In the midst of creating interactive wearable objects, from dissected and reconfigured wooden kitchen utensils, I find myself caught in a space between Contemporary Jeweler and Visual Artist. While my objective is to have a boot in both camps, utilizing an art context to complement and augment my jewelry, currently one boot is way too heavy. The jewelry pieces I make are successful at suggesting their touchable and changeable nature, but the traditional form of presentation that is often imparted on them, fails to engage a viewer to a participatory level, leaving them incomplete.
Glenn Adamson states when discussing a weaving by Anni Albers in his introduction to Thinking through Craft, ‘that to see is not enough, one feels the need to rub it between ones fingers to fully appreciate its design’. While I am using this comment figuratively, this rational indirectly addresses my own work as Adamson is addressing a complex discussion about the differences between, craft as art and art as craft. A notion that has plagued my thought patterns for a number of years as I want my own work to challenge this space.
Helen Britton successfully utilizes an interdisciplinary jewelry craft plus art approach by merging her pieces into contemporary installations that act as introductory vehicles into the individual works. When I accompanied the New Zealand Talente group to her workshop recently, she expressed that she started her career training as an artist. Unquestionably, her pieces are jewelry that is thoughtfully and purposefully presented so that the viewer can engage with the ideas and design philosophies behind the work. This is the commonality between Helen’s work and my own objective.
Adamson, Glenn, Thinking through Craft, Bloomsbury, London, 2013
Talente and NZ jewellers visit to Helen Britton’s Workshop, Munich, 13/03/2014