Junko Mori’s Uncontrollable Beauty

Thank you Hilary Brown, for introducing me to the amazing work of Japanese-born, North Wales-based Junko Mori.

Using mild steel or fine silver Mori creates truly amazing sculptural objects drawing inspiration from nature, particularly her childhood fascination with life forming and multiplying under the microscope. And! she doesn’t start a project with a plan in mind. She designs as she goes!! That in itself just amazes me.

In her words…
‘I am always drawn to the visual impact of an aggregate assembled with many small components and find infinite possibilities of the form multiplied by the vital power beyond the physical space, such as cell division through a microscope.

My work consists of multiples of individually forged steel or other metals, and the subtle difference of each piece results from hand hammering. No piece is individually planned but becomes fully formed within the making and thinking process. Repeating little accidents, like a mutation of cells, the final accumulation of units emerges within this process of evolution.

The uncontrollable beauty is the core of my concept”.

Propogation Project; Small Petal, Bulb, 2012. Forged mild steel wax coated
Propagation Project; Small Petal, Bulb, 2012 (forged mild steel, wax coated)
British Hedgerow Cups, 2017 Fine Silver 999
British Hedgerow Cups, 2017 (fine silver 999)
Plants Exotica Chandelier, 2016. Forged waxed mild steel
Plants Exotica Chandelier, 2016 (forged, waxed mild steel)
Propogation Project; Bird Rusty Leaf, 2017 Forged Mild Steel wax coated
Propagation Project; Bird Rusty Leaf, 2017 (forged mild steel, wax coated)
A Silver Organism; Dense Larch, 2015 Forged Fine silver 999
A Silver Organism; Dense Larch, 2015 (forged fine silver 999)
Propogation Project; Roots, 2014 Forged Mild Steel, Wax Coated
Propagation Project; Roots, 2014 (forged mild steel, wax coated)

William Llewellyn Griffiths

Self-taught and fabulous, William Llewellyn Griffiths proves you don’t need to set foot in a jewellery school to make some pretty cool jewellery. Motifs and references from medieval, renaissance and baroque architecture rise up from his rings holding sparkling gems in silver and gold. Skilled in lost wax carving and more recently 3D printing I can’t believe the amount of detail he creates. If you want to see more of his work you can check out his website here.

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Alchemist Ring, 9ct yellow Gold, Topaz
Blackhearted Cupid Ring Smokey quartz, Death and Glory Collection
Blackhearted Cupid Ring, Smokey Quartz from Death and Glory Collection
Efflorescence ring, Tanzanite, tsavorite garnets ruby petals
Efflorescence Ring, Tanzanite, Tsavorite Garnets, Ruby
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Enthroned Immortality Ring, Garnet, Ruby, Diamonds
Obesession Ring, 18k gold, rose gold morganite, diamonds
Obsession Ring, 18k gold, rose gold, Morganite, Diamonds

 

Rose Wei – Ceramics

If you’ve ever used 3D printing to produce your jewellery you’ll know that the printer  builds layer on layer of material to make the finished object. Those layers become part of the surface of that object which is fine if you don’t mind layers. I mind layers in jewellery, but in ceramics?

zhu-ohmu-reclining-vessel 2016
Reclining Vessel, 2016

 

zhu-ohmu-standing vessel with twisted torso 2016
Standing Vessel with Twisted Torso, 2016 

Rose Wei (aka ZHU OHMU) builds her ceramics by hand using a similar layering technique, coil on coil, inch by inch, allowing the material to slump and collapse on itself with stunning results.

Born in Taipai she obtained her Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) from the University of Auckland (2012). She currently resides in Melbourne and explains her process like this…

‘The initial concept for this body of work was a response to the rise in popularity of 3D printed ceramics. Corresponding to biomimetics – the imitation of models or systems of nature, I wanted to see how forms would turn out if I copied the way the 3D printer mound coils on top of each other with my hands. Vessels are built through stacking, folding, pressing, pulling and these actions are often dictated by the weight of moist clay. Forms emerge intuitively and seem to ebb and flow in the manner in which they are made, often pushed to their structural limits. Unlike the machine, I am able to detect the slightest change in the properties of the clay body under different environmental conditions. This insight into plasticity and workability, which can only be obtained by spending time with the physical matter through play and observation, allows me to work with and manipulate the material. In the absence of firmware or a mechanical process, no two vessels can be the same- this project is a celebration of the artist’s hand in the age of automation.

