Artwork Statement: This vase was inspired by research into the concept of the abject—the feeling when one is simultaneously repulsed by, and yet also attracted to something. There are many things, especially in nature, that occupy this strange space between the disgusting and the tantalizing. How interesting it is that a similar formal element can be beauteous (a delicate tendril of hair, the creeping vines of a flower) or repellant (a sea creature’s tentacles, the horrible tongue of a science fiction monster). I am interested in these strange spaces in our psyche where seemingly oppositional emotions enmesh. In creating this piece I played with this idea of similarity and difference, attraction and repulsion, taking advantage of the elastic possibilities of delicate copper tubing to create forms evocative of both. My visual inspirations came from Art Nouveau designs, in particular the signature ‘whiplash’ curves of Victor Horta, and also from the tentacled eldritch creatures of H.P. Lovecraft such as Cthulhu. The resulting form is both foreboding and beautiful, conjuring images of delicate flowers and terrible creatures of the deep. The vase is created from a collection of seven hand-formed and bent spiculums, attached to a hydraulic pressed base.
Artist Statement: As a craftsperson, I am interested in the power of craft in supporting our spiritual wellbeing; craft can be fundamental in our daily routines, and craftsmanship makes life feel beautiful. Jewellery in particular is intimately engaged with our inner selves, as it occupies a unique intersection between ritual items and everyday objects. My work explores the spiritual power of jewellery, and how it can bring a sense of magic and ritual into our lives. Conceptually, my work takes shape around research into philosophy, psychoanalysis, art history, and theology. An affinity for history shapes my work physically as well, with a focus on traditional materials and techniques as a means of energetic connection to a long lineage of ancient jewellery production. In the tradition of the Symbolists, I believe that art should give you something that feels powerfully and intimately connected to the mysterious undercurrents of life. I explore this space with jewellery, leveraging its symbolic weight in our lives to engage a deeper emotional sensation. Precious metals and gemstones have captured the human imagination for thousands of years, and thus figure prominently in my pieces. My work argues that spiritual and material joy can be one and the same.
Artwork Statement: This teapot was created as a celebration of the physical process of traditional silversmithing techniques, an embodiment of William Morris’ philosophy of joy in labour. I was inspired mostly by a desire to explore my favourite hollowware techniques—hand raising, spiculums (hollow tube forms), and chasing and repoussé—in a precious material. By engaging in these laborious traditional processes which are not necessarily immediately evident in the finished piece, this work also poses questions about seen and unseen labour, and the value of hidden things.
The body of this teapot was raised entirely by hand. Over the course of many months, I slowly hammered a flat sheet of silver into shape, working intuitively with the material without a concrete final form in mind. I allowed the silver to grow into the space between what it wanted to be and what I wanted it to be. The handles and spouts were also fabricated by hand from silver sheet, hammered into shape and then bent gently by hand into sumptuous curves—again a negotiation between my own desires and the physical limits of the material.
Over the past year, I fell in love with chasing and repoussé, and in the spirit of finding joy in hidden things, decided to embellish the bottom of the teapot with a chasing and repoussé scarab beetle. The “back” side is visible on the bottom of the teapot, but the full beauty and detail of this intricate work can only be accessed by peering within the vessel itself. I was often asked: “Why put so much work into something that no one will see properly?” The answer is really the only statement I believe this piece needs: I did it because the work brought me immense joy. To see metal move in such a way under the power of your hands is true magic. Silversmithing is magic. This teapot is magic. Life can be magic if you look out for it. Take a moment to lie in the grass and look real up-close at bugs sometimes. It’s important.
Artwork Statement:These lovely lily flowers are relevant to my Art History experience with my craft mentor Sandra Alfoldy. The candle holder with anticlastic and synclastic forming techniques and the green patina effect is in the traditional Victorian Memento Mori style. This piece is my way to memorialize her while recognizing and appreciating her help in my academic experience.
Artist Bio:Halifax-based young jeweller, Haoming (Jim) Nao graduated with B.F.A Jewellery Design & Metalsmithing at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University (NSCAD University) and a minor in Art History. During his study, he joined several exhibitions and art shows. His artworks come across in between combining with all kinds of materials, from traditional material and metalsmithing techniques to contemporary materials and theories throughout his jewellery studies at NSCAD University.
Artwork Statement: Growing up in Nova Scotia I feel connected to our rocky shoreline. The once-jagged rocks are eroded away by crashing waves into smooth round forms. This piece is meant to represent this erosion process in relation to mental health. We are formed by our surroundings and tied to our past like a loose piece of rope, washed ashore, caught in the rocks. This piece is tied together, but with copper wire. The main body is formed by first using a hydraulic press, then continued raising by hand. Finally textured with a large piece of raw quartz, this was done to create a stone-like exterior. When the piece is together it creates the shape of a feminine form, representing myself and paying homage to my home.
Artist Statement: Silversmithing allows me to express the textures of my surroundings and their connection to our emotions. Through the combination of technical jewellery work and large scale sculptural holloware, I show how we are shaped by our past.
Pouring vessel - Nuthatch. Multi-fired porcelain vessel. On one side of the vessel, the head of a nuthatch emerges, the face and beak becoming its own three-dimensional form. On the other side, blue glaze has been sprayed and over wax-resisted surfaces to create varied textures.
Porcelain bowl - Deer. Multi-fired porcelain bowl. Inside and out, organic lines create a vision of forest, dappled with blues, greens, and yellows. A deer rests inside, its head an exquisite and lifelike sculpted form. Carved elements in the porcelain allow light to pass through its surface.
Porcelain bowl - Blue Jay. Multi-fired porcelain bowl with washes of celadon glaze. One side of the bowl morphs into the shape of a blue jay's head. Carved elements in the porcelain allow light to pass through its surface. Viewed from the side, it seems as though a visiting jay has come to rest inside of the vessel.
Mug with Face and Cicada. Multi-fired porcelain mug with streaks of gold lustre. One side of the mug depicts a face, the other a cicada. Both feature sculptural elements, the nose of the face and the body and wings of the cicada emerging as their own forms from the sides of the vessel.
Pouring vessel with handle - Red-Breasted Grosbeak. Multi-fired porcelain vessel. On one side of the vessel, the head of a red-breasted grosbeak emerges, the face and beak becoming its own three-dimensional form. On the other side, blue glaze has been sprayed and over wax-resisted surfaces to create varied textures.
Suspension - necklace made from polyurethane, wood, polymer, powder coated, paint, fibre.
The outer geometric form of the mixed media pendant is acrylic painted polyurethane. At the top, the fiber cord is secured into a wooden base. The egg-shaped form between the two pedestals is sculpted from polymer clay and embedded with powder coated copper. The base of this form is dotted with tiny beads coated in fine gold leaf.