I’ve Moved!

Hello!
I have some exciting news- I finally have a proper website! So from now on, I will be posting in the blog section of my new site:

www.kclairemstudio.com

Stop by and check it out! : )

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Florence Part 1: Alchimia

This past winter I received a creation and development grant from the Ontario Arts Council to expand upon my research of employing paint directly on metal, and to work towards creating a more sculptural body of work. The group of works I exhibited in the show “Studious” at Harbourfront a few months ago was the first culmination of my early research and experimentation.

Shortly after the exhibition opened, I came across a workshop being offered at Alchimia Contemporary Jewellery School in Florence, Italy titled “Pigments on Metal: Explorations in Mixed Media”. The focus of the workshop was the use of different paint media on metal, taught by the school’s director and co-founder, Lucia Massei. It seemed like a perfect fit for the experimentation I was deeply immersed in. I knew I had to go.

I got back from Italy a few weeks ago, and looking back on my trip now, it seems like an almost surreal experience that came and passed much too quickly! I saw and learned so much in such a short period of time, I am still trying to sort through and process everything in my mind.

I had been intrigued by Alchimia for a while, partly because of its location right in the heart of Florence, but mostly because of the style and quality of work produced by the school’s students and alumni. Jewelers whose work I admire such as Camilla Teglio,  Yoko Shimizu, and Isabel Dammermann are among some of the school’s very talented and successful alumni.

When I arrived at the school, I was immediately charmed by the intimate size of the studios, and beautiful architecture of the building itself. It seemed like an ideal environment for an abundance of creativity!

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The instructor, Lucia, was such an incredible teacher with an extensive background as both a painter and a jeweler. Her passion for art and teaching was immediately apparent as she patiently introduced and explained various processes and materials in great detail, most of which were completely new to me.

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We made many samples following her demos, slowly getting to know the new materials and techniques. Learning to control the processes through practice is key to truly mastering the art (although some of the most beautiful results can be achieved by “accident”!). Lucia’s extensive knowledge and understanding of the materials seemed to allow her a zen-like demeanor as she carried out the demos, and showed us some of her stunning work.

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Even though I had been experimenting with paint on metal prior to the workshop, what I learned during the workshop was completely different. Through new processes, painting and metalsmithing were amalgamated in a way I had never experienced before. The two disciplines became so intertwined and interconnected that I actually found myself with a paintbrush in one hand, and a torch in the other. I remember thinking to myself, “This is what I have been looking for.” And everything changed for me in that moment.

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Samples

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My short time at Alchimia was an amazing experience, and it was great to meet other jewelers from different countries in Europe who had come to take the workshop. I totally fell in love with the school (and Florence, of course!). I hope I will be back someday soon.

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Outdoor work station

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In the courtyard

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Lucia showing us some of her many beautiful pigments.

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Studio kitty!

While in Florence I stocked up on a bunch of new materials and tools. I paid a visit to an art store called Zecchi, which had been recommended to me by one of my talented artist friends back in Halifax. It did not disappoint! I splurged on some beautiful new pigments that I am very excited begin working with. I also had the chance to visit a number of really incredible galleries, and to meet some other artists that live and work in Florence. I will write another blog post soon about some of these highlights. Stay tuned!
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In the meantime, I have been working in high gear preparing for my first big commercial show, the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition which is held at Nathan Philips Square in front of City Hall in Toronto. The show opens next Friday, July 4th, and runs through Sunday July 6th. If you are in the area, please swing by to say hi! I will be located at booth F28. Many of my fellow artist-in-residence from Harbourfront Centre will also be exhibiting; keep an eye out for us! 🙂

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News and Updates!

I’ve been keeping quite busy this past little while making work for upcoming shows, and preparing applications for future exhibitions. I have some exciting projects and opportunities on the horizon!

A few weeks ago, several new shows opened at Harbourfront Centre. I am part of an exhibition called “Show-Off”, featuring work by a selection of current artist-in-residents.  I created a large neck piece for this show titled “Moments”; it is  made up of three post-card sized paintings on metal. For the display, I decided to include the remainder of paintings alongside the neck piece. Below are some studio snapshots of the piece in progress, and a couple of shots of the finished piece (I will post better photos soon!).

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I recently sent off two other neck pieces and paintings to a show in the US (my first international show!) at the Lillstreet Art Centre in Chicago, IL. My work is part of “Earthly Delights: Metalsmiths Inspired by Nature”- a showcase of jewelry and sculpture that runs in conjunction with the gallery’s annual “Art and the Urban Garden” show. The exhibition opens tomorrow, April 25th, and runs until June 1st.

Upcoming

In less than a month, I will be heading off on a very exciting adventure. I am going to Italy to take a short workshop at Alchimia Contemporary Jewellery School of Florence. The workshop is about the use of pigments on metal, with focus on the exploration of various materials and methods to achieve color on metal. It seems like a really good fit for the current direction of my work. The instructor is jeweler Lucia Massei; she makes such beautiful work!
I went to Florence with my family when I was younger, and truly fell in love with it; I’m so grateful to have the chance to go again (although I’m worried I might not want to come home!).

