Friday, 26 March 2010

The exhibition opens

I realised as I uploaded this image that I took it before I had quite finished.  The panel you can see on the right hand side how has a selection of badges in the transparent pockets.  It has been a huge amount of work selecting the objects for this exhibition but I am quite pleased with the result.  It is the first time I have been involved in anything on this scale.  It has historic jewellery selected from many different areas in Whitby Museum's collections and from a wide range of places across the world.  It has jewellery made of a wide variety of different materials, including of course many very fine examples of Whitby Jet.  I hope a few of you will make the journey up to Whitby and have a look.  If you do, please let me know what you think.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Jewellery exhibition at Whitby Museum

I am in the final stages of putting together the jewellery exhibition at Whitby Museum, due to open to the public on 30th March 2010.  I have had a fascinating time selecting items from the museum collection, particularly as it has meant I could really search out objects that are not always out on display and also that I could show them together with items from other collections - so contrasting items from different periods or cultures.
I have been able to create a small display of jewellery made from different materials such as the necklace or rosary of Water lily seeds from Lake Lugano, Switzerland and the African ivory or bone bracelets.  I have also selected this amazingly intricate chain made of horsehair.  

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

More student work

My three students have been into the studio today and busy trying out new techniques and materials.  Between them they managed to try crochet with thread and wire, soldering a chain and shaped links in copper then texturing them with a hammer.  One used resin to embed a drawing, while another had a go at shaping a small piece of faux bone.  Then all of us had a first try of the Prometheus Bronze Clay.  I hadn't even tried it out myself and none of them had used any form of metal clay until today.  I didn't give them much in the way of rules just a few pointers and let them experiment with it.  The handling is nothing like that of Art clay silver but it is interesting in that it seems to have a longer working time without drying out - and of course a longer drying time before firing.   I think I probably pushed them too hard and we didn't have much time for pre-finishing before firing but the results are quite pleasing overall.  A worthwhile bit of testing as between them they tried a number of different methods of texturing and of constructing their work.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Day 4 in Japan

On the fourth day of our visit we went to the Art Clay Studio in Shinjuku and then to the temple complex at Asakusa.  This was stunningly beautiful and it was also perfect weather for walking around enjoying the sites.

We also visited a museum of traditional crafts where among other things saw these beautiful patinated vessels.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Day 3 in Japan

On the morning of day 3 of the Japan visit a number of the group decided we would like to walk from the hotel to the Aida factory.  I am really pleased that I did as I got to see far more than on the previous day's car ride.

This is very close to the hotel in Fuchu.
We had a quick look into the precinct of this substantial temple complex.
Even things like the drain or manhole covers and the tops of bollards were beautifully decorated and I loved the detail of the doorbell and security entry to a house we passed.  For our afternoon tea break Dice (Daisuke Minagawa) brought us these sweet treats to share.  They were sort of soft and slightly chewy and each one had a different flavour of filling.  I didn't try them all but of those I tried the pale one was my favourite, filled with some kind of soft cream cheese I think.  We had an introduction and overview of the new projects for the Art Clay certification course before making either a bee or spider.
At the end of the day some of the technical staff and artists from the factory came up and we all joined in the discussions of various pieces of work we had taken in to show them.  It was a very interesting exchange of ideas although Dice had to work really hard translating all the questions and answers.

Day 2 in Japan

The second day of my visit to Japan was spent in class at the factory of the Aida Corporation.  The class was taught by Ryota, who most of us had met at the Art Clay Conference in Jersey in October 2009.  He is a very skilled technician.  He taught us a beading technique for stone setting.  Here he is demonstrating how to hold and twist a drill bit keeping it upright and at right angles to the clay.

In the evening most of us went for a traditional Teppanyaki.  Above you can see Koskai beginning to cook the first dishes and here Ryota also cooking.  The food is cooked on a hotplate set level into each table.  It was a very sociable way of cooking with everyone tasting each dish.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Day 1 in Japan

I am still thinking about all the wonderful experiences of my trip to Japan.  I have decided that I need to take a more structured approach to reflecting on these so am going to attempt to post some of the highlights in order.  I went with a group of people who were mainly Art Clay Instructors.  On day one of our visit we had a very interesting tour of the factory where the Aida Corporation reprocess a variety of products to recover the metals and from that, make art clay silver and other products.

We had a fully guided tour taking us step by step through a variety of processes.
After this we had lunch in the Museum in the historic park near to the factory.  This display is part of a festival for girls and we were told that every home would have a small version of something like this.

Joy Funnell and I had a rapid walk around the park and were able to enjoy some of the details in the beautifully designed tea garden.  The blossom was also really beautiful.
The park included a number of interesting buildings such as this small water mill
which had a stunning stand of bamboo behind it.

I then had a quick look around the museum itself.  Traditional and historic Japanese crafts were on display, everything was exhibited beautifully and I wish I had had more time to study some of the items.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Engakuji Temple, Kitakamakura

What a beautiful place this is.  I think more temple complex than a temple.  Very peaceful even though there were lots of visitors.

Back from Japan

I got back from my Japan trip late Sunday evening.  I need a little time now to reflect on all that I saw.  At this point all I can say is that it was beautiful, inspiring, magical, wonderful