New special bespoke jewellery launch for The Weekender at Old Granada Studios

I am really excited about bringing this new special project  to Manchester this Saturday and Sunday for The Weekender at Old Granada Studios 20th 21st June.

The concept of this ring is to involve you to make your own contribution to create a unique piece  just for you.

 

Inspired by the wonderful world of nature, it is the Caddisfly's clever larvae which helped to create the concept of this new piece. 

To give themselves protection when they are in their young state they create their own tailor made casing.

They build their homes from the natural materials around them, each marvellous creature crafting their own perfect fit using their own choice of organic objects they find.

The artist Hubert Duprat even created an environment of minute gems and  golden nuggets so that the larvae that lodged within could en-robe themselves in the glittering treasures. I was blown away by this when I saw them in Paris at the Dries Van Noten exhibition at Les Arts Décoratifs.

For this new collection of rings I want to allow each individual to be the crafty caddisfly collecting for their own ring.

Bejewelled cases left behind by the craftings of a clever Caddisfly larvae thanks to the artist Hubert Duprat.

Bejewelled cases left behind by the craftings of a clever Caddisfly larvae thanks to the artist Hubert Duprat.

I made the very first of these rings for myself to signify a big change in my environment and keep a piece of it with me and I am really looking forward to allowing others to wear a part of the places that mean something to them too.

 

For each bespoke commission you can find your own materials which I can use to create your own beautifully encrusted ring. 

This could be a little sand from your favourite beach, or some gravelly debris from your very own doorstep.

I will be at The Weekender, the free designer festival at Old Granada Studios this weekend to meet you and chat about this special project, but please also feel free to email me at info@jademellor.com with any questions ideas or just to say hello!

Karl Fritsch at Manchester Gallery

It was Fritsch mania at Manchester Gallery the other Thursday night! The exhibition on his exciting jewellery work is running currently at the Gallery on Mosely Street, who's outer façade  inner hall and staircase are currently cascading with luscious leafy foliage and blooms to lift your heart in this Narnia March we're having.

Fritsch Mania!

Fritsch Mania!

The curator of this exhibition is Jo Bloxham the driving force for many amazing shows such as The Sting of Passion in 2009, uniting jewellery artists with Pre-Raphaelite  paintings to create some remarkable work. aiming to show jewellery as an artform, rather than purely a decorative commodity, something she believes that the U.K is a little behind in.  Manchester museum's site reads on The Sting of Passion: "The works portray women as a femme fatale, a seductress, and in some cases, purely as an object of beauty. You can see how this was a perfect union to push preconceptions of jewellery as an artform and show it is much more than something nice to look at, the same as the iconic women depicted in the famous paintings, with equality and the portrayal of women in the media today a continuing topic for debate.

Ophelia,  Arthur Hughes part of "The Sting of Passion" exhibition combining Pre-Raphaelite paintings and contemporary jewellery.

Ophelia, Arthur Hughes part of "The Sting of Passion" exhibition combining Pre-Raphaelite paintings and contemporary jewellery.

Necklace by Kepa Karmona to accompany the painting

Necklace by Kepa Karmona to accompany the painting

As Karl dashed across the globe from Germany's Schmuck fest over to New Zealand where he is based he stopped over to talk to us about his work (as part of Manchester gallery's Thursday lates). Often controversial, his approach caused many a "heated discussion" while he was studying under his mentor, and now friend non other than Hermann Junger. When asked about his unconventional ways and his opinion on learning the recognised ways of working in order to be an artist jeweller Fritsch said: "You must take ownership, do it the way you think right. If it is new it will always be a challenge."

Expressive, strong, unconventional looking, tactile and defiant      A Fritsch Ring poking it's tongue out at convention (or excerpts from my imaginary online dating profile?)

Expressive, strong, unconventional looking, tactile and defiant  

A Fritsch Ring poking it's tongue out at convention (or excerpts from my imaginary online dating profile?)

"Yes, of course the ring wants to be beautiful. The technique also wants to be beautiful, and most often it’s the idea that wants to be the most beautiful.
But sometimes a piece likes nothing better than to sit in the mud and not give a damn about how it looks. If it is exactly what it wants to be in a given moment, it is precise, perfect and the most beautiful."

(From Fritsch's new publication on his work)

A series of his earlier work he himself describes as intentionally ugly, at a time when he was looking at the concept of wearing jewellery to attract attention and thought that an "unattractive" piece would draw the eye as much as one with a conventionally "pretty" aesthetic. The selection of work on show in this exhibition showcased the diversity of his work, giant sculptural pieces, including dinosaurs and mountains of gems down to simple, pared back oxidised metal work of lines and forms.

