Tools for beating

A ‘parure’ is a set of various items of matching jewelry. It is modular and can be disassembled into different parts. ‘Tools for beating’ is such a parure, made by American Seth Papac. It consists of 5 individual pieces that can be worn separately or all together in their tool bracket around the waist:

‘White knuckle’, a necklace, to me refers to boxing, a western fight sport. At the two ends of the necklace hang oval silver strips, possibly meant to harden the contestants’ hands.
‘Strike’, also a necklace, looks like a pair of nunchaku’s, used in eastern fighting. To stay true to the tools theme, they are made out of steel and wood.
The brooch ‘Club’, a very long, stiff square tube, when worn, starts beating by itself. This is also the case when is attached to the tool bracket.
‘Clench’, a ring, has to be clenched to be worn on the fingers, so the hand forms a fist (for beating).
The last part of this parure is the ‘Empty tool bracket’, which is not actually empty. The leather belt holds a very well made, smooth, spatula- like, wooden shape. Just like the brooch club, it starts beating when worn, but ‘gives’ a totally different, more gentle, kind of beating.

To have a jewel committed to beating is one thing, but 5, even though they can be assembled into one, is a bit much. But the way these pieces are made, with carefully chosen materials and incredible skill, pushes the violent nature of the work to the background. For example, the necklace ‘White knuckle’, consists of white tape, used to tie tight around the contestants’ hands, but it is tied together and carelessly draped around one’s neck. And the material of the top plate of the ring ‘Clench’, steel, could refer to real knuckledusters, or to actual tools. On top of that, its’ shape does not remind of fighting at all. This is obviously also the case with ‘Club’, the brooch.

On top of this, the artist states that this toolset is meant for beating, a fictitious job or ritual to deal with the metaphorical cleansing of his body and not someone else’s! So a very personal piece this week.

Lucky me got to experience this work in reality at Gallery Caroline Van Hoek (member of Klimt02). It is exhibited there, with 2 more parures, until October 24th.


Camée de lait

The most bizarre jewel for this post, in material and in concept.

One of the very first plastics were made out of cow’s milk, so when in 2008 the design team of Duende collective, led by Anthony van den Bossche, were asked to create something around ‘eating together’ by “La Cuisine”, they knew what to do. The plastic pendant ‘Camée de lait’ in this picture is made out of maternel milk. This is what Cécile Fricker came up with: a pendant with your own baby’s face made out of your maternel milk plastic.

Normally you would consider plastic as one of the most ordinary, unnatural materials. Plastic is often associated with cheap, single–use items (i.e. crap), Dropping off a bottle of breast milk, to be made into plastic seems unreal. Casting the plastic-milk in a 3 dimensional mold, the same shape of the baby’s head that the milk was meant for, makes it priceless. Not only is this ‘Camée de lait’ turning the natural into unnatural, it is also turning the ordinary into something luxurious.

To me, this is the ultimate jewel to keep the memory of breastfeeding your baby alive; it is made out of breast milk and has the shape of your own child. Finally, when you wear it, judging from this photograph, it dangles happily where it came from, your breasts!


How to become an elephant

Sometimes a jewel can make you curious for its’ story, and sometimes a story can seduce you to love a jewel even more. The last is the case for me with this jewel ‘How to become an elephant’ by Portugese Manuel Vilhena. Of course now I’ll let you in on the story he wrote with the jewel:

And which flower is the most delicious? - asked the man. The one on the left, of course replied the elephant. How do you know that? First, you grow a long trunk. Then, you grow large ears like mine and a, hum, quite short tail. Ah!, and you forget nothing. Is that how one becomes an elephant? The elephant looked the man in the eye, then looked down, gently picked up the flower and said - You need patience...
in „How to become an Elephant“, M.V. 2009

A very sweet story, about how to become a jewel, by Manuel Vilhena. Starting by slowly growing all the trivial bits, without losing sensitivity towards certain areas, and not forgetting anything, to make a fully finished piece.

I can totally see the elephant in this brooch look people in the eye, while it is telling the most wonderful stories. It gets my fantasy going about great, story-telling jewels to keep you company.

Luckily there is more in the exhibition ‘How to become an elephant and other fabulous and curious stories’. Opening on the 5th of September until the 27th at galerie S O, in Solothurn, Switserland. More about the exhibit on Klimt02.

Summer has been great and now I am very happy to be blogging again!