Without formal training in ceramics, the self-formulated coiling technique often leads to breakage and misconstruction during the building, drying and firing stages. This unforeseen circumstance thus incited the project to embrace the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi – the acceptance of transience and imperfection. Further research inspired the project to adopt the practice of kintsukuroi (金繕い) – the art of mending broken pottery with gold lacquer. As the name of the project suggests, plant life is used instead to fill and embellish the cracks; subsequently the works becomes living organisms and will grow and evolve for years to come. Failures are not concealed but rather highlighted and aestheticised, embodying the sustainability of ‘visible repair’. Seemingly unremarkable imperfections are reexamined with a new and unexpected appreciation’.

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Matt Lambert

What is jewellery and who’s allowed to wear it? I could’ve sworn I knew the answers to those questions until I checked out Matt Lambert. Gender, masculinity, queerness, viewer reaction to artistic expression, the meaning of masks, armour, sport and a whole lot of other stuff are all explored in his work. Unlike some of us who’re content to hammer away in our studios making subjectively pretty things, Lambert’s pieces articulate the experiences of men and those who identify as queer, topics that tend to gets drowned out in my humble opinion (as a mother to 3 young men) by everyone else screaming to be heard. But please, don’t take my word for it. Check out his website or his Instagram feed.

A bit about him; he was born and grew up in Detroit but spent half of each year in a ‘protected forest’ somewhere in Ontario. He has a Masters degree in Metalsmithing (2014), has apprenticed as a leathersmith and ‘semi-antique rug restorer. If that’s not enough he also has a BA in psychology and has studied art history and American studies.

An excerpt from his bio which honestly doesn’t make a lot of sense to me but you can see if it does for you…

‘Lambert’s work often looks at the blurring of systems and hegemonic scales/binaries, often combining technological and hand process to create hybrid/chimerical forms that directly engage or address the body. In 2016 Lambert became the first international artist trained in contemporary jewelry to be invited as an international resident for 2016-2017 with Iaspis the Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s international programme for visual artists and designers’.

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Leather necklace

Natalie Xinzi Song

Bracelet: Unknown Creature, 2015 Silicone , pigment
Bracelet: Unknown Creature, 2015. Silicone, pigment

Natalie Xinzi Song studied at the Beijing Institute of Fashion and Technology before obtaining her Masters degree in Jewellery from the Birmingham School of Jewellery. What I love about her work (which includes jewellery, bowls and vases) is that (A) it’s different, (B) it’s colourful and (C) it reminds me of life at a cellular level, like photographs from an electron microscope showing organic fractals. The repetitive forms are mesmerizing.

From her artist statement on Klimt02…

‘My silicone work focuses on forms and textures. I aim to create functional objects with innovative appearance by balancing form and function. The forms of my work were created by repeating, arranging and organizing simple elements into complex patterns and structures.
As a group of objects, my work contrasts with, and compliments each other in terms of form, texture, colour and scale. I attempted to create connection between the objects and the surrounding space. The objects create intriguing negative space as well as being complete pieces individually’

Bracelet:Unknown Creature, 2015 Silicone, pigment
Bracelet: Unknown Creature, 2015. silicone, pigment
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work in progress
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第 1 张,共 9 张
Unknown Creature 2015 silcone pigment
Bracelet: Unknown Creature, 2015. silicone rubber
Untitled, 2011 Silicone rubber 1
Untitled, 2011. silicone rubber
Untitled, 2011 Silicone rubber
Untitled, 2011. silicone rubber

Patricia Gallucci

Patricia Gallucci has explored many creative pursuits over the years. From an early age she played with clay and fabric ‘My hands filled with clay and oil mixed between plasticine and vinegar dough, salt and tempera‘. As an adult she studied industrial design, clothing design, photography, stoneware pottery, pastry making and porcelain, product design and production management in apparel. All this before studying contemporary jewellery from 2008 to 2012. And just loooook at what she’s made since then…

p.s. I had a difficult time limiting the number of images for this post but if you’d like to see more you can follow her on Instagram here.

 

 

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Aros “Alcornoque”
SONY DSC
Aros earrings
Brooch #1
Brooch #1
patricia gallucci Broken
Porcelain collar
patricia galluci
Collar Ovalo Interiores

 

serve ring. Silver and industrial waste (cork)
“Serve” ring, silver and industrial waste (cork)
SONY DSC
Manga earrings, porcelain and silver
Ring Grace and edu Cork bronze
Ring Grace and edu cork, bronze

 

Iris Bodemer

If I ever won some massive amount of money (which would be difficult because I don’t buy lottery tickets) one of the things I’d indulge in would be to travel to Florence to enrol in any course taught by Iris Bodemer. She lives and works in Germany but sometimes lectures at Alchimia and I’d love to attend one of her weekend workshops there. I’d love to hear about how she approaches a project as well as what and where she draws on for her inspiration. I see both ancient and contemporary influences in her pieces and they come together with such considered precision, as though she’d planned it from the beginning (unlike me who plans as I go and am therefore not Iris Bodemer).

