GRIMA - 1

My first real awareness of "contemporary jewellery" came when I worked for John Gilchrist in his small workshop in Bothwell, the Lanarkshire village where I spent most of my formative years. You wouldn't really be able to describe John's work as "contemporary" in the sense we understand it today: it was modern, artisanal, interesting but not challenging in any way. No boundaries were pushed.

I worked for John intermittently for a number of years from when I was about 14, doing what I thought was a summer-holiday job and never suspecting that it would become a career. One day when I was at a loss for things to do, I was given a most unusual piece: a pendant made of thin sheets of heavily textured gold which were formed into waves and hung longitudinally in roughly graduated lengths. The waves were soldered together where they touched and the whole was set with deep green tourmaline crystals. My job was to effect a repair where two of the sheets had split - it looked like some careless person had stood on it - and the pendant had come in two.

This was an interesting job as it was far from straight-forward: the tourmalines had to be unset and the surfaces cleaned and this was the first time I had ever tried investment soldering - where investment plaster is used to hold the pieces together while soldering (today I would use my PUK welder!).

It turned out that I was working on a piece by Andrew Grima the legendary British/Italian jeweller who wowed "swinging London" with his revolutionary sculptural jewellery, using massive textured metal and fine gemstones alongside raw minerals and rocks. I never forgot that piece and looked out for more. Though I never got to handle another, I became fascinated by his work, seeking it out in exhibitions and galleries and even occasionally in auction catalogues.

Cut to the beginning of the week, 17th of March, 2014... A comment on Twitter mentioned that Francesca Grima - Andrew Grima's daughter - had been featured in GQ magazine for this month and that she has opened up a new "Grima" shop in London once more. Unable to contain my excitement, I looked up the Grima website for more details and was blown away by her own interpretations of her father's style. I also noticed that there was a privately-printed, limited-edition monograph of Andrew Grima's work and sent off an email asking if it was still available. To my enormous joy, back came an email from Francesca herself, offering me a copy which duly arrived on Thursday. (It would have been Wednesday but someone in the mailroom couldn't be bothered dragging the huge parcel up to my workshop, I think!)

GRIMA - 4


What I was not prepared for was the incredible treat in store for me just inside the front pages:


GRIMA - 2


An original Andrew Grima paint-up for a tourmaline earring, included by his wife, Francesca's mother, as a beautiful surprise:


GRIMA - 3


This is, without a doubt, the most wonderful and unexpected gift I have ever received.

Andrew Grima - without knowing it - was a major influence on my own work, his monumental cocktail rings; his jewellery for men; his use of crusted textures and the abandon with which surfaces are scattered with gems; his joyful use of colour. More importantly, perhaps, is the fact that he made me realise that "contemporary jewellery" and "fine jewellery" are not necessarily in opposition. When I was learning to be a bench jeweller, the European minimalists - Kunzli, Meierhoffer et. al. - were on the rise, often wilfully rejecting traditional jewellery techniques in favour of concept. Grima's work was modern (modernist, even) but firmly rooted in the traditions of "fine jewellery" and the joy he plainly found in using precious metals, sensuous textures, beautiful gemstones and riotous colours was very much part of that tradition, building on it, blowing it open, pushing it forward with the confidence of an artist who knows that he has nothing to prove, no agenda to further.

As I said in an email to Francesca, "I will stop now before I become a gushy fan-boy"... but I think it might be too late!



Back to my own workshop now and I have leapt ahead in the production of the final part of my Alexander McQueen tribute, "Fashion:Victim", the second ball/handbag, "Before The Fall". This has been a somewhat stressful undertaking as there are some 350 separate elements making it up, all having to be assembled in the correct order, starting with the setting of the carved prasiolites on the stars, affixing the stars and then starting on the snake element. I missed out photographing a number of those stages so here they are, condensed into one:


Fashion:Victim - In Memoriam ALMcQ - WIP - 138


I then started attaching the other supports and leaves for the floral elements, which included about a dozen flowers which had to be attached directly:


Fashion:Victim - In Memoriam ALMcQ - WIP - 139


I also took delivery of the pomegranate element which will hang from the mouth of the snake, stone-set by one of my students, Inness Thomson:


Fashion:Victim - In Memoriam ALMcQ - WIP - 146


Fashion:Victim - In Memoriam ALMcQ - WIP - 148


Inness is an exceptional stone-setter. This wouldn't look anything near as good if I had attempted it myself! It is set with rhodolite garnet "seeds" and the top is set with Mali and Tsavorite garnets, orange and yellow sapphires, zircons and spinels.

At the end of the day today, the whole piece looked like this:


Fashion:Victim - In Memoriam ALMcQ - WIP - 142


Fashion:Victim - In Memoriam ALMcQ - WIP - 145

Comment

You need to be a member of crafthaus to add comments!

