4000 Years of Jewelry Design- Mobilia Gallery - May 6 – June 17 2017

Starting on the 6th May, i'll be showing "Blue Death", a neckpiece at Mobilia Gallery in Cambridge, USA. It's a fantastic group of artists to be exhibiting with and I am honored to be showing in the company of Gerda Flokinger and Arline Fisch, two people I greatly admired when I was a student, for their pioneering techniques!

"4000 Years of Jewelry Design:  A Contemporary Interpretation was inspired by the exhibition, “Past is Present: Revival Jewelry” currently onview at The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. For this group show we invited masters in the field as well as emerging talents, to create a piece of personal adornment, combining their historical inspiration with their contemporary visions and brilliant technical skills."


Made London - Canary Wharf 22 - 25 march 2017

I'm going to be showing work at Made London - Canary Wharf,  in March 2017.

I will be showcasing "A woman's work is never done", a special project I have been working on since 2014, making 21 works of jewellery for 15 trailblazing women who have made an impact on me in my life, both personally and creatively. It's the first time these works will be seen together as a frieze and include pieces made in honor of  Patricia Highsmith, Rosalind Franklin, Kate Bush, Rosa Parks, AS Byatt, Amy Johnson and Siouxsie Sioux.

"MADE LONDON – CANARY WHARF is a new event bringing some of the best contemporary designer makers in the country to the heart of Canary Wharf. There will be two shows – 17-20 and 22-25 March. Each will present around 60 makers and change completely for the second show."

I will be there for week two, 22nd - 25th March. It's free admittance, please pop by and say hello.


Country Living - Emporium, February 2017

Readers of Country Living magazine will be able to spy one of my brooches featured in the February 2017 Emporium pages. "Blàth Brooch" is a piece I made after a trip to Skye. It features a remnant of Harris tweed, silver hand formed shells, embroidered fern, a handmade silver kilt pin, crocheted frame, lapis and a found shell.


20:20 VISIONS - CELEBRATING TWENTY YEARS OF THE ASSOCIATION FOR CONTEMPORARY JEWELLERY

I was delighted to have three works selected for this special 20 years exhibition at the ACJ. Starting off at the National Centre for Craft and Design in Sleaford. This exhibition is touring to to a number of fantastic venues including:

Sheffield Institute of Arts, Sheffield Hallam University 20 March - 24 April

The Goldsmiths' Centre 17 May - 29 June

Vittoria Street Gallery, School of Jewellery, Birmingham City University 11 Sept - 23 Oct

Crafts Study Centre, UCA Farnham 31 Oct - 9 December

The three works I am exhibiting at 20:20 Visions, Silvia's brooch, Heirloom Verona 90 days and Cutler Neckpiece.


West Dean - Mixed Media Jewellery – Developing your own personal language

At the beginning of the month I was at West Dean teaching a course on mixed media jewellery to five really wonderful students.

The course was centred around mixed media jewellery with a focus on building confidence in mixed media and combining materials. We spent a lot of time working on textiles techniques in the first half of the course. Working yarns around forms and making three dimensional elements from different yarns. The second half of the course was all about combining the new techniques with other materials and processes...and some students decided to focus on the textiles elements a little longer as they were really taken with the new techniques.

We covered a lot over the three days including a presentation on mixed media jewellery, making crocheting ball and tube forms, stitching and crocheting around metal wire objects, felt balls, shisha stitching and a few hybrids from these techniques based on the ideas the students had arrived with. It was a really enjoyable weekend for me, with some really beautiful samples being produced. I think a lot of new ideas for future works were taken away to be developed further.


 

Myths Test Drive - The Good Deeds

Myths 2016 - Test Drive was a Art in Public Space project curated by Loukia Richards and Christoph Ziegler, who are both visual artists based in Hamburg. The jewellery exhibition, which formed part of Munich Jewellery Week, took place inside a trailer-turned-into-a-gallery in down town Munich. The peripatetic gallery travelled to a number of locations throughout the week.

The premise of the innovative project was, “If you can check out how a car works, why not check out whether a piece of jewellery makes you look more glamorous, popular, funny, insightful, attractive etc?”  

The project gave participants the option to lease the jewellery to wear for one or more days. An on-line booking system guaranteed that the items borrowed would be returned in perfect condition. The participants also had the option to buy the work. 

I was intrigued by this forward thinking idea and I wanted to use their unique ethos in my own pieces and really question how we interact with jewellery in galleries as viewers and customers. I decided that instead of purchasing the work with a traditional transaction of money, the currency for my works would be to do a good deed for others.

The idea behind the works is linked The Judgement of Paris. Taking the idea of "Kallisti" and what it means in a modern day setting. To be the fairest, is to be the kindest and "fairest" should really pertain to being a good person rather than just having a good appearance. The brooches are offered as medals to deserving suitors.

The Medal suitors were asked to let us know what their good deed was within three months of receiving the brooch and send us a short text and images about their deed. I left it as open as possible so that each person could respond in a way that suited them and captured their good deed and personality.

 Not really knowing what to expect, I was delighted to hear back from the three participants. All three had very individual approaches to the challenge. It was interesting too that each of them had already been doing many good deeds as a part of their daily lives. It seemed that the brooches themselves had found deserving owners!

 

Here are the three participants, Daniel Von Weienberger, Kim Tiong and Li Ching, all wearing their "Kallisti" brooches. You can read the full story about their "Good Deeds" via my blog, The Needle Files.

Images courtesy of Loukia Richards, Christoph Ziegler, Daniel Von Weinberger, Kim Tiong &  Li Ching.

