GSA SILVERSMITHING AND JEWELLERY ARTISTS
Return, Remake, React
Collective exhibition by GSA Silversmithing and Jewellery Artists in Residence 2022.
The Alchemy Experiment
157 Byres Road, G12 8TS
Friday 20th May 19.00-21.00
Monday - Saturday 9.00-18.00
Cara Lowe (instagram)
Michelle Currie (instagram)
Scott Smith (instagram)
Monica Findlay (instagram)
Sheng Zhang (instagram)
Exploring the processes of carving, raising, and casting, this assortment of objects questions repetitive markings, rhythmic making and the importance of meditative craft. Materials such as reclaimed wood, sheet metal and a variety of repetitive and meditative practices, traditionally favoured by ancient Scottish craftspeople, has changed the direction of this collection in many ways over the last year, after spending time in North-East Scotland’s coastal landscape.
Using carving skills acquired while in the Scouts and learning to appreciate the abundance of natural material available in rural Aberdeenshire, made possible a reflection and careful consideration of our relationship with such organic matter. While analysing and interrogating wood chips as evidence of manufacturing processes, this knowledge assimilated seamlessly within research undertaken on early Scottish carvings, contemplating mark making and the authenticity of replicas.
After the first national lockdown due to COVID-19, responsiveness to environment and reflective practice have emerged as qualities in these works; a passion for meditative practices that allows for an expansive role for materials, instinctive making, and spontaneous responses. In this sense, the works presented here represent a collection of handheld objects that sit comfortably both on the dining table and in the wild Scottish landscapes that shaped their designs.
Cara Lowe is a contemporary designer with a playful approach to jewellery. She is currently based at The Glasgow School of Art as Artist in Residence, after graduating in 2021 with an Honours degree in Silversmithing & Jewellery Design.
Cara’s practice explores the relationship between the digital and physical realm, and investigates themes of play, technology and cyberspace. As someone who grew up during the ‘digital age’, her childhood memories of play are associated with retro videogame consoles. This ongoing theme has become increasingly more apparent during the pandemic, where technology has provided us with much needed escapism. She highlights this: exploring how we can utilise technology to generate joy. Influenced by retrofuturism and childhood toys, Cara combines bright colours and shapes using a hybrid of digital and traditional techniques to create unique pieces. She uses computer rendering to develop imagery, and 3D printing software to materialise these concepts, before connecting separate parts by hand.
When designing, Cara considers material, packaging, and their ecological properties. PLA filament is her primary material, a renewable bioplastic sourced from natural plant sugars. She also uses minimal amounts of silver, melted down from scrap. Her objects offer an engaging activity for the wearer, combining both jewellery and play. They consist of three key components: colour, lightness and kinetic movement. Together, these elements form an interactive experience with the wearer, keeping the activity of ‘play’ a key part of the collection.
Sheng Zhang is a UK based contemporary jewellery and silversmithing designer maker. He is currently doing the Artist in Residence at Glasgow School of Art and part time lecturer at Staffordshire University. He graduated from an MFA Jewellery course at the
Edinburgh College of Art, having previously studied at the School of Jewellery Birmingham City University and China University of Geosciences (Wuhan).
Sheng Zhang’s designs are usually influenced and inspired by minimalist art, contemporary architecture and geometrical form.
Associating with boundary, volume, silhouette, capacity, shadow and subtle detail, his practice concentrates on exploring the connection of internal and external, positive and negative space in his vessels and containers.
Sheng’s work demonstrates an aesthetics of minimal style, purity of visual language and ethos of moderate. Questioning the relationship between the work and its surroundings as well as the role of function in a conceptual and aesthetic work of art.
‘Traces’ is an ongoing body of work developed by Glasgow based silversmith Monica Findlay during her honorary year at the Glasgow School of Art and continued throughout the course of her current residency. The material presence of the past informs the objects presented in this collection. Curiosity for generational relics, as evidence of lived experiences, influence these designs, and each piece aims to evoke a sense of the forgotten. Tactile techniques place emphasis on the interrelation between memory and object, testing the possibility to trigger nostalgia through manipulated materials. Etched textures and delicate wirework replicate and emulate inscribed memories. Embossed traces convey the absence of passing objects that once were in contact with the surface; “it is in this gap between resemblance and identity that nostalgic desire arises. The nostalgic is enamored of distance, not of the referent itself. Nostalgia cannot be sustained without loss.” (Susan Stewart, 1984). Precious and non-precious metals emphasise habitual traces that are often overlooked, encouraging tactile and emotional engagement, extending curiosity from maker to viewer. Bringing together storytelling and archaeology, this collection explores tangible remains, their surface qualities as important signifiers or touchstones of memories both ancient and modern.
Michelle Currie is currently Artist in Residence at The Glasgow School of Art Silversmithing and Jewellery Department after graduating with a First-Class Honours degree in 2020. Her unique practice combines traditional Silversmithing techniques with her love of Science and Astronomy.
Ever captivated by the unseen forces that govern and shape our world, Michelle Currie’s practice is determined by an exploration and celebration of the interconnected realms of science and art, focusing in particular on the laws of physics and their intrinsic influence on our physical experience and reality. Methodical studio experimentation and inquisitive scientific observation of ferromagnetic materials, are combined with creative enquiry and scientific properties to reveal mesmerising visual examples of physical laws. Applying a knowledge-sharing philosophy, encouraging cross boundary collaboration to experience a fuller understanding of existence, Currie creates objects that exist in response to seemingly unrelated yet intrinsically interwoven cross-disciplinary conversations.
Combining interests in physics with creative process Michelle develops sculptures and wearable objects using iron particles and iron oxide powder, documenting their reactions when subjected to strong magnetic forces. These explosive moments create moving installations and miniature static sculptures inspired by the capture of gravitational wave data by scientific apparatus at the Glasgow University Physics and Astronomy Laboratories confirming the warping of spacetime. Employing the use of magnetic forces to warp and manipulate ferromagnetic materials, highlighting the unseen forces acting on our physical experience, these explorations are combined with traditional silversmithing methods to form interactive objects that aim to encourage communication and conversations, promoting artistic enquiry in expressing the beauty of scientific research and discovery.