Black and White and Red all over

What is black and white and red all over?

It is a riddle, and child’s play, but this time it is not a newspaper. Paper-thin porcelain, vibrant Formica chips and elemental forms make up this body of work. I had the pleasure of teaching Foundation Studies at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design this year and had the joy of re-discovering the basic principles of visual communication alongside my students. We mixed colored film together with multiple slide projectors to create pure white light.  We took gorgeous tubes of primary gouaches and mixed to create deep black. Black and white. This intrigues me. Light and its shadow are inexorably linked. White and black are all the vibrant colors of the spectrum, expanded and contracted. I dreamed of a pure white exhibition, but shadow and then
a pop of red-orange crept in.
The pure white is “Keraflex” a paper-thin porcelain material, made by a German industrial manufacturer and recently introduced to artists. In its “green” state it can be easily cut, scored, folded and fused. When fired it becomes gorgeous translucent porcelain that traps light in its layers.





I spent a year not thinking of jewelry, but experimenting with this porcelain paper to learn its strengths, possibilities and most importantly to transcend its 2-D nature and pop it into 3-D. When I began to make my porcelain forms into jewelry, black became a natural partner. Black is the shadow found beneath the fold of a white rose, and it is also the patinaed setting that will join porcelain to the human form. Red and then all the other colors from Goethe’s color wheel proceeded to make an appearance. The colored laminate chips spilled over from previous works; their contrast in color and texture was too dazzling to be refused.
Without much ado, the jewelry is simple, wearable, but very carefully articulated to make it appear so. Clearly influenced by the first modernist sculptors and architects such as Brancusi, Calder, Gropius as well as cross-cultural folk traditions of paper folding, these jewels interact clearly and boldly with the human form. This is the unique opportunity that jewelers have and these elemental forms are carefully considered to do just that.

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