Though very similar aesthetically, these two works are by two different designers, and in fact the first is carved from a block of acrylic, while the second is actually resin. Both bear similarity to the clean clear aesthetic I am going for with my work.
A possible plan for my exhibition:
The idea is that each piece of jewellery is illuminated from underneath a sheet of frosted perspex, which diffuses the light. As the pieces are going to be so small, I want to give them a real presence in the space, so I hope to have them on individual plinths. However, I am not sure if this might make the plinths harder to wire up to lights, as I will have to do it six times instead of one. Only time will tell…
Another thought I had was to sit each piece on a lit perspex shelf, which would have rope running through each corner from floor to ceiling. Again, this was an attempt to try to make the pieces bigger than they are, so that they don’t become lost when compared with other people’s work in the large exhibition space. I don’t think this idea is feasible, as I think I would really struggle to attach ropes from ceiling to floor, and there are just many things that could go wrong with this design. Besides that, I also think the ropes surrounding each piece might make it look as though they are in cages, and this is not at all the look I am going for.
The last few days involved creating two moulds:
First in plasticine, which I hand modelled, and in which I poured silicon, to create a positive version of the negative space that was to follow…
Second made simply using board to create walls in which to pour resin – First I poured one layer of resin, then coated it with a layer of liquid petroleum jelly to use as a release agent, then placed the silicon jewellery substitute in, followed by another layer of resin.
Today did not display the height of my mould making and casting skills, as after a minor slump in work I was just eager to get something made, and I rushed it a little! But I learnt an awful lot from this one little resin cast, most importantly that whatever I use to create the silicon positive must be much more precise than a plasticine mould, as the nature of the resin is such that it will take on very tiny detail, and with it the imperfection of the mould. Perhaps next time a laser cut mould will work better for this purpose.
With that being said, this piece has helped me visualize how this piece might work: The idea is pretty complicated to explain, but much easier to show in real life, if only I can make it work! Essentially, a leaf with circular cutouts will be trapped in a block of resin; the resin will come apart in two halves, revealing a necklace inside which is comprised of resin discs containing the cutouts from the leaf – when the two pieces of the block are closed with the necklace inside, altogether they should fill in the cutouts, making the leaf complete once again. The idea is that there is an element of intrigue and satisfaction when the parts are separate and then they come together to form a whole.
Over the next term I hope to create a range of jewellery based around the beauty of the leaf.
However, this jewellery is not to be hidden away when it is not being worn. Instead I want to merge the lines between the designed artefact and the piece of art. I hope that my design will allow the pieces of jewellery to be showcased, by means of altering the form of the piece.
During the design process, I will allow the shape of the leaves (or the plant which it came from) to inform the shape of each piece. This means that I don’t yet know exactly how each piece will look, but ideally I would have one range (consisting of 4 – 6 items) for each type of leaf.
For the exhibition I will create a few large scale pieces, which would consist of flat sheets of resin with leaves trapped inside each. The pieces of jewellery will be formed of many small discs which, when joined together, pop out directly from the shapes of the leaves, this means that they can slot back into the resin sheets for the purpose of display. This sheet could display one set of jewellery, for example a necklace, earrings and bracelet, or even a whole range of pieces on a theme or type of leaf. This sheet would sit in a custom made lightbox, which will have L.E.D’s in the back. The light should enhance the beauty of the leaf, and transform the piece from being designed jewellery, to a piece of art for the home.
The intent for the piece is that somebody could buy a piece of jewellery made from discs cut out of a leaf, and take home with it the one unique leaf that the piece was made from. The packaging itself would be a clear box, containing the resin sheet with the suspended leaf inside, as well as the lighting for the light box. This means that the packaging is not wasted. One the piece is taken home by its new owner, the box could be hung on a wall or placed on a table, to be appreciated as a piece of art. Then, sometimes the owner might decide they want to wear the piece today, in which case they would simply pop it out and put it on.
I won’t lie. Constellation this year was hard. Never before have I taken on a piece of writing of this scale.
