Keri-Mei Zagrobelna: Kohatu

Quoil Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand

Keri-Mei ZagrobelnaWe have added a new gallery to our community from Wellington, New Zealand. Quoil Gallery, opened by Belinda Hager in 1997, shows only New Zealand jewelers. Phillipa Gee took over the management and ownership in 2007, and today the gallery represents about 37 jewelers from all levels of achievement. The recent show Kohatu by Keri-Mei Zagrobelna reveals the connections this artist has with her Maori background.

Susan Cummins: How did you discover you wanted to make jewelry?

Keri-Mei Zagrobelna: I am not sure if I discovered that I wanted to be a jeweler, or if jewelry discovered me. Growing up in an environment of artifact, object, and art, it seemed normal that I should naturally fall into it. I spent a while in my youth travelling throughout New Zealand and dabbling in art and craft, but I avoided taking it seriously due to a lack of confidence and courage. It wasn’t until my mother passed away that I had the epiphany that I had to go to art school and make it happen and that life was too short to have regrets or avoid things. It was also a creative outlet for my emotions at the time. Jewelry was my silent ambassador. It was always there for me and taught me new things. Then, I started to see potential in myself and the others around me. I could use the language of jewelry to relate to others, and not only did it help me, but I could use it to help heal others.

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Noon Passama: Portraits

Galerie Ra, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Noon Passama is a jeweler who truly reaches outside the boundaries of contemporary jewelry by working with other artists, photographers, and fashion designers. In Portraits, her current show at Galerie Ra, she works with the photography team called Severafrahm, consisting of Mirka Laura Severa and Michael Frahm. It is interesting to hear her thinking on her practice. Passama is a graduate of the Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam, where she earned a bachelor degree in design from the jewelry department. She also holds a bachelor of industrial design from Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand. 

Noon Passama

Noon Passama has generously shared her book project Adorn & Portray with AJF blog readers. You can download a copy here.

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Contemporary Swedish Art Jewellery

Platina, Stockholm, Sweden

Contemporary Swedish JewelleryPlatina gallery’s Sofia Björkman took advantage of the recent publication Contemporary Swedish Art Jewellery by Inger Wästberg to present an exhibition of pieces featured by the artists mentioned in the book. Many of these artists she already shows, and in some cases, she got to pull pieces out of the drawers to put them together in a coherent exhibit. The book features 31 Swedish jewelry artists representing work from the 1990s to today, with an introduction by Inger Wästberg and a foreword by David Revere McFadden. I asked both Inger and Sofia some questions.

The artists featured are: Annika Åkerfelt, Pia Aleborg, Mike Årsjö, Anna Atterling, Yasar Aydin, Rut-Malin Barklund, Ingrid Bärndal, Sofia Björkman, Sara Borgegård, Klara Brynge, Jenny Edlund, Petronella Eriksson, Catarina Hällzon, Hanna Hedman, Karin Johansson, Agnieszka Knap, Auli Laitinen, Agnes Larsson, Hanna Liljenberg, Åsa Lockner, Märta Mattsson, Lena Olson, Annika Pettersson, Helena Sandström, Petra Schou, Aud Charlotte Ho Sook Sinding, Åsa Skogberg, Sanna Svedestedt, Tore Svensson, Mona Wallström, and Hedvig Westermark. 

Questions for Inger Wastberg

Susan Cummins: Why did you become interested in collecting Swedish jewelry?

Inger Wastberg: The starting point for me was a necklace made by Mona Wallström, which I bought in 1999. That was a time of major change in my life as I had decided to join my husband, who had been appointed Consul General for Sweden in New York. The necklace served as an effective means of communication at many receptions and other events. Our role was to spread knowledge of and interest in Sweden.

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TWEEX 2

vander A Contemporary Art Jewellery, Brussels, Belgium

TWEEX 2 exhibitionFrançoise Vanderauwera, the owner of vander A gallery in Brussels, has presented the second in the TWEEX series of shows. This series is meant to highlight the schools in Belgium that are teaching jewelry and metalsmithing. This exhibition is the second part of three. 

Susan Cummins: How does TWEEX 2 expand on the theme of the transmission of knowledge from the teacher to the student in the jewelry programs in Belgium, which you began with TWEEX 1?

