Burrard Arts Foundation presents The Maker’s Mark, an exhibition produced in collaboration with the Craft Council of British Columbia and the Vancouver Metal Arts Association.
The art jewellery movement of the 1950s emphasized creative expression and challenged previous notions of value through a variety of materials with low economic worth. Today, the principles that spearheaded the contemporary art jewellery movement are more prevalent than ever. These include a shared understanding that less is more, an emphasis on sustainable methods of production, and a reevaluation of precious and hierarchical materials.
The Maker’s Mark includes works from emerging and established women artists who carry the torch for contemporary art jewellery, a practice traditionally dominated by men. Some of the exhibiting artists are known internationally for their contributions to the art jewellery world while others are just beginning to leave their mark, but all deserve to be recognized in their home regions and beyond.
Art jewellery can be many things and fit into many categories, thus escaping definitive classification in the visual arts. Rather than following a clear avenue, it is at an intersection where one art form meets another. It is sculptural, but also wearable, conceptual but also functional. These unique demands of its design and creation necessitate its quality craftsmanship and consideration of materiality. A brooch or neckpiece can be a political statement (look to Madeleine Albright or Ruth Bader Ginsberg) but also requires technical mastery for regular wear. At its core, art jewellery is artistic expression, both on and off the body.
In jewellery, the maker’s mark is the initials, name, or other symbol that creators stamp into the metal of their work. It is a trademark, or an artist signature, that speaks to the authenticity of output by a certain maker. Each stamp must be unique and identifiable. While not all art jewellers stamp their work, their signature can be seen in the work itself, through recognizable styles, materials or processes. Many of the artists in this exhibition work with specialized materials, use found objects, take influence from nature or their surrounding environments and create messages around current issues that demand critical thought. Each artist does so in a way that is purely distinguishable from one another—a way marked by the maker’s hands. The Maker’s Mark examines the diversity of marks local women artists make in contemporary art jewellery and the impact this continues to have on the history of the medium.
Banner image: Jamie Kroeger, studio view, 2022
ARTIST/CURATOR BIOS AND STATEMENTS
CLARISSA LONG [she/her] is a jewellery artist whose home and art practice is based in Vancouver, British Columbia on Coast Salish Territory. She has a BFA in Jewellery and Metalsmithing from NSCAD University. Her work has been exhibited in major international shows, including Talente in Munich, Germany and Beijing International Jewelry Exhibition in China. Clarissa has been awarded as a finalist in competitions including the 2017 winner of the Niche Awards, the L.A. Pai National Student Jewellery Competition and Western Living magazine’s Designer of the Year award for 2018. Clarissa exhibits regularly throughout North America. An advocate for the contemporary jewellery community, she manages a communal jewellery studio and teaches in the Lasalle College jewellery program. She serves as Chair of Exhibitions of the Vancouver Metal Arts Association and has curated multiple group exhibitions while serving on the board.
MORGAN ASOYUF (née Green) was born March 24, 1984 in Prince Rupert BC to parents Henry Green and Jean Gardiner. Morgan is Ts’msyen Eagle Clan from Ksyeen River (Prince Rupert area), BC.
Morgan’s artistic career started with a Blanche Macdonald Center Fashion Design Diploma, and an interest in painting Ts’msyen Designs. She studies wood sculpture with Henry Green and Phil Gray. She took Bronze Casting at The Crucible art compound in Oakland, where industry professionals taught her both investment mold and sand casting.
In 2010-12, Morgan studied at Vancouver Metal Art School under Gerold Mueller, a goldsmith from Pforzheim Germany. She received diplomas in both Jewelry Design and Stone Cutting, learning special techniques such as hollow construction, custom stone cutting, and advanced soldering. Morgan has studied design and engraving with Richard Adkins, and completed Gem Setting courses at Revere Academy, San Francisco.
“Empowerment and critical thinking are gifts that we can give the next generations. Ensuring the safety of women, children and two-spirit people will allow our communities to thrive and reach their full potential.”
