Tag Archives: artists

Dazzle Exhibition in Edinburgh 2014

With the Fringe gradually coming to an end it was the perfect time to engross myself into the world of “Dazzle” – the place to be if you are a new jewellery designer/maker like me.

Dazzle showcases the best of contemporary jewellery by new graduates, as well as internationally renowned designers. The reason for my visit was to observe current jewellery trends and check out unusual techniques as I too, am beginning a business in jewellery.

HEATHER McDERMOTT

heather mcdermottTo start off, I was welcomed by the colourful abstract work of Heather McDermott, a young contemporary jeweller based on the Isle of Skye. Her jewellery is inspired by discarded objects and windswept grasses on Scottish seashores. Heather predominantly works in stainless steel and coats her jewellery with a special vibrant paint, which she then scratches off, to create the illusion of being weathered, just as you would see on a tidal landscape. I find her use of colour really effective in catching attention of the viewer, something to note if you want to lure customers to your work.

Website: http://www.heathermcdermott.com/

BETH LEGG

 Beth Legg Earrings Beth Legg Brooch

Next, I came upon Beth Legg‘s work and it was such a pleasure to look at. For me, granulation is a lovely technique which instantly makes a piece look more intricate. It is the creation of tiny silver balls which are then soldered onto your design, or in this case, soldered together! Legg’s pieces are inspired by the fragile nature of Scottish coastal landscapes. All her pieces are beautifully made individual sculptures, emphasising her sensitive and detailed approach to working.

Website: http://www.bethlegg.com/

KATIE ROBERTS

 katie roberts katie robert 2

Another jeweller’s work that caught my eye was Katie Roberts. I instantly recognised her work from stumbling upon it on Pinterest! The work is stunning in person, with the light reflecting off the three-dimensional forms. Roberts has developed an innovative technique, allowing her to create unusual embossed-like lines on the inside of her creations – creating an amazing rippling effect on the metal. Similar to when you see light reflecting off the water’s surface.

Website: http://katie-roberts.co.uk/

JENNY LLEWELLYN

jenny llewelyn

I have always been a fan of Jenny Llewellyn‘s work because of her love for sea life. Llewellyn is a contemporary jeweller and creates playful silicone jewellery inspired by luminous colours, shapes and movements found underwater. The pieces really do look like little creatures that could live on rocks and corals! I love how she has successfully combined this gelatinous soft material with precious metals, not usually found in jewellery. I see she always tries to find ways of fixing the silicone forms without the use of glue, this shows her skill and eye for detail in jewellery and makes the pieces high-end. Llewellyn has recently been nominated as one of the “Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2014”, showcasing “innovation, business development and design skills over the past 12 months”, definitely something to be proud of.

http://www.professionaljeweller.com/article-14967-professional-jeweller-announces-hot-100-2014/

Website: http://www.jennyllewellyn.com/

EMMA CALVERT

emma calvert

Emma Calvert creates statement textile jewellery, combining traditional weaving techniques with contemporary colours and precious metals. Interesting enough, she graduated in BA Textile Design from Central St Martins. Just shows you how diverse jewellery can be. Calvert likes experimenting with woven textiles, transforming a two-dimensional material into a three-dimensional form, which she then translates into jewellery. I have to say, I did purchase a wee present for myself here.

Website: http://emmacalvertjewellery.tumblr.com/

 HEATHER WOOF

heather woof.min

Lastly, I have to mention Heather Woof‘s work. The pieces really evoke a sense of movement. Woof is based in Edinburgh and is inspired by wild Scottish weather – and I think we all know what she means here. She works in hand-cut titanium, steel and precious metals, resulting in elegant wearable sculptures. The colours are beautiful, there is not only blues in the work but greens and purples melded together to enhance a sense of fluidity. I think the colours replicate that of Scotland’s stormy skies and rough seas. It is amazing how she has shaped this hard rigid material into something that looks so elegant and flowing.

Website: http://www.heatherwoof.com/

Overall, I found Dazzle to be an inspiring event to visit, especially for a new jeweller like me. From what I have observed, I feel that the contemporary trend is growing here in Scotland due to the colours and push for mixed media materials and design. It is great to see that craft in Scotland is flourishing, seems that it is the place to be for a craftsperson. I believe it is important to visit and take part in such events – to observe any changing trends and stay within the loop of Scotland’s Craft community which is growing stronger everyday.