Françoise Vanderauwera: Using the theme of transmission, the whole TWEEX project contributes to a better understanding of the origin and the evolution of Belgian contemporary jewelry.

TWEEX 2 is the continuation of TWEEX 1 and features creations by masters and students from three other major schools in Belgium: The Institut de la Parure & de la Bijouterie Jeanne Toussaint/Arts & Métiers, (Brussels); MAD-Faculty Object & Jewellery (Hasselt); and The Académie des Beaux-Arts of the City of Arlon.

TWEEX 2 also pays homage to Emile Souply, a well-known Belgian sculptor and contemporary jewelry teacher at Arts et Métiers, Brussels, who passed away this year.

The generational aspect was clearly underlined during this exhibition.

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Donald Friedlich: Organic Matter

Jewelers’werk Galerie, Washington, DC, USA
Missy Graff

Donald FriedlichDonald Friedlich’s exhibition Organic Matter is on display at Jewelers’werk Galerie in Washington, DC, from November 23 through December 13, 2013. In this interview, Donald discusses his process and how the concept for this exhibition developed. 

Missy Graff: Please tell me about your background. How did you become interested in making jewelry?

Donald Friedlich: In my early 20s, I met a jeweler while ski bumming in Stowe, Vermont. Up until then, I had no interest in art whatsoever. I did like working with my hands, figuring out how things worked, and repairing them if needed, but I was more interested in math and science. Thomas Edison was my childhood hero. 

My ski friend started to teach me to make jewelry, and eventually I took classes at the University of Vermont with Laurie Peters. At UVM, I discovered a creative side that had been completely dormant. I took a lot of other art classes at UVM, but eventually I decided it was best to transfer to a school with more resources. I was accepted into Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and State University of New York (SUNY) New Paltz and decided to go to RISD. It was a very difficult decision, but in the end, I came up with the idea of what my wife and I would call a “cake plan.” That’s our short version of “have your cake and eat it too.” The cake plan was to go to RISD and also to take a workshop with New Paltz faculty member Bob Ebendorf. I took a two-week workshop with Bob at Penland School of Crafts the next summer. 

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Laura Deakin: My Press

Gallery Loupe, Montclair, New Jersey, USA
Missy Graff

Laura DeakinLaura Deakin’s series My Press is on display at Gallery Loupe in Montclair, New Jersey, through December 8, 2013. In this interview, Laura Deakin discusses her process and describes how her concept developed for this exhibition. 

Missy Graff: Please tell me about your background. How did you become a jeweler? 

Laura Deakin: My parents have always been a huge influence in my life. My dad is an illustrator and retired graphic designer. He never owned a TV, so weekends at his place were filled with other things. “I’m bored!” I would whine. “Do a drawing,” he would say, and with persuasion, I would. I am really grateful for that, as I draw all the time now, and it has helped my development as an artist immensely.

My mum trained as a seamstress but had many jobs. A couple of these dealt with art supplies, so our house always had a healthy supply of good scissors (only to be used on fabric) and colored paper. She has always dressed in fabulous color (this was horribly embarrassing as a teenager), and she wore the first and only pair of ceramic avocado earrings with a matching necklace I’ve ever known. Her fashion and creativity gave me a lasting introduction to color, form, and composition.

After high school, I studied photography, but after two years, I found myself wandering. I applied to do a jewelry degree because I enjoyed soldering in my metal-tech class in high school. I never wanted to be an artist and never thought I was training to be one, but after learning about the world of contemporary jewelry in my first year with Marian Hosking at Monash University, I was in. I worked part time with the late Mari Funaki at Gallery Funaki, a contemporary jewelry gallery in Melbourne, Australia. There, I began to wear art jewelry and to understand what was possible within the realm of contemporary jewelry. 

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Marie-Louise Kristensen BANGKO{K}LLECTION

Atta Galley, Bangkok, Thailand

Marie-Louise KristensenBangkok is a new market for contemporary jewelry, and Atty Tantivit is bravely forging a path forward showing both Thai and European jewelers at ATTA Gallery. Atty is well versed in contemporary jewelry, which she studied in a number of schools throughout the world. She worked on a show that combines the thoughts of the Danish jeweler Marie-Louise Kristensen with her impressions of Bangkok. A lovely reflection on the two cultures shows up in the work.

