Sruli Recht, an Icelandic fashion designer, has embellished a 24-carat gold ring with his own skin. This jewellery is truly grotesque and I am impressed that someone has the audacity to follow through with a design like this. The hairs that have remained on the skin add an extra disgusting element to the piece.
There is a video showing the process of Recht’s skin being removed, click this link if you are feeling brave…
Iris Eichenberg’s works jumped out at me as soon as I came across them. Her colour palette is very similar to what I like to experiment with and for the past year I have worked with polymer clay using similar techniques to her. I am always so motivated to get into the studio and start making after I see Eichenberg’s works.
“… trying to find a balance; contradicting materials like fleshy pink plastic and gold, copper-plated silver, wool, and rose-quartz, girly ribbons, panty-hose and beads. Sexy and repulsive at the same time- you need to touch them- wear them and they transform… being placed on the body they melt into the clothes and the body at the same time… they long for a body but also long for the person standing in front of you, triggering the voyeur in the other”
Iris Eichenberg, http://www.iriseichenberg.nl/eichenberg.html
Lucy McRae and Bart Hess have come together as LucyandBart to manipulate the human body through augmentation. Their works come across as futuristic, which is disturbing, but the unsettling nature of these additions to the body is what makes the work attractive to me.
“Ginger is a collection inspired by an exploration of my family roots. I am from Vietnam though I have lived in Germany since I was a teenager. Ginger has many special properties. Its intense aroma is used to enhance flavours in food and drinks and also for healing. I work with the basic root formation and then develop this through the use of colour and stones.” http://www.wearableartblog.com/my_weblog/2009/07/sam-tho-duong.html
Sam Tho Duong pierced nails into dried up ginger- I find that repetition is always effective in jewellery, along with the corpse-like appearance of the ginger.
Karl Fritsch is very much into making rings, and so am I. My favourite quality of his works is the squished, moulded appearance he gives to the precious metal and also the small details of his fingerprints that are left visible. His rings are very playful, which contradict the expensive materials.
Contemporary jewellery is more than a fashion accessory; it is conceptual, material based, makes social commentaries and connects to the past. It allows the wearer, and even the viewer, an extremely new experience of jewellery.
Carissa Kowalski Dougherty, ed. 2008, Jewelry Design, daab
Contemporary jewellery gives impressions of uniqueness and craftsmanship, but also can be high-street. Alternative materials are quite prominent in the movement and the expression behind the practice makes it undoubtedly artistic as well. Contemporary jewellery sits between the arts and mainstream jewellery- it is a vessel for ideas to become tactile and not just something that is manufactured for commercial wear. This position can cause identity crises for the movement, as it’s perceptions of individuality mean that it is quite hard to define a specific style.
Lignel, B, 2006, What Does Contemporary Jewellery mean? http://www.klimt02.net/forum/index.php?item_id=7624
In groups we tried to place jewellers into four contemporary jewellery categories- fashion, commercial, art and craft. We were having trouble, so we decided to define the categories. Even after doing this we found that it is really quite hard to place contemporary jewellery designers/makers into specific categories, as they tend to spill over into several of them or even others that are not on this map. It seems that contemporary jewellery has many definitions, none of them necessarily right or wrong, as the debate appeared to come down to matter of opinion.
This “diversity stands in the way of a cohesive front” (Lignel, 2006). Contemporary jewellery is described in quite a few different ways and therefore doesn’t have a certain image, which unfortunately can come across as foreign to the general public and therefore may not yet be appreciated to its full extent.