JEWELLERY as art

Three Peace Region artists share their love of metal.
By Sarah Alford

Joyce Lee Joyce Lee, is a self-described collector, dreamer and designer living on a 160-acre ranch north of Dawson Creek; a world she describes as “filled with the potential for design.” Lee considers her pieces as part of a cycle in which the illuminated world is uncovered and shared.

“Stones are captured energy, created by the earth over millions of years, brought to light so that I may use my hands and wire to support and embrace them. Astone may be cold as you pick it up, but as you hold it against your skin and give it your heat, it then holds and returns it”.

Lee sees beauty everywhere, and jewellery is her vehicle for honouring, and participating in, beauty’s pleasure. “Beauty is beauty, whether on a gallery wall, in a song, in the sky, or in a finished creation gleaming in my hand.”

Heather Forbes For Heather Forbes, the process of making jewellery is much like the process of living a valiant life. “My favourite pieces began as ‘mistakes;’ they didn’t turn out as I had planned. When that happens, you allow yourself to experiment and play with what you have. You and the piece evolve; you learn how to work together. It can never be replicated.”

Her introduction to jewellery was a workshop led by Edmonton artist Karen Cantine. “I was just Scottish enough that when the workshop was over, I had to go back and make something with the scrap silver.” Forbes’ jewellery bench now sits behind the counter of her store, Forbes and Friends, in Grande Prairie. There’s a room in the back for the very messy jewellery procedures. “Silver is actually a dirty metal to work with,” she smiles, “but when you fine tune it. buffing, finishing. it becomes a sensual, magical experience. It’s a transformation.”

NeKo NeKo discovered jewellery-making while attending the Alberta College of Art in the 1970s. He had intended to study painting, but found himself lured by the technical challenges posed by the newly-formed jewellery program. Since then, the Grande Prairie resident has made jewellery that expresses his generosity and refined sense of design with delicacy, humour, and virtuosity. Sadly, NeKo recently developed an allergy to metal. After all that filing, sanding, piercing and torching, the metal has begun to bite back. While this is quite a blow to both NeKo and the jewellery community, he welcomes it as an opportunity. NeKo’s work displays such discipline and creativity, it is certain that he will succeed in whatever he chooses to do next, be it landscaping, stained glass, or his first love, watercolour. “Leap,” says NeKo, “and the net will appear.”


