Love Struck!

Just a few days left to see the amazing work of Bernhard Schobinger at Manchester Art Gallery!


Pearls and saw blades, brought together in a Schobinger ring at Manchester Art Gallery.

Pearls and saw blades, brought together in a Schobinger ring at Manchester Art Gallery.


The exhibition "Rings of Saturn" curated by Jo Bloxham and Gallery SO finishes on Sunday. Details can be found  HERE. Bernhard Schobinger combines exquisite skills and precious materials with unconventional objects collected for their importance to him in his jewellery work.

 
Bernhard Schobinger rings in Manchester Art Gallery

Bernhard Schobinger rings in Manchester Art Gallery

 

I find something that sets the artist apart from a more conventional maker is never being able to switch off from your desire to create, seeing "jewellery potential" in objects encountered in all the days of your life. The amazing objects Bernhard Schobinger has gathered mean that so many of his pieces have a story of how that first morsel of inspiration was discovered. Here is a closer look at the fabulous "Lightening Rod Chain" necklace which is in the exhibition.

    Bernhard Schobinger, Blitzableiterkette, 1990, necklace, copper, gold fire gilding, patina, rose quartz spheres, gold, stainless steel, photo: Gallery S O

 

Bernhard Schobinger, Blitzableiterkette, 1990, necklace, copper, gold fire gilding, patina, rose quartz spheres, gold, stainless steel, photo: Gallery S O


ZAP! A decorative lightening rod finial in an electrified shape!

ZAP! A decorative lightening rod finial in an electrified shape!

"An old lightning rod is partially a device to ward off evil, pointing back into a mythical, animistic world." Bernhard Schobinger



Lightening rod components like Bernhard Schobinger collected from a roof for his jewellery.

Lightening rod components like Bernhard Schobinger collected from a roof for his jewellery.

It seems like Bernhard is fearless in his quest for collecting objects. The lightning conducter components for his necklace he actually rescued from the roof of a building about to be torn down. You could consider them jewels worn by the building itself. Although they had a practical purpose being made from a material with properties that would assist with the safety of a building if it should happen to be struck, the rods and finials are also beautiful objects, made by skilled craftsmen so that many are collected and highly valued.

ASSEMBLED COLLECTION OF LIGHTNING ROD FINIALS, CA 1860-1920: Courtesy of Jeff Bridgeman

ASSEMBLED COLLECTION OF LIGHTNING ROD FINIALS, CA 1860-1920: Courtesy of Jeff Bridgeman

This necklace reminded me of something I learned about kerauni or "Thunder Stones". In studying early cultures an aspect I have enjoyed learning about was the history of the discovery of their objects in relation to our own knowledge and how our it has changed as we studied and learned more. Stone age arrow and axe heads were mysteries for a long time. Before we had any idea of the existence of Lithic culture, when these unusually shaped objects made from rocks were dug up by farmers they knew they had obviously been around for a very long time but without a notion of early cultures we created our own explanation for them. With a defined shape, as if crafted by a skilled hand but emerging from under the earth,  we knew they were special but we didn't know why. This is why they were often interpreted as "Thunder Stones". the explanation for their existence was that they fell from the sky, created in terrific storms. With no understanding of science, it was mythology and superstition that reassured us lightening wouldn't strike twice. This made these prized objects, and we now believe they were placed on the roofs of homes to protect them from being struck in a thunderstorm (our understanding of these stone age finds only changed much later after travelers could see these kinds of tools being used by distant tribes still utilising this technology from our pre-history).

 

"Thunderstones" Pre-historic axe-heads and arrowheads, once thought to be  fossilised thunderbolts!

"Thunderstones" Pre-historic axe-heads and arrowheads, once thought to be  fossilised thunderbolts!

 

I love this idea of knowing an object is special but not knowing it's original purpose, and cherishing it as a precious thing. It is what a lot of jewellery is about, wearing these about your person to protect, decorate and dream about.

There were many other beliefs all over the world and throughout history about these objects. If I believed in reincarnation I may well have requested some time spent as a Thunder Stone in Scandinavia. These were worshipped as sacred objects or Gods and lavished with offerings,  being poured over with beer and  annointed with butter (sounds a bit like an 18-30s).

Although these may seem unusual some to be used in a piece of jewellery, by interpreting these ancient Thunder Stones or using real lightening rods would make sense as the best gift from a partner to show a union between them. If lightening doesn't strike the same place twice, if given to the wearer it would  protect them from being love struck by someone else...

