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.

IMG_2063
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.

Brooke Marks-Swanson

When I say ‘knitting’ what comes to your mind? For me it conjures up images of women knitting stubbly woolen socks, sweaters and hats, of snow drifts and long dark winters, years before the invention of department stores, acrylic yarns and internet shopping.

Growing up in Midwest USA, Brooke Marks-Swanson has probably experienced her share of long winters so I’m not surprised some of her work is expressed with knitting. From her artist statement on Klimt02…

Born from the human need to protect ourselves from the elements, knitting quickly became a common thread throughout Europe and the Middle East early in the common era. To me, it represents the human need, artistry in its variations, and a universal language. Accumulation of singularly hand knit material worked en mass, proves great satisfaction for me. Fantastical and surreal landscapes emerge through wistful color combinations describing visceral feelings of the season, change, and uncertainty. The tended and wild materializes to describe the vastness and flatness of my beloved landscape but one that proves universal to us all’.

Check out her website here or follow her on Instagram here.

Brooke Marks-Swanson
Brooch : ‘Close’ 2012, copper, acrylic, 18k gold, 22k gold leaf, aquamarine
Necklace - Basket #10 leather, silver 18k gold, 22k goldleaf
Necklace : Basket #10, leather, silver, 18k gold, 22k gold leaf
Necklace ; fantastical winter landscape:snow drift, 2018 hand knit leather, sterling silver
Necklace : Fantastical Winter Landscape/Snow Drift, 2018, hand-knit leather, sterling silver
Neckpiece- Basket #11 leather, silver
Neckpiece : Basket #11, leather, sterling silver
Neckpiece: Basket Collar #3 2016 Hand knie leather, vinyl, oxidized silver rare earth magnet
Neckpiece : Basket Collar #3, 2016, hand knit leather, vinyl, oxidized silver, rare earth magnet

Izabella Petrut

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Izabella Petrut is the Romanian-born maker behind these pieces. She has both a Bachelors (2007) and a Masters (2009) in Design from the University of Arts and Design at Cluj-Napoca in Romania. And… she’s a graduate of GJ3 Specialization program at Alchimia, School of contemporary Jewelry, Florence, Italy (2012). And… she’s currently studying for her doctorate at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.

Raw stones, paper and even little plastic toys feature in her beautifully non-traditional work. You can check out her website here or follow her on Instagram here.

 

Brooch, 'we become one' paper, resin, alpaca, silver. colour redBlue print , red
Brooch, ‘We Become One‘ series : paper, resin, alpaca, silver, colour red
izabella-petrut-07 Silver, amethyst beads, uncut amethyst, resin, pigment
Necklace, silver, amethyst beads, uncut amethyst, resin, pigment
'The Fire Inside' 2015 paper, Silver, oxidized
Ring ‘The Fire Inside‘ 2015, paper, silver oxidized
Excess of time 2015 silver oxidized, quartz, pigemtn, resin
Earrings ‘Excess of Time‘ 2015, silver oxidized, quartz, resin, pigment
Necklace, Dark Night, 2015 plastic animal toys, iron, pigment, silk thread
Necklace ‘Dark Night‘ 2015, plastic animal toys, iron, pigment, silk thread
What the heart is made of oxidized silver, epoxy resin, pigment from here and now series
Ring ‘What The Heart Is Made Of‘, Here and Now series,  oxidized silver, epoxy resin, pigment

Steffi Götze

Brooch, Untitled, 2016 silver, copper, enamel
Brooch, Untitled, 2016 : silver, copper, enamel

When I was a kid I’d sometimes rummage through my mom’s jewellery box. It held a pretty basic assortment of bits and pieces; tangled thin link chains, assorted costume earrings, a couple of inherited thin gold rings and a string or 2 of artificial pearls, and brooches. I remember the brooches because they were gold-coloured and encrusted in claw-set rhinestones or tiny fake pearls and I thought at the time they were very precious and very beautiful. My mom didn’t have a lot of time for wearing jewellery, but I remember her wearing brooches for some reason, either on the lapel of her winter coat or on a dress for a rare special occasion and it’s that dusty memory and my changed tastes that might explain why, after all these years, I’ve never considered owning a brooch myself.

But those brooches weren’t these brooches…

Brooches, Untitled 2015 silver, copper enamel
Brooches, Untitled, 2015 : silver, copper, enamel

Steffi Götze obtained her Masters Degree for Visual Arts and Design – Enamel Art & Metal at the School of Applied Arts & Design in Sevilla, Spain (2011-13). She says her work ‘is an experimental and personal dialogue with the contrariety of two concepts and their relation to each other. The conscious and the unconscious, the past and the future, the truth and the lie, the go and the stop, the remembrance and the forgetfulness, the inside and the outside, the maker and the observer, you and me. I am interested in the connection of two concepts and the undefined space in between them’.

You can check out Steffi’s website here, and you should because the photography of her lovely pieces is amazing! not to mention the pieces themselves.