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ico•nog•ra•phy n. the imagery or symbolism of an artist or body of art. By Jody Farrellhttp://www.artofthepeace.ca/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/vicki-hotter-7-bulls-leavin.jpg" alt="Vicki Hotte, 7 Bulls, Leaving" align="right" /> Vicki Hotte's cow paintings stemmed from her desire to continue her art once she'd returned to her Beaverlodge area ranch from a University of Victoria arts program. "We raised cows, so I'm used to them. I know the way they look in any position, the shape they take. I recognize them as a whole, and as individuals."Her first images dealt with these sensitivities to the animals. They were automatic sketches, not planned. Gradually, she explains, her cows took on the meaning of the continuum of life. "They're so.cowlike. Placid. Fat. So "there". I imagine that even 10,000 years ago, they looked the same lying down as they do today. They have been around so long they've become part of the earth."Hotte began adding washes to the background for a little "atmosphere." These were purposely nebulous: they were neither pasture nor fixed location, but rather a sense of air movement or dust. Later, the cows adopted something of a Biblical reference. One of the Hottes' herds was skinny by nature, and got Vicki thinking about the Pharaoh's dream of thin cows that came out of the river and ate the fat ones. She developed water-like background washes, which eventually doubled as skies. "The sky became the universe, with the cow as part of that universe."The recent sale of the farm and move into Grande Prairie has Hotte working the cow image as more of a pattern, or motif. A memory. She's done cows in clay, and lately, has begun carving a cow design out of plexiglass. The plastic medium's transparent nature gives a dreamlike, skylike quality to the animal. "They're a personal symbol; my mark," Hotte explains.http://www.artofthepeace.ca/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/vicki-hotter-7-bulls-leavin.jpg" alt="Robert Guest - Third Marker Along Adams Ridge" align="left" /> Robert Guest's recent exhibition at The Prairie Art Gallery entitled 'Symbols in the Landscape,' featured Inukshuk-style markers the artist encountered while working in isolated lookout towers for Alberta Forest Service. His landscapes, done first as watercolours or drawings, not photographs, capture the incredible detail of the changing weather and surfaces of mountain ranges few of us will ever see.He is fascinated with symbols he finds in nature, including full moons, Indian tipis, and forest fires. These too, frequently appear in his work. "Most people relate to objects on a symbolic level," Guest says. "To me, symbols in the natural world stand for ideas and suggest stories or adventure apart from the literal. They add to the mystery. His painting 'Third Marker Along Adams Ridge,' shows a structure made to look like a traditional Native Inukshuk, located within three miles of the North border of Wilmore Wilderness Park, near Grande Cache. Guest figures markers like this one were probably built after 1950 to direct the traveller across a ridge. It can get foggy in these higher peaks, and people get lost or disoriented. Hunters and hikers follow the markers whose sequence eventually brings them to a road.Unfortunately, that third marker was toppled sometime last spring by what Guest figures must have been lightning. Its precariously high domain left it open to such forces of nature. The large pile of rubble that remains pays homage to impermanence and change."They talk," Guest says of the Inukshuks. "The wind wound through (third marker), sifting a musical sound. In hot weather, mosquitoes gathered behind it, making a loud hum. They didn't bite though. Maybe they're just partying.""The marker directs your attention upward. It also casts an odd shadow. Like a person. A companion in what is otherwise a world of rock and fog."http://www.artofthepeace.ca/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/vicki-hotter-7-bulls-leavin.jpg" alt="Jocelyn Morgan - Spiral Bracelet & Earrings" align="right" /> It's hard for Grande Prairie jewellery artist Jocelyn Morgan to pinpoint exactly when she began incorporating the spiral into her work. It was definitely there in her days at Emily Carr College in Vancouver in the 1980s. "But I'd travelled a lot too, and was always drawn to symbolism," she recalls.Morgan, whose father is a consultant for oil companies, spent early years abroad. Repeated patterns she encountered in Africa, the Middle East, and later, Ireland, influenced her creative style. The spiral, in particular, found its way into Morgan's world, its layers of meaning winding themselves into her everyday habits. She credits "working" the spiral for getting her through some very tough times."That idea of a swirl that starts in the middle and moves outward can be seen as doing two things. It can represent an inward and downward, or upward and open, flow of energy," Morgan explains.A person facing hardships so intense as to feel on the verge of implosion might envision a spiral of bodily energy drawing itself inward and down. But it can, with conscious effort, be worked in the opposite direction. Morgan finds that, worked inwardly, the spiral gets smaller, invisible, perhaps finite, where, worked outwardly, it would appear to have no end. The possibilities in directing that energy outward would be limitless. Years of consciously working the spiral is not only visible in her art, but has transformed Morgan into a soughtafter yoga practitioner."I love the more whimsical spiral, too," Morgan says of her chosen icon. "The whirling dervish; the fern we find in nature; the swirl in the ocean, and its shells. I love all of those images."http://www.artofthepeace.ca/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/vicki-hotter-7-bulls-leavin.jpg" alt="Paula Fiorini's Raku Polar Bear" align="left" />Paula Fiorini's obsession with bears began with, of all things, her travels on board ships. The ceramic artist, now living in Whitelaw, near Fairview, spent many childhood years sailing between Montreal and South Hampton with her travel-bug parents. "I came to know a lot of the crew. You would stand on deck and look at the wash, and all that green foam."Fiorini suspects that these misty water wonderlands, along with shipmates' tales of spotting the elusive "polar bear on the iceberg," infused her with a lifelong passion for the animal."I see so much fluidity, humanity in the bear," she explains. "People ascribe things to them, like left-handedness. Their form, their whole being, speaks to people."Her ceramic raku bears allowed for a hollow inside, a feature Fiorini finds as important as the sculpture's visible exterior. "I'm fascinated by that universe within."Fiorini also holds the creator accountable for a work's permanence or durability. "If you're going to make things, you have to take responsibility for them. If the world shifts, they have to have what it takes to survive."This sense of duty for one's creations, along with a certain character in author Philip Pullman's novel 'The Golden Compass' influenced Fiorini's decision to take up welding."I was sculpting bears, using different glazes, trying always to make them bigger. In order to make them as big as I'd like, I had to make them solid. They were too heavy though. Not right." Somehow, the resulting clunkiness no longer gave that fluid quality that, for Fiorini, is the essence of the bear.'The Golden Compass' bear wore armour. Fiorini identified strongly with this character, and began toying with the notion of incorporating metal protection into her bears. The armour parts of her works would be welded together; the visible "bear" parts would be raku ceramics. The combination would meet her desire to increase its scale, while both keeping the animal fluid-looking and giving it that added durability should something shift in the atmosphere.Fiorini is still getting proficient at welding. And the big armoured bear? It presents the kind of challenge that keeps her awake at night. She's sketching plans and thinking it all through."It's all in my head, baby," says a determined Fiorini.
13 years ago

