Friday, April 30, 2010

2nd year Metal Design Associates Peta Kruger and Hannah Carlyle talk about their recent trip to the JMGA (Jewellery and Metalsmith) Conference Resource in Perth

Can you tell us about the theme of the exhibition?
Peta: We each received a section of map from the Adelaide CBD, this could be interpreted into jewellery and/or objects in any way we wished. We made our own display cabinets that were designed to pack down to 'carry on' luggage specifications and each of us travelled over with one of them. The concept seemed to fit naturally the Metal Design Studio travelling together to Perth for a conference, each bringing something to share that describes ourselves and the place we have come from.

Hannah: We were each given a section of map of the Adelaide CBD to base our work on for the show. We could interpret the section however we wanted, no restrictions were given.

Could you describe your work form the show – the ideas behind the work you produced and your process of making ?
Peta: I was allocated an area that included Whitmore Square, the streets south of this, part of the South Terrace Parklands and Veale Gardens. I set myself a task of mapping the items that I found in a walk of the area, items that would normally be considered pointless to be placed on a street map because they were too small or considered to be throwaway, but items that might tell something of the character in the people living in the area and the place, at one moment in time.
I had anticipated on finding lots of interesting and uninteresting pieces of rubbish. On my walk of the area I didn't find any rubbish, maybe just a few scraps of paper. Instead I was slightly surprised to find a number of gardens created by individuals along council strips in the streets. At Veale Gardens I found blooming garden beds and luscious lawns but no rubbish, and in the parklands opposite - dead grass, dead and dying trees and some that had been cut down due to water restrictions from the drought.

Floral motifs are often used as a theme for decorative brooches and so through a series of brooches I displayed some of the blooming succulents, the pretty introduced species along the council strips and bare twigs from the parklands that summarised the character of the area on the day. The area owns a large population of individuals who are homeless, and from my walk I mostly noticed the progress and the efforts of people in the community, and the council, to make the streets and parks shared and communal spaces for all.

Hannah: I explored notions of line and shadow created by rooftops in an aerial view of Adelaide. Reflecting on the architectural elements of the buildings within my area and using the Adelaide Festival Centre as a point of reference, the use of pattern, texture and colour translate the aesthetics found when looking down on our city.

What were some of the highlights of the conference – particular key notes etc. and why?
Peta: Karl Fritsch gave a wonderful and illuminating, personal insight into his life and development as a jeweller. He presented his talk on a slide projector and it included holiday snaps, pictures of his aunties, the place he grew up, the places he worked, the first objects he made as a 6-year old and the pivotal moments in his career where he had made conscious decisions to introduce change to his practice. It was fascinating and rewarding to listen.

Hannah: I really enjoyed the Pin Swap Dinner. It gave me the opportunity to really interact with jewellers from interstate, but also get to know the other Adelaide jewellers that were attending that I had never really spoken to before.

Which exhibitions did you like and why?
Peta: The highlight for me was Makers Metier at Gallery East in North Fremantle. The artist's were Helen Britton, Cynthia Cousens, Karl Fritsch, Elizabeth Turrell and Lisa Walker each with their renown individual interpretations of jewellery and objects, resulting in a room full of exquisiteness.

Hannah: I particularly liked Return. The work was presented very well and I liked all of the jewellery and objects on display.

How was pin swap night, whose work did you get etc.?
Peta: I received a pin from Danielle Butters, a jeweller from Sydney who also teaches at Enmore. We had met each other the previous day at the conference, and had dinner together in Fremantle, so it was a lovely surprise and keepsake.

Hannah: I loved the Pin Swap Dinner; it was a really fun experience. I picked a piece by Perth jewellery Carolyn Gorman, but she was a key member in the conference, she introduced all the speakers at the conference, etc. The piece was made during a workshop with Julie Blyfield.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Mind and Matter: Interview with Adelaide based glassy Jessica Loughlin

1. How did you become a glass maker?
As a material glass is attractive to most - and perhaps in a large part this is due to it’s unique quality to hold and transfer light.

My Father, who is an architect, probably first brought my attention to the material of glass and its importance in buildings to bring us light , and allow the outside into a buiding.  My mother who was a dancer, so I grew up surrounding by the arts and was encouraged to be creative.

