PARTICIPATORY SPORT FOR CRAFT ARTISTS
Or, as Will - above - would tell you, Yes You Can Wear That!
Last weekend, I spent a brilliant two days with some young peope at the Society for Contemporary Crafts in Pittsburgh running a workshop looking at creativity, oblique ways of looking at every day objects and the creation of jewellery from those objects. The group were just fantastic: everyone got on well, they were funny, focussed, charming and polite and only towards the very end of an exceptionally hot Sunday did people start to flag a little. They made all sorts of things from materials supplied by the exceptionally helpful Erika at Creative Re-Use and used these in conjunction with their newly-learned jewellery skills to make some truly exceptional pieces of jewellery.
Clockwise from front left, Jared, Eliza, Will, Najada and Zoe, exploring ideas using paper.
Various bracelets. The especially "Pittsburgh" one was by Najada with help from my superb studio assistant, Robert Mullen.
Some highly sophisticated rings, including a hot-forged dome ring (middle, front) by Zoe, a two-finger ring by Eliza (right), an interactive ring by Jared (with tines) and a ring with a captive, mobile marble, by Najada.
Everyone loves Will's robot and Zoe's black and white pendant on HANDMADE, graduated chain.
Two pendants by Jared (left and right) and Eliza's wholly-soldered industrial pendant.
Jared's pendants are both interactive, the one on the left can be unscrewed and has a working brass control lever on it; the one on the right moves and makes a clicking noise when it is moved.
The final piece that they made - there were some others, not photographed for above - was a piece which has had me and the staff at SCC discussing it for days. Najada made a pendant which is not only elegant, but is also political and philosophical; it calls into question ideas about viewer-wearer; it challenges perceptions of "self"; it's site on the body is challenging both to her as a teenage girl but also to those who would interact with the piece. Here it is:
The hinge at the bottom flips down to open the tube:
When the viewer looks into the tube, the only thing that can be seen is the viewer's own eye-pupil:
This was a deliberate design element on her part. You can get the idea by the fact that in the above photograph, you can see the camera sensor which took the image!
I'm going to leave that there. The more you think about the piece, the more you will realise how remarkable it is!
Had dinner with Brigitte and her family last night, which was great fun, though getting the back of my head licked by a St Bernard, no matter how loveable, is not quite what I expected. The quiche was delicious and no doubt she will be posting the photograph of me chopping onions somewhere soon! Afterwards we went to Bruster's for excellent ice-cream. Couldn't be better!