I won’t attempt to list all of her exhibitions and shows on this blog so please check out her website here, and if you find yourself in Florence in July this year she’ll be a guest lecturer at Alchimia for ‘Entropy + Entities’. Me? I guess I’ll have to start buying lottery tickets.

Notes Necklace 2016 bronze
Notes Necklace, 2016, bronze
Notes ring 2016, bronze..bronze aquamarine..silver..silver, aquamarine
Notes Rings, 2016. clockwise from top left – bronze, bronze + aquamarine, silver, silver + aquamarine
Notes, necklace 2016, silver
Notes Necklace , 2016, silver
Relief II 34 Brooches, 2013 silver
Relief II, 2013, 34 brooches, silver
notes ring 2016, bronze, silver, silver
Notes Rings, 2016, bronze, silver
Notes Brooch 2016 Bronze Andean opal
Notes Brooch, 2016, bronze, andean opal
neckpiece, 2012 silver, citrine
Neckpiece, 2012, silver, citrine

Geraldine Nishi

Untitled ring concrete, silver
Untitled, ring: concrete, silver

I don’t know about you but when I look at some of Geraldine Nishi’s work I see luscious cake frosting and ice cream piled high onto rings and necklaces. Yum.

Nishi obtained her Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours in Sculpture and Painting) from UVic before studying at Alchimia Contemporary Jewellery School in Florence (2005 – 2009)

You can check out more of her work on her website here.

Untitled, necklace, concrete, silver, paint
Untitled, necklace : concrete, silver, paint
Untitled, ring, concrete silver
Untitled, ring : silver, concrete
untitled, object- shibuichi
Untitled, object : shibuichi
untitled, pins - wood, paint, silver
Untitled, pins : wood, paint, silver

The Morphing Ring

I love raw stones and have always wanted to learn how to set them using lost wax. The trick in working with the wax is to be able to form the wax around the stone and more importantly to be able to remove the stone without messing up the model before casting. This purple wax is quite stiff compared to blue or pink wax so I decided to build up the setting to a certain point and add prongs AFTER the casting was done. That was the plan.

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Wax with Jelly Opal

After casting the stone fit easily into it’s setting but it needed those strategically placed prongs to hold it securely in place.

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The jelly opal resting in it’s silver setting after casting

Now, this is where things got ugly and I must admit it’s because I’d been impatient at this point (ie; I didn’t take the time to properly file clean joints between the ring and the new prongs and I used way too much heat). But I was also liking the reticulation happening on all the once-smooth droplets so I kept going.

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Addition of 3 new prongs to set the opal

Now…if you’ve ever worked with solder you’ll know it reaches a split-second magic moment in time when it glows and then flows through a joint. If you’re not paying attention for even a second you can miss that moment.  And as you continue to apply heat the metal does what metal does as it changes from solid to almost molten – it shrinks into itself, with droplets coalescing into other droplets nearby, forming random lumps. Soooo…now my carefully carved ring was reticulated (nice) but had 2 ugly lumps in it. I figured I could still work with it though. Plan B was to saw off the prongs, anneal the shank and see if I could magically secure the opal this time using only the lumps and droplets to hold it.

Of course I split the jelly opal trying to pry open one of the cracked prongs (fffffff…) and plan B morphed into plan C which was to find a new stone…a sun stone that seemed to fit in it’s place. So I annealed the shank and got to work coaxing the existing blobs and droplets around the sun stone.

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Removal of 3 new prongs with a new stone

Yeah, no. It wasn’t meant to be. I could NOT get the stone to sit securely in the end because the blobs were too thick to move. So…I thought – what the hell, I’ll add some more blobs to this blobby ring and use the existing caverns between them to set some CZs, a total 180 degree shift from using a lovely raw stone.

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Blobs with 3 CZs

But now I couldn’t get beyond the look of the ring with those gigantic blobs. It was off balance, sooo…out came the CZs as I contemplated throwing the shank into my crucible in absolute defeat. That was when plan D came into focus which was to attack the shank with the toothiest burr I could find, maybe out of anger, I don’t know. So now all those carefully melted and placed wax droplets I’d placed on the ring in the first place were chewed down. At last I set a white topaz into it which is a million miles from the raw stone(s) I’d started with.

I’ll leave it on the shelf for a while so I can work on other pieces. It’ll sit in that limbo between ‘work in progress’ and ‘done!’ so that in a few weeks I can see it with fresh eyes, this wretched morphed ring.

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White Topaz 

Update: after some fiddling and a sore back from bending over my vice here is the finished ring…set with a mixture of 7 faceted stones including the white topaz, and assorted CZs from my random collection. Amen.