Q&A: Mixed Media Contemporary Jewellery

EN Text. Photo collage: Sketches and jewellery (2008).

During 2006-11 I participated in the Crafts Council England (CCE) programme: „I answer students’ questions“.
The idea was to connect CCE „Selected Makers“ to future designers and artists who would like to learn from the experience of the former.
I am posting a few Q&A that could be interesting for other designers as well:

Questionnaire – Mixed Media Contemporary Jewellery

1. How would you describe your creative style?

It is mixed media and interdisciplinary; it combines various materials and techniques; colour and shape and volume is a major issue, so in a sense, it is not just jewellery; my style is also influenced by painting and sculpture.

2. What materials do you use?

Textile, threads, semi-precious stones and silver (occasionally).

3. What are your reasons for using these materials?

I love textile and I call myself a textile artist. Jewellery is just an application of my work.

4. What processes do you use? (general not specific details)

Sewing, embroidering, weaving (some times) — very traditional (and old fashioned) crafts, indeed.

5. Have these processes been self taught and discovered?

My grandmother taught me the basics when I was a child.
Later I practiced a lot, I read books on techniques and I also studied/researched, including my research at The Textile Museum in Washington DC funded by the Fulbright Foundation.

6. Are you traditionally trained in jewellery making or did you come to it via another artistic discipline?

I am a trained designer and visual artist; I discovered the jewellery possibilities after I completed my studies.

7. What is the driving influence behind your design work?

If I have to choose one thing among many infuences, this would be the wonderful Greek Embroidery motifs of the 17th and 18th century. Visiting the V&A respective collection has made me believe I found my voccation in life!
Greek Embroidery is an art transmitting very contemporary values and concepts like ecology and world openess and collaboration.

8. Have you taken part in any specifically mixed media jewellery exhibitions? (only very brief as I have read your detailed CV on website)

St. Botolph’s Church, London – Faith, RAI Amsterdam and Coda Museum for Contemporary Art (the Netherlands) – Sagiannos Gallery, Athens and various publications in UK (Please note: I gave this interview in 2009. In the meanwhile I had more projects and shows: http://www.loukiarichards.de)

9. What do you find to be the advantages and disadvantages of working with mixed media in your work?

An advantage is the creativity without boundaries, disadvantage is that people often have to put you under a specific category to understand your work; the other problem with mixed media jewellery is that is usually ’non-precious‘ in terms of materials or stones, so it sells as ‚art‘ and it is kind of difficult to sell to a broader public in times of a big financial crisis (Please note this was only 2009!)

10. Has your work been particularly influenced by any other jewellery designers or artists in general?

Of course, there is no parthenogenesis in the world. I would need volumes to write down all the names.
Mark Rothko, Lucas Cranach, Jospeh Cornell, Jenny Holzer are among my favorites right now, but I think if I had to name but one I would say the pre-classical (archaic) Greek art (scultpure) with the female statues smiling a ‚Gioconda smile‘ ; this is my biggest influence and greatest love.

11. Is the idea of beauty important within your work?

Absolutely. I believe in the very hellenic concept of ‚philokallia‘ — love of beauty; it states that beauty and truth are one and the same.

12. How do you see the use of mixed media as influencing the contemporary jewellery industry?

I think the influence is increasing; I think it is a great development; it shows that jewellers themselves discover the possibilities of other art media and techniques and take their craft more for an art than ever before.
——————————————————————————

Many years later I read this review of my CCE performance as a „consultant“ written by another student.
She is now a very active blogger and calls herself „Girl and the dog“.
I was moved by her kind words:

http://dneese.blogspot.de/2012/05/loukia-richards.html

People often ask me questions. If I know the answer I am glad to share it, because I also ask questions — all the time.
If you have any questions you believe I can answer, just write them down and ask me!
If I do not know what the answer is, I will let you know.

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