For almost 30 years, jewellery artist Liv Blåvarp has been creating organic and voluminous constructions out of wood. Since her American debut in 1995, international recognition of her work has steadily increased – most recently through her being awarded the Bayerische Staatspreis for 2012, at the international contemporary craft competition SCHMUCK (‘Internationale Handwerksmesse München’).

‘It’s largely about developing sculptural form’, explains Liv Blåvarp, when asked by NorwegianCrafts.no about her artistic intentions.

‘But you could also say the recurring theme in my artistic practice is to create structures that seem alive.’’

What does wood signify in this context?

‘The most significant aspect is that it allows me to work with larger volumes without them becoming too heavy. At the same time, wood is that material which best allows me to create the expression I want.’


Blåvarp’s jewellery is characterized by large, spectacular forms that naturally and elegantly follow the contours of the neck or wrist. They consist of many small elements combined into a flexible whole. For some works, she uses light wood types stained in lively colours. In others, she uses dark wood treated only with oil. In yet others, she mixes stained and dark wood types.

Tactility
Liv Blåvarp relates that wearability is a key factor in her art. The jewellery should function with the body, and she always tries things out on herself and others during the creation process.

‘The whole process becomes a concentrated dialogue between myself, the idea and the process. I have an idea, I plan the process, I try it out and make adjustments along the way.’

What kinds of ideas do you work with?

‘I sketch, experiment, find extracts of something and often create hybrids from several drawings.’


Is it about formal ideas?

‘Yes, a theme may emerge along the way, or a personality or story. But the most important thing for me is that the works should have a sensuous appeal. They should give a physical experience. When touching them, your emotions should become involved.’

Are there any artists you especially admire?

‘Dorothea Prühl and Bettina Speckner are two artists I respect highly. Here in Norway, Tone Vigeland. I cannot stress too strongly how important it is to have Norwegian artists who have presented strong exhibitions, received lots of attention and, not least, have been able to live on what they earn from their art.’

Choosing wood as a material
When Blåvarp attended the Norwegian College of Art, Crafts and Design (this has now become Oslo National Academy of the Arts, Department of Visual Arts), her first choice was not to work with metal. She wanted to study graphic design, but the relevant department did not accept her application. With no background in metal, she was compelled to find her starting-point outside the traditional framework. This resulted in a lot of experimentation.


‘For me, formal qualities eventually became the most important, and my greatest experience of mastery was to be able to build large three-dimensional forms. At the same time, I tested out different methods and approaches, both practical and creative.’

After finishing her degree in Oslo, Blåvarp went to London and studied for a year at the Royal College of Art. It was there she seriously began working with wood. Although growing up in a family of carpenters and living alongside her grandfather’s workshop, it was not until her diploma project that she began experimenting with wood. But then only as a detail: she created laminated veneer objects that framed compositions made of metal. In London, she pursued this lamination technique and allowed wood to be the dominant material in her jewellery.

The artists’ group Trikk
In 1984 Blåvarp returned to Norway and began collaborating with Trikk (which means ‘tram’), an artists’ group she helped start with six of her former fellow students. They set up a joint workshop, produced joint exhibitions and enriched each other with insights from their divergent backgrounds. ‘We received attention from art historians, journalists and the public, and felt we were at the forefront of our own era.’

European jewellery art broke new ground in the 1970s and ‘80s. This was especially the case in the Netherlands but also in England. Artists started using completely new materials such as aerospace metals, plastics and textiles. The new jewellery was extremely colourful and triggered immense interest. When Trikk started up, these new currents were about to gain a foothold in Norway.

‘We felt we were pioneers. The attention was intense and we had many discussions and consultations in the workshop. We were playful and experimental. It was a ground-breaking period for us all. The unorthodox use of materials I saw amongst other European jewellery artists suited me, and it inspired me to continue working with wood.’

Blåvarp’s works from this period consist mainly of neck pieces and bracelets made with the lamination technique she developed at the Royal College of Art. They contain small pieces of differently-coloured wood types combined to create a checkerboard texture. The forms are simple and streamlined, and the basic circular shapes are divided in two and held in place with elastic drawstrings.