Join crafthaus

A modern metalsmith/metal artist can be found working in traditional metals as well as in nontraditional materials. The designs can range from the classic to the extravagant, and the techniques can either be centuries old or decidedly current.

The wide range of expression preferences, design options, materials, and processes has lead within our field to unfavorable misconceptions, misunderstandings and in some cases even outright disdain between artists. 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 traveling exhibition opening at the SNAG conference in Boston 2015, Velvet da Vinci, San Francisco, CA - Aug 19 - Sept 20, 2015, Equinox Gallery, San Antonio, TX - Oct 16 - Nov 15, 2015, Baltimore Jewelry Center, Baltimore, MD - Dec 11, 2015 - Jan 08, 2016, Brooklyn Metal Works, Brooklyn, NY - Feb 5 - Mar 4, 2016.

DETAILS on exhibition premise, call for artists, submission guidelines.....

Rachel and Brigitte will be appearing on the wonderful Jay Whaley Metalsmith Benchtalk Radio Show, talking about the Co:Operation Garnish project, how they came up with the idea, what the project is about and the plans moving forward.

The radio show will be LIVE on air September 25, 2014 @ 6PM EST / 3 PM Pacific.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/whaleystudios

Listeners can call in during the show via phone, skype, or directly connect via the blog talk website.

Latest Activity

Brigitte Martin added a discussion to the group Art and Craft Book Reviews
Thumbnail

The Life and Times of Robert Ebendorf

Robert W. Ebendorf; The Work in Depthby Caroline Gore (Author),…See More
9 minutes ago
Mike Holmes posted a blog post

Garry Knox Bennett: Full Circle

VELVET DA VINCIOctober 1 – 31, 2014Opening Reception: Friday October 3, 6 – 8pmAmerican furniture maker, woodworker, and metal artist Garry Knox Bennett has been celebrated for his whimsical and innovative sculptural and functional objects for over 40 years. Garry Knox Bennett: Full Circle marks the California native artist’s 80th birthday this October, highlighting a body of new works made in the spirt of the 1960’s.…See More
24 minutes ago
Ausra Bankauskaite liked Paul Bierker's blog post New Jewelry Artist Studio and Gallery seeks work
40 minutes ago
gordon dickinson posted photos
56 minutes ago
Brigitte Martin liked Judy Stone's photo
58 minutes ago
Brigitte Martin liked Clare Finin's photo
1 hour ago
Melissa Cameron posted blog posts
1 hour ago
Brigitte Martin liked gordon dickinson's photo
1 hour ago
The Justified Sinner left a comment for Lieta Marziali
"Excellent to see you on here!  A great community."
8 hours ago
The Justified Sinner and Lieta Marziali are now friends
8 hours ago
Margarita Sampson liked Brigitte Martin's blog post Zoe Robertson - Flocked Fiber Jewelry
11 hours ago
Margarita Sampson commented on Brigitte Martin's blog post Just Because You Can Doesn't Mean You Should
"absolutely, great article!! Every maker should think about the reason and the end-point of their work- what will happen to it, what is it made from, if it has a limited lifespan can it then be re-used, if it is worth bringing another thing into a…"
11 hours ago
Brigitte Martin liked Mariah Lee Ross's photo
12 hours ago
Mariah Lee Ross posted photos
12 hours ago
Profile IconMariah Lee Ross and Brianna Diaz joined crafthaus
15 hours ago
Lieta Marziali and Lorena Angulo are now friends
15 hours ago
Samantha Skelton joined Brigitte Martin's group
Thumbnail

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.See More
16 hours ago
Harriete Estel Berman commented on Brigitte Martin's blog post Just Because You Can Doesn't Mean You Should
"Great article. I posted it on my Facebook page, and it caused quite a bit of controversy. Overall, I agree with the article and suggest we think before we make. Harriete "
16 hours ago
Harriete Estel Berman commented on Brigitte Martin's blog post Patrick Dougherty - Stickwork
"The work of Patrick Dougherty. I always find it amazing in both images and when i have seen it in person. Thank you for sharing these images. Harriete"
16 hours ago
Glen Guarino posted an event

Lie-Nielson Tool Event at Hearne Hardwood at Hearne Hardwood

September 26, 2014 to September 27, 2014
I will demo how I use hand tools any of which are Lie-Nielson tools. Lie-Nielson Toolworks staff will be there to explain their hand tools that they make in the USA. This is a great opportunity to try out new tools.Friday September 26 from 10:00am-6pm and Saturday September 27, 2014 from 10:00am-5pm See More
19 hours ago

© 2014   Created by Brigitte Martin.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service