Handshake5 at Te Uru. Image: Tatiana Harper
I was really pleased with the circular aspect of my 2 sets of work. I spent months translating OB’s work from 2D to 3D and experienced such an immediate pleasure in making, yet I was producing work that would not be handled or worn, instead it would be housed under perspex and that somehow felt a little selfish. Translating internet images of Te Uru architecture into jewellery for people to wear, felt like an antidote to that frustration. The social media wall also contributed to the circularity – the inspirations for the work came from internet images, with human translators mediating the return of this jewellery back into the ether.
Reflecting on this, I can’t help but think about the role an audience plays in my making process. When you think of making jewellery as simply a continuum of tiny decisions; Cut here or cut there? Emery with 400 or 600? Leave those marks in or remove? Is it an object, or do I need to make it wearable? It makes sense that at some point an audience enters these considerations, but at what point?
I remember a well-regarded NZ jeweller talking about having the ‘wearer sitting on his shoulders while he works at his bench’. With another equally well-regarded NZ jeweller being intrigued by the amount of thought (or angst) I was giving to the role ‘audience’ plays in my practice. Instead she is staunch about the idea that any consideration of audience does not enter (metaphorically) any part of her making process, from idea inception right through to installation. Te Uru and CODA were polar opposites in this regard. CODA was all about my own translation and dialogue with both the objects and with what I could glean about OB’s practice. There were no concessions made for wearability or saleability. For me, this kept the integrity of process and play completely intact.
Te Uru on the other hand, felt a little like making towards a design brief. The audience had to be able to safely wear and administer the works unsupported, requiring thorough consideration of easy wearability, comfort, safety, access, aesthetics and more that will come to me as soon as I push save on this blog post. The audience was not only present on my shoulder, they dictated many of the making decisions and although I was happy with most of the pieces, the making process was less enjoyable. None of this answers my question about the exact point I should consider an audience in my process, safe to say that’s still a work in progress. What I can be sure of is that I’m definitely my own first audience – if I like the work and have enjoyed the making process, it’s likely others will also see that enjoyment evident in the work. This feels a somewhat abrupt ending, yet it also seems fitting to end HS5 with new questions.
I’ve loved this year, thank you Peter and Hilda, thank you Roseanne, James, Sian, Vernon and all of the Handshakers, and I also want to say thank you to you, visiting exhibitions and reading blogs takes time and effort, and I appreciate yours.