Spiral form
After three years with Trikk, Blåvarp returned to Gjøvik, the area of Norway where she had grown up. She was planning her first solo exhibition for the following year (1988) and wanted to move on artistically.

‘I was trying to crack a very hard nut. I wanted to move away from the laminated works and especially the large collars, which I felt were too stiff. They were simply uncomfortable to wear.’



Through trial and error, she eventually arrived at a completely new way to construct her jewellery. By combining small pieces of wood, she solved the problem of lacking flexibility, and because these elements had a wedged profile, they merged into a beautiful, vibrant spiral form.

SOURCE: Continue reading this interview via  http://www.norwegiancrafts.no/magazine/02-2012/touch-wood

Views: 50

Tags: Blåvarp, Liv, Touch, Wooden, art, construction, craft, crafthaus, jewellery, jewelry, More…organic, staatspreis, wood

Comment

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

Join crafthaus

Comment by Katrina Barnett on July 8, 2014 at 10:36am

Very inspirational. Her process, construction is amazing. 

Rule the World!

Crafthaus Online Exhibition

RULE THE WORLD

Friends of Carlotta Gallery, Zuerich, Switzerland

What are the adornments of dictators, despots, and the plain delusional? What do they need in order to let their real personalities shine through? What tools do tyrants have to show that they are in charge? See for yourself!

Image above:

Grandpa Wooley

"LOOK", Brooch
Internet photocopy of Gerard Depardieu and Vladimir Putin,
Plexiglas, fabric, imitation leather, yarn, wood, silver brooch

Latest Activity

GLORIA CARLOS joined Begoña Prats's group
Thumbnail

Joyas Sensacionales (Sensational Jewellery)

Collective of Contemporary Artistic JewellersSee More
2 hours ago
GLORIA CARLOS liked Begoña Prats's group Joyas Sensacionales (Sensational Jewellery)
2 hours ago
Joy Ude posted a blog post
4 hours ago
Joy Ude liked Amber O'Harrow's discussion Day 4 at Arrowmont
4 hours ago
2Roses posted a photo

2Roses_Secrets_ofthe_Heart

Over the last 20 years the State of California has consistently cut funding each year for arts education in its public schools. Several years ago, arts were eliminated all together. The reaction to this from the artistic community was to raise funds…
yesterday
Susan Lee Stephen shared Brigitte Martin's blog post on Facebook
yesterday
Susan Lee Stephen shared Brigitte Martin's blog post on Twitter
yesterday
Susan Lee Stephen liked Brigitte Martin's blog post Daniel Agdag - Sketching with Cardboard
yesterday
Randi Harper liked Amber O'Harrow's discussion Last day at Arrowmont
Saturday
Brigitte Martin replied to Amber O'Harrow's discussion Last day at Arrowmont in the group Retracing my steps: Explorations in Fiber Sculpture at Arrowmont
"Thank you for sharing your journey with us, Amber. "
Friday
Amber O'Harrow added 2 discussions to the group Retracing my steps: Explorations in Fiber Sculpture at Arrowmont
Friday
Kelly Marie Novak posted photos
Friday
Brigitte Martin posted a blog post

Jenny Ayrton (UK) - Molten Wonderlands

Jenny Ayrton captures miniature wonderlands in molten glass. Based on often overlooked everyday scenes she creates stage-sets upon which viewers may project their own story. A full-time mum six-days of the week she takes inspiration from the domestic world, often finding that the little things trigger the best ideas; A…See More
Friday
Alena Stukavcova Dolezalova posted a photo

On Screen

Ring, sterling silver, bronze, pyritquartz
Friday
Laura Roberson liked Angelina Ciulik's discussion The MASSC Jewelry Challenge
Thursday
Kelly Marie Novak is now friends with Kimberly Jackson and Kathleen Garrison
Thursday

© 2014   Created by Brigitte Martin.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service