space.

Contemporary makers are intervening in traditional concepts of jewelry, subverting and responding to notions of worth and value. Through the democratization of materials and identity, jewelers are making adornment more accessible physically and conceptually to the public. It seems appropriate that in an era of hyper awareness and scrutiny, that artists are able to use their work to question class, taste, and materiality.

I appreciate that this article does not consider the current use of ornament or explorations of the past to be a passing trend, but acknowledge it as an inevitable awareness of the identity of the jewelry field. The work discussed in this article explores the mediums own identity, it is jewelry about jewelry. Not only does it acknowledge and pay homage to makers that came before, but this vein of contemporary work challenges current notions of value, material, and wearablility.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Reclaim, Reuse, Renew

Yay! I just got a letter from the jurors of the exhibition Reclaim, Reuse, Renew at Ball State University, and I got two pieces into the show! This show focuses on artwork made from repurposed materials. I'll be sending Bouquet Necklace, which is made out of rubber gloves, and Honeycomb Necklace (pictured above), which is made out of bicycle inner tube tires.

Mourning Jewelry

I've always been interested in mourning jewelry, and Victorian etiquette surrounding death. During the nineteenth century, strict periods of mourning were observed following bereavement. Widows were expected to dress in black for a year and a day after her husband's death, wearing minimal matt black ornaments.

Gradually, widows were allowed to wear more elaborate mourning jewelry, then diamonds and pearls, and finally a return to colored stones. Mourning and sentimental jewelry typically incorporates hair, usually either in a medallion or braided into a watch-chain or bracelet strap.

I recently purchased black (and white) horsehair, with the intention of creating some pieces of commemorative and mourning jewelry. Here is an image of the first piece that I have finished. I'm excited about the monochromatic color scheme as well as the hints of red from the pearl silk.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Haiku to Metal

This piece, WB1106, is on its way to a show at the Desotorow Gallery in Savannah, Georgia. The show, Haiku to Metal, focuses on simplicity in adornment. Selected to exhibit, this brooch is from my thesis show, it's made of found steel and aluminum wire and gold. I'm excited that it's going to Desotorow, which is a pretty phenomenal non-profit gallery that is run and operated entirely by students from SCAD.
Rusted, decrepit
metal will be worn again.
Luxe embellishment