Monday, 9 February 2009

On various things...

Here are some words from jeweller Lisa Walker. Born in Wellington, New Zealand, Lisa is now based in Germany. With an illustrious career spanning more than fifteen years, beginning with her first solo exhibition in 1993 in New Zealand, Lisa has since chalked up a jaw-droppingly long list of achievements (which also includes a collaboration in 2003 with next month's exhibitors, Chicks on Speed!) To read more about Lisa, visit our website for a list of further reading links.

For more images, visit our previous post. For even better images, come on down in person! Lisa's exhibition is on till 7 March, which leaves you plenty of time to procrastinate about coming, maybe dawdle a bit along the way, and then actually turn up. Ah don't we know the feeling...

Also, stay tuned for an upcoming Introducing... post on the inimitable Ms Walker. Coming to a Friday near you!

On sheep:

Every year I go back to New Zealand. It’s very present for me that I’m a foreigner in Germany, and there’s often this homeland lust. Germans often feel they have to mention sheep when I say I’m from New Zealand. They’re often surprised when I say that we have cities too! Sheep have become my personal NZ symbol, they’ve missed out a bit on becoming big icons like Vegemite, jandals, or kiwifruit.

If the metal brooch had been plastic I couldn’t have broken the sheep’s legs like that, so you could say the nature of the material dictated how it turned out.

-Lisa Walker, 1997

On life before Munich:

In 1991 I set up a basic jewellery workshop in the central Australian desert. The work I began there, mostly inspired by the colours, textures and forms of the desert, has strong connections to what I’m working on now.

The five ‘single’ pieces are a continued development of that work, incorporating eighteen months of discovery at my work bench, and influence from my new environment – Auckland city and the West Coast beaches and bush.

The ‘grouped’ pieces sprang from a desire to miniaturise the single forms I had already been working with and experiment with grouping them.

-Lisa Walker, 1993

A while ago I desperately wanted to solder - lots and lots of soldering. And I thought, shit, what does this mean? Has all this other work I’ve been doing just been a means of getting me further in my metal work? But after a couple of weeks I stopped soldering and went back to the other pieces. This happens now and then – a metal lust – but it doesn’t worry me any more. Instead of glue I have solder, and instead of wood or plastic, etc, I have metal, a whole different scene. The metal pieces I do now are very different than those I made a few years ago.

-Lisa Walker, 2000

On life after Munich:

Glue was one of the first new materials I worked with. It’s pretty much a goldsmith’s cheat material, you’re not really meant to use it, and if you do then very secretly. I had to ‘unlearn’ everything I’d learnt in my jewellery training (which was quite formal, when we needed silver we had to melt our own granules and make sheet or wire, lots of forging, I learnt a big respect for metal and its working processes). I made lots of stuff just out of glue, bashing and squeezing it just before it dried, scraping the drips off my table, things like that.

-Lisa Walker, 1996

The haberdashery, fabric and hobby departments of big department stores have lots of great weird materials (it’s also comfortable to shop there with the friendly old women behind the counters and the slow relaxed atmosphere), like all the things for handmaking teddy bears or dolls. Some materials I have no idea what they’re normally used for. Sometimes it’s because I don’t understand the German on the packets, or I don’t bother to find out, they just look like groovy materials.

-Lisa Walker, 1998

On New Zealand materials:

The rubber covered mussel shell brooch. I worked in a cafe in Munich where New Zealand mussels were on the menu. ‘The only thing you should ever do to a shell is drill a hole through it’, I was told in my jewellery training years ago.

Quite a bit of New Zealand applied art is about using natural materials. Nearly all of this is about the respect of nature. It drives you nuts after a while. You do have other choices when you work with those materials. You can be a bit mean and nasty (if it suits), ironic, challenging. Maybe there’s more to say than just respect for nature.

-Lisa Walker, 1997

On her 'Rubbish Brooches':

I worked with some materials from the rubbish bin in my workshop. I wouldn’t usually do this as for a material to actually reach the rubbish bin, really means it’s rubbish.

-Lisa Walker, 2004

On 'Under the Influence':

I consciously worked with ‘influence’, purposely using elements from other people's work in my own. This was exciting at first.

-Lisa Walker, 1998

On 'The Shapes I Used to Like':

I embrace now the forms I have always known.

From about 2006 there were older themes still being used. I have more demands on how a piece should look now. The strength a finished piece has, the quality it has, its presence, has become more important than before. The newer pieces I’m hesitant to put into the groups I began 8 or 10 years ago. They still have those initial starting points lurking around, but the emphasis in making them has changed. I’m just as interested in the presence and quality a piece has now, this is just as important as what I want to say.

-Lisa Walker, 2007

On Objects That Are Too Big To Be Jewellery:

The large new pieces that can’t be worn have come about as a reaction to my feeling of having to prove myself that I’m a real jeweller for so many years. I’ve proven it now, so perhaps I can try something else, or stretch jewellery’s limits in another way. I also now see my work as falling into the art bracket, so what does that awareness do to my work’s development? Other artists work in a variety of media and fields, can I do that too? Am I allowed to make an object that suggests jewellery but isn’t a piece of jewellery? I’ve always been so careful to land within the jewellery square, this has been very important for many years. What happens when I start to step outside of that? Where or how or when does the issue of sculpture come in? Do I have to be so careful? I have a lot of questions, and these pieces are about those questions.

-Lisa Walker, 2008

No comments: