Co:Operation GARNISH

Can the metal and jewelry field overcome its division and send out a much-needed signal?

We appreciate and respect our historical past and acknowledge that current materials have a rightful place in jewelry/object making!

Arriving at this message is the goal of this exhibition cooperatively arranged by Rachel Timmins and Brigitte Martin.

Please join this group to stay informed !! This is the official exhibition blog.

  • Linda Savineau

    Finding a partner will be more difficult than creating a piece of jewellery. But we like challenges, don't we ?

  • Brigitte Martin

    Finding a partner is actually the fun part as far as I am concerned. Great way to do some research.

    Some artists may find it difficult to 'fit' their work within a predefined category, in those cases we suggest they aim to cooperate with an artist whose material choices are decidedly different from their own, i.e. someone works in metals mostly, how about teaming up with an artist who works with fibers predominantly,  enamels - CAD, functional - nonfunctional... The combination possibilities are endless. We hope that folks will genuinely stretch themselves to pick a partner whose work is outside their own comfort zone.

    Rachel and I will be cooperating on a piece too - just to give you an example - and we will blog about it right here in the weeks to follow.

  • Alison B. Antelman

    I have to admit, I get very confused with show descriptions. One one hand they are vague in order to evoke creativity in a variety of directions, on the other hand, I'm not clear is this is even applicable to my style of work. 

  • Steve Shelby

    This reminds me of projects I've read about, like for instance an orchestra in Israel, made up of young Jews and Palestinians. It was a touching story. At least here, we are not killing each other over our artistic differences. This will be a challenge for me (1) because I have never done any kind of collaboration, and (2) I will be collaborating with someone whose work I really don't like, and if it's a good match-up, they don't like my work either! 

  • Kirsten Denbow

    This sounds like an amazing challenge. Now to try and find someone to partner with!
  • Brigitte Martin

    Rachel Timmins and I are thrilled to announce that another venue has just been added to the Co:Operation Garnish exhibition circle: Brooklyn Metalworks will be hosting the exhibition from February 5 to March 6, 2016. Thank you Erin and Brian!

  • Linda Savineau

    Steve: I admire and like (some) jewellers who work in media totally different from mine and appreciate their jewelry and know-how. The collaboration is sometimes frustrating but mostly enriching if both parties are open-minded. That doesn't mean it always works out!!!
  • Steve Shelby

    Linda, I was being a little hyperbolic. I'm not really going to try to team up with someone whose work I don't admire or appreciate. 

  • 2Roses

    We collaborate with other artists (and non-artists) all the time. The results can be amazing, and take you to places you never thought of. They can also be disappointing at times. But these things also happen when you are working alone.

    For us the secret of good collaboration is to set aside our preconceived notions of everything and work in the moment. Be open to what is and what it could be instead of what you think it should be. Some of our best collaborations have been with people completely outside our field who's work we neither understood or appreciated. Like a great party, the synergy between the people involved is what makes the magic.

  • Louise Perrone

    This is a great thread so far. 2Roses offering up some excellent advice as per usual!

  • Poppy Porter

    This looks like a great opportunity :) I think I will join in!
  • Steve Shelby

    As I look at other artist's work, especially those whose style and use of materials is diametrically opposed to mine, I keep thinking "how in hell can my work and theirs be put together into a unified work of art?" It goes against all the rules, which I guess is the whole idea of the exercise. I just hope as I get further into this, some inspiration comes along, because right now, I've got nothing. I would think others of you might have these thoughts. Can we discuss it?

  • Brigitte Martin

    Steve, this might be helpful to get you started:

    A few years back, I organized a similarly collaborative exhibition Co:Operation Tableware. For that exhibit metal artists were asked to collaborate with someone outside of our field and the artist response was incredibly interesting: Metal artists collaborated with ceramicists, furniture makers, a dentist, a poet, a costume designer, a glass blower, fiber artists and so on. Some collaborations also crossed continents. If you click on the link above you will be able to see some images of that show with artist statements.

    What I gleaned from the exercise back then was that collaborations unfold in a variety of ways and that there are no rules other than that each side has to give up some creative control and be open to have that piece be 'different'. Some collaborations were meticulously planned out from start to finish, others operated organically. In some instances one artist started a piece, the other took over and put their finishing touches directly on it. In other cases the pieces were worked on separately and then joined for meaning (i.e. cup and saucer, bowl and ladle).

    In a few weeks, Rachel Timmins and I will also start our own collaborative piece and we will blog about the process right here in this blog as an example of a partnership across the spectrum. Our work couldn't possibly be any more different but we both share the same irreverent sense of humor and you bet that this will come out one way or the other.

    Once you have selected a partner I am pretty sure you will find common ground very quickly. Oh - and going against the rules is totally the point!

  • Steve Shelby

    Thanks for the link. Some interesting collaborations there. My brain works slowly, and the muse comes to me in her own good time. It will happen.

  • Brigitte Martin

    Update: We will soon open up a separate (but hyperlinked) group blog on crafthaus for teams who wish to chronicle their collaborative journey publicly. Everybody is welcome to join and share. Having teams blog openly about their progress and the issues they face would be beneficial for everyone to witness. We will open this up in a week or so when artists who are currently still looking for a partner have had a chance to catch up. Stay tuned.

    Many thanks to Katja Toporski for this great idea!

