Thursday, 2 April 2015

Patchwork Fence (working title)

One of the things that I love about farm fences are the ingenious methods that they are fixed and repaired. Generally using little more than a bit of wire, they are stitched and patched to mend the holes.

Inspired by these methods I created a patchwork fence 'necklace' using fine and sterling silver.

Photography by Nasia Vayianou  

The fences were constructed exploring different methods such as fusing (where the silver melts together to join rather than the use of solder to 'glue' it together), milling the silver so that it is almost as thin as aluminium foil, piercing and weaving. 


The milled silver has a lightly textured surface.





When worn on the body it has a certain 'armour' like quality, and it reminds me a little of the notorious bushranger, Ned Kelly's suit of armour. 

Image from National Museum of Australia






Thursday, 26 March 2015

Hemmed In

Continuing my exploration into creating fences using different mediums, Hemmed In is created incorporating textiles, ceramics and jewellery techniques.

Knitted cotton within fused silver 'gates'

The first step was to knit (with cotton) some panels of fence that are inspired by wire fences.

Knitted cotton dipped in porcelain slip

Next, I dipped the cotton in a high fire porcelain slip and I laid them out on a canvas board to dry. This worked well, but they had a 'front' and a 'back' from being dried flat. If I was to do this again, I would suspend them so that they had two interesting 'front' sides.

Painted with Cone 06 glaze

I wanted to apply gold lustre, gold leaf and decals onto the surface of them (they need a layer of clear glaze to adhere to the porcelain). So once they were fired (one firing all the way up to cone 10) I painted them with a thin layer of clear glaze.

The pale aqua are covered with clear glaze prior to firing.

I experimented with gold lustre, but wasn't incredibly happy with the results because it came out quite a dark copper gold.

I also experimented with putting gold leaf followed by decals that were fired in an enamel kiln at 1500 F degrees for a couple of minutes. The gold leaf remained light in colour and the decals were reminiscent of the blue willow ware that dates back to dinnerware of the 18th century.

Hemmed In

To attach the ceramic knitted pieces to the fence panels I used very thin silver wire to wrap them into place. I was inspired by the rustic and often ingenious ways fences are repaired. 

Hemmed In (detail)

The ceramic panels were dispersed between panels that were fused together with the fine silver wire.

I joined the fence panels together using a method used by the artist Alexander Calder, who whilst well known for his mobile sculptures, was also a prolific maker of jewellery.

He is one of my heroes because of his unorthodox approach to jewellery.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Fence marquettes

My studies of fences in the Australian and Canadian landscape has resulted in some of the following experiments.

Woven copper, enamel
Inspired by fences in the snow

Copper Fence
inspired by the old fences in front of Colonial Buildings
A progression of the above idea
Potentially a brooch

Silver with copper rivets & knitted silver wire.
Inspired by a wire gates at Hill End

Steel wire, silver wire, glass beads
A progression of the above idea incorporating beads
and experimenting with a different netting technique


Sticks and copper wire
Experimenting with a different netting technique

Copper and cotton
Experimenting with a flat sheet and bending it
The thread just happened...

Copper
More experiments with bending a flat sheet of copper 

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Studies of fences in the snow

My fascination of fences continues whilst I am in Canada. 


Whilst the structure of them does not differ much to that of Australian fences, I am drawn to how they look in the winter landscape. Their dark silhouettes contrast sharply with the cold white snow.


I love the monochrome palette of these images, white ground, pale sky, and everything else in shades of grey.



My exploration into fences continues into my MFA thesis in which I am researching fences in the post-colonial context.


The fence is an extension of the home delineating an area between the private feminine domestic realm and the public masculine realm outside the boundaries of the fence. The space between the house and the fence is an area where the gender roles mutate. This space is a liminal area reflecting a continual shift between masculine and feminine, public and private, past and present.

The fence symbolises ownership, boundaries, protection, inclusion and exclusion. Generally the fence is constructed consisting of vertical and horizontal planes in a three dimensional space, although it can feel illusory, with only the posts being visible, the lines of wire almost transparent and lost in the landscape. Without the weight of the shadow to enhance its presence it is insubstantial yet it can still have considerable impact on the land and the human psyche. The fence physically prevents movement in space, providing an illusion of security and restricting movement in thought, inhabiting our thinking and shaping our cultures through social restrictions.

