Sunday, March 22, 2009

thoughts and objects

Recently I came across a quote that I wrote in a sketchbook years ago:

...It's all about living in this country. I think we have a peculiar kind of space, and I didn't seem to recognize that until I went away from it, and came back again. Then it hit me like a cultural shock, and I saw how things grew in this country.
You approach the work from a distance and see it as an object, and then you come in and almost press your nose up against parts of it, because some of the parts are very small. That's how I think Australia's vast, but there's tiny little fragile things in it.

John Davis

Underneath this, I had written another quote by Robert Morris:

It is obvious yet important to take note of the fact that things smaller than ourselves are seen differently from things larger...In this sense space does not exist for intimate objects. A larger object includes more of the space around itself than does a smaller one. It is necessary literally to keep one's distance from large objects in order to take the whole of any one view into one's field of vision.

I wrote these quotes in 2000. I was trying to understand why I was interested in being a jeweller (even after studying it for 4 years!) as well as how my cultural identity informed the work that I made. I think that being a jeweller for me is clarified in the first quote. Isolating and examining one small element (an element often collected from one's environment), creating a new piece from that exploration. Scale demands a different experience of objects, an experience that is often fragmented and subjective.
All of these thoughts led me to the work of Gaston Bachelard and The Poetics of Space, and he is a writer that I keep returning to.

Sometimes we find ourselves in the presence of a form that guides and encloses our earliest dreams...when a thing becomes isolated, it becomes round, assumes a figure of being that is concentrated upon itself.

These thoughts are on my mind at the moment as I had wanted to put in a proposal for an exhibition, but may have run out of time for this round. I want to make boxes and vessels, to go back to the beginning of why I want to make things. I want to explore how narrative can be created through scale and technique. To look at traditional silversmithing techniques and interpret them in my own way. I want to explore what 'handmade' means to me. I also want to paint, and to bring this to the objects. A part of me realizes that all this has been explored before ( even by myself) and that it is probably considered passe now. But I still want to pursue it.
I will end this rambling with words from another writer who has greatly inspired me.

Storytelling: her words set into motion the forces that lie dormant in things and beings.
Trinh T.Minh-Ha