saskia about third bachelor jewellery design - pecha kucha
saskia van der gucht
This year I discovered that my workis an attempt to explore value andpreciousness through design,context and presentation.Design being an almost endlessoption to do so, and context andpresentation being already a bitmore specific.
When the question ‘Whyam I fascinated byjewellery?’ arose, Iformulated my answer inan ongoing blog withpictures of jewellery-specific contexts,presentations andpackaging.I think that packaging cansay a lot about howvaluable and precious wefind certain things andobjects.
After making this blog I wasleft with a physical collectionof all kinds of containers forjewellery and I wanted tocreate something out ofthese boxes and bags.I wanted to make astatement with them, to showthat they had qualities andwere more than just acollection.
I eventually made a series of pictures where I literally changed the context of the packaging.I asked myself, and this is also the title of the work, ‘What if all the boxes in the world werejewellery boxes?’
When I look back, the firstwork I made that fitted thetheme of value andpreciousness was in myfirst year at Sint Lucas.‘Deken’ is a patchwork quiltwith a piece of woven silversewed into it. The silvermakes the blanket worthmore in a commercial,materialistic sense, and theblanket makes the silverworth more because of itsemotional value and thefeeling of homeliness.
With this work, I wanted to change the way people look at printed circuitboards by changing their context. I wondered whether people would seetheir aesthetic beauty instead of their functionality if I presented them assomething organic.
This is a very bad picture of the work ‘Replacing a necklace’.When I told Gemma Draper that this was the work I wanted tore-present for her workshop on presentation, she said it was a good ideabecause the idea is beautiful and the only picture I have of it isremarkably lacking in quality.
I created different visualisations of the idea behind the work, and the presentation of thenecklace became an installation consisting of a drawing, a written text and a video withaudio. The most important thing I learned during the workshop is how interesting it can beto discover what the minimum and maximum is of what you can do to make somethingclear. This way you can set boundaries and position yourself within them.
With this in mind, I wanted to expand the idea behind ‘Replacing a necklace’ evenfurther by asking my neighbours for objects. This was another personal route, beingthe street where I live, and having other people decide what they think is ‘precious’.I started by mapping the route, taking pictures of all the houses.
After I’d done this, I started looking for shapes and noticed that I had to becareful not to force anything into being jewellery, since the visual strengthof the pictures may demand to be something else.
This is a work by Marieke van Diepen, a poetic designer from the Netherlands whoalso works with themes such as homeliness and housing. Here she made drawingsabout these themes but they became an installation by being presented in carriers,carriers that work well because they fit physically but also in relation to content.
I started thinking aboutcarriers – for the images andfor the objects I was going toask for.If you ask for something, Ithought that maybe youshould also give somethingback.So I experimented with printson fabric and made smallbags that could fit certainobjects.
At one point I stopped and I lookedat the pictures.What could they be?I cropped them until they were stillhouses. I changed the colours,made them warmer and sunnier.And then I made postcards.
I like the idea of sending apostcard from your ownhome or street. I think it’sbeautiful.Normally we only sendpostcards when we’reaway on holiday. Now youcan send one when youreat home to tell people thathome is also a good placeto be.
After I’d done that, I looked back at my carriers. I made a folding template of what I believeis an archetypal jewellery box. I found the potential of the 2D drawing very interestingbecause it contains a suggestion to take action and turn 2D into 3D.
When I made this box out ofan original picture of one ofthe houses on my street, Istarted thinking aboutpreciousness again.I decided a carrier needs tohave certain qualities, likebeing sustainable andusable.
I decided to use existing jewellery boxes and change their exterior into a house front. Nowthey had a certain volume and weight, an inside and outside, and they were functional.
Then I had to visualise a certain question. I wanted to ask myneighbours whether I could give them a box for a day and pickit up the next, and whether in the meantime they wanted to putsomething in it. What that something might be, I left as openas possible: it was up their own interpretation.
I put the question on every box so people would be able to reread it ifnecessary. And then I went on my way, ringing every doorbell of the27 houses on the street I call home.9 people didn’t participate or were never home…
So the end result of this project is a collection of 18 precious objects given to me bymy neighbours because I gave them a small box to put it in.
Saskia Van der Gucht, third year bachelorJewellery Design | Silversmithing Department Sint Lucas Antwerpen