The new jewellery book, Jewel Book 12-13 from Belgian publishers Stichting Kunstboek is now out. Given that applications were still being taken right up until April of this year, this has been a pretty quick turnaround for the artists who were chosen, myself included, from submitting their digital pictures to seeing their works in print.
The book consists of images gathered by submission from individual artists, enabling whole-page spreads of a single work, with up to five images featured from each artist (though most commonly each person gets a single page or double page spread). At the front three artists have been selected for the honour of receiving an ‘Oyster Award’ in gold, silver or bronze, but I’ll leave it up to you to come upon these heroes in your own time.
There was also an interesting editorial decision made in listing the country of each artist alongside their name on their featured page – and not the country of birth, but the country of residence. This means, amongst other things, that I’m a freshly minted American. For me personally that makes very little sense, but perhaps for others it’s more accurate? It does mean that the lions share of inclusions by country as ever goes to Germany, but when they’re taking in Helen Britton, Sam Ho Duong and Jiro Kamata it does become a less-than-level playing field. Of course there is the reverse – a little nation like Australia stacks up well against a bigger one like the USA – twelve entries to fifteen, but when they’ve have access to the likes of Jacquie Chan, Jeongmee Do and Daehoon Kang then there’s been a bit of a helping hand there too. Which is about where I start to think it’s a pity. South Korea and New Zealand, both with strong jewellery cultures don’t have any entries chalked up, while Japan and China share a handful between them. And the rest of the world – and The UK I’m looking at you with your fifteen inclusions – gets to look good off the borrowed talent. Still, maybe it’s only fair that countries that support the jewel arts should get more recognition. Though in this context (and despite the fact that the entries chosen were whittled down from 2000 applicants) maybe other factors like advertising, or whether English is commonly spoken, were also influential. And home field advantage? Yup, Belgium definitely punch well above their weight, but then again, who you gonna call if not your kinsfolk?
As for my inclusion, I managed a double-page spread. I can’t say they chose my favourite of the works I sent, but then again, I looked back at my images and I made a very interesting decision while photo editing vis-à-vis cropping one of the works (I can’t remember the required file sizes, but perhaps my choices at that time reflect the pixel ratios required by the publisher.) My two pieces are both neckpieces and are 2012 works, and until recently had only been seen in one exhibition.
With 276 artists of 35 nationalities (hmm, really?) and over 540 pages I heartily recommend reading this fairly hefty tome. There’s quite a few artists I had not heard of, and some very beautiful photography of some really outstanding works (and some reasonable photography of a couple of my pieces too…)
The books is available via Amazon of course, and hopefully at your local retailers as well.