MORGAN ASOYUF ARTIST STATEMENT Beyond my personal interest in historical art and the processes that create it, I believe deeply in the power of traditional Ts’msyen art and culture. This method of visual storytelling depicts the deeper story of our people’s familial ranks and migratory paths. The crest system gave rise to the Northwest Coast art form, which I am now using to communicate.
My jewelry work is layered in use of handbuilding, color and shadow. I love to create custom chains, use natural materials such as wood, tooth, bone, and pearls.
With harvesting and working with our hands being such a huge part of northwest coast life it’s that life that I wish to portray and strengthen with my work. Working within the art form and with our hands is also a spiritual work put into practice through the physical manifestation created to represent our law.
Through the creation of jewelry, I visually highlight matriarchal power within the Northwest Coast system as a legitimization of Indigenous sovereignty.
Each piece is speaking to northwest coast aesthetic. Rooted in history, designing for future.
CARMEL BOERNER (she/her/hers) creates in a shared space at the Beaumont Studios in Vancouver, BC, on the unceded homelands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueum), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ / sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) nations.
Carmel holds a B.Sc. in Zoology and an MBA, both from UBC, and has worked for over 30 years in various non-profits in Vancouver and Los Angeles, California, where she lived for almost 20 years. Carmel studied jewellery design at Vancouver Community College, graduating in 2017. Her work has been exhibited in Canada, the U.S. and Europe, and can be found online at www.graceanddecay.com. She’s also an avid reader, seamstress and dog lover.
CARMEL BOERNER ARTIST STATEMENT Carmel is inspired by the Japanese aesthetic wabi-sabi, which celebrates graceful aging, imperfection and the maker’s hand. Her jewelry often features decaying objects revealed as raw gems, remaining exactly as they were found, and embodying the splendor and magnificence of decay. Marks of hand fabrication is important—she wants the wearer to feel the maker’s presence. Her marks echo those of the makers who have forged the rusty objects she uses in her work. In our throwaway culture, her jewelry reveres that which is commonly discarded.
Carmel loves creating one-of-a kind pieces for submission to exhibits. As an eternal student and lover of a deadline, she is inspired by exhibition calls and thrives on conducting research and exploring new materials and techniques, creating a piece around a concept. She enjoys poking around eBay and Etsy, beaches and barnyards, collecting rusty junk that strikes her fancy.
BRIDGET CATCHPOLE lives on the unceded territory of the K’ómoks First Nation of Hornby Island, BC. She studied Fine Art (BFA 1998) at Concordia University, Montreal, QC and Jewellery Art and Design (Dip 1993) at Vancouver Community College, Vancouver, BC. Catchpole is the recipient of multiple grants from Canada Council for the Arts and BC Arts Council. She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally for over 20 years.
BRIDGET CATCHPOLE ARTIST STATEMENT I am a queer identified visual artist with a practice in contemporary jewellery and sculpture. My art practice is a material exploration of plastic worth and waste. I use found and collected plastic debris to explore the personal and cultural biases of a worthless material and the disastrous impacts this neglect has created. Ultimately, my art works are emblematic of hope and recovery—an invitation to reconsider “the material of a thousand uses” as a material worthy of sustainable action.
JESSE GRAY is an artist living on Snuneymuxw territory (Nanaimo, BC). She holds an MFA from the University of British Columbia (2009), a BFA from Simon Fraser University (2002), and studied Jewellery Art & Design at Vancouver Community College (2010-12).
Jesse lives with her partner, their thirteen-year-old kid, a standard poodle, and a blind cat named Frank.
JESSE GRAY ARTIST STATEMENT My art practice looks at waste accumulation and explores the underlying histories specific to human-made objects. I collect and rework fragmented found materials, and for the past six years or so I have been working extensively with bronze casting and sculpture using beach trash as a casting model.
As I was collecting, organizing, and thinking about these plastic fragments, they seemed in many ways to be speaking to the aesthetics modernist jewellery, which itself was mimicking utilitarian forms. Beach plastic bits are broken down and rendered unique by their time between being discarded and being re-collected, but their forms still clearly read as mass-produced—full of grids, right angles, perfect concentric circles.