Towards the end of year two I began the research into my dissertation. Initially I was going to write about jewellery, with my title being
‘Defining ‘craft’: The evolution of contemporary jewellery
I intended to write about the way in which jewellery is disregarded as an art form, and in fact has great historical and cultural significance. As I began to do more research however, I realised that I had plenty to say just about craft in itself. I feel that craft has gotten a bit left behind in the public imagination, as it seems to be something which people associate largely with tradition, so through the use of this essay I hoped to give it a little ego boost; A makeover for craft.
I realised at this point that I had a lot of work to do, and as I began research I found it was hard to find sources that were talking about a similar thing to what I intended to write about. But isn’t it just the way, that towards the end of the research process, I began to find more and more relevant writing. I think that if I had spread the net a bit wider to start off with, I would have more relevant texts to work with. As it was, I think that I gave a reasonable overview of most of the key theorists in the subject. However when I came to actually sitting down to write the dissertation I really struggled. Having written only a couple of very short texts since I left school, I found it difficult to get into the swing of things, and I think that the fear of the 10,000 word mark had me slightly paralysed.
Despite trying to work on the dissertation almost every day for the past four weeks, somehow I still managed to leave it until the last minute to get everything done (in fact, as I write this, I have only just handed it in!) However In the rare moments when I got a considerable amount of writing done, and what I was saying made some semblance of sense, I did quite enjoy writing the dissertation. I feel that I have learnt a huge amount along the way, firstly about the subject, and also about myself.
The title I decided upon in the end was:
An Exploration on the Scope of Contemporary Craft
The essay did not address a question as such, but as I say, it was an exploration, an overview of craft and it’s position in the world today. I therefore gathered a good view of craft, despite the fact that I am still slightly confused about what it all means. Having said that, the very nature of trying to define such a broad and complex term as ‘craft’ was always going to be tricky. In fact, once I realised that trying to define craft was a ridiculous idea, the whole thing became considerably easier. It seems so obvious now that craft can’t be pinned down to a fixed definition, but at the time I could not get past this idea of trying to define the parameters of craft. I feel that one of the triumphs of the essay came from when I got past this – the belief I have that the beauty of craft lies in the very nature of the fact that it can’t be easily defined, and so it has the ability to cross boundaries across the realms of art and design. Far from putting craft into a context like those of art and design, I actually ended up questioning whether we even need to define the creative practices. I challenged whether it was necessary to put limits on creative practices, and whether more meaningful work could be made if we did not limit ourselves to specific disciplines.
In reference to my own discipline, I am not sure yet how much it has affected my subject and field work, and the way I work generally as a ‘creative’, as unfortunately I did feel that I had to put those facets of my work on hold temporarily, as I found it very hard to concentrate on the dissertation and my practical work. I guess this is not really the desired effect, and in an ideal world I would have used the dissertation as a background for my practical work. However, I can imagine that once I return to dedicating most of my time to practical work again, it will influence the work, feeding into it. For example, I am now acutely aware of any time that I put things into classifications. I am certain that this is going to make a big difference to the context of my practical work, and hopefully I will start applying the things I have learnt from researching and writing the dissertation to my practical work.
If I was to write the dissertation again, well, frankly I wouldn’t. Though I have enjoyed the process at points, particularly during research and when ideas began to slot into place, overall I found the experience a very stressful one. And although I wouldn’t want to write another 10,000 word thesis anytime soon, I would like to continue reading and writing more on the fields of creativity, craft, art and design, but perhaps in more bitesize chunks, as an ongoing reflection of the context of my practical work. I have certainly realized the importance of researching a topic, and I feel much more informed as a creative as a result of this; I feel better equipped to present myself as a craftsperson in the real world.
Petra’s collection ‘Entrapment’ is created by electroforming real flowers, meaning that the actual flower is forever encase inside. It reminded me of my tutorial with Duncan the other day, where we spoke a lot of this idea of encasing living things as a piece of jewellery.
Some googling also somehow led me to this piece, ‘Cages’, part of a collection of pieces on the nature quitting smoking called ‘Blowing Smoke’ by Liaung-Chung Yen.
It all goes back to adding value to things that are perceived as having little or no real world value.
I’ve been slacking with this blog of late, but 2016 is a new year, not to mention the final stretch of my degree! It’s scary stuff and I’ve a lot to do, but first let me catch you up on what’s been going on exactly:
I started third year in September in a state of absolute confusion, but eventually I got it together to design a range jewellery celebrating the humble leaf.