Kerry Howley: Hair on your neck

Hi everyone! I’m back, you may not realize that I haven’t been writing any entry for the past month or more because Sybil did such a great job holding up the fort. A million thank you’s and a heart full of gratitude!

BLUEPRINT was a great experience meeting buyers and like-minded creators, there was just so much energy and insight, making friends and getting feedback. After rushing for BLUEPRINT, I spent some time figuring what I want to do after hearing feedback from the buyers. I am still in the process of serious soul searching which includes a lot of ups and downs but once the direction is set, it will be a full sprint forward.

Anyway, I’ve learnt so many things about myself since I started my label and one of them has been my strange obsession with hair. There’s just something about knowing that there is someone’s DNA inside which makes it so mysterious and probably repelling to some at the same time. Here’s someone who seems to share my obsession.

Kerry Howley, a contemporary jeweller and jewellery artist who graduated from Middlesex University, London, creates intriguing neck pieces woven with human hair. She is fascinated by the power materials have to influence our emotional response to jewellery, with a particular interest in how these emotions can be conflicting.

“Attraction/Aversion is a material exploration of how people can feel seemingly opposing emotional responses simultaneously. The necklaces are made of human hair, a familiar material that we take pride in. However once off the body, hair becomes an innate source of aversion. Kerry wanted to see if she could make discarded hair attractive again. Through the familiar form of a necklace, and using patterns and symmetry that are instinctively pleasing, Kerry has created a delicate balance between the viewer/wearer’s feelings of aversion and attraction.”- Kerry Howley’s Homepage

That is the exact same thought I have. I love that it looks so beautiful aesthetically but yet, the fact that it is hair kind of makes your hair stand.

These works were done in 2011, but it would definitely be interesting to see what else she can come up with!


X Alex

(Images from Kerry Howley)

As delicate as lace: Ceramics by Hitomi Hosono

Exquisitely delicate and detailed, the sculptures created by Hitomi Hosono are as intricate as lace.

”I sculpted a leaf that I found in the garden at home.  It was a simple leaf, not particularly special amongst other leaves.  However, when I started sculpting its shape with clay, I was drawn into its intricacy; the manner in which the veins were branching, how the margins ended. I found many details that I admired in this small leaf. It is my intention to transfer the leaf’s beauty and detail into my ceramic work, using it as my own language to weave new stories for objects.” Hitomi Hosono.

Hosono had trained in Japan, Denmark and London before going on to win awards such as Homes & Gardens Designer Award and Graphic Art on Ceramics at the Museum of Modern Ceramic Art, Tajimi, Japan.  Her works are found in Porcelain Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum, Wedgwood Museum and The Oriental Museum in the University of Durham, UK.

Hitomi Hosono: Leaves Bowl

Leaves Bowl, 2011
Moulded and hand-built porcelain

Hitomi Hosono: Chrysanthemum Tower

Chrysanthemum Tower, 2011
Moulded and hand-built Limoges porcelain

Hitomi Hosono: Black Wisteria Square Box

Black Wisteria Square Box, 2012
Moulded and hand-built black porcelain with gold leaf interior

Hitomi Hosono: Snow Cherry Blossom Box

Snow Cherry Blossom Box, 2013
Moulded and hand-built porcelain with gold leaf interior

I would love to own one of her porcelain boxes, especially a black one.  It’s breathtakingly beautiful in an unconventional way.

x Sybil

(Images from Hitomi Hosono and Adrian Sassoon)

See for yourself: Fashion is an art

Former creative director of Kenzo, Antonio Marras is as much of an artist, as a fashion designer.  He is known for his sketches and his collaborations with artists.  Marras’ notebooks are filled with drawings and collages with lots of references to his exploration of fabrics and materials used in his creations.  He is a leading figure in the fashion industry and has shown his artistic projects in museums worldwide.  We enter his world through his notebooks. Antonio Marras Antonio Marras Antonio Marras
“Notebooks are my companions. Without them I am lost. And with them, I am never lonely.”
~ Antonio Marras
Antonio Marras Antonio Marras Antonio Marras

When asked about the border between art and fashion, he says “Today we have to bring into question this categorization; it’s not simply a matter of mutual influence or lending: the border between art and fashion is more and more faded to the point that an entire range of intermediate experiences is difficult to classify in one field or in the other. Personally, I have always been interested in working on spaces of creative autonomy. Freedom is a luxury but I want to create something crossing pure fashion, something born out of independent moments of life, as I did when I worked with Maria Lai and Carol Rama. Their approach naturally matches with what I have always created. For sure, I am lucky, I do what I love, my work allows me to mix everything: clothes, music, theatre, cinema… I remember a story about Maria Lai. Once, I confessed her I had stolen one of her drawings. She answered: “Art is stealing, continuously. Don’t worry: I’m always stealing too. When you steal it, the artwork becomes yours”: well, we can say that I steal something from a context to give it to the other and vice versa…”

x Sybil

(Images from

The Artist as Jeweler

Jeff Koons

Jeff Koons, Rabbit Necklace, 2005-2009, platinum, 3 in pendant / 29 in chain, D. Venet Collection

Something unexpected has happened.  Artists like Jeff Koons and Anish Kapoor, who are renowned for their monumental works, have turned their attention to jewelry, small intricate accessories that I’m sure all of us want to bring home.  Bass Museum of Art’s current exhibition showcases some 200 jewelry pieces by 135 artists.  These wearable artworks belong to collector Diane Venet who became fascinated when her then husband, sculptor Bernar Venet, rolled a thin piece of silver around her finger to form a wedding ring.  Since then, she has acquired jewels made by artists, as well as commissioned pieces by Kader Attia, John Chamberlain, Wim Delvoye, Orlan, and Frank Stella.