Many early to mid twentieth century artisans rejected the cult of preciousness in traditional jewellery and instead favoured ‘humble’ materials, including silver, bronze, copper, wood, and steel. Simultaneously, jewellers sought to embrace more ‘democratic’ forms that mimicked those of mass-production, echoing their contemporaries in Modernist & Brutalist architecture, who believed in the socialist-utopian potential of new technologies and modes of production.
Developing this series has also lead me to research many studio jewellers from last century, and many of the pieces in the Plastic Brutalism series are created in their styles or as an homage to their practices. Other times my pieces reflect modernist aesthetics more generally, influenced by Brutalism, Minimalism, Art Deco, and early Art Jewellery.
YOSHIE HATTORI is an artist from Japan. She trained as a textile artist at Tama Art University in Tokyo and Handarbetets Vänner in Stockholm. She had a textile design studio in Tokyo and taught weaving. After moving to Vancouver, she worked in multimedia production. For the past decade she has focused on photography and making small objects and jewellery. She lives in Kitsilano, Vancouver.
Over the past decade her work has evolved in three directions. Using textile techniques, she creates small, wearable objects that combine industrial materials (wires, plastics, latex) with natural objects (crystals, pearls, corals). Into this she inserts scraps, bric-a-brac and other detritus of daily life. Bringing together these materials with their different origins represents how we live our lives, dependent as we are on both the products of industrial society and on nature. We live in a society where there is much waste, and where much that is valuable can be found in waste.
Her gardens are also places that sustain her work and have become a form of work in their own right. They are explorations of pattern and growth, how patterns change over a day, the seasons and the years of growth, decay and renewal.
“I think with my hands. Sometimes my hands think for me. But none of this would happen without the energy network I live in and rely on.”
YOSHIE HATTORI ARTIST STATEMENT My work for this show develops the themes of soft materials. I am reaching out for freedom, something that becomes more and more important as one gets older. I want to find how I can create something valuable and meaningful using the materials and skills I have at hand. What matters is what these things are and how they are made.
What do I mean by ‘soft materials.’
The materials I use can be damaged, they are not permanent. The word ‘soft’ is related to the Old Norse word ‘semja,’ to shape, compose, arrange and to settle or to make peace. This is how I think about the materials I use and how I use them. The pieces for this show are made from paper, plastic, elastic, silicone, wool, thread, etc. All are things that we find around us.
I put these different materials together using techniques from my own study and experience. I glue layers together, fold and bend them into shapes, sew in threads, elastic or wire. Many of these techniques come from my background in textile design. I studied textiles in Tokyo and Stockholm and the things that I learned in my 20s are still in my hands. I think with my hands.
My interest in found patterns also comes from my photographic work, where I am looking for patterns and then showing these patterns ‘as it is.’ Being able to see patterns is part of who I am and how I live.
I hope you will find things here that, for a moment at least, have meaning for you and are something you would like to hold and share.
JAMIE KROEGER worked in the environmental and avalanche science fields before committing to art in 2014. Since then, by means of material, process and concept, she translates the relationship between people and outside environments into object-based narratives. In 2017, she graduated from the Alberta College of Art + Design (Jewellery + Metals major, BFA with Distinction) in Calgary, Canada and was a student in the Jewellery and Silversmithing department at the Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow, Scotland in 2015. Immediately after, she moved to Norway and completed a Master of Fine Art in Medium and Material Based studies at the Kunsthøgskolen i Oslo, Oslo, Norway (2019). Currently, she is faculty in the Jewellery + Metals department at the Alberta University of the Arts, while maintaining her own personal studio practice in Golden, British Columbia. Her art jewellery has been exhibited both at a national and international level.
JAMIE KROEGER ARTIST STATEMENT Traditionally a maker’s mark can be thought of as a signature, or an indicator of the work’s origin and the brains and muscle behind the idea. Over time, an artist will be recognized by a style, a material or the process that they have perfected. Defining that signature is based on a particular focus, studied for years and perfected to a level worth noticing.
