Process Journal 001

I have shared a lot of process images in the time I have spent sharing my work online and through social media, but rarely do I talk of the conceptual process and underpinnings of my work.

The purpose of my jewellery practice is to explore the intersection between contemporary art & fashion, and between ornamentation & expression. I have long viewed dress and ornamentation as a form of self-expression, and in the making of my jewellery I explore issues close to me such as mental health, alienation & isolation, resignation & reconciliation, and exploration of the inner-self.

In preparation for the launch of my 2018 collection, Kindling, I will be posting a series of journals regarding the conceptual process behind the development of Kindling. I’d also like to share more process photos and interesting references, articles, and blog posts related to themes and ideas I’m exploring. I hope you’ll find these Process Journals interesting.


[ KINDLING ]
Process Journal 001 – 15/01/2018

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Those who have followed my work for some time may already know of my long-running exploration into mental health, especially personal mental health. This investigation has not been confined to jewellery – themes surrounding self-esteem & self perception, depression, and trauma have appeared in my drawing and image-making practice for some time.

One of the reasons I consistently return to explore these themes in my work is art as therapy. Through the processes of research, concept development, design, and creation of the piece I am able to better understand myself, relieve anxiety, and untangle thoughts.

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This process for me can be exhausting, and it means that sometimes a collection undergoes a lot of rehashing before it’s ready to be launched. The very nature of the processes – carefully hand-carving wax pieces to be cast, reducing pieces back to their barest of bones and then selectively building them up again – means that the production can be slow. Furthermore, the confronting nature of the research and conceptual exploration can be, at times, emotionally exhausting.

My 2018 collection explores the idea of Kindling. The word kindling has multiple definitions and uses, particularly within the fields of psychiatry and neurology. Just as the common usage refers to a mass of tiny sticks igniting a fire, psychiatrists use the word to describe an increased susceptibility to mental health decompensation due to recurring stressors. (Reference)

Through exploring these ideas, I aim to produce a body of work that echoes the pain of being burned, of self-immolation & self-sabotage, and of mounting mental burden & internal turmoil. In this body of work I wish to explore and express my own struggle with the bonfires inside of me.

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That’s probably enough of an introduction for now. Please feel free to share your thoughts if you’d like to. In my next entry I will discuss some of my research and design processes. Thanks for reading.

Stephanie Rachael.

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