Flourish – The Exhibition

The Flourish exhibition held at Welcome Home at the CCA- Contemporary Centre of Art – on Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow. Group photo shows artists (L to R) Michelle Stewart, Astrid Jaroslawsky, Caitlin Hegney, Andrew Fleming, Rachel Hardie, Adrienn Pesti and Ailsa Morrant. Contact details are below to reference each artists work plus if you want to contact any of them you can. Screenshot (424)

I am taking this show to Melbourne in September to exhibit at Craft Victoria in their iconic Vitrine window space gallery. The show will present for a month and will also be part of the Radiant Pavilion Contemporary Jewellery and Object Biennial which is an explosion of jewellery and objects exhibitions all within the CBD and close surrounds for a whole week in September. There are exhibitions, presentations and happenings from talented makers from across the globe. In its third iteration, this event is an amazing way to get to see some of the incredible talented makers working in Melbourne, around Australia and from overseas. A chance to purchase some proper handcrafted and concept-driven artworks, investments and conversation pieces, but you also get to meet the makers and learn about their working methods, ideas and personalities. A great way to support the arts and become more interesting at parties with your new knowledge and understanding of Contemporary Art!

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Flourish

From halted beginnings at the GSA we are almost at the end. Myself and the other six Artists in Residence are holding our end of residency exhibition- which opens tomorrow!  It is at Welcome Home which is situated in the CCA (Centre for Conteporary Art) building on Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow. You can see us in the April 2019 Designers Maker of the Month section. The show will also be travelling to Melbourne to be a part of the Craft Victoria exhibition schedule in September in the Member’s Vitrine Gallery. It will feature in the Radiant Pavilion Contemporary Jewellery and Object Biennial as well which is very exciting!

My work experienced a few twists and turns before I settled on the pieces I have made for this show. I was honoured to be given access to some sandstone from the fire-damaged Mackintosh building to use. I immediately began exploring ways to take readings from the stone without damaging the dressed face of the stones I had. There is a beautiful ripple effect that is transferred to the metal from the stone. I tested out some copper and then some sterling silver. I also created some silicone moulds of the stone for future reference and tested out some porcelain pieces.

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Holding pieces of the stone, researching more about ‘The Mack’ building and learning about sandstone prompted me to work more directly with the stone. This meant some of the stone needed to be broken down. I did this in a few ways… I took one of the big pieces down to the Scottish Lapidary and Mineral Club to get sliced. They were so great to chat with and it is such an amazing club. From the slices, I was able to further process the stone with a proper stone chisel into small pieces. But I also have a bigger piece that I have left as a nice large slice for a neckpiece.

This is just an initial post to show you my material. I will update further with more of my process, experiments and my final and proposed future pieces soon. If you are in Glasgow, come along to our opening tomorrow- 4pm to 7pm at 350 Sauchiehall St!

FLOURISH

Back in Scotland

I have been in a whirlwind lately! Since September I have taken up a position as Artist in Residence with the Jewellery and Silversmithing department at the Glasgow School of Art. This has meant packing up and renting out our house in Australia, moving to Scotland and setting up here. We had a little bit of a delay in getting into the studios at GSA as the Reid building sits right alongside the Mackintosh building that was once again devastated in a fire earlier this year.

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Looking out from the Reid Building at the main entrance that is out of commission due to the extreme mass of scaffolding holding up the Mack building.

I have a bench and access to all of the jewellery and silversmithing equipment and I am slowly getting organised and finding where I can set up for making glass. I am dearly missing my studio and my glass machines that I couldn’t bring with me, like my glass crusher, kiln and lapidary wheel. I have set up my lampworking torch and have just started to get going on making beads and some small test pieces for an idea that is brewing. I am curious to see what will unfold this year with my work and how I might go without the equipment I am used to. I have to admit to this being a little frustrating as I have been exploring ways of working with recycled glass and pâte de verre that has been producing some great results. It seems that this might have to go on hold for a little while.

leaf brooches recycled glass michelle stewart

Recycled Glass Brooches 2018

I have been out seeing some of the gorgeous Scottish wilds while I have had the chance. This has been invigorating, calming and inspiring all in perfect measure. From standing stones and burial cairns, to rock carvings and hillfort ruins, incredible views, grand castles and little white cottages in the valley as well as lots and lots of walking, I have been reminded with force why I love it here.  A few pics from out and about…in a random assortment of some kind of order.

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Oh Canada!