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Research Project: Lauren Kalman

For this research project, we were asked to research allocated jewellery designers in-depth and create a piece inspired by their work and philosophies. I was given the multi-media and goldsmith artist Lauren Kalman.

Kalman was born in Cleveland Heights, and currently lives and teaches in Providence, Rhode Island. Her mother was a commercial photographer and her father, an industrial designer. Her parents are present in her work – as her objects for the body imply to ergonomics and industrial design.

Her Hard Wear series focuses on the struggle between the unrefined body and the desire for perfection. She believes gold symbolises beauty, purity and immortality because it is an expensive and valuable material. People have been wearing jewellery made of gold to emphasise these qualities and improve their desire for perfection. However, in contrast, Kalman makes the body look UNdesirable through applying gold to the body, highlighting disease and imperfections.

Kalman applies jewellery to the strangest of places, such as the inside corner of the eye, the inner ear and nostril. I believe through placing objects in these awkward places reveals hidden areas of the body. In addition, these jewels cause restriction and sometimes reactions. For instance, blocking one nostril through inserting jewellery makes it more difficult to breathe and the sprouting shape of the object must hurt and graze the nostril when you put it in. The Gold Duct piece, when place, causes you to cry because the gold is just about touching the eye itself and restricting you to blink, thus, drying the eye out.

Are these grillz as cool as pimped up rapper Flava Flav here? Or just gross? As you watch Kalman insert these gold veneers into her mouth, the effect is both intriguing yet repulsive as the veneers cause saliva to drip from her mouth. Imperfections begin to show. Thus, in the ‘Hard Wear’ series, Kalman is conveying the idea that beautiful and valuable materials such as gold and pearls can reveal undesirable qualities and imperfections on the body through distortion.

Blooms, Efflorescence, and Other Dermatological Embellishments 2009


In this series, pins are temporarily pierced into the skin to mimic infectious diseases. However, this temporary nature echoes the temporary visibility of diseases she portrays such as syphilis, warts, herpes, etc, which in time disappears from the skin’s surface, but sadly still lingers within the body. Her inspirations come from common images off the internet and medical resources, this is the reason for the compositions and close-up nature of Kalman’s images – trying to imitate photographs of medical infections.

I believe Kalman is emphasising that until the material of the infection is altered, grotesque becomes immediately beautiful. Even the colour of the embellishments, arrangement and monetary value convey these contrast because they are made of valuable materials, dotted evenly and balanced beautifully yet in the back of you mind you have got to remind yourself these are spots and disease. You may think a blistering rash is disgusting to look at, for example, but as soon as the glistening sores are replaced with lustrous pearls does it transform the appearance completely.

So yeah, from Kalman’s work I decided to take a similar approach but different theme and look at what food does to prevent certain diseases. In particular, I have focused on foods which actually look like the organ they help to protect.

For instance, a sliced carrot looks like the human eye and helps with the function of the eyes, improves vision and prevents infections such as cataracts.

Tomatoes have four chambers and is red just like the heart has four chambers. They can help with blood flow and prevent heart diseases such as coronary heart disease which is the narrowing of arteries.

But what I have taken interest in is the brain. Walnuts have gnarled folds just like the brain and are high in Omega 3 fatty acids which help with the development of the brain, thus, may assist in preventing dementia and brain aging.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia which includes the loss of memory. It leads to the development of protein ‘plaques’ and ‘tangles’ in the brain, resulting in the death of brain cells. So far Scientists are not absolutely sure of what causes Alzheimer’s disease. It could be age, inheritance or genetic factors. No

one is sure.

I took inspiration from Alzheimer’s cells and tried developing veiny shapes and alien-like forms to convey inner body organs and cells. I liked the idea of something growing out of the body like roots of a tree, spindly wrapping tendrils to emphasise a feeling of growth and never letting go. Like Alzheimer’s, it worsens over time and once you have it, you have got it for time.

