The Mighty Metalsmith
Decorative and Domestic Metal and Silverware

23th May - 7th July 2013

Large square fruit bowl in fine silver

Large square fruit bowl in fine silver

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Abigail Brown

It is almost impossible to isolate my inspiration to one source; as an artist I am influenced continually by what I see and hear, by my surroundings in general, on both a conscious and unconscious level.  I am increasingly influenced by my surroundings in Cornwall, or wherever I happen to spend any concentrated length of time.  I have spent time in both Alaska and Nepal and found the landscapes and the small details within these very different places awe inspiring.  I have become interested in the idea of the body as a landscape and the Earth as a body, suggesting the idea of the Earth as female.

My particular interest began with the lines, folds and forms of the human body and how these are continually changing.  I am fascinated by the sensuous qualities that our bodies possess, and often portray areas of the body that are not normally associated with these attributes.  From this, I design pieces that signify the warmth and softness of flesh in a material that is by nature hard and cold, creating a piece of silverware or jewellery that is tactile, sensual and invites interaction, yet is ambiguous in its final form.
I am fascinated by the similarities of the recurring forms and shapes that can be found within both the natural world and human body: in the marriage of organic and structured form and I seek to create a union between the two, beginning with my Square Fruit Bowls and, more recently, the box form rings. 

I create bowls and vessels from flat sheet using a hammer forming technique.  Each vessel is produced from a single sheet or disc of silver with no soldering involved.  These pieces can take weeks, or even months to create as they are made purely by hand using a variety of metal and wooden hammers and stakes.  The spontaneous nature of the work means that each piece is unique and sculptural.

The jewellery has evolved directly from my silversmithing work.  I use the same raising and sinking techniques to produce small pieces of silversmithing for the body. The range began by cutting larger pieces of silversmithing into units to create necklaces, bracelets and brooches but the silversmithing techniques have become integral to the design and production of the jewellery. 

The neck and back pieces have been created through the use of a hammer forming technique to create silversmithing for the body that is elegant and gives the impression of movement in a static material.  The box form rings use traditional box making skills of scoring and folding combined with some hammer forming.  These larger pieces of jewellery are inspired by the body and related back to the body when it is worn. They are designed as statement pieces, to emphasise the area of the body where it is worn: and as art objects in their own right, to be displayed as a small sculpture when not worn.

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