Yesterday I had the pleasure of going to my favourite Scottish city - Dundee - to see the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design (DJCAD for short) degree show. As usual, my main interest was in the jewellery and, as usual, it is well worth a visit.
I like the DJCAD show very much as it is much more diverse than the shows at the other Scottish art schools and there is less of a "house style", though that phrase perhaps makes it sound as if there is no diversity at all at the others, which is emphatically not what I mean.
What follows is a tour around the show in exactly the order that I visited each stand, kicking off with Angelia Santangeli who has turned her passion for cakes and baking into jewellery based on cake slices, cutters and the like:
It is always interesting to see where jewellers go when they decide that they are going to explore other areas and I thought that this little series of measuring spoons were great.
I loved the precision of Emma Thorogood's 60s-tinged hexagons in sheets of solid colour:
All the work is hand-constructed from scored and folded sheet and the control and accuracy are most impressive.
It is nice to see someone engaging with that interminable jewellery practice of "this was my grandmother's ring... it has sentimental value... can you melt it down and make something out of it..." and Sheila Roussel does this rather brilliantly by repurposing the work as part of another work without making significant material changes to the piece:
This work is really interesting and I was surprised to find myself more interested in it after I had looked at it, wandered round the rest of the show and come back... there is something quietly compelling about both the pieces and the underlying practice and philosophy.
DJCAD is well-known for the enthusiasm with which they embrace cross-disciplinary practices and new technologies and Beth Spowart has made a collection utilising plastics which respond to environment:
These smart materials which change depending on the conditions in which the piece is worn: some change colour in temperature, some in UV light. I love her combination of super-precise and rough-hewn.
Susan McLeod had an installation-type show with ceramics, enamels and a variety of forms. The use of colour and form made this all hang together very pleasingly. I particularly love the plant forms in the pot!
I think that I managed to be rather rude about Michelle Ho's work without meaning to. Let me just say here and now that her work is lovely and when I said that it was reminiscent of the work of Stephen Bottomley, I was emphatically NOT suggesting that it was any the less for it. Fortunately, Teena Ramsay, the main tutor on the course, was present to spring to her defence.
Wing Chan made some elegant work using ideas about "Lucky red thread" which is a deeply-rooted part of Chinese culture:
Some of my favourite work in the whole show was this series of rings by Sayoko Kobayashi, entirely made from found materials, recycled:
The brooch has an honesty and bravery that is hard to match and I was told that she even grinds up scrap glass to make enamels!
There is always one exhibit - at least - at degree shows where I end up talking so much to the exhibitor that I fail to take enough photographs. I've spoken to Grant D Herron before and we've interacted on social media for a while now, so it was good to actually have the chance to speak to him properly. His installation of cobbled-together machines is all based on those terrible TV adverts for products you could never really need...
There is something of the Tim Hunkin and Wilf Lunn about his work which appeals greatly.
Rosie Kimber makes very fine constructions which are somewhat hard to describe. They are based on crystals and crystal structures but as if that were not enough, she then encourages crystals to actually grow on the pieces:
I was very taken with this intricately-hinged neckpiece which has sugar crystals growing on it...
Katie Petrie makes subtle and lovely work based on laboratory bacterial and fungal growths, rendered in enamels:
Another very appealing idea came from Kirstie Snowden, who makes lockets which are obviously hand-fabricated:
But which contain an interesting twist...
Containing digital picture frames in which the image changes.
The juxtaposition of the hand-fabrication with completely modern technology is unexpected and I hope she takes this further.
One of the things that I've found really interesting over the last few years is the way in which students from the "far east" respond to the challenges and opportunities of the western art-school tradition. Very often - perhaps more often than not - they return, at least on a superficial level, to their cultural background, seeking new ways to work with that and Jiayan Li is no exception with these exquisite calligraphy-inspired enamel pieces:
So there have to be favourites. Here are my two favourite pieces from the whole show... Catherine Ritchie's cute kinetic wildlife brooches. I have no more to say: they speak for themselves.
There are always lots of interesting materials being used in the DJCAD show and there seems to be a connection between the jewellers and the ceramicists, which is interesting to me given the way in which I have worked with ceramicist, Lisa Stevens, over the years. Alana Peden has made some very interesting pieces using ceramics to make replicas of medical aparatus - or sections of - and combining them with bandage materials and jewellery materials:
(DJCAD show always has lots of samples and test-pieces and it never feels like "filling space" as it can do in some degree shows; much appreciated by me, at least.)
I confess to not quite getting the background to Chloe Henderson's "Lexicon Creatures", appealing though the objects are in themselves:
I couldn't quite decide the relationship between these objects and the narratives with which they are associated.
One of the most thorough and interesting presentations was Rebecca E Smith's work based on finding a series of love-letters from her grandfather to her grandmother. The pieces play with nostalgia and romance without ever becoming mawkish; they are a tribute to her grandparents which never stray into the realms of the sombre; a wonderful memorial.
Morag Eagleson's work is somewhat hard to categorise. It is "jewellery" scale and some of the materials are traditional jewellery materials but it is not jewellery. She seeks to make us reflect on the landscape of Scotland and her thoughtful little landscapes-in-a-box certainly do that:
I was quite taken with the work of Cathy Wang who somehow manages to make minimal sensual... there is an odd quality to her work which manages to be both, drawing the viewer to engage with the work on a very physical, tactile level. Not an easy thing to do.
She'll go far. She already has great branding!
Last but not least was Rebecca Sarah Black, who uses bone to create worn, inviting pieces which feel beautiful and which compel the wearer to play with them, exploring the textures of the surfaces:
I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening at the other parts of the show.
Particularly taken with an animation by Gary Welsh and others, called "The Divided" which would not have been out-of-place as a short before a Pixar movie. You can see part of an early version here:
but I do recommend seeing the whole thing if you can find it anywhere.
I've been working on the collar today and finally finished the construction of the main collar part. Just have to finish the pendant now.