Friday, 13 January 2017

On the 11th Day of Christmas...

... this blogger gave to thee...
... eleven elegant vessels...
... ten pins for flair...
... nine dreams in Burton...
... eight days of Netflix...
... seven shoes to choose from...
... six party frocks...
... five gold rings!..
... four filmic covers...
... three low light lovelies...
... two sassy sweatshirts...
... an ode to 2016.

So, you may have noticed that my 12 Days abruptly stopped a week ago, which was the 5th of January and officially the last day of 2016/17's 12 Days of Christmas. Truth is, this isn't the post I'd intended, I wanted to write a post showing some of the amazing fan art that has come out in reaction to the deaths of David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds (to really name a few) but in all honestly, even though it was planned to be a positive post, I couldn't get passed the feeling of being morbid to actually write the thing. And then, to be honest, I procrastinated trying to come up with a replacement post.

Nevertheless, the posts must go on, and so I am sitting at my kitchen table, freezing my bum off because it's cold and snowy and I've just destroyed my wardrobe, which I can't currently get into because of the pre-Christmas oh my god where the hell do we hide all the crap lying around the house? Answer, in front of my desk and ability to dress warmly. I think I need more coffee, so while I bung on the kettle, here are eleven beautifully raised, chased, spun and formed vessels from eleven talented jewellers and metalsmiths...
Origin, 2014 by Yuki Ferdinandsen
Hammer-raised Sterling silver 925 with Arare pattern 
(Height 17cm [6 5/8"] Width 36cm [14 1/8"] Depth 24cm [9 1/2"]) 

Yuki Ferdinandsen specialises in nature inspired, hand raised silver objects, chased with small raised bumps placed in precise patterns across their surfaces, to compliment and emphasis their forms. They're all beautiful and simple, and Ferdinandsen speaks about her process and love for her craft, in terms of rhythm:

"I enjoy every stroke, and every strike is followed by a step of the foot. This is work that never suffers from fatigue. I feel every sound of the rhythm of my ‘hammer’s dance’ in the whole of my body and within my soul.” - Yuki Ferdinandsen (Adrian Sassoon)
Spore Shaker, 2006 by Heather Bayless
925 Silver, a Silicone Ring & Spices 
(8.5cm [3.34"] x 7cm [2.7"] x 7cm [2.7"])

I first saw Heather Bayless's Spore Shakers, a few years ago, and I've been pretty much in love with them since. Inspired by mushroom spore prints Bayless made as a child, which would leave graphic patterns on the paper, revealing the gill patterns of the mushroom and leading to the idea for her spice shakers. Hand raised from a flat sheet of silver using a hammer, the gills and stalk of the shaker can be removed, filled with the spice of your choice. There's no denying their form, but I think even my mushroom hating siblings would agree this beautiful.
A Silver Pinecone Organism, 2007 by Junko Mori
Forged Fine silver 999
(Height 12cm [4 3/4"] Diameter 12cm [4 3/4"])

Another nature inspired design and designer... Junko Mori just creates the most beautiful, organic objects created from hand forged elements... the only word I have is, ugh! Her silver works such as this are stunning and I'm jealous.
Finger Bowl, 2014 by Adele Brereton
Britannia silver, fine gold Keum-Boo
(Diameter 14cm [5.5"] x 11.5cm [4.5"] x 6cm [2.4"])

Adele Brereton's Finger Bowl, is another piece hand raised from a flat sheet of silver, and it's a simple enough shape, but the beautiful keum-boo gold - a process where 24kt gold foil is fused to the silvers surface using heat to create a permanent bond - reminds me of a shoal of little fish swimming in a small pool. It especially reminds me of the work of Riuske Fukahori and his painted three-dimensional resin sculptures. It's gorgeous.
Sweet Squama, Vessel 1 by Yusuke Yamamoto
Hammer-raised and Chased Fine Silver 999 
(Width 15cm [5.9"] Height 8.8cm [3.5"])

A raised vessel, is formed from a piece of sheet metal, hammered repetitively from what will become the inside of the vessel, gradually working in concentric circles around your form, annealing (heating to soften) the metal at repeated intervals to allow the metal to keep its pliability until you have created the form you desire. Chasing, on the other hand is the process of creating depressions from the outside of vessel with a hammer to create decorative patterns. Yusuke Yamamoto's Sweet Squama Vessel is a great example of both of these techniques to create this faceted, almost geode like surface design. That's a lot of hammering.
Textured Bowls: Big Black Vase, 2012 by Grant McCaig
(unknown sizing)

On Grant McCaig's raised silver vase, it's his use to texture and colour which I really like. Darkened by most likely being dipped into a solution of liver of sulphur and water, which oxidises and blackens the silvers surface, I can't workout whether McCaig has textured his piece using silver dust/filings fused into the surface, or he's used enamel in a processes known as sugar coating. This is a process where enamel powder is under fired, allowing it to fuse to an enamel base coat leaving a gritty sugar like surface. Either way, the texture gives this piece of metalwork and incredibly earthy and tactile surface, which I find very appealing.
Milk Jug by Sarah Hutchison
Sterling Silver and Gold Plate
(14.5cm [5.7"] Height)

During, I think, my fourth year at uni studying jewellery, Sarah Hutchison was a guest tutor for the second and third years, whilst another member of staff was on maternity leave. Whilst I had little to no contact with her as a tutor, I always liked the ombré effect that she used on her work, the metal ribbons, which are a repeated theme in her work, seamlessly transitioning from gold plate into silver. It's a really pretty effect, which makes this a very attractive piece of metalwork.

