Love Where You Live 2017 Application Form.

After some research into my local council in the Rhondda Cynon Taff I came across this Environmental competition called Love where you live and after reading the criteria I felt like that it was something I could apply for so I went ahead and filled in a form. The closing date is 31st of March. I had to fill in a short form and send it away online bellow is my form questions and answers.

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What have you/your nominee or project done to improve the environment in the local area?

I attend university at Cardiff Metropolitan in Llandaff and study the Artist Designer Maker Course and the project I am undertaking at the moment is finding ways to recycle and reuse waste materials and transform them into jewellery. I started with my local area which is Pontyclun and upon walking and venturing my local nature trails I found a very beautiful pebbled bay in Pontyclun, Ivor Park on the Ely River. I noticed there were lots of bottle glass and ceramic fragments buried within the pebbles and I thought about how I could reuse them in my practice. I collected as much as I could and took them home. I gave them a clean and I discovered that there were vasts about of glass that was interesting to look at, there was still lettering remaining on some fragments and the colours were still bright and clear. It made me wonder where the glass had come from, how they got there and how they were still intact in some form or other. I enjoy making jewellery and wanted to transform this found trash into something beautiful, so I took my found glass into the university workshops and began sanding and grinding down the edges. I then placed them into the kiln to polish up and soften the edges and finally I fused them to a separate piece of glass. They looked totally transformed and to draw attention back to the location I then added decals on the backs with photographs I had taken at the location. The outcomes look so different and beautiful. I love this idea that makers like myself can discover these found materials which were essentially rubbish and with a little bit of elbow grease and love you can transform them into wearable art. For me its a pleasure to reuse this material because not only am I tidying up this local area from the glass and ceramic shards but I am also reusing it further and creating something really quite beautiful in my practice. I am still ongoing with experiments with the glass and ceramics but I think it would be beneficial to me as a maker and to the environment also if I continue in this process. (contact me to see photographs of the finished jewellery)

How has this improved the local environment?

By sourcing this broken found glass and ceramic I am helping in the cleaning up of local and public trails. The Ely River in Pontyclun is popular for dog walkers/family walking and others and by helping in the cleaning of the pebbled bay I am removing waste and returning the pebbled bay back to its natural state. I understand that the river is quite polluted and even with the small amounts of waste I take away and reuse it is a start to clean up the environment. And by transforming the waste into wearable jewellery it helps promote awareness of pollution in the local environment and hopefully will get people to be more aware of the beautiful local places that are hidden beneath the waste and pollution.

What are the future plans to improve the local environment?

If my project is well received I hope to further my collection of jewellery and venture further down the river and visit other locations where I can collect more waste. I hope to then set up a workshop where others can come along and find materials in which they can also transform and possibly wear themselves. If not I want to make people at least be aware of how beautiful local places like the Ivor Park forest can be. If I can get this awareness then maybe the local government can be more cautious of protecting these natural sites which are so important to the community.

Why do you believe you/your nominee or project deserves to win this award?

I think my project is new and exciting and will raise awareness of pollution and waste within a local area. By creating jewellery from the found material it reduces the waste found and reinvents the use for the glass found. I think its a great way of turning waste into something beautiful and useful again. I think my project will also raise the idea of recycling waste in Art and will hopefully inspire other Artists, Designers or Makers to do the same. I chose the location along the river because it has always been a place close to my heart, as a child I would often venture down there with my parents and explore the natural surroundings and growing up it has been a place I would often walk to, to relax and take in the atmosphere. For me, who has always lived in Pontyclun it is a passion to protect where I live because I really do love it.

The images I sent with my application were:

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Jewellery Artists Inspiration

Upon researching into ideas for my jewellery I went in search of inspiration in the library and I found a couple of books with various jewellery artists/designers within them. I have noted the ones that related to what I felt my practice was about. The first artist I saw was Linda Peterson who used materials to form her playful compositions, and for me this felt similar in my own practice. I also use a range of materials and blend them together to form unique compositions. There was something about her forms that drew me to them.

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The next artist I saw was Karl Fritsch who created pretty/grotesque jewellery. I found them rather beautiful and I really liked the textures and precious materials used. Another Artist I found was Ela Bauer who used plastic to create these large statement necklaces. I really loved how the plastic became layers and all merged into one. IMG_20170217_0001

Another Artist I liked was Sachiyo Higaki with the wooden collar joined together with cord. I loved how he manipulated the wood and the cord not only became the chain but became apart of the piece. And a glass artist I saw was Antje Illner with her violet necklace. To me the necklace looks so natural because of the glass cradled within the crocheted linen thread. I also really love the sandblasted text upon the glass its simplistic yet so beautiful.

IMG_20170307_0006Another book I found was Lisa Walkers Wearable art, and I was so interested in how she used almost anything and transformed it into art. The two I was most awe with was the ones bellow. I really like the form and how the fragments become a collection and are clinging to the base. I also loved how she presented her jewellery at an exhibition it was fun and made the viewer explore various heights and creep through the spaces between plinths. IMG_20170307_0005

Updating my subject questionnaire

The key values in my practice are:-

  • found objects
  • recycling found materials
  • Location based
  • Narrative
  • History behind the objects
  • Documentation of my making
  • low cost
  • wearable

The purpose of my practice is to draw attention to found objects that have been throw away and how I could reuse them in my practice to make them into wearable objects. I will be sourcing these objects from a set location one that is familiar to me and begin to clean and transform them into wearable jewellery. I will also like to maintain a connection back to the location either through directly transferring imagery onto the fragments of glass and ceramics, or finding a way how I could design my jewellery to emphasize the location.

