Much of my work involves laser-welding, I'm fortunate to have my own welder, which is a Rofin model. For those who've not seen or used a laser-welder, this short film shows me creating a piece from a re-purposed tin. This particular metal comes from a Prince Albert cigar tin, the results from which you can see in my previous blog post:
The super thing about laser-welding is the minimal spread of heat. This enables me to weld printed tin without destroying the decorative ink or the original patina, beyond the seam of weld. The localised heat also prevents the metal from annealing (softening), so elements like the pin retain their spring.
A super recent commission enabled me to work on a silver 'tin' which had a gentle oxidised patina and a break to one seam. After much thought, I decided to utilise the split and widen it to locate a sliding button, so my customer could rotate the tin to wear it with the opening to the top or the bottom.
The silver was opened to both sides, with the splits laser-welded closed, leaving the purpose-made sliding channels open, with new silver and 18ct buttons securely and permanently held in place. The leather straps which convert this tin into a pendant can be removed, or changed.
Sometimes objects command gentle and considered alterations in order to breathe new life into them.
You may have noticed more creativity happening at my bench...
I've recently taken a big leap and reduced my working contract, so I have proper time to make. This decision was a really difficult one, but I trusted my gut and I jumped. I can honestly say, I feel excitement, daily.
Thank you to all who told me I could x
This super tin was purchased last year in the US. It's taken me a year to cut! The wording associated with tobacco amused me and the double-entendre provided a challenge. It seemed fitting that this tin should return to its original country and so I decided to make a collection, destined for Velvet da Vinci gallery.
The first cuts and compositions, with a little Altoids tin added for good measure!
The final collection of nine, all brooches, with three of the tussey mussey variety...
The lovelies over on Instagram
Put their two-penn'orth in
To advise on favourites
and give critique
To take upon the chin
These motivating likers
While I procrastinate
Encourage with their warmth in hearts
My questions and debate
Developing tin houses for the Christmas exhibition at CAA Gallery...
| was recently asked a very interesting question; ‘What shapes your ‘Englishness’?’
I have tried to formulate some answers here...
Although it has not evolved through a process of conscious decision making, perhaps it is my selection process for the materials I incorporate which makes my work quintessentially English...?
I believe that my aesthetic preferences point me towards selecting objects and materials, which although not necessarily English in origin, have no identifiable heritage. I collect things from my travels like any other, but until recently, I have not travelled extensively and these finds remain as relics and are not generally incorporated in my pieces.
My passion for objects which have aged makes it very difficult for me to destroy them to incorporate them in my work, this potentially means I focus on the more readily obtainable, those items produced in quantity, or those with lesser intrinsic value.
I have at times utilised materials such as rawhide from Mexico and silk cocoons from the Far East, but I tended to combine these with text from old English books.
I was asked a similar question a number of years ago which stumped me a little: Why did I select only English text to use in my work? I decided that this was due to my love for words. I use text for its meaning, therefore I need to understand its meaning. A large influence in my life has been that of my grandmothers, Lily Pond and Annie Davidson. The former used to write poems for me and my brother, see my earlier blog post and the latter gave me an understanding of improvisation and a passion for Cockney rhyming slang. The time/era in which these ladies lived also holds an aesthetic close to my heart.
The Pond Family
Could my colour palette be somewhat English? Colour often identifies culture or has symbolic reference; I tend towards earthy tones which I believe stems from my early childhood discoveries (through metal detecting) of rusted objects and coins with a patina of age. These finds filled me with excitement and wonder.
As a child of the seventies, I also grew up in an environment of magnolia paint and wood- chip wallpaper!
Bought up around the arts, with a creative father and a mother who worked at South Hill Park Arts Centre and enrolled me on many courses, I think my passions were embedded at an early age. Possibly the need to entertain myself in a time before the huge impact of electronic gadgetry we have today, improvisation and a make-do-and-mend thrifty attitude led me to employ elements to convey my narratives. The honesty of utilising the original instead of replicating it provided exactly the quality I required within my pieces.
So, is this 'Englishness' transportable? I do feel that my work would change should I move to a different country; what was around me would have an effect, in the same way as the narratives I choose to respond to do now. I moved to the countryside two years ago and am keeping a keen eye on any developments!
If you have any thoughts or comments, I would be interested to read them…
Today I was reminded of the pompoms we used to make as children, how we used to wrap wool around two circles of card and create simple magic. This reminded me of my grandmother. Annie Davidson was the older of my two Grans, both of whom were known by the name ‘Nanny’.
At home I slept in a room above my dad’s clocking-in clock, which had a very soporific loud and dawdling tick. Whenever I slept away from home, I needed this tick for comfort, so both Nanny’s knew to provide some form of clock whenever we went to stay.
One night when I & my little brother were having a sleep-over, I had forgotten my teddy. I must have been four or five. Nanny improvised, she went to the bottom of the wardrobe in front of me and pulled out one of her patent leather court shoes, she then went to the bathroom and got a towel from the airing cupboard, which she wrapped around the shoe and presented to me as a teddy.
‘Teddy’ was tucked in alongside me, under the tight bed sheets. Equipped with an adequately sized, soft but firm form to cuddle and the lull of a ticking clock, I was secure and comforted and able to settle down to sleep.
Decades later, this simple but beautiful improvisation which was coupled with imagination, care and a lot of love is a fond and defining memory for me.
Thought I'd share this beauty:
Material Teddy by Makiko Shinoda
'By modifying and transforming everyday materials to jewellery, Jo Pond invests them with the power to enchant or fascinate us. At the same time, her works become the vehicles for narratives that reach out beyond the here and now. Her handling of transient objects imbues them with lasting value as art. And as wearers of this jewellery, she gives us a new means to express our attitudes and values.’ Jorunn Veiteberg.
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