  • Brigitte Martin

    Update: From what we hear through the grapevine, some truly remarkable garnish teams are currently being formed. Honestly surprising maker combinations. Keep it up!

    For those still looking, please email us via asap so that we can get you on the contact list as well. The list is updated daily as we go along.

  • 2Roses

    Brigitte, Rachel, we assume that the team can be more that two artists. We are working with a potential group of 3-5.

  • Brigitte Martin

    2Roses: Sure. Go for it!

  • The Justified Sinner

    Do both the artists have to be jewellery artists? I would love to work with my friend and intellectual sparring-partner, Jeff Zimmer, who is a glass-artist and is, therefore, WAY outside my comfort zone in terms of both material and form.

  • 2Roses

    We're teamed up with a lawyer. The only exhibition he has done is in a courtroom.

  • The Justified Sinner

    Excellent! Lawyers seem to spend their days arguing and being in opposition, so a good choice.

  • 2Roses

    Can't wait to see what kind an artist's statement he comes up with.

  • The Justified Sinner

    "The party of the third part, being forthwith referred to as 'The Artist', hereby declares...!"

  • Linda Savineau

    Great idea!

  • Katja Toporski

    Hello Rachel and Brigitte,

    I have a question regarding quantities: is each collaborative pair allowed to make one piece or can there be a grouping of pieces? Especially if they are not giant sized? 

  • Brigitte Martin

    Rachel Timmins and I are very excited about our upcoming Jay Whaley Metalsmith Benchtalk radio interview on Sep 25 @ 6PM EST / 3 PM Pacific! We got busy working on our project this week and will be able to share some exciting news for CoOperation Garnish - so do listen in!
    The show is free and will be archived on blogtalk radio as well as on iTunes in case you cannot listen live.

    Any questions - just ask.

  • Anne Morgan

    I'm a little late to the party but this sounds fab. Wondering if I'll be able to find someone to work with in time?

  • Brigitte Martin

    Update: The first few entries have started to come in, Rachel and I are very excited! The other great news is that our project has definitely spread well beyond US/Canada participation. We received info and inquiries from Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, UK, Germany, Holland, Argentina and just this morning: India! Seems like makers are truly eager to work together and overcome their differences. We couldn't be happier and prouder. Carry on!!
  • Steve Shelby

    Linda Savineau and I are getting our project near completion, and working on the entry. Neither of us can quite get a handle on what is wanted for the joint statement. Should it be written so it appears to be narrated by a third party talking about the two artists, or in first person, with each artist writing about it from their individual point of view? Do any of you have a good example of such a joint statement?

  • Steve Shelby

    Thanks Rachel. I agree about third person; I never have felt comfortable writing that way, but some venues require it. Now I have some sense of direction. I think we'll both write our own version, then do whatever mix and match editing we can bot agree on.

  • Brigitte Martin

    The CoOperation Garnish deadline was yesterday and Rachel​ and I are swamped with the many wonderful projects you folks created collaboratively over the past months! Entries came in from all over the US, Canada, South America and Europe, with many people working across city/state/country borders. Very impressive job you guys! We are currently wading though bucket loads of entries putting things together for the jurying phase which comes up next. Thanks so much to all who submitted, we hope you enjoyed the project. We will send out your individual entry confirmations asap.

  • Brigitte Martin

    Rachel and I have finally FINISHED jurying the Core Group for the Co:Operation Garnish exhibition! This specific group will travel to every single exhibition location: San Francisco, Baltimore, Brooklyn, New Orleans, San Antonio and Boston!

    Jurying this part of the exhibition was not easy and we do not envy the galleries for the jurying that they will all need to do in order to individualize their own Garnish Exhibitions. Y'all made the jurying process really tough! We have a total of 18 very diverse pieces chosen out of over 80 collaborative entries that we received. Applicants can expect their e-mail notifications from us by the end of next week and we'll also post the list of names for our Core Group of Garnish Collaborators with some promotional images next week as well. Just tying up some last minute lose ends right now. Notification for artists and galleries will go out next week.

    Thanks to everyone who took on this challenge! Your positive responses are truly overwhelming - in the best way!

  • Brigitte Martin

    Rachel Timmins and I are very pleased to announce the 18 collaborative artist pairings for the Co:Operation Garnish Core group:

    Suzanne Amendolara & Dan DiCaprio,

    Christiana Byrne & David LeeA

    Catherine Chandler & Sonya Scott

    Brian Ferrell & Jillian Moore

    Emily Gill & Jaime Sawka

    Peter Hoogeboom & Maja Houtman

    Nicole Jacquard & Annie Fensterstock

    Satomi Kawai & Nikki Couppee

    Thomas Mann & Wayne Werner

    Bruce Metcalf & Evin Dubois

    Tom Muir & Caitlin Skelcey

    Mette Saabye & Pernille Mouritzen

    Linda Savineau & Steve Shelby

    Olga Starostina & Corey Ackelmire

    Billie Jean Theide & Brooke Marks-Swanson

    Rachel Timmins & Brigitte Martin

    Aric Verrastro & Randy Long

    The above artist group represents the CORE GROUP of the garnish exhibition project. This is the part of the exhibition that will travel to every single gallery location (unless a piece gets sold on the way).

    Thank you again to all the artists who worked jointly together and committed to this project. It was a great pleasure seeing all your work and we look forward to an exciting exhibition cycle.

    Rachel Timmins & Brigitte Martin