In these surroundings I became interested in the difference that the arts can have to enriching our lives through the simple high minded belief that we create our environment and surroundings, (such as chairs, home, office, cities etc) - and the environment that we create needs to stimulate us, make us think and feed our souls as well as provide a utility.

I was drawn to making from an early realisation of the difference between using the Alessi kettle (designed by Richard Sapper) and other white goods in my childhood kitchen. Unlike white goods, the kettle took on a purpose that went beyond its utilitarian function. This vision to put poetry into objects, which create our surroundings, continues to inspire me.

I intended to study design, however, in the process of making, I realised using and molding the ‘real’ materials was important to my design process and allowed for a more intimate understanding of the object. So instead of designing objects, I left Melbourne to study Glass at the Canberra School of Art.

2. Which glassmakers crafts people, writers, musicians are inspiring?
Agnes Martin - for  her paintings, writings and thinking on beauty. She has a clarity to her writing that is honest and straight to the point. She reminds the maker to be true to themselves, true to their idea. She asks of an artist to live an inspired life and to strip away all the extra information that surrounds the true essence of a piece and the true essence of an art practice.

Howard Taylor, his study on light. When walking into his retrospective at the Art Gallery of Western Australia, his work emitted light off the painted surface, so that when looking at his pieces, you where almost looking at the light in front on the works. This exhibition presented a deep understanding of the ability of light to create form. Another artist that actually uses light to create space and by doing so questions our understanding of space, is James Turrell, who’s work I also greatly admire

3. Can you tell us about and Collections / museums you have found inspiring:
There is a collection of photographs  at the Whitney Museum in New York, which together make one piece “Still Water” by Roni Horn . This piece is series of digital photographs hang around the perimeter of a room. They are detail images of the Thames River, each shot from about the same distance all showing the different moods of water. When approaching a particular image, you realize that the water is numbered, and that running along the base of the image are the footnotes. When reading the footnotes, you almost feel you are it is a stream of consciousness of the viewer watching this water. In the act of viewing this piece you become aware of the space outside (of the landscape of water) and the internal space of the head. As walking towards the piece I notice the moment the barrier of that private interior and the external landscape blur.

4. Are there any specific Quotes ; Ideas ; Places ; that have influences this current body of work:
To me, the Australian landscape is defined by its vast space and a sense of distance. There is an inherent quiet and stillness here, which is unlike any other country. Being out in a vast space creates stillness and space within my mind, and it is portraying this stillness that has remained a constant aim within all my work.

On the way back from a hiking trip 2006, I went to Lake Gairdner. At 130 kilometres long and 48 kilometres wide, it is the fourth largest salt lake in Australia and walking out onto the lake I felt the most overwhelming sense of space – there was not activity noise or confusion rather just salt and sky.

After walking about an hour the mirage that I thought was ahead was water – just 5mm or so. Continuing on it was like walking on top of water.

Light become the landscape and I looked down into the sky.
It’s as if I was suspended in space.

The experience being in this landscape is overwhelming.
For me this is such a powerful landscape- awe inspiring that are beyond your control. A sense of vast – so vast that “our imagination falters in the talk of comprehending it” to Quote Emmanual Kant philosopher in describing the sublime.

As bill viola has said in exhibition catalogue “negotiating rapture”
-“When all the clutter of everyday life is reduced to such brutal minimalism the visual control valves are released and images well up within.”

In this brutally minimal landscape - your are confronted and listen to your own mind.
“The further we go out there, the further we go into ourselves”. Brian Blanchflower ( Western Australian Painter)

Overall I see my works as not representing the sublime, but more as spaces for contemplation - for the viewer to take notice of their own thoughts.

Describe your method of production and the specific themes behind  the works in this exhibition:
The works in this exhibition have in part been inspired by experiences I’ve had visiting large salt lakes such as Lake Gairdner and Lake Eyre, where the relationship to water is such a special one.

Even though there is so little water, the landscape is full of drainage lines—watermarks imprinted on the earth. The ground has been shaped and created by water and it is the memory of water that is dominant in this landscape. The physical marks left on the land are what has inspired these piece.

The process I created to make the work in this exhibition reflects the concept. Solid glass is ground up to make powder, and then mixed with water. With water, the powder is moved across a the surface of a large sheet of glass. I then leave the water to evaporate: it leaves an imprint—a watermark—in the glass. Again, the movement of water through evaporation. Once all dry the glass in then fired in a kiln. This process then can be repeated to build up the layers of glass powder. Then parts of the surface edges are ground and put in the kiln for the final firing to bend the glass, as so the piece reflects the some lightness, like hanging paper.