Susan Cummins: Please describe your project called BANGKO{K}LLECTION. Why did you choose Bangkok?

Marie-Louise Kristensen: Well it’s more like Bangkok chose me. In 2011, a while after I finished working on CPH:DUCKS (a solo exhibition at Goldfingers in Copenhagen), I got in contact with Atty, the director of ATTA Gallery, and we agreed on doing an exhibition. CPH:DUCKS was inspired by my hometown Copenhagen, a summer romance, and the predictable break up. Sensations and emotions were paired with specially chosen places. When Bangkok came up, I saw the opportunity to try to work with another, and for me unknown, city.

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Agathe Saint-Girons: 20 Years in TRANS

Galerie Elsa Vanier, Paris, France
Missy Graff

Agathe Saint-Girons20 Years in TRANS is now on display at Galerie Elsa Vanier in Paris, France, until November 27, 2013. This exhibition showcases jewelry selections from Agathe Saint-Girons’s 20 years of making. In this interview, gallery owner Elsa Vanier and artist Agathe Saint-Girons discuss how this exhibition developed and about the current jewelry extravaganza in Paris called the Circuits Bijoux.

Missy Graff: What is the Circuits Bijoux, and who organized it? 

Elsa Vanier: Circuits Bijoux is presented by Ateliers d’Art de France in partnership with Les Arts Decoratifs Museum and the Un Bijou à l’Autre Association. Circuits Bijoux will be presenting around 70 exhibitions and proposing conferences and encounters aimed at highlighting the great diversity of contemporary jewelry from September 2013 to March 2014. 

France’s capital city has never before held an event that includes designers, museums, schools, galleries, cultural and institutional players, historians, and experts. 

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Joyce Scott

Mobilia Gallery, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Joyce ScottJoyce Scott is a very special jeweler to me since she made the pieces that provided my first clue that jewelry could have something to say. In 1981, four of her brooches were included in an exhibition called The Eloquent Object. The brooches were based on the 1978 suicide of 909 people in Guyana on the direction of Jim Jones, their cult leader. These four brooches, dated 1980, gave you a clear picture of the horror of it all. Many of the followers of Jones were African Americans, and Joyce, who is also African American, clearly felt the tragedy deeply. She has continued to pursue political themes and narratives in her jewelry over the years, and she has added sculpture and performance to her creative forms as well. Her current show at Mobilia Gallery includes a variety of necklaces, some of which continue to be politically motivated.

Susan Cummins: Joyce, when did you first know you were going to be an artist?

Joyce Scott: In vitro. I was born with one of the best-decorated placenta.

I know you have repeated the story of your mother and her influence on you many times, but would you mind repeating it for us once more?

Joyce Scott: I wrote this for Harriet Tubman, but I believe the same for my mom.

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Marian Hosking: greetings from …

Gallery Funaki, Melbourne, Australia

Marian Hosking, photo: Greg Wallis and Claudia TerstappenMarian Hosking is currently having an exhibition titled greetings from … at Gallery Funaki in Melbourne, Australia, where Marian is also based. As Kevin Murray has pointed out, “The basis for Marian’s artistic vision seems laid partly at her birth. Her parents’ marriage combined the two main elements that characterize her work. The mother was a passionate conservationist and the father was a Methodist metallurgist. The work that Marian has come to make seems to marry the bounty of nature with the discipline of matter.” In 2007, she was named a Living Treasure: Master of Australian Craft and has had numerous international shows over the years.

Susan Cummins: Please tell the story of when you knew you wanted to make jewelry.

Marian Hosking: While at high school, I was interested in architecture, Le Corbusier and the Modern movement. I started an architecture degree at Melbourne University, only for a few weeks, in 1967. I believed I could be studying for six years and end up working in a drafting office. I knew it was difficult to build buildings that pushed boundaries, and so I decided to go to art school. My sister had studied painting, and I did not want to study painting. Gold and silversmithing was my choice, so I unenrolled from university and applied to RMIT. I made the right decision for me.

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