ico•nog•ra•phy n. the imagery or symbolism of an artist or body of art. By Jody Farrellhttp://www.artofthepeace.ca/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/vicki-hotter-7-bulls-leavin.jpg" alt="Vicki Hotte, 7 Bulls, Leaving" align="right" /> Vicki Hotte's cow paintings stemmed from her desire to continue her art once she'd returned to her Beaverlodge area ranch from a University of Victoria arts program. "We raised cows, so I'm used to them. I know the way they look in any position, the shape they take. I recognize them as a whole, and as individuals."Her first images dealt with these sensitivities to the animals. They were automatic sketches, not planned. Gradually, she explains, her cows took on the meaning of the continuum of life. "They're so.cowlike. Placid. Fat. So "there". I imagine that even 10,000 years ago, they looked the same lying down as they do today. They have been around so long they've become part of the earth."Hotte began adding washes to the background for a little "atmosphere." These were purposely nebulous: they were neither pasture nor fixed location, but rather a sense of air movement or dust. Later, the cows adopted something of a Biblical reference. One of the Hottes' herds was skinny by nature, and got Vicki thinking about the Pharaoh's dream of thin cows that came out of the river and ate the fat ones. She developed water-like background washes, which eventually doubled as skies. "The sky became the universe, with the cow as part of that universe."The recent sale of the farm and move into Grande Prairie has Hotte working the cow image as more of a pattern, or motif. A memory. She's done cows in clay, and lately, has begun carving a cow design out of plexiglass. The plastic medium's transparent nature gives a dreamlike, skylike quality to the animal. "They're a personal symbol; my mark," Hotte explains.http://www.artofthepeace.ca/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/vicki-hotter-7-bulls-leavin.jpg" alt="Robert Guest - Third Marker Along Adams Ridge" align="left" /> Robert Guest's recent exhibition at The Prairie Art Gallery entitled 'Symbols in the Landscape,' featured Inukshuk-style markers the artist encountered while working in isolated lookout towers for Alberta Forest Service. His landscapes, done first as watercolours or drawings, not photographs, capture the incredible detail of the changing weather and surfaces of mountain ranges few of us will ever see.He is fascinated with symbols he finds in nature, including full moons, Indian tipis, and forest fires. These too, frequently appear in his work. "Most people relate to objects on a symbolic level," Guest says. "To me, symbols in the natural world stand for ideas and suggest stories or adventure apart from the literal. They add to the mystery. His painting 'Third Marker Along Adams Ridge,' shows a structure made to look like a traditional Native Inukshuk, located within three miles of the North border of Wilmore Wilderness Park, near Grande Cache. Guest figures markers like this one were probably built after 1950 to direct the traveller across a ridge. It can get foggy in these higher peaks, and people get lost or disoriented. Hunters and hikers follow the markers whose sequence eventually brings them to a road.Unfortunately, that third marker was toppled sometime last spring by what Guest figures must have been lightning. Its precariously high domain left it open to such forces of nature. The large pile of rubble that remains pays homage to impermanence and change."They talk," Guest says of the Inukshuks. "The wind wound through (third marker), sifting a musical sound. In hot weather, mosquitoes gathered behind it, making a loud hum. They didn't bite though. Maybe they're just partying.""The marker directs your attention upward. It also casts an odd shadow. Like a person. A companion in what is otherwise a world of rock and fog."http://www.artofthepeace.ca/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/vicki-hotter-7-bulls-leavin.jpg" alt="Jocelyn Morgan - Spiral Bracelet & Earrings" align="right" /> It's hard for Grande Prairie jewellery artist Jocelyn Morgan to pinpoint exactly when she began incorporating the spiral into her work. It was definitely there in her days at Emily Carr College in Vancouver in the 1980s. "But I'd travelled a lot too, and was always drawn to symbolism," she recalls.Morgan, whose father is a consultant for oil companies, spent early years abroad. Repeated patterns she encountered in Africa, the Middle East, and later, Ireland, influenced her creative style. The spiral, in particular, found its way into Morgan's world, its layers of meaning winding themselves into her everyday habits. She credits "working" the spiral for getting her through some very tough times."That idea of a swirl that starts in the middle and moves outward can be seen as doing two things. It can represent an inward and downward, or upward and open, flow of energy," Morgan explains.A person facing hardships so intense as to feel on the verge of implosion might envision a spiral of bodily energy drawing itself inward and down. But it can, with conscious effort, be worked in the opposite direction. Morgan finds that, worked inwardly, the spiral gets smaller, invisible, perhaps finite, where, worked outwardly, it would appear to have no end. The possibilities in directing that energy outward would be limitless. Years of consciously working the spiral is not only visible in her art, but has transformed Morgan into a soughtafter yoga practitioner."I love the more whimsical spiral, too," Morgan says of her chosen icon. "The whirling dervish; the fern we find in nature; the swirl in the ocean, and its shells. I love all of those images."http://www.artofthepeace.ca/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/vicki-hotter-7-bulls-leavin.jpg" alt="Paula Fiorini's Raku Polar Bear" align="left" />Paula Fiorini's obsession with bears began with, of all things, her travels on board ships. The ceramic artist, now living in Whitelaw, near Fairview, spent many childhood years sailing between Montreal and South Hampton with her travel-bug parents. "I came to know a lot of the crew. You would stand on deck and look at the wash, and all that green foam."Fiorini suspects that these misty water wonderlands, along with shipmates' tales of spotting the elusive "polar bear on the iceberg," infused her with a lifelong passion for the animal."I see so much fluidity, humanity in the bear," she explains. "People ascribe things to them, like left-handedness. Their form, their whole being, speaks to people."Her ceramic raku bears allowed for a hollow inside, a feature Fiorini finds as important as the sculpture's visible exterior. "I'm fascinated by that universe within."Fiorini also holds the creator accountable for a work's permanence or durability. "If you're going to make things, you have to take responsibility for them. If the world shifts, they have to have what it takes to survive."This sense of duty for one's creations, along with a certain character in author Philip Pullman's novel 'The Golden Compass' influenced Fiorini's decision to take up welding."I was sculpting bears, using different glazes, trying always to make them bigger. In order to make them as big as I'd like, I had to make them solid. They were too heavy though. Not right." Somehow, the resulting clunkiness no longer gave that fluid quality that, for Fiorini, is the essence of the bear.'The Golden Compass' bear wore armour. Fiorini identified strongly with this character, and began toying with the notion of incorporating metal protection into her bears. The armour parts of her works would be welded together; the visible "bear" parts would be raku ceramics. The combination would meet her desire to increase its scale, while both keeping the animal fluid-looking and giving it that added durability should something shift in the atmosphere.Fiorini is still getting proficient at welding. And the big armoured bear? It presents the kind of challenge that keeps her awake at night. She's sketching plans and thinking it all through."It's all in my head, baby," says a determined Fiorini.
13 years ago