Tell us about your workshop:
I am part of a workshop called Gate 8 which myself and Deb Jones started in 2006. Now we have 6 artists and designers working here, all in different media. I have always worked in a private group studio where there is a great balance between working in a studio on your own and the support, dialogue, creativity and fun you can have working with others. I have included a couple of snaps of our studio.

Mind and Matter: Meditations on Immateriality
10 April - 16 May 2010
Masahiro Asaka, Gabriella Bisetto, Brian Corr, Mel Douglas, Deb Jones, Jessica Loughlin, Janice Vitkovsky, Richard Whiteley
Mind and Matter maps important sculptural, poetic and cerebral tendencies within contemporary glass

Tales of Adventure: From JamFactory

Craft Australia talks to second year Glass Associate Danielle Rickaby, about life at Jam!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

New Product: JamFactory Glass Studio gets kinky

JamFactory's Glass Studio has been hard at work developing new designs for its studio product range. JamFactory Blog chats to Deb Jones from the Glass Studio about their new product and the inspiration behind these new designs!

What was the inspiration for the new Kink Oil Bottle?
Last year we made a farewell gift for former Metal Design Studio Creative Director Sue Lorraine and we were so happy with it we thought other people should be able to get it as a present too!

Who designed the unique shape of the bottle?
 Like everything we do down here its a combination of people, designs and comments and everyone who came before us.We like the way the shape suits the action. It just wants to pour.


The OK Training vase provides the opportunity for associates to employ a variety of techniques, tell us more about this.
The OK Training Vase is an item designed for exactly that….Good Training. In just one vase our blowers get to pick up colour, put colour onto a gather, blow into a mold, trim the lip, put two handles onto the form and mark the glass with hot brands. We have created a quirky design with a lot of action for you to use as a vase or jug.  Every one’s a winner!

What is the concept behind the ice range?
The Ice Range is designed to showcase an amazing phenomenon of hot glass.  When the glass is half formed and still molten it is plunged into cold water.  The chill is recorded on the surface of the glass capturing this amazing natural pattern.  The forms are simple, showcasing the Ice pattern.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Sarah Green Artist in Residence

Tell us about yourself, how did you become a jeweller? I started learning to make jewellery when I was around the age of 15 through a night course with WEA.  After finding the course inspirational I did some work experience with a family friend: Adelaide jeweller John Karran, then fell into a visual arts and contemporary craft certificate at O'Halloran Hill Tafe after finishing school.  After studying for one year I moved to Sydney to study Jewellery and Object Design at the Enmore Design Centre Tafe and learnt more by working part time for Adina Jozsef.  I started my own business late last year and finished studying in December.  

How would you describe your work- material and processes? Are there any specific themes that run through your practice? I think all practitioners find it hard to describe their work in words, at the moment I'm still defining my aesthetic.  I work mostly in silver, with the inclusion of other materials like gold (when I can!), glass, wood, silk thread and the odd found object or material.  My favourite process is carving: wood or wax, but also believe in old school manufacturing processes like sawing, filing, sanding, polishing.  At the moment the main themes I'm exploring through my work are beauty, science and knowledge of the world around us. 

Where do you go, look, research for inspiration? Inspiration tends to strike me when I'm in periods of change, or when one part of my brain is occupied with something else like everyday tasks.  I also find listening to music, reading magazines and books, looking around at trees and things on the ground when walking places and my brother's talent writing songs inspirational. 
You recently finished your course at Enmore TAFE, NSW what did you find most rewarding of your experiences studying there? The whole process of studying at the Design Centre Enmore was rewarding, tough at times, but everything that happened in the course has lead me to where I am now.  The teachers, who are successful practitioners in their own right from around the world, pushed me to find the designer within and develop my making skills further.  I especially found the comprehensive and workshop set up and friendships formed with classmates rewarding.   

What are your main objectives while working at JamFactory? While at the JamFactory i'm making a production range of silver jewellery to sell to the public, but that's mostly an excuse for me to hang around the Jam Factory getting to know the place and the people.  The first contemporary jewellery exhibition I went to was at the Jam Factory so I think it's fitting that I come back here to start my career!