16 February 2009

Ten Years of Shim

¡Ten Years Ago!
Brooch, Silver and enamel paint, circa 1999-2000.

Around '98-'99, I started to make things from thin silver sheet, handling the material energetically and as expressively as I could (albeit a fairly subdued sort of expression- not angsty at all!).
I had started painting on metal a little before this, but it was mainly in a quite neat, consistent style- just like industrial coating really. This was different; scumbley, painterly, a bit more sensitive. The form, an imaginary large-leafed plant, was, to my thinking totally divergent from the sculptural/industrial/Minimalist/design-oriented silversmithing of the 80's-90's. (I'm certain that there is/was a bit of prejudice against the figurative/ representative. It has always felt like a 'risky' path). The German art-jewellers were becoming more sensitive at this time, and this was a distant yet persuasive influence for me.
This piece is quite large, as far as brooches go, about as big as a hand; I enjoy suggesting volumes with the thin material. Possibly the size might seem challenging for the wearer, but I believe it works!  There are those opposite qualities (that I always go on about) reacting in this piece, which make it work, I think; un-specific yet familiar form; precious material, but handled with asperity, large volumes, but delicately defined, and painted an un-earthly colour, in an inconsistent manner (unlike the spray-paint paradigm of industry).
I've realised over the years of making many similar brooches that what I'm really driving at, is not to do with botany (there's a lot of that kind of jewellery out there now), but expression in the surfaces, and a kind of graphic communication- an arrangement of planes and modulated colours.

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