Bernhard Schobinger Rings of Saturn finishes this Sunday! Visit this exhibition on this fantastic jewellery artist while you can and prepare to be amazed by jewels which are not always what they seem.  We are very lucky to have this work in Manchester!!!

 

Here's a little more about Thunder Stones on Manchester Museum's Blog.

 

Art in the Making. Ryan Gander at Manchester Art Gallery

Artworks that look like palettes and palettes that are spoons...Ryan Gander's exhibition at Manchester gallery has got me thinking about what art might be. 

The palette of French Romantic painter Eugène Delacroix 

The palette of French Romantic painter Eugène Delacroix 

 

Definition of a palette

 

"A palette /ˈpælɨt/, in the original sense of the word, is a rigid, flat surface on which a painter arranges and mixes paints. A palette is usually made of woodplasticceramic, or other hard, inert, nonporous material, and can vary greatly in size and shape. The most commonly known type of painter's palette is made of a thin wood board designed to be held in the artist's hand and rest on the artist's arm. Watercolor palettes are generally made of plastic or porcelain with rectangular or wheel format with built in wells and mixing areas for colors."

ryan gander palette wall manchester museum.jpg

Here's a snap I took at Thursday's buzzing preview of Ryan Gander's exhibition, "Make Every Show Like It's Your Last" at Manchester Art Gallery. My favourite part of the exhibition was this wall of colourful discs. Instead of showing the paintings behind them, these are the palettes he was using for each one. It is accompanied by a laminated diagram with fantastically detailed descriptions of the people in the phantom portraits that co-ordinate with each paint splashed platters.

"I paint myself every day but I don't show the portraits, I only show the palette. I'd have to kill you if you saw the portrait as you would know how bad a painter I am'. It is a discipline for him, as he admits he is "not a massive fan of painting", but this is conceptual work. Gander says it is "nice to have missing bits as it allows the viewer to imagine their own painting".

Gander in the studio with the Independent 2012

The collection of palettes is a wonderful sight, I enjoyed picking out my favourites from the colour combinations and abstract formations.  You can match up the palette to the description of the painting or enjoy them as they are, using your imagination to interpret them however you like. Some reminded me of petri dishes with colourful moulds and germs thriving happily. Others could be a blurred dinner plate, "On Today's menu a miscellaneous fillet and a smudge of peas".

Gander said about his approach, "You can choose to engage or not. By leaving blanks there is room for you. If I hand it to you on a silver platter you won't like it" Or maybe on a silver spoon?

I use these spoons to mix my pigments. Rather than washing off the material, by letting them harden I can then use them as colour samples, and also get the satisfaction of smashing of the solidified colour for future use.  These reminders of my past makes are my version of a palette.

This amazing formation was gifted to me by fellow Third Floor studio artist Olivia Pilling after I fell in love with these synthetic stalagmites in her workspace.

Pilling's palette started out as an old dinner plate. The shapes made by the accumulations of materials which have formed whilst she skilfully works on her paintings are quite extraordinary. In creating her expressions on canvas she has simultaneously brought a unique 3D sculpture into existence. Even though the creation of this work was secondary it could sit equal to her meticulous and thoughtful paintings as one wouldn't exist without the other, made through the colours she has chosen and mixed with her own eye and hand.

The palettes pictured below are from some of the world's most famous painters. As well as being important artefacts from their connection to the artists, they are beautiful, expressive objects in their own right.

A palette from Paul Gauguin

A palette from Paul Gauguin

Vincent Van Gogh's smudgy strokes

Vincent Van Gogh's smudgy strokes

My favourite of these is this palette of Georges Seurat, conjouring up an image of conspiring figures wrapped in colourful cloaks.

My favourite of these is this palette of Georges Seurat, conjouring up an image of conspiring figures wrapped in colourful cloaks.

                                           Hand shaping my pieces has left patterns of residue on the textured emery paper.

                                           Hand shaping my pieces has left patterns of residue on the textured emery paper.

I am really interested in the outcomes of working practices. Hands on methods of making often lead to other interesting outcomes, either forming a by-product or through observing sparking further ideas, feeding the creative process. When using wet & dry emery paper to shape my work it leaves beautiful patterns on the surface like the one above. In a strange way they are a sort of canvas, the strokes of colour made by the pieces marking the surface. It has been painted by jewellery.

These cushions using images captured in the making process are a collaboration with textile designer Natalie Stoker. They made their début in the Soho showroom, reminding me of aerial photographs of deserts and seas, or the surface of a distant planet. A limited edition will be available to pre-order for £45 each, if you would like more information email me at info@jademellor.com