This year I am participating in the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, an annual show that takes place outdoors at Nathan Philips Square in Toronto July 4-6th. I am very excited (and nervous) about this opportunity; it will be my first big show of this type, and will be a great challenge for me to undertake at this point in my career. I have begun prototyping some new production pieces based off of my collection of small-scale sculpture…and already keeping my fingers crossed for good weather! ; )

Lastly, I have a real website in the works! A wonderful designer and web developer I went to school with at NSCAD is in the process of creating a real website for me! I will still be keeping my blog, but will have a nicely organized homepage and portfolio.

Stay tuned! : )

 

 

 

 

 

 

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From object to wearable object…

After spending a few months creating a collection of sculptural objects, I have been feeling inclined to transition many of  my designs into wearable pieces of jewelry. Taking the time away from jewelry to focus on sculptural objects allowed me to find freedom within my processes, and to hone in on my intuition as a maker. The resulting sculptural works form a great foundation of aesthetic and structural inspiration to draw upon as I continue my jewelry explorations.

Here are a few new pieces I have been working on.

008. Angular Brooches

Angular Brooches. Brass, copper, paint. 2014

09. Cluster Pendant

Cluster Pendant. Bronze, cord. 2014

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Brooch (left) bronze, steel, 2014.
Pendants (top, and bottom right) bronze, 2014.

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Cluster Pendant. Bronze, sterling silver. 2014.

More to come; stay tuned! : )

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Connections

1506504_1395423607377407_1365952279_nAlthough I have a tendency to have minimal patience towards anything computer related, I have to admit, I find myself continually enthused by the power of social media to create connections among people and ideas the world over. It amazes me how the limitations of physical distance that separates people can often be overcome or minimized through the internet, sometimes making the world feel a little less overwhelming, and a lot more accessible.

Through the use of Facebook, I recently had the opportunity to get involved in an exciting new project: The Jewelry Exchange 2014, organized by Olga Raben, a jeweler based in Sweden. The idea of the project is to be paired with another trained jeweler somewhere in the world, with whom you will exchange a piece of handmade jewelry. Each artist is given twelve weeks to create and send the piece to their partner, and must also include a story about the work and his/herself. The work will be photographed worn by the recipient, and included in an online exhibition.

Close to 400 artists are participating in this project. What a great way to forge connections among a diverse network of jewelers all around the world!

I was absolutely thrilled to find that I am paired with Montserrat Lacomba, a talented maker and curator based in Gerona, Spain. She makes beautiful jewels that are often bright and full of color, and also curates a very extensive blog of contemporary jewelry that I have frequented on many occasions over the past few years. Take some time to check out her work, and to visit her blog– it is such a wonderful resource.

I feel very fortunate to be participating in this exchange, and am looking forward to creating a piece to send off to Montserrat! : )

 

 

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“Studious” Exhibition at Harbourfront Centre

Last Friday was the opening of “Studious” at Harbourfront Centre. It was truly wonderful to see everyone’s work come together to form a cohesive and intriguing show. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to exhibit my work alongside artists in a wide array of media, all of whom push the boundaries of their discipline.

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Rachael Wong (left back wall); George Cho (front left); Marianne Burlew (front right).

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Lizz Aston (back wall); Marianne Burlew (front).

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Patrycja Zwierzynska (left wall); Amanda McCavour (back installation); George Cho (front).

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Amanda McCavour (back); George Cho (front).

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Jay Joo

 

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K. Claire MacDonald (front) Jay Joo (back)
Photo by Tom Bilenky

Check out more fabulous work by each other the artists in the show:

Lizz Aston, Marianne Burlew, George Cho, Jay Joo, Amanda McCavour, Rachael Wong, and Patrycja Zwierzynska.

Here are some detailed shots of my work:

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Encapsulated. Brass, paint. 2013.

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Little House. Copper, paint, 2013.

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Heartleaf. Copper, Paint. 2013.
Little House. Copper, Paint, 2013.

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Still There. Copper, paint, 2013.

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Wind and Water. Copper, brass, paint. 2013.

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Between Suns. Copper, brass, paint. 2014.

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Blissful Distance (view 1). Brass, paint, 2014.

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Blissful Distance (view 2)

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Ancestry. Brass, paint, 2014.

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Amid. Brass, paint, 2014.

“Studious” is up until April 6th, 2014. If you are in the Toronto are, stop by for a visit! : )

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Being “Studious”

The past couple months have been a busy time of exploration, and transition; I have been delving full force into creating a new body of work for an upcoming exhibition, and have relocated my work space once again, back to the newly renovated studio at Harbourfront Centre. It was great to start off the New Year in a fresh new workspace!

My latest body of work will be part of an exhibition called Studious opening this Friday evening at Harbourfront Centre. I am really excited to be part of this show, and to have the opportunity to exhibit my work alongside some very talented artists whose work I greatly admire. Our show is also featured as part of the Toronto Design Offsite Festival.
I have taken a bit of a leap with my new work, and will be showing a collection of small scale sculptural works. The shift away from functional jewelry into sculpture has been an exciting diversion that has prompted me to re-examine and further develop the relationship between various facets of my studio practise.
Here is a sneak peek for the show. Stay tuned for more! : )
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