 


Myths 2016 - Test Drive -Munich Jewellery Week

I am currently working on a set of three brooches for "Myths - Test Drive" , part of Munich Jewellery Week. Myths is organised by Loukia Richards and Christoph Ziegler. It's a really innovative project where the visitor is invited to "test drive" pieces of jewellery for the day, a few hours with the option of buying the piece after trying. The borrower can wear the works as they navigate around the jewellery week, attending different shows and events whilst wearing the work. Like many of the works available in the Myths jewellery lending library, my works will be inspired by Greek Myths and in particular how these Myths can be translated for the modern day.

You can follow the project via the Myths Blog Page and see more about the project via their Facebook page. I will also be adding posts to my blog "The Needle Files" for the duration of the project.


Galerie Caractère - FESTIF

I am taking part in a new exhibition from November 14th to 28th at Galerie Caractère in Switzerland. The exhibition "Festif" is to mark a special occassion as the gallery celebrates 15 years of existence as well as it's first year in Neuchâtel city centre.

Festif: Image credit - Galerie Caractère

"39 artistes et leurs créations originales y participent avec panache: liliana alves...marianne anselin...isabelle azaïs...gema barrera...ela bauer...anaïs beard...edith bellod...sophie bouduban...julie bouldoires...chao & eero... nelly chemin...pascal cretin...nicole de halleux...valentine dubois...michèle froidevaux...maria goti...ana hagopian...bruna hauert...joanne haywood...florence jaquet...nicole jaquet henry...sophie juriens...aline kokinopoulos...mia kwon...chloé laederach...léo by léo...jenny llewellyn...maä...ineke otte...capucine parel...ramón puig...fabienne schaller...caroline soldevila...karola torkos...violaine ulmer...thomas v. ...guillemette vulin...yasmin yahya"

 


Making More - A Collaborative Project

2014-present

Back in November 2014 I was awarded a commission for "Making More" a pilot project organised by LV21 and Making Space with funding from Arts Council England.

"Taster day Talk" Image credit Gary Weston

Paivi Seppala (LV21) and Lynne Dick (Making Space), were looking to commission two UK-based designer-makers to work on a pilot project researching a new business model, focusing on the development of making skills at a local level in Hampshire/West Sussex Border and Kent/Medway areas. I was thrilled to be awarded the commission for Kent as it's the County I live in and love!

The project involved me developing and delivering a programme of skills teaching sessions for jewellery. From my historical research I designed and made a collection of brooches , with the idea that the group would learn to make them to sell in local outlets and events.

“Inspired by the model adopted by the Rural Industries Bureau in the 1930s recession, where local village women were trained in quilting and these quilts were then sold to the Dorchester, London, this research focuses on the ‘make do and mend’ attitude, social engagement and developing a skilled community workforce which can produce work to a high standard.”

The teaching element of the project took place on LV21, a 40 metre steel-hulled lightship transformed into a floating art space and performance facility. The most unusual place I have ever taught in! I visited LV21 back in December 2014 and was amazed at the space and the diversity of events that take place onboard, including: gigs, residencies, workshops and school visits as well as arts management and consultancy.

The initial taster day gave the group an insight into the research, design and development of my project, based on make do and mend jewellery from the 1940’s, focussing on plastics, leather, textiles and found materials. The group were guided through the process of making their own brooches, which lead to several of them making a longer commitment to join the maker cohort continuing on a longer course to learn further techniques.


"Taster Day" Image Credit Gary Weston

During the development sessions it was so enjoyable to see the group build skills and confidence in their making. They were up for learning anything and were always willing to share ideas with each other. It's not easy learning new techniques and even if you have some experience, it's still a challenge to learn processes that are very precise and structured, working towards making a perfect product that will be ready to sell. It takes time and dedication to get good at anything in life, so it was amazing to see the core group of makers who came to every session and then practised at home getting better and better, week by week.

"Development Day"

As part of the last workshop I took some portrait photos of everyone who was there, making in the afternoon session. One of the things about the original 1940's brooches is that there is an air of mystery around them. If you find one in an antique shop or spy one on eBay, you never get to find out who made it, did they wear it every day to work or keep it for special occasions? Did they sit down and make them with friends over a good chatter and what would they have spoken about? Did they select particular colours and make a brooch to match an outfit, or were they made for a friend as a gift? When something ends up in an antique shop waiting to be adopted by a new owner, it has lived a previous life and it's always very intriguing to me.

The lovely thing about making these brooches inspired by those from the past is that we can record the story as we work, by taking images and recording its development and history. I wanted to take some photographs of the women who have been working on the project, to record the process and also because it's just nice to see these amazing, creative and diversely talented people wearing the brooches they have made.

At the end of the project we took part in "Make do and Mend: Christmas on the home front", at the Royal Engineers Museum in Kent. I had visited the 1940's Christmas event last year as part of my research for the commission, so it was fitting I would return again this year as a finale to the first stage of the project.

The stand looked amazing and was staged over three tables, one selling the brooches made by the cohort, one showing demonstrations and offering the chance for visitors to make their own and the third showing a display of vintage haberdashery treasures, from books, to darning mushrooms, buttons and stocking threads.


After working on this project for over a year, is now a self sustaining making group, with the cohort leading it's own workshops to teach it's new members how to make the brooches.

"New workshops, taught by the cohort" Image credit Paivi Seppala

During May the group took part in the National Voluntary Arts Week 2015 and the LV21 Making More Cohort were aboard the historic Light Vessel 21, teaching visitors to make the brooches and they made some new variations developed from my original designs. There were also family-friendly "CraftBomb" activities with a focus on recycling, featuring a giant woven Making More inspired brooch, the size of a hula hoop!