Recently I was lucky enough to take part in an amazing Artist residency in Canada. It was a botanical research arts residency with Ayatana and was held in Québec, Canada. Getting together with a small group of artists who all share a passion for plants, gardens and all things botanical was so great. We all got to geek out over the shape of leaves and walk through beautiful forests without being hurried! Led by the fabulous Alyssa Ellis, we visited some special places and got to meet incredible people who are extremely knowledgeable about their passions. Whether it was lichen identification and preservation of plant specimens, tree detective work, DNA sampling, seed saving, herbal medicine and wild foraging, moss gardens and energy botany through to bio-dynamic vineyards, native species gardens, poison plants and botanical illustration, each day was filled with visits relating to plantlife.  More about these experts can be found here.

Not only did we forge a great circle of friendship that will most definitely carry through in each of our lives, we were nurtured and fed so well that we all felt very blessed to be a part of such a great experience.

 

St Peter’s Memorial Church

Recently I was invited to collaborate on a project at one of the local churches here in Kinglake. I was included in the gang with Peter Toyne and Gary Cornelius due to interest in the way I have been working with recycled glass. They had a particular idea that they thought I would fit perfectly.

St Peter’s Memorial Church was first built in 1922 to commemorate first world war soldiers and has a long history in the area. Just before it was due to be heritage listed, the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires came through and consumed the little wooden church. The church community has collected and salvaged many parts of the church, including milling wood from an old blackwood tree that stood by the church.

church outside

Artist, Peter Toyne has been leading the charge with the artistic input into the rebuilding of the church and he has been appointed to construct many of the features.  My part of the project concerned the beautiful amber glass that had been collected from the original windows.  You can see them below as they were in the old church.

interior L

We began with some very formal designs that were exploring biblical references and through the design process came to a focus of Mary. Ideas surrounding the importance of Mary her significance within the bible began to fuel the design direction. We got together to look at the blackwood slabs to select some pieces that might be suitable to work with and we found a piece that had a lot to say. Peter and Gary worked on refining the images of Mary and Gabriel, complete with wings, already present in the wood while I collected specimens from the surrounds of the church to cast. All of the plant species I chose are native and growing right there next to the church. I have included Tree Fern, Kangaroo Apple, Hazel Pomaderris, Mountain Grey Gum, Musk-Daisy Bush, Round-leaf Pomaderris and of course, Blackwood. When the light catches the glass pieces they reflect a gentle amber glow.

The new St Peter’s has been constructed and added to over the last 9 years and it has an amazing view all the way out across to Melbourne which the new church fully captures. There are still more elements to be added to the church such as a memorial garden for those lost in the Black Saturday Bushfires. There is more replacing, repairing and reinstating elements that were salvaged from the old church. It is an honour to be a part of something so special and that will continue to carry on a meaningful message into the future of this historic little church.

church viewIMG20180608153318frontplaque detailmary detail

 

http://www.historyvictoria.org.au/shop/shrine-on-the-mountain-the-story-of-st-peters-memorial-church-kinglake-by-jillian-durance  A book detailing the history of this little church with a big story.

http://www.petertoyne.com Explore his folio section for other works that are installed in St Peter’s.

A special commission

In 2017 my graduation work from my BA of Fine Art was solely concentrated on using horse hair as my material. It was a deliberate step away from using glass as my main material in an attempt to push myself out of my comfort zone a little. My work was seen by a lady who had something very special in mind that I could utilise my making skills on.

She wanted me to make a vessel for her but she wanted to provide me with the material. This had been waiting, she said, for something wonderful. It was a long pony-tail from her late husband. They had cut the hair off prior to his chemotherapy treatment. Four years ago he lost his battle with Cancer.

So I began with great honour to be asked to make something with such a precious part of her life. There were some days that I found it difficult to work on the piece. The hair was much finer and more challenging to work with than I was used to and there was no way that I wanted to add any kind of product to make the hair conform. I have not added any other thread to the piece, the only material used in the form is the hair I was given. There were also days where I became too emotional to work on the piece. Aside from being quite anxious about this material that I was working with from the aspect that I just couldn’t mess it up, this is a quiet contemplative technique that allows a lot of time for thoughts.

I recently delivered the work along with a Mountain Ash canister for it to store in and she was very happy with the result. There were tears and hugs and I must say I am relieved that it is complete and so incredibly humbled that she chose me and trusted me wholeheartedly to create such a special piece for her.

human hair vessel and mountain ash canister michelle stewart

Walk With Me

In March/April this year I presented my first solo show titled ‘Walk With Me’ at the Warburton Arts Centre.

recycled glass brooches x3 michelle stewart

fossil brooches

fern brooches x5 recycled glass michelle stewart

fern brooches

leaf brooches recycled glass michelle stewart

leaf broochesrecycled glass objects leadbeaters possum helmeted honeyeater michelle stewart

State Faunal Emblems – objects

 

recycled glass fine silver small plaques michelle stewart

fossil plaques

images- Andrew Barcham

 

Here are some shots from set up with the Curator Jade Bitar and lovely assistant Ali Griffin.

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The show completed.

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