Karolina Baines

DJG member Shelby Fitzpatrick interviews new designer Karolina Baines about her jewellery.

K Baines in studio

SF: Can you tell us a little about your background?

KB: I studied my foundation course at Stevenson College in Edinburgh, where my tutor Russell Wallace, inspired me to generate ideas in many different ways. I never forget all his advice. I am very pleased to have graduated from Edinburgh College of Art this year with a first class honours degree. It was there that my interest in enamelling really took form, as I learnt from Elizabeth and Jessica Turrell. I learnt so much from my teachers including Stephen Bottomley and Susan Cross, and am really glad of all the opportunities I have had to grow and develop through my time at ECA.

K Baines Venice photos
‘Faded glories’ of Venice
SF: Where do you find your inspiration?

KB: Of my current two collections, ‘Currents of Venice’, is a result of a research trip to the beautiful Italian city last year. There, my imagination was captured by the patchwork of texture and colours, of old and new, as the residents work to restore the faded glory and faded colours, resulting in layers upon layers of architecture and details. I feel this translated well into a set of pieces with both deep, vibrant colours and strong tactile values, which invite touch and intimate exploration.

K Baines Sketchbook and test pieces Venice
Sketchbook work and test pieces based on Karolina’s research trip to Venice
My other collection, ‘Lines in Motion’ grew out of my interest in the relationship between surface and form, and as a personal challenge I set myself. Much of my work is rooted in drawing at the sketchbook level and printmaking and is by nature very two-dimensional.   My challenge for this project was to develop new ways of achieving three-dimensional forms. I took my inspiration from the weaving movements of basketry and the pleat work of Japanese clothing designer Issey Miyake. Although these two sources are quite different, I found they both involved a certain kind of rhythm in their creation and introduced a sense of movement into my work as well as bringing that much need third dimension.

K Baines Sketchbook and test pieces Basketry
Sketchbook work and test pieces for Karolina’s ‘Lines in Motion’ collection
SF: In what techniques do you feel confident and which would you like to develop further?

KB: I love the versatility of enamel, with the world of possibilities it allows for, in terms of texture and pattern. I especially enjoy creating matt finishes. And the colour! I have always enjoyed a strong use of colour in my work and enamel allows for especially vivid and deep shades and hues. In the Summer I was privileged to be a part of the International Enamelling Symposium in Erfurt, Germany. It was just amazing to work alongside great enamel artists from around the world and to learn from them, and to explore new possibilities. I feel that I have yet to exhaust the creative potential in the use of enamel and look forward to more opportunities to experiment with this medium, such as working more with industrial, liquid enamels, as until Erfurt I mainly worked with vitreous enamel.

K Baines Necklace 'Currents of Venice (5)' Shannon Tofts
Neckpiece from Karolina’s ‘Currents of Venice’ collection  (photography by Shannon Tofts)
I would like to develop my use of other mediums including wood and resin. I had a wonderful opportunity to study “Exploring Jewellery with Wood” for a week at West Dean College with Beth Legg. I really enjoyed using found wood and experimenting with pyrography, and would love to develop this further.

SF: Would you like to collaborate with others, either to a theme, or on a specific project?  If so, can you imagine the advantages in this?

KB: I would love to collaborate with other artists on a project. Although I have not got anyone in mind as a specific collaborator, I can see definite advantages of working alongside others, such as being stretched in new directions and being open to lots of new techniques. Some of my favourite projects at college were when we worked with other students, especially from different disciplines. It really opened you up to new possibilities.

K Baines Earrings Lines in motion (1)' Shannon Tofts
Earrings from Karolina’s ‘Lines in Motion’ collection, 2015
Karolina’s jewellery is on display and for sale in the Designer Jewellers Group pop-up shop in the Barbican Centre, London, every day now until 23rd December 2015.

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Elizabeth Jane Campbell

Here, DJG member and renowned enameller Jane Moore interviews Elizabeth Jane Campbell, who has already won awards for her innovative approach to enamelling and who exhibited with us in the Barbican this winter.

ElizabethJaneCampbell 2

JM: We came across you and your work at New Designers. Did you enjoy your training?

EJC: I trained at Edinburgh College of Art, and feel very privileged to have gained my BA Hons in Jewellery and Silversmithing from such an iconic institute, and I am very proud to have studied in my hometown of Edinburgh.

While at Edinburgh College of Art I was able to take advantage of some wonderful opportunities, including studying at West Dean College and going on exchange to Nova Scotia, Canada, where I spent a semester studying jewellery and enamelling. My four years studying were always challenging, but always enjoyable, and I loved every minute of being a student at Edinburgh College of Art.

JM: Your enamelling is very interesting. When and how did you choose to enamel onto a ceramic block?

EJC: I discovered enamelling while on my 3rd year exchange to Nova Scotia and the possibilities of the technique fascinated me. When I returned to Edinburgh College of Art I went into my 4th and final year when we developed our personal interests in jewellery and developed our degree show collection – it was during this year I began considering other options for enamel rather than metal. I was keen to create larger and more sculptural pieces of enamelling, and so I began my experiments with ceramic block as the materials could allow me to create large-scale enamel jewellery that remained relatively light and thus wearable.

JM: Is this an easy material to work with and will you continue to use it?

EJC: The ceramic block can be a temperamental material to work with, as it is brittle and can be prone to cracking during the carving process. All of the ceramic elements in my work are hand carved as I feel the traditional technique of hand carving adds a unique quality to the pieces – however the carving of ceramics create a high volume of fine dust and so health and safety precautions have to be followed when working with it (i.e. good quality respirator mask, workshop ventilation etc.)

Furthermore, as the enamel is not designed for use with ceramic, applying enamelling to the carved pieces requires a lot of practice, experimentation and patience. 
However despite the challenges of the material, I find it very rewarding and enjoyable to work with, and I will continue to work with it while I develop new techniques and designs for enamelling using different unconventional materials.

JM: Do you prefer to enamel onto metal or ceramic and will you experiment in enamelling onto other surfaces?

EJC: I am verypassionate about enamelling and I enjoy the challenges of experimenting with different enamels, materials and methods of application. I have various plans for future experiments with different materials, as well continuing with the use of enamelled ceramic block. However, enamelling onto metal is particularity special to me – I adore the traditional enamel techniques such as cloisonné, champlevé and plique a jour, and I believe a full and experienced understanding of enamel is crucial to allow designers the freedom and knowledge to experiment. Because of this I am constantly striving to learn more about enamelling onto metal so I can understand the traits and constraints of the technique before considering how I can exploit the materials in a new and interesting way.

 

JM: Are you material led in your work or is your source of inspiration quite specific?

EJC: I find my work is inspired by both an interest in material exploration and the possibilities of enamelling techniques, as well as by my source inspiration. I am inspired by the academic theories of visual literacy – a topic which may sound rather dry, but in which I find huge inspiration for the use of colour, pattern and shape to create designs that hint at a ‘visual stress’ which attracts the viewer. I was first introduced to the concepts of visual literacy and visual stress by a tutor I had while studying in Canada, and alongside my interest in enamelling I began to develop a very personal design style.

ElizabethJaneCampbell 5

JM: Did you have many exhibition opportunities offered to you at New Designers?

EJC: I have been overwhelmed by the amazing response to my work and I have been extremely fortunate by receiving some incredible opportunities and exhibitions from New Designers – including being awarded the Mark Fenn Award from the Association for Contemporary Jewellery (ACJ), and more recently winning the Guild of Enamellers 2014 Bursary. A highlight from New Designers was the chance to exhibit with the Designer Jewellers Group at the Barbican this winter, which allowed me the chance not only to show my work alongside some wonderful established jewellers, but also to meet and work with jewellers at the DJG exhibition. 
From New Designers I have also had the opportunity to exhibit across the country in renowned galleries such as the ‘Kath Libbert Gallery’ in Saltaire and ‘Dazzle’ at the Oxo Towers in London.
 I am thrilled to say that I am still receiving exhibition opportunities from showing at New Designers and I am now back in the studio at Glasgow School of Art, where I am Artist in Resident, working towards my upcoming exhibitions in both the UK and abroad.

Ciara Bowles

Recent graduate Ciara Bowles who is exhibiting with the Designer Jewellers Group at the Barbican this Christmas, spoke to DJG member Michael Carpenter.

Ciara Bowles at New Designers 2013

MC: Where did you study and what got you interested in making jewellery?

CB: I have been interested in jewellery since I was young and I made jewellery out of wire, bottle caps and drinks cans for my friends and sold it at school. At college I became more and more interested in adorning the body, so a degree in jewellery seemed like a natural progression.

I studied at Edinburgh College of Art, graduating with a 1st in BA Jewellery & Silversmithing in 2012. Since then I have been developing my jewellery from my experimental degree collection, into more wearable everyday pieces.

MC: What are your inspirations?

CB: My work is inspired by plants, flowers and microscopic images of cells: I have always been fascinated by the colours, textures and delicate structures.  Colour, pattern, material and scale are what excites me, colour being the most important medium of all. I try to create jewellery that tantalises all of the senses though my use of bold colours and different materials, so much so that it draws you in to take a closer look.

Ciara Bowles PC021691

MC: How do you make your wonderful pieces?

CB: I use aluminium because of its light weight and malleability, the method of powder-coating gives me a strong smooth block colour to work off and the suede chenille (bound around the edges) for a different texture. All of my work is hand-pierced, which people say is crazy, but I like to have control over the patterns and it means that each piece is completely unique.

MC: What have you been doing since you graduated in 2012?

CB: Since exhibiting at New Designers: One Year On this year I have taken part in eight contemporary jewellery exhibitions around the country, one in Norway, including the Designer Jewellers Group. Next February I will be taking part in the new graduate exhibition at Studio Fusion Gallery, London and FASHIONED at Craft Central, London. I am also working towards designing a more commercial range of jewellery which I will launch at Pulse Design Fair, London in 2014.

MC: Thanks Ciara, I think you have a bright future in jewellery design.

One Year On

We really pride ourselves on our New Designers programme, and it’s so good to see them developing their careers. This year we got to see three of our 2012 cohort in the One Year On section in New Designers 2013.

Loved the new work, Cristina, Heather and Arturo!

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