Thursday, October 20, 2011

Feaured Artist: Melinda Young

Contemporary jeweller Melinda Young's production work is an erray of graphic pieces. Using bold colours, crisp, distinct shapes and acrylic as a primary material - her pieces inherit a real tactile quality. Read on to discover her inspirations, influences and what's to come for Melinda...

What got your started on your artistic path?

I grew up in a creative, craft focussed family – both my parents are gifted craftspeople. It is not surprising that I have followed a creative path after a childhood spent drawing, painting and experimenting with all manner of crafts including macrame and leatherwork.

After several years at university focussing on art theory and painting, I was ultimately attracted to jewellery as a vehicle for expression as I felt that it had a great potential for conveying my conceptual ideas. So I dropped out of an almost completed degree and started again, switching my studies to jewellery and the rest is history...

What inspires you?
Architecture, plants, the landscape – wild and urban, people, materials, the act of making and increasingly traditional and tribal jewellery forms.

What is you favourite colour palette at the moment?

I love colour, but I tend to always work with only one colour on a piece – so my work is usually always monochromatic, even though there may be several colour stories within a body of work. Although I tend to be drawn more towards warm colours, a recent collection of exhibition work has used lots of green.

Tell us a bit about your studio space...

My studio is in the lovely big light filled attic of our house – my creative bubble.

If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsperson (alive or dead) who would it be?

I LOVE visiting other artists studios, I think as makers, we are always so curious about seeing how other people surround themselves when they work. This is such a hard question because there are so many I would love to visit... I often wonder what the studio of the late Dutch jeweller Onno Boekhoudt was like.

What piece of jewellery do you cherish the most?

I have many, many very special pieces of jewellery. Probably the piece I cherish the most is my letter 'M' Alphabet ring by New Zealand jeweller Warwick Freeman. It is special for a long list of personal reasons and was purchased on a golden day spent in Melbourne with great friends. Also the maker, Warwick Freeman, is one of my jewellery heroes and the marvellous story he told me about the inspiration for this work reminds me not to take things too seriously and that anything can be possible to a maker if you give yourself permission.

What is next for Mel Young?

Lots of exciting things!!! An exhibition at Fingers Gallery in Auckland with Lauren Simeoni called Unnatural Tendencies in October see: I have work in a group show curated by Tricia Tang that opens in Hong Kong in November before touring to Sydney, Taipei & Bangkok. Over the coming months I will be visiting Canberra to conduct research and work on a large-scale piece for a national touring exhibition called Life in Your Hands which opens at Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery next March. Then starting to develop on a new body of work for a solo exhibition... and a new range of production work is on the boil! 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Featured Artist: Kanimbla Clay

Kanimbla Clay is created by ceramicist Helen Hay. Set amongst the valleys and bushland of Kanimbla, Helen produces precious, visually organic vessels that resonate with her natural surroundings.

What attracted you/got you started on your artistic path?

As far back as I can remember I've always had a paintbrush in my hand, and have always loved being creative. Going to Art college after high school was the real turning point in my artistic direction though.

What inspires you?

The natural environment around me.

Where do you find the inspiration for the designs on your pieces?

Out here in the Kanimbla Valley. I am very fortunate to live and work in such a beautiful place. My workshop looks out across the valley to the escarpment, so I get to observe flora, fauna and the amazing changes of light. Since being here I have been so absorbed in my surroundings, and its great to see that coming through in my work.

Tell us a bit about how you source some of your clay…

I actually buy it from Potters Needs in Oberon. I used to dig for my clay when I was at Uni, but I unfortunately don't have the time at present. Next year I will be doing alot more experimental work, I'll be doing some pit firings out here on my property and I will be hopefully sourcing some local clay. I've heard that there are some great clay deposits around this area.

How would you describe your aesthetic?

Kanimbla Clays pieces have a very delicate, natural, handmade feel whilst maintaining a high standard in quality.

Tell us a bit about your studio space (if you have images as well, that’d be great!)

My workshop is located out here on my property in Kanimbla. We were lucky enough to inherit a huge colourbond shed when we moved here. I was originally using just a small corner of the shed but as Kanimbla Clay is growing I have now taken over 2/3's of it. Im looking to renovate the old stable into a workshop and office, but thats next year.
Its been a real experience having my studio out here, I get so much wildlife through everyday. I grew up in a small vllage in the UK and the most exciting things I used to see were badgers and deer,I will never get tired of seeing a mob of female roo's with their joeys bounding past the workshop 

If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsmen (alive or dead) who would it be?

Andy Goldsworthy, I love the way he works with natural materials. He'll use thorns,twigs, weaving and abit of clever balancing instead of glue & nails to hold things together. I'd like to see how much of the forest is in his work space.

What hand held object do you cherish the most?

A hand painted and carved wooden horse from Sweden. It was my Nana's, and its a part of my memories of her.

What is next for Kanimbla Clay?

More homewares. More electric lights, and hopefully another kiln!