Pamela Ritchie creates jewellery that draws on linkages between past and present, relating to both mythology and personal identity.
The winner of multiple awards, including the 2017 Governor General’s Saidye Bronfman Award, her work has been showcased in over one hundred solo and group exhibitions throughout North America, Australia, Asia, and Europe.
Her work celebrates the concentrating effect of detail, and the paradox that an abundance of ideas, form, and pattern can be encapsulated in very small objects.
"My work has long been informed by historical and technical research that I have undertaken in Canada and abroad. Perhaps the most influential has been the time I spent in Oslo and Telemark researching the traditional Norwegian filigree jewellery called Bunadsylv. Filigree is a complicated and decorative technique employing fine wires and fine granules. It has many different styles and has been used throughout history in many locations. Norsk Bunadsylv is unique to Norway and incorporates silver in styles that are specific to the different regions of the country.
After the initial research in the late 1970s and early 1980s I used a minimalist approach stripping the filigree and using the form and content as the basis for new designs. Later I began to alter the filigree process to create a new texture and pattern that has height and depth but remains lightweight. In this necklace I have returned to these techniques in order to create the appearance and functionality that makes a unique surface design inspired by the filigree coils called ‘Kruser’ in the historical work.
I have also explored linkages between the language of traditional craft processes and the developing language resulting from newer modes of production. To this extent I have used computer assisted design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) combining filigree, one of the oldest techniques and styles, with 3D printing, one of the newest technologies. New modes of production allow me the freedom to experiment with combinations of surface and form that would have been impossible or difficult otherwise. It is exciting to work within the rich terrain that lies between these two modes of production."