Also, am I the only one who kind of thinks this looks like an eye, with the optic nerve and muscles around the eye ball? I think it's probably just me, and now my family, who see the resemblance to Eileen, my dad's anatomical model of an eye... and yes, it is called Eileen. My dad has a weird sense of humour.
Dandelions by Hyejeong Ko
Sterling Silver 
(15cm [6"] 15cm [6"] 15.5cm [6.1"] and 8cm [3.1"] 8cm [3.1"] 9cm [3.5"])

I honestly can't imagine having the precision and patients to create these dandelion inspired vessels. To create each individual flower, and - I assume - solder each one to not only the raised cuff, but to one another while retaining the integrity of the sphere. To create the flower head with such accuracy is incredibly impressive.
Beakers (Hare, Fox, Polar Bear) by Eileen Gatt
Silver and 18ct Gold
(Various Sizes)

These beautiful beakers where created by Eileen Gatt. Eileen was one of my tutors at uni, she was the person who suggested I fill my chess set pieces with either marble or slate powder suspended in resin, which helped give my set the weight and colour definition a chess set needs. For that I am incredibly grateful, and while Eileen no longer works at the college, choosing to concentrate on her business, but I still appreciate her help while I was there and I admire her work, most of which feature her lovely, simplified cast animal charms. They could so easily come off as twee or cutesy, but their simplicity prevents this, and I do like someone who sticks to a K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid) aesthetic. Simple is good and elegant in my book.

Now, when you create a vessel there are a few ways to do this, raising and chasing are two ways of hand hammering your designs from a sheet of metal, another similar way is to have your vessel spun. Spinning is done on a lathe, and instead of removing material as is traditional on a lathe, a spinning sheet of metal is gradually forced over a wooden form, in the internal shape of your design. If you're going to get a piece spun, you send it to a specialist, your vessel is then returned to you and you can finish it as your desire. I honestly can't remember whether of not Eileen gets her vessels spun or hand raises them, however it's another really good option, especially if you intend to mass produce a design.
Oval Blackened Sinew Bowl, 2009 by Kevin Grey
Oxidised Britannia Silver 
(Approx. length 12cm [4.7"])

Linear, overlapping strips of blackened silver with a smooth raised inner lining creates something incredibly precise and tactile and has just put the phrase "crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside... armadillo!" shooting through my head, which is probably incredibly inappropriate when trying to describe a stunning piece of metalwork. But it's in my head now and if you grew up in the UK in the 1990's you may be having a small acid flash back which I apologise for.

Anyway, Kevin Grey has created a vessel which contrasts the harsh dark lines of a laser welded, hand cut silver strip exterior, with a smooth undulating inner bowl. It's monochrome, it's elegant and oddly, one of the things I like most is the incredible detail around the edge of the vessel. It staggers and changes dependant on where the outer strips hit the inner surface and it's perfect and precise and it sounds silly to enthuse over a joint, but it's the little things like this which really show care and attention.
Wide Open by Adi Toch
Silver with Colourful Patina
(Unknown Sizing)

Adi Toch's bowl looks beautiful enough, the silver given a rainbow patina using - probably - a live of sulphur solution, however, these raised hollow-ware bowls are part of something a little more special. Some of them are musical...

Adi Toch, Whispering Vessels 2016 from Big Hair Films on Vimeo.
Filled with sand, small gems, steel balls, pearls and other substances such as cloves, when the vessel is allowed to rock and the contents move, sound (and scents) are produced by the vessels, inviting the audience to interact with the unempty-able bowls and create their own music

Wide Open by Adi Toch isn't strictly part of the Whispering Vessels series, however I love the concept, and Toch's vessels are incredibly beautiful whether filled with sound creating substances or left empty, coloured, textured or left in their simplest finishes. They're tactile and I could understand being compelled to play with them. I figure if you make something which is supposed to be touched, make sound or played with, you should probably allow it.

Big regret of mine at uni was not setting up my degree show display how I wanted too, which was with my chess sets at tables with chair to invite people to play... it should have been interactive and I should have gone against my tutors desire to have everyone with the same plinths. Should have been braver, even if the space we were allotted would have made that harder. No point dwelling on it, it was a long time ago now.

But that's it, eleven vessels, eleven artists and eleven ramblings from me.

I'm also pretty sure I've said I loved every single vessel I've shown you, and I really need to find a new adjective when describing things, but I guess if I didn't love it I wouldn't post it!

Happy New Year! Part twelve tomorrow...

Fuck You 2016!

Link || Origin, 2014 by Yuki Ferdinandsen  via Koldinghus
Link || Spore Shaker by Heather Bayless via Design Boom | Official
Link || A Silver Pinecone Organism, 2007 by Junko Mori via eccentricKollector Tumblr | Official
Link || "Finger bowl" by Adele Brereton via Contemporary British Silversmiths | Official
Link || Sweet Squama: Vessel 1 by Yusuke Yamamoto
Link || Textured Bowl by Grant McCaig
Link || Dandelions by Hyejeong Ko via Daily Art Muse | Official
Link || Oval Blackened Sinew Bowl, 2009 by Kevin Grey
Link || Wide Open by Adi Toch via The Silversmith's Art | Official

Listening: 11:11 - Rufus Wainwright

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