ico•nog•ra•phy n. the imagery or symbolism of an artist or body of art. By Jody Farrellhttp://www.artofthepeace.ca/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/vicki-hotter-7-bulls-leavin.jpg" alt="Vicki Hotte, 7 Bulls, Leaving" align="right" /> Vicki Hotte's cow paintings stemmed from her desire to continue her art once she'd returned to her Beaverlodge area ranch from a University of Victoria arts program. "We raised cows, so I'm used to them. I know the way they look in any position, the shape they take. I recognize them as a whole, and as individuals."Her first images dealt with these sensitivities to the animals. They were automatic sketches, not planned. Gradually, she explains, her cows took on the meaning of the continuum of life. "They're so.cowlike. Placid. Fat. So "there". I imagine that even 10,000 years ago, they looked the same lying down as they do today. They have been around so long they've become part of the earth."Hotte began adding washes to the background for a little "atmosphere." These were purposely nebulous: they were neither pasture nor fixed location, but rather a sense of air movement or dust. Later, the cows adopted something of a Biblical reference. One of the Hottes' herds was skinny by nature, and got Vicki thinking about the Pharaoh's dream of thin cows that came out of the river and ate the fat ones. She developed water-like background washes, which eventually doubled as skies. "The sky became the universe, with the cow as part of that universe."The recent sale of the farm and move into Grande Prairie has Hotte working the cow image as more of a pattern, or motif. A memory. She's done cows in clay, and lately, has begun carving a cow design out of plexiglass. The plastic medium's transparent nature gives a dreamlike, skylike quality to the animal. "They're a personal symbol; my mark," Hotte explains.http://www.artofthepeace.ca/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/vicki-hotter-7-bulls-leavin.jpg" alt="Robert Guest - Third Marker Along Adams Ridge" align="left" /> Robert Guest's recent exhibition at The Prairie Art Gallery entitled 'Symbols in the Landscape,' featured Inukshuk-style markers the artist encountered while working in isolated lookout towers for Alberta Forest Service. His landscapes, done first as watercolours or drawings, not photographs, capture the incredible detail of the changing weather and surfaces of mountain ranges few of us will ever see.He is fascinated with symbols he finds in nature, including full moons, Indian tipis, and forest fires. These too, frequently appear in his work. "Most people relate to objects on a symbolic level," Guest says. "To me, symbols in the natural world stand for ideas and suggest stories or adventure apart from the literal. They add to the mystery. His painting 'Third Marker Along Adams Ridge,' shows a structure made to look like a traditional Native Inukshuk, located within three miles of the North border of Wilmore Wilderness Park, near Grande Cache. Guest figures markers like this one were probably built after 1950 to direct the traveller across a ridge. It can get foggy in these higher peaks, and people get lost or disoriented. Hunters and hikers follow the markers whose sequence eventually brings them to a road.Unfortunately, that third marker was toppled sometime last spring by what Guest figures must have been lightning. Its precariously high domain left it open to such forces of nature. The large pile of rubble that remains pays homage to impermanence and change."They talk," Guest says of the Inukshuks. "The wind wound through (third marker), sifting a musical sound. In hot weather, mosquitoes gathered behind it, making a loud hum. They didn't bite though. Maybe they're just partying.""The marker directs your attention upward. It also casts an odd shadow. Like a person. A companion in what is otherwise a world of rock and fog."http://www.artofthepeace.ca/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/vicki-hotter-7-bulls-leavin.jpg" alt="Jocelyn Morgan - Spiral Bracelet & Earrings" align="right" /> It's hard for Grande Prairie jewellery artist Jocelyn Morgan to pinpoint exactly when she began incorporating the spiral into her work. It was definitely there in her days at Emily Carr College in Vancouver in the 1980s. "But I'd travelled a lot too, and was always drawn to symbolism," she recalls.Morgan, whose father is a consultant for oil companies, spent early years abroad. Repeated patterns she encountered in Africa, the Middle East, and later, Ireland, influenced her creative style. The spiral, in particular, found its way into Morgan's world, its layers of meaning winding themselves into her everyday habits. She credits "working" the spiral for getting her through some very tough times."That idea of a swirl that starts in the middle and moves outward can be seen as doing two things. It can represent an inward and downward, or upward and open, flow of energy," Morgan explains.A person facing hardships so intense as to feel on the verge of implosion might envision a spiral of bodily energy drawing itself inward and down. But it can, with conscious effort, be worked in the opposite direction. Morgan finds that, worked inwardly, the spiral gets smaller, invisible, perhaps finite, where, worked outwardly, it would appear to have no end. The possibilities in directing that energy outward would be limitless. Years of consciously working the spiral is not only visible in her art, but has transformed Morgan into a soughtafter yoga practitioner."I love the more whimsical spiral, too," Morgan says of her chosen icon. "The whirling dervish; the fern we find in nature; the swirl in the ocean, and its shells. I love all of those images."http://www.artofthepeace.ca/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/vicki-hotter-7-bulls-leavin.jpg" alt="Paula Fiorini's Raku Polar Bear" align="left" />Paula Fiorini's obsession with bears began with, of all things, her travels on board ships. The ceramic artist, now living in Whitelaw, near Fairview, spent many childhood years sailing between Montreal and South Hampton with her travel-bug parents. "I came to know a lot of the crew. You would stand on deck and look at the wash, and all that green foam."Fiorini suspects that these misty water wonderlands, along with shipmates' tales of spotting the elusive "polar bear on the iceberg," infused her with a lifelong passion for the animal."I see so much fluidity, humanity in the bear," she explains. "People ascribe things to them, like left-handedness. Their form, their whole being, speaks to people."Her ceramic raku bears allowed for a hollow inside, a feature Fiorini finds as important as the sculpture's visible exterior. "I'm fascinated by that universe within."Fiorini also holds the creator accountable for a work's permanence or durability. "If you're going to make things, you have to take responsibility for them. If the world shifts, they have to have what it takes to survive."This sense of duty for one's creations, along with a certain character in author Philip Pullman's novel 'The Golden Compass' influenced Fiorini's decision to take up welding."I was sculpting bears, using different glazes, trying always to make them bigger. In order to make them as big as I'd like, I had to make them solid. They were too heavy though. Not right." Somehow, the resulting clunkiness no longer gave that fluid quality that, for Fiorini, is the essence of the bear.'The Golden Compass' bear wore armour. Fiorini identified strongly with this character, and began toying with the notion of incorporating metal protection into her bears. The armour parts of her works would be welded together; the visible "bear" parts would be raku ceramics. The combination would meet her desire to increase its scale, while both keeping the animal fluid-looking and giving it that added durability should something shift in the atmosphere.Fiorini is still getting proficient at welding. And the big armoured bear? It presents the kind of challenge that keeps her awake at night. She's sketching plans and thinking it all through."It's all in my head, baby," says a determined Fiorini.
13 years ago