The cells under a micro-scope were beautiful to look at, yet transmitted a nasty disease. I carried out samples using resin, experimenting with different colours similar to that of Alzheimer’s cells. The colours, to me, looked ultraviolet, like they glowed. Thus, I sampled using bits of UV acrylic and bright pigments to achieve colours I was happy with to give the idea of nuclei and cell-like qualities.

Sensation in this project was important to me. The first thought that came into my head of a nasty growth was something sticky, fleshy, and when touched would remain on your hands as if it was trying to pass onto someone else. Trying to grow and spread. I immediately thought LATEX. It possessed these rubbery-like qualities which would be perfect for what I wanted to achieve. I experimented with colours but preferred the clear stuff as it seemed more cell-like to me.

I attached the resin bits to the latex and created vein-like patterns by cutting holes into the rubber. I experimented with burning to achieve dark crisp sticky edges. The reason why I darkened the latex was because it would create more of a contrast on the skin, but yet retained that transparent quality. The natural latex was too similar to the colour of the skin, it would not be seen in the photographs and would reflect light too much, thus my decision. In addition, the melted latex would stick and feel more repulsive when attached to the skin, when taken off it would leave oil residue on the skin which emphasises the idea of dormant disease.


This is my final piece. I am pleased with the sensation and idea of my piece, however, the colour is not fully to my liking. I tried to find a way to make  the latex UV but the paint was expensive. Hopefully my piece conveys an impression of growth and spreading through the appearance of it placed on the body.

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Wearable Food: Reality and Non-Reality

Sung Yeon Ju was  born in Seoul, Korea 1986 and graduated from Hong IK University in 2010. She has created a beautiful series called ‘Wearable Food’ in which she has produced numerous garments made from food then photographing them.

Starting from top left and along the dress are made of: chives; Lotus root; shrimp; aubergine; red cabbage; leeks; BUBBLEGUM; banana; tomatoes. AMAZING!!!!

In her statement she claims that “Photography has a power to make us believe”, suggesting that a picture, no matter how manipulated it is, we will still think it is real. For example, air-brushed photographs of celebrities make us believe they have no cellulite or wrinkles, however this is never the case. So Yeon Ju’s assertion here is that as time passes – food rots and changes colour and shrivels. But through taking a photograph at the particular moment when the food is fresh, it makes us accept that the dress is unchangeable. But in reality, what really happens? The food on the dress decays therefore does not retain their photographed state – it is not real that food stays fresh forever like in the photo. However, looking at the photograph we feel happiness that this short-lived circumstance could remain.

I love this idea of reality vs non-reality as it makes me think differently of perfect photographs of famous celebs. It cannot be real that you always look perfect. These designs also remind me of Lady Gaga’s meat dress she wore which made you GAG more than craving.

Another artist I would suggest to look at is a guy called Ted Sebarese, he has amazing photography, design and sculpture.

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Summer of Love: The Psychedelic, Music and LSD

I love a good bit of colour, nature, music, festivals, a relaxed ambience and a quirky sense of mismatched style – this is why I am very keen on the Hippie Era.

The Hippie Era began in 1966 in San Francisco. It was a response to Lynsey Johnson’s presidency, between the years 1963 to 1968, where she brought domestic progress but also growth of the war in Vietnam. The bombing and violence caused the youth of America to flee to San Francisco to escape from the violence and political system. They did not move to rebuild or even change society they just wanted to escape from it all. Become part of a whole different world of love, peace, and flower power. And with a little help from drugs like LSD, the job became a lot easier.

Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) is originated from an ergot fungus, discovered in 1968 by a Swiss chemist Dr Albert Hofman and his colleague Dr W. A. Kroll. Five years later, Hofman somehow accidently took some LSD and this was the first time anybody had had an acid trip.

LSD captured a number of scientists’ attention and began experimenting with the drug to help treat illnesses such as schizophrenia, sexual disorders and criminal rehabilitation.