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The museum is also part of the fantastic Own Art scheme allowing the purchase of these pieces with affordable payments trying to make artists work accessible to as many people as possible who may be put off by a one off splurge. There was a live discussion on this subject  via the Guardian website last week (read it here). Hopefully this will make art become more attainable and also help artists by selling their pieces without having to water down their ideas or compromise to make a more affordable piece. It is definitely something I am continuing to learn, buying one amazing well made perfect thing you really really want instead of compromising and ending up serial buying inferior things in a bid not to spend too much.

Karl Fritsch Screw ring from Unexpected Pleasures at The Design Museum earlier this year.

Karl Fritsch Screw ring from Unexpected Pleasures at The Design Museum earlier this year.

 With the hard work of curators, artists and organisations like Manchester Gallery for this show and The Design Museum's Unexpected Pleasures exhibition and Aram's Beautiful Objects already this year hopefully this is something that is transforming before us, so we must do everything we can to encourage it to become the Island for jewels of intellect, intrigue and substance.

“Over the last 30 years there has been a movement within the jewellery world which has pushed the boundaries of what is possible to achieve within this practice. This has led to work being produced that has a narrative – a conceptual element to it."

Jo Bloxham

Fritsch rings, available to purchase via the "Own Art" scheme

Fritsch rings, available to purchase via the "Own Art" scheme

"Different rings for different things. It doesn't have to be for every occasion. You might put it on to sit and watch T.V. They are a luxury to be enjoyed."  Karl Fritsch when asked about the practicality of some of his pieces. 

This was my favourite, I love the soft green gold tones and the old fashioned blue and coral coloured cabochons and the playful shape.

This was my favourite, I love the soft green gold tones and the old fashioned blue and coral coloured cabochons and the playful shape.

Not just  "glue". SUPERGLUE!   As an accomplished silversmith Fritsch combines his technical training and skill with an open mind to realise his ideas. Sometimes simple is best.

Not just "glue". SUPERGLUE!  As an accomplished silversmith Fritsch combines his technical training and skill with an open mind to realise his ideas. Sometimes simple is best.

"Jewellery should excite, surprise, intrigue and stand alone." Jo Bloxham

This ring with it's shiny towers of gold was another of my wish list choices. 

This ring with it's shiny towers of gold was another of my wish list choices. 

karl fritsch ring spiney jewels.JPG

Whether you know of Karl Fritsch's work or not this a great exhibition to look around as there is such a variety of materials and styles it will get you thinking and discussing your opinions. Guessing each other's favourite, or even psychoanalysing "which ring would represent so-and-so" is a good, fun game as well. I think with wearable objects there is always another level of engagement to enjoy as you automatically imagine wearing it, touching it and how it would interact with your life. Many people may feel more at home "browsing" objects than viewing and critiquing a piece of art, so I hope this kind of exhibition encourages more people into galleries and museums.

Exhibition runs from 15 February 2013–23 June 2013 and it's FREE

Desert Varnish

This new year I have started a palaeontology course which I am enjoying enormously. Instead of just reading things up in my own books, being taught about these processes in so much depth means being able to ask questions about these wondrous transformations and really understand from a microscopic level what is going on to make these amazing specimens. It also means meeting and sharing this interest with some really nice people. Today, Annie from the course brought in a specimen of fossilised wood she picked up in Libya amidst a whole desert of stoic looking petrified timber monoliths.

Petrified Wood from Libya found by Annie

Petrified Wood from Libya found by Annie

Broken pieces of fossilised tree trunks. Image courtesy of  Temehu   http://www.temehu.com/Cities_sites/sahara- fossilised-forest.htm

Broken pieces of fossilised tree trunks. Image courtesy of Temehu http://www.temehu.com/Cities_sites/sahara-fossilised-forest.htm

Petrified wood gnarled edge

Petrified wood gnarled edge

petrified wood desert varnish jade mellor.jpg

These burnished edges you can see are polished up in a process called "desert varnish" where dew from cool desert nights when the temperature plummets and manganese carried in the harsh winds coat and polish up portions of the fossilised wood.

petrified wood desert varnish jade mellor 4.jpg

I have previously tried to emulate this textured surface in my work, (Black Beam ring below) contrasting rough and organic with burnishing, so it was great to get my hands on an actual weighty specimen of it rather than through the glass of cabinets or photos. It really was so smooth and flint-like after the organic matter in the wood had been replaced by minerals whilst it was trapped deep under the ground for millions of years. I will look forward to trying some more experiments in the workshop now I have handled a piece up close and my hands have experienced the real surface.

Black Beam ring 2012   Resin, oxidised silver, hand polished copper metallic lustre.

Black Beam ring 2012

Resin, oxidised silver, hand polished copper metallic lustre.

Purchase details available at  Not Just A Label  http://www.notjustalabel.com/shop/46919

Purchase details available at Not Just A Label http://www.notjustalabel.com/shop/46919