While building her collection, she explained, “I’m careful to ask only those artists whom I think will find the request challenging and fun.  It’s important they recognize that the jewel should be seen as an extension of their art-making.”

Nam June Paik

Nam June Paik, Sense Amplifier – Inhibit Driver, 2012, necklace, mixed metals and plastic, 35 cm x 11.5 cm (with chain); 13.5 x 11.5 cm (pendant), N. Seroussi Collection

Lee Ufan

Lee Ufan, Untitled, 2012, sterling silver, D. Venet Collection

Salvador Dali

Salvador Dalí, Cuillére avec montre-peigne (spoon with comb), 1957, brooch, gold, midnight blue enamel, 11.2 x 2.5 cm, D. Venet Collection

The jewelry on display are exceptional and little-known pieces by famous artists such as Max Ernst, Andy Warhol, Georges Braque, Louise Bourgeois, Lucio Fontana, Salvador Dalí, Louise Nevelson, Man Ray, Anthony Caro, and Yoko Ono.  Often conceived for a friend or a loved one, several of these jewelry pieces reveal a surprising tenderness about these well-known artists. These wearable sculptures are presented in three categories – the Early Masters, Representational, and Abstraction – with sections devoted to the human figure, nature, Pop subjects, words, geometry, and new technologies and materials.

Roy Lichtenstein

Roy Lichtenstein, Modern Head, 1968, brooch, enamel on metal, 7.8 x 5.8 cm, D. Venet Collection

Located at 2100 Collins Avenue
in Miami Beach, the Bass Museum of Art is open from 12 noon to 5 pm, Wednesdays to Sundays.

x Sybil

(Images from Bass Museum of Art)

Seven Deadly Sins: Love gone wrong

I am not religious so I don’t want to go into details about the seven deadly sins but I’m mentioning them because they are the subject of artist Barnaby Barford‘s new series of work.  The seven sins are Pride, Sloth, Gluttony, Wrath, Lust, Envy and Avarice, which Barford interprets as simply “love gone wrong”.

Barnaby Barford

He explains it further, “We are all hard-wired to desire power, love, possessions. That’s probably the way all humans have been like,” he says. “It’s not fundamentally bad to desire things but what interests me is the way these ‘sins’ can motivate people. How does the idea of ‘sin’ affect people these days when we live in a largely secular society? What are the consequences?”

Barnaby Barford

The reason is seven mirrors, each representing one of the seven sin.  The mirrors feature an arrangement of clusters of filigree flowers and foliage.  However, a close look shows that the hand-made ceramic flowers and leaves carry images which represent Barford’s interpretation of the seven sins.  Barford also decided that viewers of his work should find themselves not just reflecting on the ideas he has presented to them but also, literally, reflected within the mirror.  “You see the piece and you see yourself within it,” he says.  The mirrors are human in scale and reflect the viewer in full length.

The desire for money is plainly seen in below detail of Avarice which features florets of various currencies.  “The obsession for wealth can be seen both reflexively and reflectively, demonstrating desire and seeing the truth,” explained Barford.

Barnaby Barford

Barford’s take on Gluttony is quite witty.  The flower petals as shown in below detail feature fragments of takeaway food menus and fast food advertisements.

Barnaby Barford

Needless to say, Lust carries the most straightforward interpretation.  The flowers bear images of a porn star’s face in varying states of ecstasy.

Barnaby Barford

Barford graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2002 and has been showing mainly ceramic sculptures in much smaller scale.  He has had several solo exhibitions in the UK and his works are part of both private and public collections.  Catch the exhibition at David Gill Galleries, 2-4 King Street
,  London
, SW1Y 6QP
, before it ends on 12 April 2013.

x Sybil

(Images from Barnaby Barford)

Color Moves: Art and Fashion by Sonia Delaunay

Another fantastic example of art and fashion intertwined is the work of Sonia Delaunay.

There is a league of talented female artists out there who are constantly overshadowed by their famous spouses and Delaunay was one of them. Believe it or not, some considered Frida Kahlo as one too. And as with Kahlo, Delaunay’s life was just as colourful.

Let’s just say she met an art dealer and married him. Turned out that he’s gay and she remarried, this time to her neighbour. She was friends with Picasso, Braque, and Vlaminck and with her painter husband, Robert Delaunay, the couple embarked on a “simultaneity” journey. Together, they worked on their theory of “simultaneity”; the sensation of movement and rhythm created by the simultaneous contrasts of certain colours. 

When times were bad, Delaunay designed fabrics, tapestries and carpets to earn a living. She collaborated with couturiers such as Coco Chanel, Jeanne Lanvin and Jacques Heim. Her clients included a number of celebrities and film stars as well.

There will be an exhibition later this year featuring Delaunay’s designs for textiles and fashion in the 1920s through the 1940s, illustrating her experimentation with fabrics and contemporary art, in particular movement and colour. Exhibits include garments, textiles, fashion illustrations, and period photographs.

Largely known as an abstract painter, Delaunay applied her talent to different forms of art throughout her career; they included graphics, theatre, film, fashion and textiles.

During the 1920s, Delaunay has her own Simultaneous Boutique in Paris where she exhibited garments that were extensions of her painting practice. The designs feature geometric forms in rhythmic patterns and vivid colours.

During the 1930s, Delaunay designed textiles for the fashionable Metz & Co department store in Amsterdam. The Metz & Co collection will show Delaunay’s design process, from the initial sketch to the finished product, as she developed her technical skills as a textile designer.

Titled Color Moves: Art and Fashion by Sonia Delaunay, the exhibition seems to be a comprehensive showcase of her artistic career. The  event will be held on:
18 March to 5 June 2011
Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum
2 East 91st Street
New York, NY 10128

Can’t wait for gallery shots!

X Sybil

(Images from The Art of Fred Martin)

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