I hope to build up a body of work from this one set location and if it deems to be popular explore other areas and build up collections based on the locations. I then hope to sell my products online and in a guild. I want the viewer to explore the beauty in a broken object much like I have done and I want to emphasize the transformation of rubbish to riches (hopefully). I also want to make my audience aware of how beautiful local places can be. It would also be nice if I could reflect on the impact of pollution and how as a maker we can start to help to make a change and aid in the cleaning up of these areas.

My target audience would be teenager/adults with a similar interest in the beauty of the found object but also the jewellery with a back story. I think I could focus on a target audience based around my location because they my have the similar feelings as I do. I plan on accessing my target audience by recording the processes and showing how as a maker we can help to make a change through reusing found materials. I will be attempting to share my jewellery through local galleries and also I will set up a website which will introduce my practice and have an online shop. If I receive positive interest through my jewellery I can then start to branch out and look at other locations I can gather materials from and start to build up collections.

In my practice found materials are extremely important, I have been picking up glass and ceramic fragments.For me it builds a sense of achievement to create beautiful wearable jewellery from what was essentially rubbish. I think location is important in my practice as well because I am using the placement as a basis of designing the jewellery. I hope to transfer imagery from the location onto the materials.

The skills I would like to progress this year would be finishing my products to a high standard. I would also like to be able to learn how to set up my own website. This would be a challenge for me because I struggle with digital aspects of my work. I would like to build up my profile as a maker and I will work on this through social media.

I think my work would be best situated near the location upon which I found them, possibly in local galleries. This would be beneficial because the viewers would be more accepting of work based from a familiar location to them. I would like to showcase the jewellery in a gallery environment because to me it does have a lot of meaning behind the work and it may also spread awareness of pollution and clearing of local environment.I would also have the opportunity alongside the pieces to purchase them when they come offrom exhibition. In 5 years time I would like to see myself having my own business where I make jewellery to stock in galleries made from materials sourced from certain areas and make collections based from those area’s. 

I will know if my work reaches a professional standard because I will have a high level of finish. I also want to create a professional layout for my products to be exhibited within, by doing so it will help to draw in an audience and if it looks lovely then hopefully my audience will purchase my handmade work.

There are a lot of ways where it could all go wrong, the first being how well will I be able to clean up the glass because the found glass has a poor quality when found. It is covered in dirt and scratches so whether or not I can change that is a main issue. Another issue I will need to address will be how am I going to attach the glass onto a chain or ribbon to become a worn item of jewellery. The third would be how well will the glass melt/fuse in the kiln? That would be a series of experiments so I will need to source plenty of glass for that also. I hope my ideas which I feel are solid transform into equally solid and professional outcomes. Watch this space.

 

Genevieve Sioka- Artisan Buyer for the National Trust Talk.

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Today we had a lecture from Genevieve Sioka who is an Artisan Buyer for the National Trust charity. She gave us a very informative talk about her job role as a artisan buyer for the National Trust shops instore and online. Her job is to find Artists/Designers/Craftsmen to produce handmade products to then go on and sell to their clientele. This money from the products sold goes on to help fund for renovations on the trusts houses and areas.

Her job is to find work that it unique and limited in quality. It must respond to the material which in turn requires engagement and technique. She goes by these four words when finding work and the four works are – Relevant – Provence – Distinctive – Authentic-. They must be 100% British made and eco friendly.

Her advice was if you were interested in becoming a maker through the trust was:-

  • Make it obvious that the product you plan to sell is handmade.
  • Storytelling is key.
  • Its good to document your process from the beginning to the end (It shows how the product to grow and develop)
  • The product should show the love of a place.
  • Start local- explore local national trust shops and places of interest.

This talk was very interesting because it sounded relatable, in my project this year I am focusing on a set location which I do have feelings about. It would be interesting to see how my work would sit possibly in the trusts shops. I think to move on from this I should visit the online or instore shop and see how my product would fair in that environment. If I feel it could belong I could then speak to the manager possibly show them my work and email Genevieve and explore my options with the charity. Overall I felt the talk was very informative and looked promising for my work.

 

Pewter Casting

Continuing on with the kintsugi idea I went off to make a wooden frame for the foundry sand to sit in with a wood lid to press down the pewter. Hopefully this will solve the issues with directing the pewter in the right direction and also having the pewter refrain from pooling on top of the glass itself.

Using the wooden frame I made and the foundry sand I pressed my chosen glass pieces into the sand making sure that they were all equal on the top. When pouring the pewter I had to be quick and for the first few times that was very difficult to do having only 2 hands, but once I got the hang of it I managed to start producing acceptable casts. My only issue was that the pewter was still pouring over the glass and did not remain clear. I think the only way to successfully do that is by making a mould tailored for each pendant which would be a lot of work and would be a lot of waste of plaster/vinamould. I think this process is not the best for my pieces, I will need to return back to the drawing board and experiment more. Bellow is a few outcomes which worked reasonably well.

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Photographing the location.

Over the past months I have been able to collect a series of photographs from the location of which I source my found material. I think it is lovely to see how the place has changed and adapted every time I visit. It is never the same and that could be to increase of the water covering the pebbles or more rubbish thrown in but to me I find it such a pleasant and a relaxing atmosphere to be in.

“A walk in the woods can refresh your mind and body and spirit, and the path you take can lead not just your feet somewhere but your mind as well”

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Bulk sanding and firing.

After visiting the river on the weekend I managed to collect lots more glass so all day today I wanted to sand away any sharp edges and prepare a big batch for a bulk firing to polish all the found glass ready for more experiments and more tests. I am close to finding the perfect outcome for my found material and i think the glass combined with pewter is looking promising I think I need to explore how I can show off the glass more and this may include changing the overall shape of the pewter. Lots more testing is needed. I felt that sanding away the sharp corners off the fragments today was a positive move, I should have lots to work on from now. The glass has been placed in the kiln ready for firing.