Marian Hosking – Fragments of the Landscape

Worn Gum Brooch, 2017. Blackened Silver
“I am not so interested in a pictorial space, but rather in capturing a slice or
fragment of a larger whole to trigger a memory in the viewer of a larger
vista or place.”
Marian Hosking via Docplayer
 

I think of Marian Hosking as both a jeweller and master recorder of the native plant and landscape material of Australia. Rather than pressing flowers and leaves into dusty books or copying them as sketches into some leather-bound journal she’s spent 40 years recreating their unique beauty in silver, wood and other materials.

Growing up in the bush and near the beach with her conservationist mother and metallurgist father you might say that Hosking was destined for the life she’s led. She knew in high school that she wanted to study gold and silversmithing and in 1969 graduated from RMIT (Master of Arts) before travelling to Europe where she continued her studies in the jewellers’ mecca of Pforzheim, Germany. Four years later she would return to the town of Wagga Wagga in Australia to teach at the university there. And in 1975, on returning to Melbourne she opened her own studio.  Some 5 years after that she would became a director and founding member of Workshop 3000 located in the heart of the city, a place where jewellers could rent studio space and collaborate. 4 years later and with the birth of her 2nd child she would return to her solo studio.

Her contributions to craft in Australia were recognized in 2007 when the Australian Design Centre named her a ‘Living Treasure of Australia, Master of Australian Craft’.  And as if that wasn’t good enough she obtained a PhD at Monash University in 2009 where she was a Senior Lecturer in the Art, Design and Architecture department there until 2014.

Soooo, if you ever find yourself in Melbourne (and I hope you do one day) you’ll find this maker’s work represented at Gallery Funaki. Failing that there’s always her profile on Instagram here…when she decides to post something 😉

Gum Caps Brooch
Wrap Rings (Ongoing Edition). Sterling Silver and Blackened Sterling Silver
Detail: Gum Twig Chain
Wattle Bud Necklace, 2009. Blackened Silver
Weathered Wood, 2017. Wood, Paint, Silver
Coralline, 2015. Blackened Silver

Elad Guterman

First off, let me apologize for the tiny jpegs in this post. I stumbled across the work of Elad Guterman today but it seems all the images I’ve found online from his website are in webpage format (which I don’t have the smarts to alter). So be aware that this is a small sampling of his portfolio and that I highly recommend checking out both his website and his instagram feed.

Born in Israeli and currently living on a kibbutz in the northern part of that country Guterman graduated from the Tel Hai Arts Institute, Jewellery. He collects his raw materials mostly from his work and home environments and describes some of his process here…

‘Everything around me, everything that is thrown, broken, spoiled, rusted, is raw material for me, I start with clay, the material is the first inspiration, now what does it remind me’

‘A shelf from tin turns into trees, scraps of iron become flowers, houses look like an old wooden surface turns into wings – the process by which ostensibly waste becomes an aesthetic concept and takes on a different meaning, personal and emotional’

I don’t know about you but I have only a vague idea about what life is like on a kibbutz (which means ‘gathering’) so I did a little research and found this via https://www.touristisrael.com

‘A kibbutz is a type of settlement which is unique to Israel. A collective community, traditionally based on agriculture, the first kibbutz was called Deganya and was founded by pioneers in 1910. Today, there are over 270 kibbutzim in Israel and they have diversified greatly since their agricultural beginnings with many now privatized. Regardless of their status, the kibbutz offers a unique insight into Israeli society, and are fascinating places to visit’.

Of course it’d take more than a blog post to delve into the complexities of all that Israel is today but I’m guessing that the first zionists wanting to settle there encountered a lot of hardship in turning previously inhospitable land into agriculturally thriving communities (not that all kibbutzim are strickly agriculture-based these days). They had to start from scratch. I sense that same ethos in Guterman’s work. It’s raw and hand-produced from whatever materials he can source. Waste is given new purpose. I particularly love his casting setup which you can see on his website. Unlike moi who complains bitterly about having to drive 40 kms. to get my stuff cast by a company in Vancouver, this maker has built his own forge/form equipment; just way more basic and immediate and therefore cooler. Check him out.

Castings in Aluminum



Ring VIII. Silver, Reused Wood

Detail: Wall Sculpture. Metal & Iron Waste

Canteen IV. Alpacca, Rubber. 54x22x15
Table, Wood. 2013. 25x58x28, 46x40x25, 64x30x25
Necklace. Silver, Alpaqua, Copper


Jorge Manilla

3 Oscure Sacrifices, 2015. Necklace, Leather, Tumbag

I wonder how many parents (with the best intentions) redirect their children from a career in art. And how many children grow up and eventually find their way back to it anyway. As a teenager Jorge Manilla wanted to be an artist like his father and grandfather (both were traditionally trained goldsmiths and engravers). But when the 15 year old told his mother he wanted to become a sculptor she threatened to kick him out of the house if he didn’t focus on a real career…like boxing (a prestigious national sport in his native Mexico).

“That was the moment of one of the biggest decisions in my life, and with it I decided to go completely into boxing and work for a sculptor. And this saved my life in every way. Boxing gave me discipline and structure and a clear mind to decide the next step in my life.” (via: Oslo National Academy of Arts)

Several years later and in need of extra cash Manilla was thinking of leaving boxing and began doing modelling for drawing classes at the San Carlos Art Academy in Mexico City. It was there that he decided to study drawing and sculpture (1994-1997) and later jewellery and silversmithing at the National Institute of Fine Arts (INBA), Mexico City, Mexico (1998-2002). He would go on to obtain a Bachelors degree in Sculpture (2002-2003) at the Royal Academy of Arts in Ghent, Belgium and a Masters in Jewellery and Silversmithing (2003-2006) from St Lucas University College of Art and Design in Antwerp. He moved to Belgium in 2003 lives and is currently working on his PhD at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp.

