Abigail Percy

Since first seeing Anya Kivarkis’ jewellery a few years ago, I have been keeping an eye on her work…and am delighted to be seeing it popping up all over the net!!

…Having graduated with a BFA in Craft [Jewelry/Metalsmithing] from the University of Illinois and an MFA in Metal from the State University of New York, it is not suprising Anya’s collection of work is so beautiful and well considered. I love her visual language…the construction and deconstruction of shape and form and the play of the real against the surreal. Being a lover of history, I adore the glimpses of Victoriana seen in her pieces, through referencing doilies and lace…chadeliers and shadows. The partial hiding and simplification of form that she achives through dipping the work in resin {although it looks like glass enamel} really serves to give the work a highly modern edge. I really enjoy her colour palette of icy, juicy blues, stark whites {through the resin and blanched silver} and the burnt looking black edges…

Having recently won the prestigious ‘Emerging Artist’ award from Sienna Gallery it really does go to show what a bright light Anya Kivarkis will be from now on in the jewellery world. I am very much looking forward to seeing more work from her soon…..!!

Anya Kivarkis’ website seems to be down at the moment, but be sure to bookmark it for visiting in the future.

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Musee du Luxembourg, Paris

Having just returned home from a week in Paris – I thought I would share with you all a wonderful exhibition I saw whilst there…’René Lalique – Bijoux d’exception’ on show at the Musee du Luxembourg until the end of July this year.
I went on the first day and it was just stunning! René Lalique is perhaps best known now for his glass but his jewellery is every bit as beautiful and striking…and to me {as a jeweller}, much more interesting ;)

Haircomb – Bone, Gold, Diamonds – paint-up

What was most fascinating for me was to see such a great number of Laliques’ own sketches, designs and paint-ups [a traditional technique for depicting jewellery where you paint the item to scale in perfect detail, so it looks like you could pick it up...mostly executed in ink, watercolour and gouache]…when in the modern world, jewellers and designers are increasingly using the crude and personality-less method of computer rendering rather than drawing by hand and keeping this tradition alive. Seeing this work – which looks as fresh and invigorating as the day it was painted, really is a breath of fresh air.

Haircomb – Bone, Gold, Diamonds

The exhibition itself was quite small {and as such, really manageable}, just three medium sizes rooms {beautifully air-conditioned to protect the work!}…the content equally split between his drawings and design work [displayed flat on the wall] and his jewellery [in cases, both wall mounted and in floor cases where you have to peer deep within to see the treasures]. A lovely touch that was added curation-wise was the inclusion of some other items, such as Japanese decorative iron sword parts {you know the ones that look like belt buckles!?}, photographs, and other objects d’art from the era…which all served to give the work an excellent sense of time and context within design as a whole.

Paint-up … watercolour, ink, crayon

What I couldn’t get over was the stunning and absolute level of extreme skill involved in creating these pieces – and also the scale. Many of the pieces are tiny, and often in catalogues or books, you never really can appreciate how intricate and amazing the pieces are. It is hands down one of the best ‘historical’ exhibitions I have ever seen – and as I write this I am wishing I could nip back for another look!! I would urge anyone who could possibly see this to do so – the collection of work has been brought together from all over the world {many of the pieces being in private collections} and really does make for the most splendid group!

10 Euros to enter, and the exhibition runs from the 7th of March – 29th July 2007. Catalogue, available only in French, is 39 Euros.

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Silhouette Pins – Arthur Hash. Mild steel and Paint

Brooch Installation – Arthur Hash. Mild steel and Paint

I discovered Arthur Hash and his stunning jewellery the other day whilst browsing the website for Velvet da Vinci gallery…as someone who loves silhouette in many forms, I was especially drawn to his wonderfully striking installation of Silhouette Pins in the form of figures in various poses.

Made from Mild Steel and Paint…these pins, even in isolation, are striking in their simplicity – but as a group become even more witty, stylish and graphic. Often, in jewellery photography, the scale of the piece is entirely lost to the viewer….I love how this group of work {shown as a whole, and also as individual pieces} really throws that into focus, and plays with the notion of ‘strength in numbers’…..

Arthur graduated in 2005 from Indiana University with an MFA in Metalsmithing and Jewellery Design – I look forward to following his work, and it’s progression through his website as well as through his flickr stream …with his varied and ecclectic approach to jewellery design – I’m sure there will be many more good things to come from him in the future. One to keep an eye on for sure!

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I enjoy the funny juxtaposition of wearing the body, on the body. Barbie has become the accessory instead of being accessorized. I take pleasure in the contrast and contradiction of something mass-produced being transformed and revealed as a unique, handmade, wearable piece of art.

Margaux Lange

I found Margaux’s work online a while ago – and was delighted to come across her new and updated website the other day. What I especially like about her work is it’s sense of playfulness, it’s ingenuity. I love that Margaux is using something iconic and turning it on its head…adding to and exploring the cult of Barbie, issues of recycling and adornment. I also really enjoyed seeing an insight into her process {and a peek into her work environment – as a jeweller myself, this is always interesting!} via her blog

I have always personally loved Barbies, having played with them all the time as a child – making my own clothes and hats for them, giving them hair-cuts {eek}…and so found it really interesting at art school when they were discussed in such depth during lectures and debates for their design status.

Many people now see Barbie as a bad role-model for girls – but this was something I absolutely did not identify with, and do not subscribe to the idea that this iconic doll influences young childrens ideal of the perfect woman {I never wanted to look like Barbie}. I see her as an excellent outlet for creativity and roleplay…something essential in a childs development.

I am so glad, as an adult, to see these positive notions continuing – in such a wonderful and beautifully executed way – through Margaux’s jewellery.

I can’t wait to see the collection evolve!

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Carafe, Rudolf Bott – Neuburg an der Donau, 2002
Silver Carafe, hammered and raised..

“COLLECT- The international art fair for contemporary objects. Presented by the British Crafts Council…41 galleries will present work by over 350 leading artists covering ceramics, glass, jewellery, silver and fine metalwork, textiles, wood and furniture…”

Each year, Collect – held at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and presented by the Crafts Council – causes a huge stir amongst the Art and Craft community and is praised as one of the best Craft events in the calendar year…it is running from the 8th – 12th of February {2007} and will be well worth attending if you are in the capital this month.

Events such as this are always great as the age old question of ‘What is Craft?’ gets a renewed airing in the public arena…this was a topic that sparked lots of interest the last time I posted about it and I was also very interested to read the take on the subject by so many leading industry proffessionals as well, detailed here

You can view a small selection of the work that will be exhibited at Collect by clicking here

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