So I shipped out of Asheville on Tuesday evening and flew into Richmond. I was invited to Virginia Commonwealth University by metals professor Susie Ganch to be an artist-in-residence for the beginning of the ten-year anniversary edition of the Radical Jewelry Makeover project. Again this entailed a lecture and one-on-one meetings, (as a guest of the Craft and Material Studies area of VCU Arts I spoke with artists from across the crafts – admittedly though mostly metals folks) and this time some studio time too.
After some crit sessions on Thursday morning I gave my new lecture. I was a lot more confident than the first time, which improved my volume – a problem in Kent. I then joined the students in Susie’s afternoon class to make some jewellery for the Radical Jewelry Makeover project, after a brief lecture on my process and material choices to this class.
Susie’s right-hand-man in Richmond was Windgate Fellowship recipient and resident artist Jaydan Moore. I was surprised to meet him there, but really chuffed since I had been introduced to his work by a friend who told me to look out for him at Penland, as there he’s an incoming resident. I was way too early too catch him at Penland – but won the jackpot by getting to hang out with him at VCU, where we chatted as he worked on one of his prints.
Since we were all working on RJM pieces it was a good opportunity to work in amongst the group, so while I roamed a little talking to students, I also got down to business. I spent my first afternoon drafting in AutoCad, as I hadn’t done any work on my intended piece, aside from photograph and dismantle it back home. (If you’re unfamiliar, RJM was the parent of the Once More With Love exhibition, and has borrowed the latter’s idea of sending out bags of recycled jewels to invited artists to make their work from.) Like all the students, I had one of my (hopefully) future exhibition pieces to work with. Yup, we were all playing for keeps.
Working in Cad is normally a concentrated and quiet solo process, so it was a challenge to come up with something I was happy with in a busy environment. I had a great time talking to students, doing a demo of capping steel cable with solder and helping sort more donations of materials then identifying the gold and silver amongst the piles and piles of random metal, but I learned that when it comes to drawing I really am used to that cone of silence. But when I finally printed my plan on Saturday morning and began drilling and sawing, I just about finished up my piece that day. Having said that, I finished the piece last week and photographed it before working on it again this week, finishing it for a second time. And I’m still not content with it. I now plan to take parts off and enamel them before restringing. I’ll let you know how that goes….
While in the studios surrounded by a huge bounty of jewels to recycle I succumbed to the allure of a couple of new things, which I was encouraged to take with me to work with. I’m now fixated on the (very flimsy) base of a sterling silver candlestick that Susie gave me. As a consequence, the objects that I formerly thought were going to be my focus, (see them on the RJM website) have lost favour. Though that badge still has my attention…
My jewels for the RJM show at the Richmond Center for Crafts have to be in Susie’s hands by next week, so I’d best get off the internetz and get on with them.