Fences are built not for security, but for a sense of security. What a fence satisfies is not so much a material need as a mental one. Fences protect people from anxieties and fears. In this way, they are built not for those who live outside them, but for those who dwell within. In a certain sense, what is built is not a fence, but a state of mind.

The fence became a symbol of colonial plunder, promising that those who erect them have the right of territorial control. They became masculine tokens of order in the wilderness.  


Thursday, 5 March 2015

Pioneer Landscape Ring

Our second major assignment for Advanced Techniques in jewellery was to create a sculptural ring that incorporated tube settings.

Continuing to explore my interest in pioneering Australia I chose to design a ring that referenced the landscape. I was also looking to incorporate other materials and so I wanted to work with plexiglass and also parts of an antique saw blade I had acquired.

Pioneer Landscape Sculptural Ring detail
Working with my fascination of light and transparency I used the plexiglass to create mountain landscapes, with sections of the saw blade to refer to the manual labour required to eek out an existence in the Australian bush. The silver casing was textured to also refer to the terrain.

I carved rough hewn nails in wax that were then cast in silver. These became the place to slide your fingers through and are in essence the 'ring' part of the sculpture.


Originally I was planning to set gems in the rivet holes that hold the plexiglass and saw blades within the sterling silver casing, however as the design progressed this was not possible. So I added the chain which connects to a cast silver nail at one end, and the end of the saw blade at the other. The chain can be wrapped around the wrist with the saw and nail dangling like charms from a charm bracelet. 

It was onto this piece of steel that I fused 24k gold spots, soldered the silver tubes and set Andalusite gems within them. Andalusite is a beautiful stone that looks green in some lights, and a light pink in others.  

It was incredibly exciting to be working with found objects, rusty steel and gold and it has led to many ideas that I wish to explore! 



Thursday, 26 February 2015

Keraflex experiments

I have been wanting to experiment with Keraflex ever since I heard about it when I first studying ceramics a couple of years ago. It is super thin ceramic that comes in flat sheets (0.5mm or 1mm thick) very much like paper. It is held together with a binding agent which makes it flexible when soaked in water and it provides the opportunity to make ceramic  products which are extremely thin and light.

Recently I have been playing with it. Experimenting with stitching to hold it together to create different sorts of forms.


Stitched keraflex (white bottom left corner)
Above are some samples to see what happens when the form is held together using thread before being fired in the kiln. In this image there are also stitched cardboard and copper samples where I am experimenting with form.


Most of the stitched pieces broke during the firing. But the shards were equally beautiful and intresting shapes, so I attached them to one of my gate like structures. I anticipate that this could be a brooch. 

Despite being really thin, the material is quite strong when fired to cone 10. 

Paper marquette of necklace idea

I also experimented with making cone shapes. With the intention of making a necklace similar to the paper version above.

Keraflex cones before firing
Keraflex cones after firing with gold lustre
I like the white porcelain combined with the gold lustre. But to get gold lustre to work, they need to be glazed with clear first (fired to cone 6). In the pieces above, I glaze only the bits that are now gold, so there is also the contrast between matt porcelain and shinny gold.

I have moved on from the original cone idea, and I am enjoying working with the shards. So I am thinking that these will be broken and reassembled along the same lines as the brooch idea.







Thursday, 19 February 2015

Noel Guyomarch Workshop

Our Advanced Technique jewellery class had the fabulous opportunity to participate in a workshop with Noel Guyomarch. Noel has one of the most interesting contemporary jewellery galleries in Montreal, Galerie Noel Guyomarch, and he is an avid collector and supporter of contemporary jewellery.

Memory vessel: Pearls of Wisdom. Knitted copper wire
15cm high x 6cm deep

We were asked to bring something special that we treasured. I haven't really brought many souvenirs from Australia with me, with the exception of a beautiful blue bolder opal ring that I wear religiously.

Example of boulder opal

Noel asked each of us why the item was important and then we had to translate these ideas into another object.

For me, the ring is important for many reasons. The opal is from Australia, so wherever I travel I always have a bit of Australia with me.  It is my birthstone. It is also made from water, something Australia doesn't have much of. What makes it most special though was that it was a present from my Nan.

With these thoughts in mind I started making a vessel to contain memories. I just happened to have a collection of faux pearls on my desk and they made their way into the container too. Inevitably it became known as Pearls of Wisdom.

My work bench is known throughout the jewellery department for its collection of interesting bits and pieces, and I have a collection of marbles which I would like to make another container for. This vessel will be all about 'losing your marbles'!

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