My life has been a cluster of experience and circumstance and that is often reflected in my artistic practice. A narrative of combined moments is illustrated through object, and it tells the story of a woman learning and working in the outdoors, stubbornly facing challenge head (and heart) first, making do with the resources on hand, and improvising when necessary. My work can be defined by material and process; and how manipulation of these two attributes can best convey the emotions and sentiment attached to life experience in the outdoors. The materials I choose can be unpredictable. I am required to quickly learn new techniques, and if they don’t work, challenge the old ones. Repetition and patience begin to act like the metaphor for tedious tasks like studying snow layers, or the years of experience it takes to try and comprehend the extensive connectivity that exists in a mountain landscape. The outdoors and the act of making teach all the best lessons—the highest of highs when you sit on the summit of a mountain, and dizzying lows when you hear the “clunk” of an enameled piece hit the floor of the kiln. This agency of experience, relationship, and place left a lasting mark on the way that I approach a project. The fragility of surface, patina, soft and hard components, relatable shape and colour have become my signature in contemporary object making.
JAN SMITH is a Canadian contemporary artist and educator focused on the use of non-traditional enamelling techniques on an altered metal substrate. Born in Vancouver, BC, Smith holds a BFA from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax, NS.
Jan’s work reveals her ongoing investigation to place and reflects a sense of identity and home. Absorbed by marks created by wind and ocean waves on the shoreline of the west coast of BC. Smith’s work suggests surfaces and textures from the natural environment with a delicate tactile surface and the use of line and mark making.
Smith has exhibited across Canada, USA and Europe, most recently in a group exhibition Confined at the Clay and Glass gallery in Waterloo, ON. Solo exhibitions include Memoria at the Anna Leonowens Gallery in Halifax, NS; where Jan was Artist in Residence in the Summer Artist Series 2016 at NSCAD University, Halifax, NS. Smith’s work was featured in Face à Face at Parcours Bijoux, Paris, France and at Face à Face, Harbourfront Centre, Toronto ON and in Jewellery Dialogue, a two-person show at the Craft Council of BC Gallery.
Artist in Residencies include The Smitten Forum, Mendocino Art Centre, Mendocino, CA and Pentaculum, Arrowmont Art Centre, Gatlinburg, TN.
Publications containing her work include New Brooches and New Earrings, Signs of Life-2006, and five of the Lark 500 series. Smith’s work is held in the Enamel Arts Foundation Collection and Canada Council Art Bank Collection. Smith received a four-year annual grant from the Helen Pitt Fund for Fine Art administered by Vancouver Foundation and juror’s awards from the Northern CA Enamel Guild and The Enamelist Society.
Jan lives on Salt Spring Island, maintaining an active studio practice.
JAN SMITH ARTIST STATEMENT In my artistic practice, I am exploring concepts that evolve from an intimate connection to place and reflect a sense of identity and home. Walking, observing, and gathering are rituals that require a commitment to careful observation—the ephemeral natural environment absorbs me. Studying effects of the environmental patterns of wind and water informs my practice. This provides a point of departure for my investigation into the properties of marks, their composition and placement. Using vitreous enamel on an altered metal substrate I create repetitive dots and marks to construct a language or code. This is an invented language, a code that suggests surfaces of the natural world Jewellery is a remarkable language: a meaningful code, open for investigations. Acting as a signal or navigational aide jewellery directs our gaze, indicates status, affiliations or self-expression. What triggers me is jewellery’s capability of identifying and marking a body, as carrier of meanings, and its portability. The dialogue created by jewellery on a person, as it moves throughout a location interacting with viewers intrigues me.
During the period of the pandemic I saw people seek solace in nature; for many it was escape from small apartments, from the intensity of being to close with loved ones, or from the loneliness of isolation and fear of the unknown. Whilst connecting with nature they were able to diminish fears and anxieties and I conjectured was possible to carry that security and comfort within a piece of jewellery. Historically jewellery in the form of amulets offers protection. The amulet could be worn on the body, sewn onto garments, hung on an animal, placed on the wall or entrance, used wherever disaster or pestilence threatened people’s lives and wherever something precious needs protection.
My objective with this work is to suggest the sensual, tactile qualities of our natural environment and I aim to memorialize and commemorate these qualities. I am offering a connection to the ephemeral natural world and highlighting its importance. I am asking the wearer and viewers to reflect on what is fleeting, perhaps endangered in these times.