As a non-expert in the field of jewellery I experience an underlying uneasiness when I look at Manilla’s work, something that both disturbs and invites at the same time. Blackened, bulging and mammalian in a weird way, but oh sooo tactile. But he explains what that’s about…

My central themes are human feelings, death and life. Each piece is like a small altar – physiological, emotional and religious. I like to translate this into materials. Mexicans are very bodily – we say hello, kiss, hug and touch hands. To me, touching is very important, and I am really into natural material, like leather, wood, stones and human bones, because they are related to my cultural past, and the materials have tactility, temperature and heaviness.”  (via: Oslo National Academy of Arts)

I highly recommend checking out Manilla’s website here where you’ll see the full breadth of his work and get a peak into why he does what he does. Pretty amazing.

Without Title, 2008. Necklace. Cardboard, Silver, Cotton Thread
Polvo de Amor Quebrado, 2011. ‘Please Do Not Take My Heart’. Necklace. Leather, Wood, Cotton Thread, Copper

4 Oscure Sacrifices. Necklace. Leather, Wood, Acryl Hars, Steel
Impossible to Imagine II, 2015. Leather, Steel, Wood, Silver
Bled, Jorge Manilla Navarrete, Schmuck, 2017


Detail: Bled, Jorge Manilla Navarrete, Schmuck, 2017
There Is Nothing To Be Afraid Of, 2016. ‘Some Moments To Remember’ Brooch. Wood, Casted Acrylic Gypsum, Brass

Friedmann Buehler

I don’t think of Friedemann Buehler as just another wood turner like the sellers you might’ve seen at your local famers market. Don’t get me wrong, I love what those makers do with wood but this guy takes the skill to another level.

Carefully selecting sections from felled oak or ash trees, preferably from the forests of Holenlohe near Stuttgart in Germany, Buehler first removes his chosen blanks (the raw log sections) using a chainsaw and axe. Later in his studio these blanks are soaked in water and then shaped while wet on a lathe (and here’s me thinking all wood turning involved seasoned dry wood). The process is time consuming (some pieces can take years!) but the amazing organic forms he achieves are enhanced as the wood dries and sometimes cracks. And that beautiful stubbly grain is achieved through various brushing and sandblasting techniques before each piece is dyed. These ain’t your grampa’s wood turned bowls.

P.S. check out his work on Instagram here.

 

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Alex White – Furniture Maker

I’d love to have a friend who also happened to be a furniture maker; someone I could share a pint with as I casually pulled out some quick sketches of a table or a chair or some shelving from my bag, pieces I’d been dreaming of but couldn’t make myself. If Alex White  wasn’t so busy winning awards for innovative furniture pieces, doing private commissions and making pubic art he could be that friend. I guess that pint and my dreams will have to wait.

White opened his own studio in 2013, 3 years after studying 3-D design at Falmouth University in Cornwall, but not before being mentored for 2 years by furniture artist  Fred Baier and later Paul Cocksedge. Now, let me be honest here; neither of these names meant anything to me until today but if you’re into art furniture or cutting edge design respectively pleeeeeaaaase check out these 2 makers while you’re here. I’ll be featuring Paul Cocksedge in a future post.

Tradition and technique with innovation are important to White. He says “I love the old ways, but I don’t rely on them. It’s important to keep pushing the boundaries”. He sets materials like perspex against wood that’s built in a traditional Japanese method (without the use of screws or glue), giving it a contemporary aesthetic. And who knew you could crimp boring old steel tube as he does in his “Kinky” series. He’s best known for his Monroe chair though, which, as you might have guessed was inspired by the dress of a certain hollywood actress. Check out his website for sure.

 

 

 

 

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Monroe Chair

PST-MM-2T

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Kinky Chair

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Topnotch Desk

Dorothea Prühl – One-off Exploration

Dorothea Prühl was born in Germany in 1937. She’s been a maker, teacher and curriculum influencer for a loooong time. Art School at the age of 19, a diploma at 25 and a teaching position at Burg Giebichenstein (the University of Art and Design, Halle, Germany) at the age of 29. I’m guessing that her experiences at art school; the rote learning of traditional techniques and styles later influenced her desire to teach her own students by ‘defying prescribed orientations towards design and without preconceptions about what constituted artworks.’ I imagine she must’ve ruffled a few feathers in the staff room with that unorthodox approach, but that didn’t stop her. In 1994 as director of the jewellery school at Burg Giebichenstein she started a more subjective approach, that of one-off exploration. I’m liking her already.

Prühl describes her own work as ‘spaciously gestural’. She says that it’s ‘based on a sculptural idea that takes proportion and scale into account. Concentration on essentials, empathy in the extreme and vigorous plasticity are the distinguishing features of these works. They are the critically reflected expression of an entirely subjective artistic agenda. More or less recognizable, the object visualized contains no subliminal messages; hence it permits no interpretations containing extrinsic references. These are works that are exactly what they purport to be. They are not ambivalent. There is no narration, none at all.

So, a departure from historical references, from cultural references? Modern? Individual? I get it.

I love this aluminum piece below even though it reminds me of pull tabs (which incidentally were invented in 1959 in case you were wondering).

Check out her website to see her full range of gorgeous one-off explorations. And maybe thank Dorothy Prühl, for helping to take jewellery design out of the hands of a few into the lives of many.

Collier aluminum 1966

Collier, aluminum. 1966

Star cherry wood 1999
Star, cherry wood. 1999

Tree animals gold, titanium 2002
Tree Animals, gold, titanium. 2002

Hawk, 2006 elm wood
Hawk, elm wood. 2006

Collar titanium stainless steel Gold 2014
Collar, titanium, stainless steel, gold. 2014