27 December 2011

Hot Under The Collar

I've subscribed to metalsmith, a contemporary jewellery journal published by the Society of North American Goldsmiths.  I'm not North American, nor a goldsmith, but from what I can see on their website my practice might find a place to call home here.  

And there's a current competition to enter!

"Hot Under the Collar: A Survey of contemporary Necklaces"
Choker, collar, lariat, torque, pendant, the necklace is one of the most diverse formats available to metalsmiths today. Whether cascading down the front, or draped down the back, the possibilities are nearly endless. The human torso provides us with one of our largest canvases, while still keeping body as site.  From comments on the classic strand of pearls to contemporary takes on armor, this juried exhibition seeks to showcase how metalsmiths today interpret this incredibly versatile object.

The deadline is 15th January, but as submission is via email, being 'across the pond' shouldn't cause a problem.  I have decided to enter two pieces I made in response to the 7 days project set at the start of the MA.

Untitled, Found object, linen, thread 2011 © Vanda Campbell

Untitled, Found object, steel, thread 2011 © Vanda Campbell

I have a relatively high skill level in traditional textile techniques (crochet and stitch in particular), and feel comfortable when working with these media.  On the other hand, my traditional metalworking jewellery skills are woefully lacking.  Despite growing up in a family of goldsmiths, as the 'girl' I was sent into the book-keeping office in school holidays, whereas my younger brother was shown the secrets of the workshop with the apprentices. How I wish for some of that hidden knowledge now!  I wonder if this explains my preferred use of textiles and thread, rather than metal for the neckchains in the 7 days, 7 finds, 7 chains collection.   I have thought about this long and hard, and believe that soft crochet chains are far more visually appealing than hard metal ones, and have a more sympathetic relationship to the body, so in this instance, my use of thread is appropriate.  

I am Vanda Campbell, and I am a jeweller. But in order to be one, I need to make jewellery that can be worn on the body, rather than hung on a gallery wall. I am comfortable putting bits of stuff together, stitching and adding thread as necessary, but am frozen in panic at the thought of making a brooch back out of silver, or a ring mount to set my pieces of stuff in. I'm not sure at the moment if this is a problem. It will be fairly simple to acquire the metal skills to fill the gaps in my knowledge, but I wonder if this is necessary. I admire work that exhibits a high skill level, and has an element of "how did they do that?". Pushing my existing skills and shouting about them (in a whisper!) would perhaps be more fitting than starting back at square one to learn new ones to fit in with some other expectation.

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