Process Journal 004
Hello, and welcome. Today I want to talk a little bit about contemporary & experimental art within the field of jewellery.
I majored in jewellery as part of my fine art degree through Griffith University, this is how I came upon my training and passion for jewellery smithing and contemporary jewellery. Thusly, I’ve always been inclined to approach my jewellery making from a more art & conceptualisation angle than a trade. I do largely identify as an artist with an art practice. I consider myself to be an artist jeweller within the contemporary art field. It’s an ongoing challenge to mediate artistic exploration and commercial viability.
The contemporary jewellery field is pulsing with exciting and experimental works. The advances in production technology that we are art jewellers now have access to have further flung open the doors to innovation and exploration in contemporary adornment. There has never been a more exciting time to be a jeweller!
Unfortunately, our bread and butter is not always found in excitement and innovation.
“Body Jewellery” – Stephanie Rachael 2018.
This means that sometimes, even though I love what I do, I have little ideas that are interesting to me that must get put on the ‘when the time is right’ to-do list. It may be that I come to a point when I realise that there is no ‘right time’. We will see.
The image above is one such dalliance with more abstract and conceptual works. The underpinnings of the piece(s?) are still flimsy. More research is required, and more experimentation. When the time is right.
I am always exploring ideas through my work, but there is a certain freedom in making when you decide to remove commercial success and viability from the equation. I enjoy the pure acts of wading into ideas, taking pictures, making notes, building a conceptual framework piece by piece. I would like to do it more often.
And I will. When the time is right. Thanks for reading,
P.S – Don’t forget about my post-move sale! Enter the code BYEHOUSE at checkout for 25% off! 💙
Comings & Goings
Hello and happy Sunday to those of you on Australian Eastern Standard Time 🙂 I’ve finally finished moving house – although we have downsized considerably, my overheads are now also considerably lower. It’s been a nightmare of a move as I don’t have a car and have even less money these days (haha).
Seeing as I did survive the tumult of packing up my studio for the 5th(!!) time in 2 years, I’ve decided to celebrate with a sale on my etsy store!
Enter the code BYEHOUSE at checkout for 25% off any purchase. The code will be valid until Saturday 22nd September AEST, so make sure you get in quick to pick up a lovely little present for yourself or someone special – don’t forget, Christmas is just around the corner!
Happy shopping, and thanks for reading!
Process Journal 003
Hello again. Things have been a little all over the place in the moving across from tumblr to my website as a blog platform. While I enjoy using tumblr, I think it’s better to have most of my content in one place – I’ve been working on streamlining a lot of my processes so that I can produce more interesting jewellery and content more often.
In terms of Stephanie Rachael Jewellery, I have changed a few things in my vision of how I want to run this business and what the best practices moving forward are. I’ve decided to move towards a more intuitive and responsive style of jewellery-making, rather than locking myself into a series of designs each season. I hope you’ll enjoy the fruits of this process.
Lately I’ve been preoccupied with the tedious business of moving house. After a pretty stressful first half of 2018, we’ll finally be in a manageable space that is free from ill-will and unpleasantness. It’s a smaller space but it’s enough to work in and live comfortably and safely.
In the process of moving, I’ve been going through a lot of the stock I have on hand. Some of the pieces were creations from a couple of years ago, some from my student days, that I had discounted as failed experiments and ideas. I’ve spent recent weeks reinvestigating and reworking many of these pieces, a process I have thoroughly enjoyed and that has invigorated me with fresh inspiration and enthusiasm.
Many of these reworked pieces are now available in my webstore on etsy – as most of you know I’m sure, moving house is always a costly experience.
So while I am in a bit of a state of flux (hehe) living between two homes, I can’t really work as much as I’d like. The toll of moving on mental health is another dimension entirely, and this also impacts my work and productivity. But I know that there are brighter horizons within sight.
Thanks for reading,
Process Journal 002
Hello everyone! My humble apologies for the lateness of this post. Things have been busy and difficult. I’d like to talk a little bit about some of these difficulties and how they interact with my practice.
It’s a bit of a stereotype that artists should be tortured souls, and that usually means we’re not taken very seriously. But a vast number of artists *do* suffer from mental illness, myself included. Some of my biggest issues are my poor self-esteem and anxiety. They’ve had a huge impact on my ability to manage stress, approach new opportunities, network, and to represent myself and my art in a positive manner.
My low self-esteem often results in me comparing myself unfairly to other artists, particularly those within my field. I find myself agonising over the gains my graduating peers have made compared to my own small handful. It’s a very unhealthy and self destructive thing to do.
There are times of course when it is very important to look at what other artists are doing. It took years for me to truly appreciate the importance of proper research in my practice, and platforms like Pinterest, Tumblr, & Instagram make it easier than other (although tracking down credit can be problematic!)
I spend a lot of time following the work of my peers because I learn from it. But there are times when I am not in the proper mindset to approach these things the right way.
Since entering therapy again, and with a much greater desire to genuinely get better, I have been trying to re-train my thinking. I must now gently correct myself when I make these unfair comparisons. This is difficult when I have spent years genuinely believing that I am worth much less than those around me.
It’s difficult to discuss these personal issues. I still harbor a lot of shame over my perceived inabilities and personal failings. Because my practice is also deeply personal, it can be very hard for me to feel good about my own work. This is another ongoing challenge that I am trying to work through. To those of you who may be struggling emotionally or with mental health issues, I offer to you the same advice that I offer myself – keep going, keep trying, one day you will believe in yourself truly and genuinely.
Thanks for reading.
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
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.
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.
That’s probably enough of an introduction for now. In my next entry I will discuss some of my research and design processes. Thanks for reading.