LSD is colourless, tasteless and odourless. It usually comes soaked in blotters and squares or sheets of paper decorated with quirky designs (strawberries sunflowers, rockets). The drug effect is described as a ‘trip’ as it can last up to 8 to12 hours. It alters and expands consciousness and with a high dose it can completely wipe out the outside world with a new colourful one. You become more aware of things (visual, auditory, sensory and emotional) normally unnoticed in the real world. Intricate details on surfaces, richness of sounds, vibrancy of colour and the thoughts in your mind become distorted and exaggerated. Things can overlap and merge until you can actually see sounds and smell colours as if you have synaesthesia. However, it is not always all good. People can sometimes experience a ‘bad trip’ where the high can turn frightening and traumatic. It can be caused by the environment you are in, the mood you are in and the overwhelming feeling of the drug’s power. LSD is actually not at all addictive. It is not physically addictive and not a drug you want to do immediately again. However it can be psychologically addictive like if someone wants to escape reality.

To fathom Hell or soar angelic, just take a pinch of psychedelic.” – Humprey Osmond

LSD is a mind-altering drug which can cause ‘psychedelic’ effects. ‘Psychedelic’ usually means ‘generating hallucinations’ and relates to distortions of perception. The first time it was used was in a letter written to Aldous Huxley (1956) from the British Psychiatrist Humphrey Osmand, who was experimenting with the drug to find a cure for mental illnesses like schizophrenia. Osmand first spelt the word ‘psychodelic’ but later changed it to ‘psychedelic’ to get rid of the ‘psycho’ connotations it possessed. Two of the main artists who convey psychedelia and their influence of LSD are Andy Warhol and Yayoi Kusama.

Andy Warhol

Banana, 1966.

This piece by Andy Warhol was the cover for the 1967 Velvet Underground’s album. I think it is visually intriguing and ambiguous as it is simply an ordinary yellow banana. However at the top of the banana there are printed instructions for viewers ‘peel slowly and see’, which revealed a flesh coloured banana inside. I believe this immediately stirred art critiques as well as the general public due to it’s dirty sexual connotations. What a dirty genius.

Marilyn Monroe, 1962.

Warhol created many paintings of Marilyn Monroe after her suicide in 1962. He used a photograph from her film, Niagara. He wanted to mass produce this painting by using the technique called silk screen, involving enlarging and transferring a photo on to silk. Warhol admired Marilyn Monroe as a star and was fascinated by her beauty. He portrayed Monroe as not only gorgeous, but dark and mysterious.


Yayoi Kusama

Psychedelic art tries to imitate, introduce, inspire, and convey the effects of the psychedelic experience. It tries to portray a true reflection of the fantasy world whilst experiencing an acid trip. However it is never easy to capture the drug journey in either words or images.

“Like hallucination or dissociative phenomena… But don’t you see? – The visual stuff was just the décor with LSD… The whole thing was… the experience… this certain indescribable feeling” – Tom Wolfe

It was under the Hippie’s two concert venues in San Francisco, the Fillmore and the Avalon Ballroom, where the psychedelic poster art was born. The posters were designed by numerous major artists, the famous five nicknamed: Wes Wilson, Victor Moscoso, Rick Griffin, Alton Kelley and Stanley Mouse.

Between 1966 and 1971, they designed posters to advertise concert groups like the Grateful Dead, the Charlatans, the 13th Floor Elevators, the Doors, the Velvet Underground, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Pink Floyd, and many others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Left: Wes Wilson; Right: Victor Moscoso)

(Rick Griffin)

(Alton Kelley)

(Stanley Mouse)

Rain’ by The Beatles (1966) was the first psychedelic track as it captures the vibrant lucidity of an LSD experience. The heaviness and sonic presence of the track can appear to those under the drug’s influence. It explores LSD-influenced feelings of detatchment of the real world.

“Can you hear me, that when it rains and shines/ It’s just a state of mind?/Can you hear me? Can you hear me?”

John Lennon:When I’m in the middle of a dream/ Stay in bed, float upstream… Please don’t wake me… I’m only sleeping’. Written in a time when Lennon was tripping daily and his sense of self had virtually melted away.

A day in the Life’ by The Beatles was first banned from the BBC due to it’s drug references “I’d love to turn you on” which suggests the use of psychedelic drugs. “Found my way upstairs and had a smoke/ somebody spoke and I went into a dream” these lyrics also allegedy refer to drug use, smoking marijuana and going into a high.