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Brooch, Untitled, 2016 : silver, copper, enamel
Götze_Steffi_image2-600x401
Brooch from ‘Raum’ Series
In-Between-03
Brooch from ‘In Between’ Series

Success at Last

A few weeks ago, in an attempt to bring down my casting costs I decided to try my hand at sand casting. I had a basic understanding of it’s principles (thanks youtube) which are 1) a metal form, 2) a mould pressed into sand and 3) molten metal to fill that mould.

I chose the 2-part aluminum ring-type casting system which also includes a bag of delft clay and a somewhat confusing instruction sheet.

IMG_1956

My first 2 attempts following the instruction sheet were unsuccessful, both highlighting the principle that molten metal cools very quickly if your sprue channel is too short and wide or too long and narrow…

Thanks to several sand caster experts I follow on Instagram who kindly shared their knowledge I learned that I needed to ‘use gravity’ which meant modifying the aluminum rings by drilling a hole through the ring sides, like so…

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15 mm diametre (minimum) opening drilled into the sides of the 2 rings

Attempt # 3 didn’t go to plan at all though despite the side pouring. Apparently, my mould was too thin this time…

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attempt #3 – mould too narrow

And just when I figured I’d give up on sand casting with one last attempt, this happened – a complete fill of a chubbier mould!

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attempt #4 – a success!

Iliana Tosheva

18k yellow gold, bio resin ring 2015
Ring, 18K gold, bio resin, 2015

Following a long career in English Literature, no doubt brimming with words, Iliana Tosheva’s jewellery whispers minimalism, succinctly and powerfully. Organic, imperfect forms and subtle textures are her talent, in gold, silver and vitreous enamel.

In her own words…”As an artist and creator I dislike staying the same size and what has permanently inspired me over the years has always been a fleeting image of a less traditional shape, texture or colour that will take my breath away on a journey ‘back to nature’ no matter how trivial the cliché might sound! Form, shape and texture wise, my work is mimicking nature at its best!”

Find out more about her work here.

bio resin gold leaf
Brooch, bio resin, gold leaf
earrings
Earrings
Ring, Mare Nostrum, 2017, Black Rhodium, Sterling Silver
Ring, mare nostrum, black rhodium, sterling silver, 2017
Ring, untitled, 2015 Blackened sterling silver, hand carved translucent bio resin
Ring, untitled, blackened sterling silver, hand carved translucent bio resin, 2015
Seed Pod Earrings
Seed Pod Earrings

Katherine Wheeler

Castlemaine is a rural town in central Victoria, Australia and it’s home to today’s maker, Katherine Wheeler. With a Diploma of Fine Arts from RMIT (2003) and a bachelor of Fine Arts, Gold and silversmithing at RMIT (2007) works in precious metal, thread and porcelain. I love the otherworldliness of her pieces with their sea creature-like legs and tentacles (I’m pretty sure they must come alive at night in gallery display cases). And her porcelain pieces are nice as well. You can find out more about this maker here or check out her Instagram profile here.

Urchin Ring
Urchin Ring
Urchin Bangle (2007)
Urchin Bangle, 2007
Vessel (part teaset, 2012)
Vessel (part teaset, 2012)
Bowl (part of teaset 2012)
Bowl (part of teaset, 2012)
Container Rings, 2011
Container Rings
Rock Coral Bangle Stack, 2011
Rock Coral Bangle Stack, 2011
Pierced tea lites, 2011
Pierced Tea Lites, 2011
Porcelain and Thread Vessels, 2012
Porcelain and Thread Vessels, 2012

 

Fabiana Gadano

 

Cities I. Recycled PET plastic bottles, PVC cord, plated brass and sterling silver rivets
Cities I. Recycled PET plastic bottles, PVC cord, plated brass and sterling silver rivets

In a world bulging with ugly plastic everything, maker Fabiana Gadano transforms at least some of the millions of utilitarian drinks containers we can’t seem to live without into these soft graceful translucent pieces, using PET plastic bottles. I had a hard time limiting the number of images in this post so if you want to find out more about her and her work check out her website here.

 

 

Cities V. Necklace. Recycled PET plastic bottles, PVC cord, plated brass and sterling silver rivets
Cities V. Necklace. Recycled PET plastic bottles, PVC cord, plated brass and sterling silver rivets
Cities VI. Necklace. Recycled PET plastic bottles, PVC cord, plated brass and sterling silver rivets
Cities VI. Necklace. Recycled PET plastic bottles, PVC cord, plated brass and sterling silver rivets
Natura 1. Recycled PET plastic bottles and plated brass
Natura 1. Recycled PET plastic bottles and plated brass
Natura 2. Recycled PET plastci bottles, PVC cord and plated brass
Natura 2. Recycled PET plastci bottles, PVC cord and plated brass
Natura 9. Brooch. Recycled PET plastic bottles and plated brass
Natura 9. Brooch. Recycled PET plastic bottles and plated brass
Still Life. Brooch. Recycled PET and nickelsilver
Still Life. Brooch. Recycled PET and nickelsilver