Here are the materials again to remind you of what everyone was given to work with...
My immediate response to my bag of materials was to want to cut it all up (my piercing saw is my favourite tool!). I was particularly drawn to the onion as I wanted to play with slicing it and trying to represent the layers found in a “natural” onion.
My first experiments were fun but I kept thinking that they looked like someone else had made them. My natural inclination when working is to build a narrative and I have been working with the imagery from old biscuit tins and tin trays for a few years now. I cut, rearrange and construct the layers of images to create hybrid creatures and strange altered landscapes.
The onion makes a conspicuous reappearance in the David brooches, but it is also present in the layers and layering of the construction of the brooches.
Anna has blogged about her work here
Difficulty with prescribed physical starting point – no conceptual framework, no relation to my location, not my stuff, disconnected
Plastic smells like it has been in a smoker’s house YUCK!
Attempt purely aesthetic compositions -- nice but not me
Completely disassemble, completely destroy and rebuild – run over the whole lot with the car to create an element of chance… mmm might be a bit risky
Manipulate rather than destroy… punch holes… yes I will punch holes
Challenge myself to use all of the material supplied… yes this is important
Upcycle – product cycle – lifecycle
Holes, lots of holes, punch, punch, punch this plastic food stuff… lifecycle… AH! Got it… The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Caz blogged extensively about the process behind her work. Check it out here, here, here, here and here
I think of myself as a material based maker, in that significant relationships are formed between the material, my hand and the tool. For ten years my practice has centred on the manipulation and transformation of a commonplace material: Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC), into the precious. The material is initially coloured then small pieces are removed from the surface through a process of hand cut incisions and carved patterns. Transformed from its prosaic ‘natural’ state, this new material glitters with a play of light and reflection.
unnatural Acts really challenged the way in which I approached my work. I am used to having an unlimited supply of one material to physically experiment with and now I was limited to one envelope of varied materials. I knew I had to change my approach or else I would exhaust my resource in a minute! If only I could have more of these materials... I considered Charles Darwin’s theory of ‘natural selection’ and played with the idea of ‘unnatural selection’. Unnatural plants would need the assistance of ‘plastic pollinators’ to reproduce.
Kath has written about her work here
This work reflects an ongoing exploration into concerns of environmental and human fragility.
Miracle-gro and Crop-giant were two of the fertiliser brands heavily advertised by the side of the road that I observed while travelling in the Philippines.
Fake plastic onions. Someone in this world is making their living from manufacturing fake plastic onions. I feel as though I stepped into this person’s life for a few days, I shared the desire to make it look real and to make it look good. I sliced an actual onion to understand the detail inside, the cells, its layers - and it made me weep.
Contrary to the ordinary course of nature, the series Somewhere There Exists… does. Exist I mean.
Where once there was merely a collection of artificial bits-and-bobs (having received them in the mail), there now exists a collection of jewellery pieces that would never otherwise have existed. If it weren’t for the project Unnatural Acts, I would not have been led down a garden path of imagination and promise: to create a new, small collection of work in response to a bag of colourful unnatural plant-like forms. Somewhere There Exists… is a visual bite of a bigger idea that is slowly evolving (and not dissimilar to some of my earlier work).
While continuing to inform the overarching theme of my current exploration Melancholy Series, this collection is much more playful. Melancholy Series has a darker tone: it poetically explores notions of beauty, nostalgia and passing time, questioning how the creation of objects can guide or replace memory. While Melancholy Series alludes to forms found in nature, deliberately abstracting them to de-familiarise the familiar, this series explores the imaginary by creating new, unnatural jewellery from silver, wood and plastic. Essentially these are objects of frippery and decoration, born in response to thinking “somewhere there exists...”.
I found the materials I was sent for unnatural Acts, to be a somewhat telling and disconcerting harvest for what has become native to my western contemporary urban culture. However, in response, I pruned and diced my way through the fake fruit and foliage to create two neckpieces that celebrate the lurid colours and embrace the playful qualities of the materials. I drew inspiration from the traditional Lei, a predominantly Polynesian and Hawaiian ceremonial and celebratory garland composed from materials native to, or at hand for the maker, such as flowers, seeds, teeth, shells and in more recent times, man made elements such as plastic, candy and coins. A symbol of welcome, friendship and good intent, these garlands are material gestures composed from elements specific to geographical and cultural significance. Taking on the role of bricoleur and alchemist, it was not my intention to discriminate against the materials in front of me, to devalue them or judge them. They are a raw material to be explored, manipulated, celebrated and treasured. By honoring these materials, I feel I am giving them a new context that elevates them above the disposable commodity they were intended to be.
My favourite piece of jewellery is a necklace made of plastic twigs. Never before have I appreciated the delicate form of a synthetic stick from a plastic floral arrangement, complete with a browny-green patina and potential new life budding from its gnarled joints. –Kirrily Hammond (artist & curator)
When I found these humorous salvaged pieces, I saw them as a reminder of how consistently strangely our culture views the natural. I am fascinated, weirdly excited and disgusted.
I insist on giving these oddities a new life.
The rich colours and textures of these found objects are important triggers of inspiration, and a limited palette provides more possibilities. A homage, a wearable passport to a whimsical ‘other’ reality, finding the beautiful and seductive in what is otherwise thought of as mundane. The onion will be a fabulous brooch.
Accustomed to working with unconventional plasticky substances, when making jewellery for unnatural Acts my focus was simply to welcome the donor materials into my usual collection of Useful Things. Initiated by means of tortures and experiments already common to my practice - shredding, cutting, mixing, spinning, amongst others - these new materials quickly found a way to fit in with my current obsession with transforming expanded polystyrene into colourful jewellery using simple experimental and crafts-based techniques.
I played and I played and I played.
I sliced, stitched and sawed.
I had grand plans.
Made sweeping gestures.
Colours exploded across my bench (and some paint spilled).
Several enormous, lemony brooches announced their ghastly presence.
I made an onion chandelier.
Big green leaves became cheeky, swingers’ merkin pendants.
Small, weird, blue leaves tossed and tumbled like waves around a neck.
And then, suddenly, all that was left were the stalks… Buds of a new idea grew: Ikebana stark.
Shadow play. Hidden secrets.