 

 

 

 

To fathom Hell or soar angelic, just take a pinch of psychedelic.” – Humprey Osmond

 

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Leonardo Da Vinci: The Perfect Human Body

After watching a short documentary called ‘The Beauty of Diagrams: Vitruvian Man’ presented by Professor Marcus du Sautoy, I have discovered that the aim of the Vitruvian Man diagram by Leonardo Da Vinci was not just a beautiful drawing but it was to show through science and art the perfection of the human body.

Da Vinci came from a small Tuscan village who constantly travelled like most artists. He worked in many places such as Florence, Mulan and Venice. It is hard to define what he was exactly. Was he an artist? Musician? Botanist? Anatomist? Engineer? Architect? Turns out he was all of these things. He painted the iconic Mona Lisa, designed military hardware and was the first artist to cut open a human body, dissect and draw human organs and bones. He possessed a strong thirst for knowledge: feet, skulls, and hands, hearts, and lungs, muscles, and sinews, buildings, bridges, and machines. He obsessively dissected, drew and examined like no other artist had done before. For him science and art were one. His aim for dissecting and drawing the body obsessively was to find the perfect geometric proportions that ruled the natural world – and God’s greatest creations was man himself.

Da Vinci: ‘Man is the model of the world’

 

There are so many meanings to the Vitruvian Man diagram. Yes it is about the body and human anatomy but as you look in depth you can see mathematics and geometry. It is in fact a solution to an early arch itectural problem. The problem, about buildings and mans’ proportions. Other artists in the past tried but failed. Da Vinci’s diagram is one which conveys that man is the ideal geometric model for architecture.

Da Vinci’s inspirations came from the classical works on architecture by the Roman writer Vitruvius. Vitruvius said ‘For any building to be beautiful it must have perfect symmetry and proportions like those found in nature’, thus, resulted in Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man.

The task laid down by Vitruvius was to position a man on his back with arms stretched out and have his fingers and toes touch the circle’s circumference pinpointed on the mans naval and also to plac e the same man inside a square. When observing the Vitruvian Man you can see lines situated on certain places the body. These lines represent the different proportions that the body possess. For example: four fingers make up a palm, six palms make up the distance from the top of the finger to the elbow, then four times the distance from finger to elbow makes up the height of the man. The diagram indicates the proportions of the human body and its link to architecture.

But what does the circle and square mean? They were seen as perfect shapes in nature in the Renaissance. They were also important to Vitruvius. He thought temples were the perfect buildings as they were a close link to God. A square formed the floor and the circle – the dome.

At last, the final layer – movement – captured in Da Vinci’s diagram by the man’s unique double pose. Martin Kemp and graphic designer Steve Maher collaborated and took the task in exploring movement to create an animation. The idea was based upon Da Vinci’s drawings as he sketches sequences poses and a single drawing captures the feeling of movement. He analysed movement like animators would do to understand how beings move. However, Da Vinci did not have the tools to create movement out of his drawings, thus created series of them.

There is a sculpture of the Vitruvian Man in London’s Belgrave Square which captures the diagrams 3D potential. This proves how iconic Da Vinci’s drawing has become. For me, it is not as effective as Da Vinci’s diagram – it looks like there are two men merged together rather than the one man in motion. However it is striking to the eye through its large scale.

I personally can’t think of any other diagram which has had so much publicity and success. The Vitruvian Man has been given a lot of iconic treatment. His drawings are very popular with today’s artists, thus, I think will truly remain an iconic and remembered piece of art for many years to come.

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Get Inspired

Inspiration. Maybe it’s something you see or something you read. Whenever I find something I find interesting, beautiful or interesting, I like to record it. These series of photos are objects, scenes, graffiti, other artist’s work and quotes that have personal meaning to me.

This is an installation created by Sarah Lucas. Lucas’ works possess a provacotive, sexual and voilent nature. She suggests human body parts through furnature and everyday objects. However, she also reveals how men are voilent towards women (below image)

In my opinion, this work shows a sexual and voilent mood via embedding a strip light through the mattress (male genetilia) and the light bulbs hanging from the coat hanger is the female genetilia. This suggests to me that the male is dominant and overpowering in his relationship with his partner. Thus Lucas’ work reminds viewers of the problems women still face with their partners.

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Most of my objects and jewellery at home are little miniature things. I find them so cute! These couple of pieces are by Geraldine Klein.

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