13th NOV 2008 - 30th JAN 2009
CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER
NEW BRITISH GRADUATES




‘Ceramic Tooth Fairy’ necklace in porcelain and silver
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CLAIRE JOHNSTON

A recent graduate from BA (Hons) Applied Arts, based at the University of the Creative Arts at Rochester, Claire creates contemporary sentimental jewellery that is influenced by her life journey so far.

The Tooth Fairy Series (January 2008) is a range of jewellery that uses castings of her daughter’s milk teeth. Using mementos and objects that are sentimentally precious as her inspiration, Claire creates pieces that invite the audience to contemplate the value of sentiment. The range is constructed in silver, with some gold plating, and echoes of Victorian and traditional jewellery through form and aesthetic.

As a first class honours graduate, Claire has already started making waves in the design world, being shortlisted for the Liverpool Design Show, National Student Design Competition. She was the only student amongst the finalists that was not a furniture or product designer, she says, “I was thrilled to be nominated. The fact that my work has been recognised on a national level by established designers is an enormous achievement for me, and validation that my pieces are conceptual and pushing boundaries of contemporary jewellery.”

Her most recent work is inspired by the initial reaction of the audience to her Tooth Fairy Series.
“I was surprised by the diverse and interesting reaction to the Tooth Fairy Series. Some people loved the pieces and would wear them despite that they were my daughter’s teeth castings; others loved the pieces, but were reluctant to even touch them, even though they were not the real teeth.
Others were unsure of whether they liked them or whether they considered them grotesque. This diversity of reactions provoked me to consider audience participation with the pieces for the next series of work I created :the Ceramic Tooth Fairy Series.”

In conjunction with the engineering department at Greenwich University in Chatham, Claire had a 3D scan of a tooth prepared. This was then enlarged and created through the process of rapid prototyping, to a scale of 400% and 800%. These giant teeth were then cast and recreated in porcelain. Experimenting with different glazes, and other media, such as hair and silver, Claire has created stunning, wearable jewellery that is conceptually innovative, and that invites the audience to consider their own sentimental motivations.

Biographical Details

 


Artists taking part in 'Curiouser and Curiouser' are: Claire Johnston; Frances Wadsworth-Jones; Iona McCuaig; Leonie Batt; NizA Huang; Sally Pawson; Samantha Queen and Susie Lee.